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Jun 23, 2011 06:49 PM

What is churn style ice cream?

At the supermarket today, I noticed that more and more manufacturers are offering "churn style ice cream". Innocent me, I thought all ice cream used to be churned, maybe I'm just remembering my tour though Ben & Jerry's incorrectly. I looked up ice cream manufacture on the internet, and it seems that while some producers use a batch whipping/freezing process (which seems much like churning), others use a continuous barrel freezer (which still has an internal scraper and aerator to give the effect of churning).

But nobody explained what the current fad for "churn style" or "slow churned" on the package means. Can anyone thaw my brainfreeze and explain the difference between "churn style" and regular ice cream is, and whether it has any advantages besides an appealing ad slogan?

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  1. we will see if someone knows way more than I do (and I'm sure there are plenty that do) but I THINK it has to do the amount of air that is put into the ice cream during the churning. So "churn style: or "slow churned" should have less air resulting in a denser "creamier" mouthfeel to the ice cream.

    It is kind of interesting that not all 1/2 gallons of ice creams weigh the same amount. The really cheap store brands are so much lighter than the higher end types.

    That is my guess - but that is probably 20% factual and 80% marketing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thimes

      ALways compare the weight in grams per serving. The closer you are to about 130g per 1/2 cup serving, the closer it is to having no air. Generally, premium products are at or above 100g per 1/2 cup.

    2. Marketing. "New and improved" has been used too often, and "Handy smaller size for the same price" didn't go over at the focus group. Anyway, if you read the label, a lot of these things aren't even ice cream. Churned, yes. Slowly, maybe. Real food, are you kidding??!!

      1. I challenged two makers of "churn style" and "slow churned" ice cream to explain just what they meant by that. A rep actually telephoned me to say that "churn style" just meant it was "creamier" than their other ice cream. He knew nothing of any health benefits or other characteristics, but did say that no churns were involved in the manufacture.

        1. "Churn style" is a misleading euphemism.

          Because ice cream is sold by liquid volume and not by weight, they can whip a lot more air into it and advertise it as having fewer calories- which it does, but only because it contains more air and less actual ice cream. Hence the softer, so-called "creamier" texture.

          Some clever marketing types decided that "double-churned" or "extra creamy" sounded better than "reduced density" or "now with more air!"

          As if making half gallons that are only 1.5 quarts wasn't insulting enough...

          1. "For the last year or two, manufacturers have been using a process called low-temperature extrusion, which freezes light ice cream at an extremely low temperature. The idea is to freeze the ice cream so quickly that the air-fat-water emulsion does not break and grainy ice crystals never have a chance to form...."
            America's Test Kitchen



            also do a google search for "Marshall" + "There has been considerable recent attention given to low-temperature extrusion"