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Archive for November, 2011

Stabilizer in ice cream – Do we need it?

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

More than a year ago, there was a Straits Times article that mentioned about this particular coffee joint selling incredible ice cream that does not melt. Straits Times even went a step further to sought comments from ice cream makers and food science academics as to what are the factors that can cause ice cream not to melt.

Purpose of stabilizer 

Stabilizer as the name suggest stabilizes the whole ice cream structures and helps to keep the ice cream in shape for a longer period of time. At the same time, it also helps to prevent formulation of large water crystal in ice cream. The “economical brand” ice creams are the one that requires stabilizer the most because it generally contain inadequate butterfat and a lot of air.

It is common knowledge that fat and water to do mix and usually separate from each other, forming two layers. If you try to stir them together, you can disperse them temporary, but once you leave it untouched, separation occurs.

Stabilizer does not help bind the 2 immiscible products. To perform this task, you will need something called emulsifier. (I will discuss about emulsifier later) Stabilizer basically works as a thickening agent and therefore makes it harder for the dispersed water particle in ice cream to congregate.  In addition ice cream contains air and air would definitely cause ice cream to be even less stable.

Ice cream is a complex structure containing air, water and oil.  It is thermodynamically unstable and its desired form can only be achieve at low stable temperature coupled with precise balance of each of the required ingredient.

Types of stabilizer 

Common stabilizers used in making ice cream today are xanthan gum, guar gum and locust bean gum. It is common for retailers to use more than one type of stabilizer. It is important to note that these stabilizers are very strong thickener. They have this remarkable ability to produce a large increase in the viscosity of a liquid by adding a very small quantity, usually 0.5% – 1% of the whole mixture.

Stabilizers are actually also found in most cream based product, like whipping cream, cream cheese. If you take a closer look at some of the food label of some of the cream based product, you may see “E numbers”. These number codes are for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union. E400-E499 codes for stabilizers.

Health benefit of stabilizer

Seriously, I can’t think of any health benefit. But I reckon stabilizer in low amount should have no adverse impact on our body either.

Can we do without stabilizer in commercial ice cream? 

The answer to this is YES. Our ice cream contains no added stabilizer. Haagen Daz has done it too, so has Tom palette.

The key to not using stabilizer is to really understand the complex multiphase structure of ice cream. To compensate the absence of stabilizer, we add egg yolk to our ice cream, (Egg yolk is a natural emulsifier) whip less air into the ice cream (you get a denser ice cream) and use adequate butterfat. For those who may not know the use of egg yolk to make ice cream is known as  “French custard style ice cream”.

If you are making ice cream at home, there is absolutely no need to use any stabilizer. All you need to do is add a little bit more cream to increase the butterfat. Alternatively, you can add a little bit of skim milk powder to give your ice cream more “body”.

Anyway ice cream is supposed to melt. The key is to enjoy it before it melts!

Valrhona chocolate ice cream made with only pure valrhona cocoa and no stabilizer. it has a lasting intense chocolate flavour

Enjoy before it melts!

Categories: About Ice cream

Egg whites, anyone?

November 22, 2011 Leave a comment

As Chief Craftsman briefly touched on in his earlier post, our ice cream utilizes only the yolk of an egg, which leaves us with a heap load of egg whites. Unless we start a sideline selling them to bodybuilders, we may have to start disposing them once we go operational. Of course this is a situation we would like to avoid, hence we will be spending some time on working through a list of desserts recipes that utilize only the egg whites.

We will post our experiments on the blog, keep a look out for it.

Categories: Miscellaneous

What is butterfat?

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Butterfat is without reservation one of the main ingredient in ice cream. Butterfat is what makes ice cream smooth and creamy. In addition, the presence butterfat also enables air to be incorporated into the ice cream. For the benefit of those who may not be aware, air is an important component in ice cream although I will dither to describe it as an “ingredient”.

Inadequate butterfat may cause iciness in ice cream. [Icy defect in ice cream can also be cause by other factors]  Under the US law, a product can only be labeled as “ice cream” if it contains a minimum 10% butterfat. Therefore gelato is technically not “ice cream” in US because gelato generally contains about 8% butterfat.

What is butterfat and where to find butterfat? Butterfat is simply fats in milk. Butterfat can found in most milk related product. I have compiled a list of milk related products that contain butterfat.

This is ghee. Some “prataman” uses this to fry their prata.

S/n

Name 

Butterfat Content

1

Skim Milk

Almost 0%

2

Low Fat Milk

1% – 2%

3

Whole Milk (Normal Milk)

3%  – 3.5%

4

Half and Half

`~ 18%

5

Whipping cream

33% – 38%

6

Butter

80%

7

Ghee

99%

To make ice cream, you need to use either half and half or whipping cream. Whole milk does not contribute enough butterfat. Whipping cream can be found in most supermarkets; [NTUC; Cold Storage; Sheng Siong] or bakery supplier like Phoon Huat [Do not confuse this with whipped cream]. 1000ml of whipping cream cost about $7 – $10 depending on the brand. Half and half is a little more uncommon in Singapore. So far, i have only seen it at Cold Storage.

