If you allow people to list their Mt. Rushmore of food, ice cream will probably be on just about every list. Whether it’s ice cream, sorbet, or gelato people go bonkers for a frozen treat. But one downfall that ice cream is going to melt. So we lap it up like it’s going out of style until our brains freeze. Here’s a quick pro and con of ice cream; Pro, it can be eaten off of a cone. Con, it will melt and the cone provides no support for your soon to be mint chocolate chip fingers. But thanks to one special ingredient we can actually help slow that sloppy drippage. But what is this ingredient and how does this work?
“Can I make my ice cream melt slower?”
Let me put it this way, there is no way to 100% prevent ice cream from melting. But there is a way to slow the melting and help it hold its shape during the melting process. Adding 0.5% of Polysorbate 80 the total weight of the recipe will do this. It’s extremely simple, just mix the polysorbate into the recipe and churn it as you would normally. This requires no change in your method or other ingredients. But how does this work? How can adding one extra ingredient simply change everything about how the ice cream works.
So what is ice cream, other than a delicious frozen treat. Ice cream is an emulsion of fat, water and sugars that is partially frozen and partially foamed. It’s kind of a frozen mixture of cool modern techniques. As the mixture is churned the fats and proteins coat the water droplets and also capture air bubbles. The water droplets freeze and the air bubbles add volume to the mixture. The slower the water freezes the harsher the ice crystals will be. This is where ingredients like polysorbate and perfect ice cream come into play. These ingredients are emulsifiers, they help prevent the separation of the ice and water. Polysorbate 80 emulsifies so well that it can actually help retain its shape during melting. So technically the ice crystals will melt at a slightly slower rate due to the emulsification. This slower melting along with the polysorbate 80 helping to maintain the shape gives the ice cream a much longer life on the cone, or in a cup, but we all know it doesn’t last that long.
So the next time you make an ice cream cone and as you’re frantically trying to eat it before it melts. Just know there is a better way to help prevent the mess of one of the worlds most beloved foods.
Give our Buerre Blanc Poached New England Lobster Roll with Scallion Dressing recipe a try to see how well polysorbate 80 works!