knickerbocker gloryAre you a Harry Potter fan? Then you should know what this is - it's featured in the first book!

vanilla pods
What do you know about vanilla? Vanilla pods aren't much to look at but they are rather special. Click on the photo to find out more.

Air - Ice Cream Key Ingredient

Air is possibly the most important ingredient of all in ice cream. It wasn't until I got involved in actually making ice cream that I ever thought about this! The truth is that without air, ice cream would just be solid with no visual appeal and no inviting texture.

The best quality ice cream has the least air in it – around 20 percent. In fact, in most countries there is actually a legal limit as to how much air commercial ice cream can contain. As I understand it, the limit is generally accepted as being 50 percent.

When making your homemade ice cream, bear in mind that how much you beat it (hand method) or how long you churn/freeze it for (electric ice cream maker) will affect how much air goes into it. Also how much mixture you place in your ice cream maker bucket will have a bearing – I generally fill mine around 2/3 full (depending upon the recipe) so that by the time it’s batched the ice cream almost fills the bucket. This gives me no more than about 30 percent air content.

The wonderful thing about making your own ice cream is that you can experiment with this idea and find out for yourself just how much your ice cream's taste and texture is affected by the air you mix into it.

Some pages with more detailed information on the intracacies of ice cream making which you might find useful:

Storing Ice Cream ~ Rippling ~ When Ice Cream Is Too Hard