The amount of butterfat in ice cream can varies from 10% – 16%. Super premium ice cream like Häagen-Dazs contains at least 16% butterfat. Even though butterfat makes ice cream smooth and creamy, an overdose of butterfat is really not something desirable unless you are looking for a greasy “lard ice cream”.

Ice cream has always been perceived as a sinful indulgence for the reason that it is supposedly fattening. Is this really true? The weight of one scoop of ice cream is approximately 60g – 100g. Assuming butterfat content to be 14%, one scoop of Ice cream contains about 8.4g – 14g of butterfat. Comparatively one fast-food chicken burger contains roughly 16g of fats.

Does this mean ice cream is healthy? Well, it does seems like ice cream is a tiny bit less sinful. In any case it is not my aim here to promote our ice cream as a healthy product. Healthy or not,  I will leave it to all to decide. This is mainly part of our effort to share with people more about ice cream.

Categories: About Ice cream

The elusive one

November 19, 2011 Leave a comment

After all these months of trying and searching, we are still back to square one.

When will we ever get to find the one, the one that we will not have to make compromise on (well at least not too much); the one that will just take our breath away; the one who is just right, neither too big nor too small; the one that is at the right place and time; the one that doesnt cost too much to maintain.

At times, we have only ourselves to blame, with our mindless courtship and lack of wisdom, we have became the fool led by the fair maiden on a jolly trip to nowhere. And despite the “cookies” and “flowers” and the time spent waiting, all our efforts have come to naught.

Haiz… when can we ever find that shop, that elusive shop of our dream.

The clock is ticking… well at least for me.

Till next time…

Categories: Miscellaneous

Jumping the gun

November 15, 2011 Leave a comment

As it turned out, we kind of jumped the gun on the shop at Tiong Bahru that we’ve blogged earlier. Plans by the property agent to convert the unit to one suitable for F&B trade were rejected by the relevant authorities. On hindsight we could have clarified the situation with the agent before spending hours scouting the location and drawing up  plans on how to market our products at that area. Its like dreaming of having a grand wedding with a girl you are infatuated with only to find out that she is happily married with two kids. In banking speak, its like failure to do proper a KYC or due diligence on your client.

I could go on all day but no point crying over spilled milk. To quote a prominent local politician; ” Its an honest mistake, lets move on. “

Categories: Locations Tags:

Creamed

November 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Thought it would be better to explain the title of this post before I get lynched in public for corrupting the minds of our youths. We had a fruitful meeting with a young, talented designer whom we have engaged to come up with an identity and logo for our business and “Creamed” was one of the name that he came up with. I thought it is a nice, playful ring to it but given the suggestive and risque connotation associated with the word, we have to give it a miss. Rather than letting such a nice name go to waste, I decided to recycle it as a recurrent topic to showcase ice cream flavors that we have researched over the past week.

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1. Chocolate

Using Valrhona chocolate powder, it was rich, chocolatey but from feedback, could have done with a little more sugar

2. Bailey Vietnamese Coffee

Chief Craftsman’s creation of the past week. Generous with the bailey, it packs a strong punch on the initial mouthful which is slowly replaced by the aroma of the coffee.

3. Horlick

Its just like Horlick Gao in ice cream form. Malt lovers’ paradise.

Categories: Creations Tags:

Why “LosT”!?!?

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment

With the incessant queries from my partner on the choice of my depressing pen name, I have decided to come upfront to clear the air.

I am NOT depressed! Although at the rate I have been creating mini ice cream disaster, I will probably drive myself crazy. But then I am digressing, so back to the topic on hand.

[Dear readers, this portion of the post has been removed due to some arm twisting from my partners, freedom of speech in our society is now a thing of the past with prevalent censorship imposed by callous acts of coercion and threat.]

Now with that out of the way, it’s time to explain my choice of pen name. I started out cooking just so that I won’t have to live on pizza and burger while studying in the States, however as mentioned in my earlier post, I am purely a functional cook who goes by instinct! I know this may sound scary, but this is really how I cooked: a pinch of salt and then taste; a dash of pepper and then taste; and many more repetitions after that! Of course at the end of it all, I will usually end up with something edible, but definitely won’t win any culinary award.

However for ice cream, it crazy! And you can never do that (previous paragraph on my style of cooking) for the custard mix, unless you just want to dump it in the bin, which is something that I have been doing pretty regularly. Wanton experimentation will only create ice creams that are either too icy, too sweet, too soft, too salty and many more variations of yuckiness (if there is ever such a word)! Haiz I am perpetually “LosT” when it comes to making ice cream and hence the “depressing” pen name. Although I have been making slow progress as I come to terms with the science of ice cream making, there were still times when I wish I could still pretend to be able to cook, just by being functional.

So all you master chef wannabes out there, don’t ever lose heart if your attempt at making something deceivingly easy fails, there is always someone out there who is worst off (a.k.a LosT).

Till next time…

Categories: Miscellaneous