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May 25, 2008 04:19 PM

Ice cream thickeners?

OK so I just got a new ice cream machine...

I only want the best ice cream, so I use all organic ingredients, and to make it creamy I use raw egg yolks... The only problem is that using too many of those makes it eggy tasting (gross!).

I'm totally new at this, so I've been researching it a little bit, and it looks like to me the best thickeners to use are guar gum, locust bean gum, and food grade carrageenan (not the toxic degraded carrageenan).

Which of these thickeners are the best? Or are there any better ones? I'm looking for the most natural and best tasting ones

Thanks for any comments

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  1. No, no need to use thickeners. Ice cream begins with a custard - eggs, sugar, milk and/or cream, flavourings. That is all you need. Carefully cook the custard over a double boiler and follow directions. Chill and put in your ice cream maker. Go on to for some recipes. Or just google. Or there have been several threads on CH so just search here for recommendations.

    1. If you don't want a frozen custard (which is what ice cream made with eggs really is), go minimal. Two cups of heavy cream, one cup of whole milk, one cup of sugar, and a tablespoon of vanilla go into a medium saucepan. Bring to 170F, let cool slightly, then put in a lidded container and into the fridge to cool and allow flavors to mellow and blend. After a few hours (or even as much as 24 hours), pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the directions. Simple. Easy. Delicious.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        actually I wanted to make a low-fat ice cream, so the stuff I'm making actually has no cream

        1. re: nessie33

          Hmm....although I've never done it, you could try using 3 cups of whole milk instead of the 2/1 combination. It may lack richness and/or 'mouthfeel', though. The way I see it, I prefer a fattier version, and just resolve to eat one small scoop.

          1. re: nessie33

            Then you wouldn't want to add that egg yolk - it is all fat. But I would personally make a simple custard with milk rather than cream. I'm sure you could google gelato - that is low fat.

          2. re: ricepad

            I've done both Sarah Galvin and rice pad. And then my flavors. My mom now has my ice cream maker but I borrow it now and then which is fun.

            Good ice cr4eam to me always has cream and eggs, but maybe just me. Never made lowfat, just the real thing or a gelato which is nothing the same.

          3. If you "only want the best ice cream", it will require cream and eggs. But if that is too rich, look for gelato, ices, sherbet, or frozen yogurt . Lots of recipes out there,but they are not ice cream.

            1 Reply
            1. I made a wonderful lowfat strawberry frozen yogurt last week (with strained Stonyfield Lowfat Plain). I've also made lowfat and reduced fat ice creams (replace the cream with 1% or 2% milk). It does lack richness, but the flavors are still very good. If you are looking for lowfat, I'll echo what several of the other posters have said--go with sherbets or sorbets or frozen yogurts.

              I also recall reading of someone who used fat-free half-and-half with good results. I'm a little wary of that, because it probably has a lot of chemicals.

              1. Surprisingly an incredibly effective thickener is cornstarch - you get the super rich and creamy mouthfeel without fussing with the custard base. I first tried it in the mexican chocolate recipe below and have been using it ever since. For me it comes out even creamier and a little healthier.

                1/2 cup sugar
                2 Tbs cornstarch
                1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
                Pinch of salt
                2 cups whole milk, divided
                5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
                1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

                Whisk sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in heavy medium saucepan until blended. Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk in remaining 1 3/4 cups milk. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and comes to boil, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute longer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth.

                Transfer base to medium bowl. Mix in cream. Place bowl over large bowl filled with ice and water and cool, stirring often, about 30 minutes.

                Process base in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to container; cover. Freeze at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

                2 Replies
                1. re: kasiav

                  yes, I use cornstarch , also - and i am happy with the results.

                  1. re: kasiav

                    This recipe is excellent ... I've been trying to make homemade ice cream for awhile now and this recipe is the winner! I did half the recipe and next time I will not add only 1/8 t cinnamon (since it had a cinnamon flavor that was stronger than I prefer). I used milk chocolate because that's what I had on had. It had a nice texture and was delicious! Thank you for sharing!!