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I made some frozen yogurt for the first time yesterday. It turned out better than I feared, but had two problems:

  • It had some ice crystals, and was more sorbet-like than ice-creamy.
  • Once served, it melted rather rapidly into a thick soup.

Both these problems boil down to texture. How do I get a consistent, thick texture for frozen yogurt that will last long enough for someone to get through a serving?

Here are the details. The recipe I improvised was this. All measurements are US:

Make the yogurt

  1. Put three cups of full-fat, lactose-free milk into a Pyrex bowl
  2. Steam the milk for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot
  3. When milk has cooled to 110º F, remove 1/4 cup milk
  4. Add removed milk to 2 tbsp of full-fat Greek yogurt and stir thoroughly
  5. Add mixture to rest of milk
  6. Empty water used for steaming from Instant Pot and put Pyrex bowl back in
  7. Leave on yogurt setting for 8 hrs
  8. Refrigerate for 8 hrs

This resulted in a caramelized, creamy yogurt.

Make the golden syrup

I figured golden syrup, since it's an invert sugar, would prevent crystallization. I followed this recipe from the Totally Sacha YouTube channel, which involves adding boiling water, sugar, and a lemon wedge to some caramelized sugar and then letting the whole shebang simmer for ~45 minutes.

Make the frozen yogurt

  • Mix 1 cup golden syrup into the yogurt
  • Mix 3 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream into the yogurt
  • Grind about 1/8 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt into the mixture and stir
  • Freeze for an hour
  • Use a stick mixer to break up crystals and blend the yogurt
  • Freeze overnight
  • Use stick mixer again
  • Freeze until time to serve (about 6 hrs)

What could I do differently to improve the texture? It served reasonably well: neither too mushy nor too firm. But as mentioned, the texture was a tad icy and did not stay firm.

Perhaps I could blend it a couple more times to break up the crystals more, as the answers to this earlier question say. However, the bigger problem was the melting. It melted far more quickly than desirable. Eaten at a reasonable pace, the last quarter bowl of each serving was the texture of clam chowder.

I thought of some things that might work, but I'm not confident they will:

  1. Add some pectin?
  2. Reduce the amount of alcohol?
  3. Use some sugar to replace some of the golden syrup? I don't just want to add sugar, as the yogurt would be too sweet. The answer to this question says that sugar will result in a softer set, but I'm not sure "softer set" == "won't melt as quickly". Sugar might make the crystallization and the melting issue worse.
  4. Add an egg to make the yogurt more custard-like?
  5. Strain the yogurt to thicken it before adding the syrup, etc?

I don't have an ice cream maker or a stand mixer; much though I'd like them (especially the latter), that situation is unlikely to change any time soon. So I'm limited to the equipment at hand.


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First, you shouldn't have the expectations that your ice cream (or frozen yogurt, or whatever) will turn out to be like storebought. You can get to a "better than now" state, but not to a "out of the heart brand tub" state.

For your ideas, some are off the mark, some are worth trying. 1) a hydrocolloid is generally good in ice cream, since it binds water and prevents it from making large crystals (helps with "icy"). Pectin is an unusual choice though, guar gum works better. But you can start with pectin and then graduate if not happy. 2) don't reduce the alcohol, it will get icier. 3) for the purposes of setting, golden syrup is sugar. You can add more if you want, substitution won't help. 4) frozen yogurts are not custards, cooked yogurt is not tasty. 5) yes, reducing the available water can make it less icy, so do strain.

When you add the emulsifier, you will have done about as much as you can at home to get rid of the crystals, seeing that you are also already adding both salt and alcohol. So, not much more that can be done in that department, except of course proper churning.

And here we are coming to the crux of your problem - you are not churning properly. The "blend, then reblend" method is a substitute that never works as good as an ice cream machine. Also, you are mentioning a "stick mixer" - so you most likely don't have a powerful blender which can turn a block of water ice into snow, just a standard model. You probably have zero overrun, so of course it is melting right away.

The solution is to buy an ice cream machine. Make sure to read test reports, there are some disappointing models on the market. A standard frozen-bowl style will already be an improvement, although it will still have some melty tendency. If you want gelateria-style ice cream and have the space and the money, you'll have to invest in a compressor machine. I doubt that you can ever get supermarket-style at home, unless you get into serious equipment and recipe modding.

  • Some clarifications. (1) With regard to egg, I was thinking of heating the egg separately to around 160° F, cooling it, and mixing it in with the rest, as in ice cream recipes. I wasn't planning to cook the entire mixture. And to the general point that cooked yogurt isn't tasty, it's an ingredient in plenty of Indian recipes. (2) The link in the original question says that invert sugars retard crystallization; how do you mean "for the purposes of setting, golden syrup is sugar"? (3) what does "zero overrun" mean? – verbose Jan 13 '17 at 11:15
  • @verbose 1) if you mean to pasteurize your egg (it's not 100% clear to me what you mean, the link recommends heating everything and it is about safety anyway) that won't help you with texture because will not make a custard. 2) Invert sugar is irrelevant here, that's for candy making. Whenever you read something about using sugar in ice cream, it doesn't matter if you use sugar or golden syrup (unless you have access to specialized food technology books which tweak the finest details). 3) Zero overrun means that zero percent of your ice cream's volume is air beaten in. – rumtscho Jan 13 '17 at 11:43
  • The article I linked to says invert sugars are used "in the preparation of sorbets and ice cream since it has the ability for controlling crystallization and creating a smoother mouth feel." Is that wrong? – verbose Jan 15 '17 at 17:29
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One of the reasons it melted quickly was the Bailey's Irish Cream. One of your guesses is to reduce the amount of alcohol.

Alcohol lowers the freezing/melting point - it makes the mixture harder to freeze and quicker to melt.

I would make the frozen yogurt without alcohol, then serve it with a splash of liqueur over the top. And I'm suspicious from your recipe that the Bailey's would any significant flavor.

  • The Bailey's did impart a pretty strong flavor, actually, so I was thinking about reducing it for that reason in any case. I'll try it (and also some of @rumtscho's suggestions, like blending in my food processor rather than using the wand) and let you know how it turned out – verbose Jan 15 '17 at 19:43

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