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My first time to ask here. I'm trying to formulate my own recipe of vegan ice cream and am following a certain proportion/percentage for each component (fat 17%, sugar 14%, solids-not-fat (SNF) 11% and water 59%).

In dairy ice cream, I know solids-not-fat (or not-fat milk solids) is usually around 9% of milk products. But for non-dairy (vegan) frozen dessert, I'm using almond milk and I don't know how to measure solids-not-fat percentage without doing a laboratory experiment. Almond milk (and other non-dairy milk alternatives) has no to very low protein, sodium and mineral content. I want to measure the SNF of almond milk. Can I do that by mere adding protein, sodium and mineral content indicated on the nutrition facts? Or is there any other way to determine SNF on non-dairy milk alternatives?

Thank you all for your time and knowledge.

2 Answers 2

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Yes, you can add up everything in the nutrition facts, and it will be a reasonable approximation. Even if there is something in the milk which is not noted in the nutrition facts, the contribution to the total weight should be very low.

If you want to be very precise, you have to make sure that you are doing the right calculation. In your list of things to add, you didn't mention the carbohydrates - but they need to be included, and you have to decide how to count sugars, and besides, make sure that you are reading the label properly (are sugars and fibre included in the number of total carbohydrates or not)?

I said "if you want to be very precise", because it might well turn out that it is not needed. Using this kind of formula is a decent starting point, but not guaranteed to give you great ice cream. First, this kind of formula starts losing its predictive abilities when taken out of context, and the original context for ice cream formula are dairy ice creams. Second, stabilizers and emulsifiers will have a big effect on your texture, not only the ones you add yourself, but the ones already present in the almond milk. So, you will have to go through several iterations of tweaking anyway. Given that the almond milk is almost all water, you can just as well drop it from the calculation of the starting recipe and count it fully towards the water.

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Fiber is often (usually?) skipped on nutrition facts, as it has zero nutritional value (even though it's quite helpful in the process of digestion), and is definitely a non-fat solid, so it may skew the numbers quite a bit in case of certain foods. I can't quite imagine fiber-rich ice cream though, so in your case you should be fine.

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  • Fiber-rich ice cream is quite common. Especially in the setting the OP is talking about, vegan ice cream, many producers use inulin to get to the needed amount of solids, while still being able to print a nicely low calorie number on the label. I am a bit unsure why are saying that it will skew the numbers - do you mean the fiber present in the almond milk, or did you assume that fiber wouldn't count towards SNF? On the pack of almond milk I have in my pantry, the amount of fiber is listed on the label.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 31, 2021 at 20:18

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