What makes ice cream taste so good? Studies on physical chemistry and flavor release have benefited this sweet treat.
These ingredients account for only part of what you find in a carton of ice cream, however. That’s because by volume, 20 to 50% of ice cream is air whipped into the mix during the early stages of the freezing process.
“There are no real chemical reactions that take place when you make ice cream,” says H. Douglas Goff, an ice-cream expert and professor in the department of food science at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, “but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of chemistry.”
From a physical chemistry perspective, Goff says, ice cream has a colloidal structure. Tiny air bubbles and ice crystals are dispersed among liquid water and a network of destabilized fat globules. The structure contributes to the taste. “When you bite into ice cream, how the flavor is released into the mouth probably is a function of structure,” says Richard W. Hartel, professor of food engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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Excerpted with permission, Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2004 American Chemical Society