Methodology

I'll be using the Underbelly Standard Base as the launching pad for much of my experimentation.

Actually, I will be using two versions of the Underbelly base: There is the Standard Base, which calls for two egg yolks per liter of ice cream, and a Light Variation that uses 4.5 grams of lecithin instead of the egg yolks. (There is a third version of the standard base, the French Variation, that calls for 6 egg yolks per liter of ice cream, but I won't be using that variation, at least not now. Maybe later?)

Ingredient Quantities

The ingredient quantities in the Underbelly recipes produce a liter of ice cream (roughly one quart).

However, I prefer to make smaller batches while testing, so I plan to reduce all ingredients by half when developing a batch for testing. Instead of the liter produced by the Underbelly recipes, I'll make test batches of 500ml (about a pint) of ice cream.

Why Two Base Recipes?

Ice cream recipes are often divided into two groups: 1) with and 2) without egg yolks. (And the with group can be subdivided according to how many yolks are used for a given quantity of end product). But simply not putting egg yolk into the base—as is often the case in basic, or starter, or beginnner recipes, such as those that come with ice-cream-machine recipe books (also known as Philadelphia, or New York, or simply American, as opposed to French, style ice cream)—comes at a cost. Egg yolk is an emulsifier and a stabilizer, an ingredient that adds to taste, scoopability, and overall experience of eating ice cream.

For best results, when egg yolk is taken out of the mix, something else should be added, to achieve those results that can be ascribed to the egg yolk.

What to add? That is one of the questions at issue for this blog.

Underbelly's standard base calls for 2 egg yolks per liter of ice cream; the light variation substitutes 4.5 grams of lecithin for the egg yolks.

That's one answer. But is it the answer? Well, first of all, there's this...

Lecithin???

Yes, lecithin. Oooh! Better living through chemistry? But...what is it?

Short Answer

It's the fat compound in egg yolks that makes them so useful to ice cream making. But it can be found elsewhere, as well, such as soy beans, from which it can be extracted and used in place of egg yolk. Lecithin derived from soy beans (known, conveniently, as soy lecithin) is what I'll be using, at least initially.

Long answer

Read all about it on the internet. Also, Wikipedia.

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Tools of the Trade
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