The Science of Ice Cream

By Chris Clarke (Royal Society of Chemistry)

Synopsis: Ice cream as we recognize it today has been in existence for at least 300 years, though its origins probably go much further back in time. Though no one knows who invented ice cream, the first improvement in its manufacture was made by Nancy Johnson, of Philadelphia, who invented the first ice cream making machine in the 1840s.

The Science of Ice Cream begins with an introductory chapter on the history of ice cream. Subsequent chapters outline the physical chemistry underlying its manufacture, describe the ingredients and industrial production of ice cream and ice cream products respectively, detail the wide range of different physical and sensory techniques used to measure and assess ice cream, describe its microstructure (i.e. ice crystals, air bubbles, fat droplets and sugar solution), and how this relates to the physical properties and ultimately the texture that you experience when you eat it. Finally, some suggestions are provided for experiments relating to ice cream and ways to make ice cream at home or in a school laboratory.

Published: 2004 | ISBN: 978-0-85404-629-4

As an ice-cream maker, I had been looking for a book that was more than just a simple collection of ice cream recipes and some well intentioned, but non-technical explanations of ice cream making. This book was the answer to my prayers. It is a book that examines what occurs in ice cream making, the transformation from milk and cream into ice cream; how the cooling influences the texture; how the fat ratio alters the way it feels on the tongue. It also contains experiments that teachers can use to demonstrate the fundamental processes of cooling and freezing. A great book. – @popsciguyoz

“It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that ice cream is one of the most complex materials known to man. This familiar treat is, to the scientist, a composite of solid ice and fat particles as well as air bubbles suspended in a viscous solution of sugars, lipids and proteins where all the phases are, at best, in unstable equilibrium. All the time the suspended phases are trying to grow but that would ruin the taste and texture of the ice cream, so the food scientists have to find ways to combat thermodynamics. By Peter Barham (full review in ChemistryWorld, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 2005)

Extended Review by Peter Barham


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