How Is Ice Cream Made? Explore All Cool Facts About Ice Cream Making

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 17, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Variety of ice cream scoops in cones.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

Whether it is homemade dairy-based ice cream or one made in a factory using complex ingredients, ice cream is a top pick among all dairy foods for most people because of its irresistible flavors.

Ice cream is a soft and smooth frozen mixture usually made up of milk, cream, sugar, ice, emulsifiers, and other flavorful ingredients. A chilled favorite among youngsters and the aged alike, ice cream can be savored both as a dessert or just a cold treat.

The first ice cream was served in Paris in Europe in 1670 after it was popularized among kings and aristocrats in past centuries.

Due to the lack of refrigerators, early ice creams were always freshly prepared with natural ingredients mostly comprising of pulps of fruits and fruit syrups mixed with milk.

The mixture, sealed in a cooling bag of ice and salt, was shaken vigorously by the ice cream maker which slowly converted it into delicious ice creams in which to indulge.

With innovations in science and technology and the popularity of ice cream recipes among the general public, making ice creams at home and at factories became very popular.

The factory-made ice cream process starts with pasteurizing the milk; extracting its by-products like cream and milk fat; mixing it with other ingredients such as flavors of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, etc; freezing the mix in a freezer; improving its texture by adding emulsifiers and stabilizers to prevent the eruption of ice crystals; introducing a certain percentage of air into the mix to fluff up the creaminess in texture; and finally put in the containers and packaged for sale.

Intrigued to know more about the entire process of this frozen treat? Read on to find out more. You can also find out cool facts about how is ham made and how is maple syrup made here.

How is vanilla ice cream made?

The vanilla happiness found in cones or tubs is a result of the cumbersome process of making ice cream. Thomas Jefferson was a pioneer in curating a recipe for vanilla ice cream in France, and later introduced it in the United States.

In earlier times, a wooden bucket with a steel sobertoire (a heavy lid to initiate freezing after churning) was used to mix the ingredients such as high cream milk, sugar, milk fat globules, and ice.

The blended mixture was manually churned for a long time with ice and salt to lower the temperature due to the absence of a freezer.

The production of ice cream in factories is less manual and more scientific.

Starting with heating the dairy at a high temperature to kill all bacteria, the pasteurized milk is put into a huge ice cream machine wherein fat globules, sugar and vanilla essence are mixed in gallons.

Previously, eggs were thoroughly churned into the mixture to add the vanilla flavor. Over time, synthetic vanilla essence was discovered which took over from the natural vanilla extracts in commercial ice cream factories.

How is fried ice cream made?

Fried ice creams are a newer variety than frozen ones. Here a scoop of ice cream, frozen well below the freezing point is taken, coated with breadcrumbs, tempura batter or cookie crumbles, and is fried in oil at a very high heat.

The below-freezing temperature of the scoop as well as the outer coating prevents it from melting. The final product is served as a sizzling hot, solid, and crispy outer cover with frozen ice cream inside it, garnished with toppings and flavorful syrups.

Stir-fried ice creams or Thai ice creams are an innovation of Thailand where regular or vegan milk is poured onto an icy cold grill having below-freezing temperatures of 18-35 F (-7.7-1.6 C). Other ingredients like chocolate chunks and sugar syrups are added and mixed using two steel spatulas.

The mixture is heated and mixed until it freezes into ready-to-serve solid ice creams. Sometimes, these are rolled into cylinders and are called ice cream rolls.

How is soft serve ice cream made?

Soft serve ice creams are a little different in texture compared to other ice creams. For the production of these cold desserts, a specific type of ice cream machine is used which helps in introducing air into the cooled liquid mixture.

The freezer temperature, kept at temperatures above freezing point, along with the introduction of air to form air bubbles, changes the quality and consistency into a smooth, warm and creamy one. Thereafter, they are kept inside the ice cream dispensers which pumps out a soft serve scoop into a cone.

Summer ice cream bar with a selection of ice cream flavors and dessert toppings.

How Ice Cream Is Made In A Factory

All ice creams contain milk, so firstly, cow's milk is obtained in large quantities and put into ice cream making tanks. Flavoring ingredients, emulsifiers and stabilizers are added and heated to pasteurize and make the custardy mixture bacteria-free.

The hot mixture is immediately cooled to 40 F (4.4 C) preventing the formation of large ice crystals, and is whipped thoroughly, facilitating air bubbles to set in, improving the creaminess and softness. The fast-cooling is done in batches and is known as the batch-freezer method.

After the freeze, heavier materials such as chopped fruits, nuts, and chocolate chips are added and refrozen. The final product comes out chilled and is packaged to be sold as an appetizing food for desserts around the world.

If instead, you want to make ice cream at home, here is an overview of the process. Start with buying preferably full-fat milk with proteins and bring it to a boil.

Add flavoring ingredients like chocolate particles, vanilla or strawberry essence according to your choice. Stir it thoroughly and bring it to a boil. Allow it to set in the freezer for 10-12 hours, until solid.

Take it out to garnish it with chopped fruit of your liking and for the air bubbles to get in. Finally, the ice cream must be frozen again for further hardening, without the occurrence of large ice crystals in the ice cream.

Did You Know...

Gelato is another variant of ice cream which has a higher concentration of milk and sugar than regular ice cream. The ice cream mixture with added flavors is churned at a slower speed which lessens the number of air particles blending into the mixture.

While gelato is mostly store-bought, ice creams can easily be made at home. As gelato contains fewer air bubbles, the final product comes out as soft solids which are scooped out into a cone or tub. The slow mixing intensifies the aroma and taste, making gelato stronger in flavor than regular ice cream.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how is ice cream made, then why not take a look at are birds warm blooded or are black diamonds real.

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

Aashita Dhingra picture

Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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