Recently I have had some interesting conversations and experimental ice cream making sessions using different types of milk. So this month I thought I would share some of those experiences with you to encourage you to use your local milk to make ice cream. In this article I am just looking at animal milks – soya and vegan alternatives is another discussion!
It is not unusual that I am approached at Antonelli by farmers wishing to find ways of making more out of their milk other than just selling it a low prices. I have held many courses and One 2 One sessions in the past few years demonstrating how to use fresh cows milk (often unpasteurised) to make ice cream. Most ice cream makers, however, use standard pasteurised milk often from friesians or as I simply call them ‘black and white’ cows. In the last year I have also been asked about making ice cream using goats, jersey cows and buffalo milk (not all mixed up together I hasten to add).
So the question is – how much difference does it make to the ice cream either in taste or the recipe itself if you use a different animal milk? Apart obviously from the taste of the milks varying the biggest factor is the balance of fats and proteins.
Standard ‘black and white’ cow’s milk which is most commonly used across the UK has a fat content of 3.6% with a non fat milk solids (NFMS) content of 9% of which 3.2% is protein. Jersey and Guernsey cows as most people are probably aware produce creamier milk which means the fat content is higher. It is these fat and protein percentages that it is important to understand. The reason for this is that you need a certain level of proteins to bind with the fat to create a good ice cream structure. In my opinion, you can’t make quality ice cream just with using milk and cream. We use proteins to bind with the fat to avoid fat globules and prevent ice crystals creating a smooth texture with an appropriate level of trapped air. Skimmed milk powder (SMP), which is basically dehydrated milk – a process which removes not just the water but the fat as well, adds the required protein at a level of 38%.
If you are using goats or buffalo milk to make your ice cream the balance changes quite significantly due to the fat levels. Goats milk has a fat content of 4% (which is a bit higher than standard cows milk), whilst buffalo and sheep milk contains double the amount at 8%. However the challenge arises in that we don’t advise you use SMP particularly with goats milk. If you are wondering why, it is because goats milk has a lot lower lactose content than cows milk, which means that many people who are lactose intolerant can still consume goats milk without suffering any adverse affects.
When making ice cream with cows milk we usually add double cream. Whilst goats milk has a higher fat content we still need to add some extra fat which we do using goats butter. With sheep and buffalo milk there is no need to add extra fat due the natural fat content of these milks as mentioned already. The question is where does the protein come from?
This was the challenging part of creating a smooth textured balanced ice cream using goats milk. However taking tips from vegan recipes I tried using starches which help bond the fat and water. The good news is that it worked, so using maltodextrin or dry glucose powder seems to serve the same purpose as the SMP but without interfering with the lactose content. Oh and the good news is the ice cream tasted great too – in fact most people wouldn’t know it wasn’t made with cows milk.
So my message to you this month is don’t be scared to try different milks, it could help to lower your food miles by using locally sourced milk. It might also provide you with a way to differentiate your ice cream from the competition and give you an additional unique selling point, and what’s more it might be appropriate for those with a lactose intolerance too! What have you got to lose? Give it a go and if you get stuck you know where to find me!
See you next time for the latest scoop.
http://lovegodlovelife.org.uk/8/ Antonelli’s National Technical Manager Jonny Ireland is a regular contributor to the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…
See how this article looked in the March 2020 edition of the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…