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I've been a huge fan of homemade ice cream ever since I went to Herrell's ice cream in Northampton Massachusetts: http://www.herrells.com

The owner, Steve Herrell, is known as the godfather of chewy ice cream in America, and I've been trying to come up with ice cream just as good as his and, after a lot of experimentation, here is my recipe (some measurements might be wrong because I can't find my recipe book right now):

Base:

  1. 1 cup of heavy cream
  2. 1 1/4 cup of milk
  3. 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of milk powder
  4. 3 tbsp of light corn syrup
  5. 1/2 cup of sugar
  6. 1/8 tsp of salt

Other:

  1. 4 tsp of cornstarch
  2. 1/4 cup of milk
  3. 3 tbsp of cream cheese
  4. Extract of your choice to taste

Mix all the base ingredients together, bring to a boil, reduce to gentle simmer, simmer for 4 minutes. Mix cornstarch and milk together, put in simmering base, bring back to simmer for 2 minutes or until thick. In a small bowl with the cream cheese, mix some of the mixture, then mix cream cheese with base. Rest overnight in the fridge. Put in extract of your choice to taste (this prevents flavor from evaporating if you put it in while hot). Make with your ice cream maker of choice, but make sure to cover holes in your ice cream maker so that air won't get in, and the ice cream is dense.

My ice cream, while it tastes as good as if not better than Herrell's, just does not have the same texture. Herrell's is much softer and creamier. It might be because my freezer is too strong (at someone else's house where the freezer is much warmer, I've noticed that Talenti ice cream has a much better texture) and also because the stabilizer I'm using, which is cornstarch.

Thoughts? What stabilizer is best for ice cream (egg yolk, gum, starch, flour etc.) and what temperature is ideal for the ice cream's texture? I hope I can adjust my freezer's temperature at the apartment I rented.

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    Welcome! Can you be a little clearer about the texture you're looking for? It seems you want it softer and creamier, but you also mention wanting to make chewy ice cream. (It's pretty important to be specific to avoid getting answers that produce someone else's "ideal" ice cream but not yours.) – Cascabel Aug 11 '16 at 0:52
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    related, maybe even a duplicate: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/70492/… – rumtscho Aug 11 '16 at 7:07
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There is an article on Serious Eats that is pretty much entirely about replicating Herrell's style ice cream at home. The differences I can see between your recipe and the one discussed in that article are the addition of egg yolks, the addition of arrowroot powder, using evaporated milk (rather than milk and milk powder), and they stop their machine early (as most overrun happens in the last few minutes usually).

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    If I remember all the way back to Home Ec correctly, Arrowroot is supposed to stand up to freezing better than cornstarch - in "other things" you might pick it over cornstarch when you intend to freeze (and later thaw) the thing you are thickening - so that makes sense. The Serious Eats article engages in hyperbole - I definitely had to stay on top of licking my Herrell's small in a sugarcone to keep from having a mess everywhere, and some certainly dripped on my fingers and made me go hunt down a napkin. It was not a gelatinous mass of un-melting goo. I would not want it to be. – Ecnerwal Aug 12 '16 at 2:02
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My personal secret ingredient (not that secret, I stole it from Haggen-Daz sorbet, large as life in the ingredient list) is pectin. I put a little in to help sorbets (particularly) along. You can use jelly if it fits the flavor profile as an easy source, or mix up the dry powder.

On the other hand, you may be going for some entirely different thing, texture-wise; though I don't recall Herrel's (which I have had, within the last month) as being noticeably "chewy", as you call it.

In general I don't think home-made that's eaten in a reasonable time period should need much in the way of gels, gums, thickeners, stabilizers and other stuff that seem to be considered essential for long-traveling commercial ice cream (somehow Bryers USED to do fine without them, before they got bought out and ruined. I suspect they were more careful about keeping it cold, but it's lost in the past now, since even the few remaining "natural" flavors now have "natural" gums added in the small print. There didn't used to BE small print, it wasn't needed.)

As for temperature, if the product is too cold in the freezer, but not so much so that you can't scoop it, it's as easy as waiting a minute or 3 or 5 after you scoop it. If it's too hard to scoop you might need to adjust things. Since you have had ice cream from your friends freezer, the obvious answer to that question is to politely bring over some of your ice cream to try it from their freezer, and see if that makes it more like you are seeking. Bring a freezer thermometer, too.

  • For clarity's sake, do you also use pectin in non-sorbet ice creams? – Catija Aug 11 '16 at 23:25
  • Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. I'm more consistent about using it in sorbets, though I made perfectly acceptable sorbets before I started using it. – Ecnerwal Aug 11 '16 at 23:41
  • xanthan gum is also fantastic in sorbets -- you can get away with putting frozen fruit in a food processor, pulsing it 'til it's in small bits, a bit of xanthan gum (about 1/8 tsp per cup of fruit), pulse a couple more times, then add fruit juice while the food processor is running 'til it's the consistency you like. You might need to add some heavy syrup or other sweetener with the juice if it's not a particularly sweet fruit. – Joe Aug 12 '16 at 15:30
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The Serious Eats article doesn't really get it right. Here's what goes into New England style ice cream: 1) pretty high milk fat (16%+) 2) very high total solids (44%+). Get this by adding quite a bit of skim milk powder. 3) usually a custard base, but it doesn't have to have a lot of egg. 4) higher than usual quantity of stabilizers, with an emphasis on guar. Guar gum adds body and is responsible for the chew.

Avoid arrowroot in ice cream. It's great in sauces; it makes slimy textures in dairy.

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