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I want to make a no-churn ice-cream for my wife, it needs to be sugar-free and lactose-free. The recipe I found calls for condensed milk and 35% cream. I can find lactose-free cream in the local supermarkets, but I was not able to find any lactose-free condensed milk (not even online). How can I make lactose-free condensed milk the easiest way?

The recipes I found online would make me boil some sweetened milk for some hours,

  • but they can not guarantee that the thickness at the end will be the same as for store-bought condensed milk,
  • and I can't really judge when to stop the boiling.
  • And I also find boiling the milk for hours too tedious.

So I thought about using lactase enzyme (which I guess is used in the production of lactose-free milk).

  • I am not sure about how to dose it?(If there are online resources available, please link them.)
  • I've seen this answer while writing this question, but it does not say whether to add the lactase to condensed milk or normal milk, and does not say to which amount of (condensed) milk to add the specified amount of lactase.

(Note: I know the linked recipe uses coffee liqueur, which probably contains sugars + probably the condensed milk he uses also contains sugars. I would replace them with sweetener + flavouring.)

Additional question: would the recipe work without sugar? He says that the ice-crystall formation is slowed down by the condensed milk. Not sure whether this would be the same for lactose-free sugar-free condensed milk and not using alcohol. (According to this answer, it might work, but I might need something else to tie up the water - alcohol is not an option.)

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  • Cooking breaks down the sugars, so as condensed milk has been cooked (to condense and to can), it might not have as much lactose as you think. (But I would still try to substitute with cream of coconut (coconut cream with extra sugar) or something else)
    – Joe
    Aug 22, 2023 at 11:43
  • Do you churn ice cream? I thought you churned butter?
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 23, 2023 at 10:43
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    @NeilMeyer Ice cream is normally "churned" (processed in a "scraped surface heat exchanger", for the food science folks) and indeed dairy ice cream may well come out with some butter on the blades of the churn (not ideal, but if it's churned too much while too warm that will happen, as opposed to forming lots of small ice crystals as the intent of the SSHE is.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:40

4 Answers 4

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I don't think this recipe is suitable for you.

The reason the recipe works is that the condensed milk brings in the needed sugar. Condensed milk has 22g of sugars per 40g, which should translate to around 3g lactose and 19g added sugar. 300 g of condensed milk bring you 165g of total sugars, and 750ml cream would have another 30g of lactose. If you try to make both products lactose- and sugar-free, you'd have zero sugar in there, and no ice cream.

Sugar-free ice cream is generally made with inulin. You can go look for a inulin-based recipe. Also, you might look for "vegan ice cream" recipes - usually sorbets - to make sure it's lactose-free. Trying to concoct it on your own, especially if you don't have an ice-cream machine and are looking for no-churn recipes, will probably end up with an unpleasant crystalized texture.

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  • 2
    Coconut cream (or milk) allows for making vegan "ice cream" (or "eye scream") that is not sorbet. Nut butters are another option depending on flavor - the coconut tends to be less of an impact on overall flavor. Sorbet is all very well but gets tedious when your milk-intolerant person really wants ice cream.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:33
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    It is probably worth mentioning that inulin can have a really amazing effect on the internal gas production.
    – j4nd3r53n
    Aug 24, 2023 at 9:56
  • @j4nd3r53n is that what they put in the infamous gummy bears? Aug 25, 2023 at 7:48
  • Inulin is used primarily as a filler to provide more body and improved texture, but it has nearly no effect on the freezing point. When calculating an ice cream recipe it accounts only for 10% for the freezing point depression of sugar (sucrose) and even less compared to mono-saccharides. The only option I would see to work completely without sugars would be to use sugar substitutes (Aspartam, Cyclamat, Xylitol, ...) for sweetness and some alcohol to get down the freezing point.
    – J. Mueller
    Aug 25, 2023 at 16:43
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I see no reason that lactose-free condensed milk couldn’t exist, but I’ve never seen it either. I have, however, seen condensed coconut milk in various places. If you can find that and don’t mind a mild coconut taste (likely covered up by the coffee) it should work fine in that recipe

But it won’t work for your needs — and neither will that recipe — because both contain sugar. Sugar is important in ice cream recipes; if you want a lower-sugar ice cream it’s best to look for a recipe for that, rather than modifying a regular-sugar recipe. Do not replace sugar with “sweetener” when making ice cream.

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    There’s a product called ‘cream of coconut’ which has extra sugar added. I’ve never compared it directly to condensed milk, though
    – Joe
    Aug 22, 2023 at 11:44
  • @Joe It's similar but thinner... not sure how well it would work, but it probably is the easiest thing of its sort to find.
    – Sneftel
    Aug 22, 2023 at 16:48
  • There's also coconut cream with no sugar added, which can make navigating recipes calling for either one somewhat chancy if the recipe writer was not crystal clear which product they meant...
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:36
  • @Ecnerwal There's "cream of coconut", "creamed coconut", and "coconut cream". Best to infer from context, I think. Only "cream of coconut" will be available at a store that doesn't also sell fermented shrimp paste, and "creamed coconut" will likely be measured in weight, and will always be chopped or dissolved.
    – Sneftel
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:45
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There is such a thing as lactose-free condensed milk - Nestle La Lechera do one {Amazon link - no endorsement just the easiest to find}

It is definitely not sugar-free and so would not help the OP, but added in case it is useful for other people.

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How can I make lactose-free condensed milk the easiest way?

Just how they do it in the factory: Add lactase. It really is this simpe. YOur wife should already have lactase pills at home, crush them (first google how much you need) and add the result to the regular condensed milk. They do exactly that (well, without having their lactase pressed into pills first) in the factory where they make lactose free stuff

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