So, I have noticed something in my recent attempts to product creamy, delicious desserts in my ice cream maker. There's a couple of problems with homemade ice cream. First, when it's just coming out of the churn, it's soft and melty, and doesn't hold up too well. So as soon as it comes out of the churn, it needs to go in the freezer for a few hours. But when you pull it out the next day, it's hard as a rock. Now, I know that there are reasons for this, and there are ways to get around it. For instance, I actually have a bucket of ice cream stabalizer that I picked up a while back. I was told at the time that this was an essential ingredient for gelato, because it keeps crystal sizes small, which increases the smooth texture that gelato is known for. I haven't played with it much, and not at all since starting my blog, so the jury's still out on how well it works.
Keeping this in mind, I started looking around of Google for articles about how stabalizer works. At first, it seemed hopeless. Even the companies who were selling it were more excited to tell me how well their brand works than how it actually works. Then I hit paydirt. I came across an article in the Journal of Dairy Science on the Effect of Sweetener, Stabilizer, and Storage Temperature on Ice Recrystallization in Ice Cream. This is intense stuff. My brain started to hurt well before I finished page 1 (of 10), and I still haven't finished reading it.
Then I decided to look around at some more articles in that magazine. First I started seeing things like "Effect of Biopolymers on Structure and Ice Recrystallization in Dynamically Frozen Ice Cream Model Systems". Then there was "The Effect of Carbohydrate Source on Nitrogen Capture in Dairy Cows on Pasture" and the ever popular "Evaluation of Palm Kernel Meal and Corn Distillers Grains in Corn Silage-Based Diets for Lactating Dairy Cows".
This is when I realized something. First of all, the food industry is way more intense than I ever realized. Things like high-fructose corn syrup didn't come into being just because they're cheaper to produce than their consumer-preferred counterparts like cane sugar. There's some serious food science going on here. I still believe that most of the food science industry is based on food cost percentages and shelf stability. But there's some serious studies going on here. It's like a Stephen King novel. This stuff kind of scares me, but I just can't stop reading it. In fact, I daresay that Stephen King is less scary than the food scientists.