Tuesday, 9 August 2011

So what is ice cream? and can it be made dairy free?

Since being told I was being given this wonderful machine to play with I have done a lot of reading on what is ice-cream? what makes it creamy? what stops if freezing solid and being inedible? Do I really need to put sugar in everything as I am not an advocater of sugar in things?  Is it possible to make dairy/cream/egg/ sugar free ice-cream and it still be palatable and of the right consistency.

There are various things it seems that you need to keep ice-cream soft once it has been made. The fat is the important one, it does not freeze therefore helping to keep the stored ice-cream less grainy/icy and more palatable. They recommend full fat milk and double cream and for some recipes eggs as well, now as you are all aware this is just not possible for Bob, which is the reason we have this ice-cream maker in the first place, to experiment with different milks giving him the calcium, protein, and other goodness that he currently doesn't get huge amounts of as he is not a milk  lover at all. Well o.k he will drink rice milk but it is a fairly low nutritional milk. So as non dairy milks are low fat then this may become an issue for us that we will need to work our way round.

You can add 3 tablespoon of alcohol of some sort to 1 litre of fluid, as alcohol does not freeze then it helps to keep it softer once it is being stored in the freezer.
This could be white wine or vodka that does not have a lot of flavour, or cherry brandy in cherry ice-cream, really your imagination can come up with a lot of different combinations. So I may experiment using some alcohol in oat, rice and soya milks.

The same rule applies to sorbet as well, white wine is also (supposedly) good in sorbet, there is too little alcohol in to worry about even if you are giving it to children.

Sugar was the one I was more concerned about, I don't like filling kids up with empty calories, and keep it to a minimum in everything we make, they quite happily eat custard, pancakes, etc with none at all, so I had been researching into substitutes for the sugar, but it seems the sugar is needed to stop the ice-cream freezing and the sugar substitutes wont work in the same way...so I guess we are stuck with adding sugar, and I don't suppose the small amount they are going to get is going to do much harm in comparison to getting milk into Bob and the goodness he will get from that.

To help thicken the ice-cream slightly you can use either 2 tablespoon of arrowroot or a spoonful gelatin per litre of milk, you will need to dissolve this in hot fluid as normal and cool before adding to the ice-cream maker.

In baking I know I can use yoghurt in place of the cream, will this work in home made ice-cream? Well I shall be trying and finding out.

Guess I am going to have to make different milks and then some soya yoghurt and try them out in various combinations to see what happens, watch this space

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