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How Do I Choose the Best Ice Cream Mix?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 16, 2024
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The popular dessert ice cream is a favorite in the food market, the restaurant, and the specialty ice cream parlor. Cooks of all levels have sought to recreate the cool taste of this treat, leading to the creation of various ice cream mix forms. Since taste and texture are two of the primary factors that dictate ice cream preferences, you should consider mixes that contain ingredients helpful in achieving a desirable finished product. Certain alternative ingredients will also be helpful if diet or health is a concern. Research into the quality and value of different mixes could further solidify a choice.

Taste is arguably the most prominent factor in choosing an ice cream mix. Generally speaking, more sugar contained in the ice cream mix equals a sweeter and more intense flavor. Further, mixes are offered in a variety of ice cream flavors, from the traditional favorites like vanilla and chocolate to more fruit-heavy options. Individual quality between brands can perhaps best be evaluated through online perusal of consumer review sites, which usually contain product ratings and customer comments.

Dietary considerations and restrictions will often influence your ice cream mix decision as well. Ice creams typically have some type of milk base, and several types of bases are available for the dieter. Whole milk and cream represent the most fat-heavy bases, but alternatives such as skim milk powders can provide a more health-efficient alternative. Individuals who may have an allergy or other adverse reaction to dairy products may seek out mixes with non-dairy bases like coffee whitener or soy milk.

A solid ice cream mix will usually contain certain agents that help the ice cream retain a proper texture and consistency. Stabilizing agents such as gelatin are thus commonplace ingredients. In addition, the inclusion of egg substances might boost the ice cream’s melting resistance. Whole milk and cream bases will likely best provide a creamy feel and taste, while diminishing salt ingredients will help prevent excessive icing.

Traditional ice cream is made with a milk base, but other sweet dessert mixes resemble the cold and scoopable treat. If you desire a slightly different take on ice cream, you might consider one of the other types of ice cream-like mixes. For example, sorbet and Italian ice mixes will result in a product that consists of frozen sweetened water with a fruity taste. Gelato and sherbet mixes have similar fruit focuses, but they also contain some dairy additives, which makes their texture and taste somewhat of a merger between regular ice cream and ice water mixes.

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Discussion Comments
By AnswerMan — On Sep 25, 2014

@Inaventu- I think it depends on the ingredients used in the dry powder mix. When I ran a small diner, I bought an ice cream machine and used a powder mix. It clearly wasn't a cream-based product, but it did contain powdered milk and some stabilizers. My customers seemed to like it pretty well, especially as a complimentary dessert. I think other vendors offer a cheaper alternative that is not very good at all. It does contain the same ingredients as artificial coffee creamer. I only made that mistake once.

By Inaventu — On Sep 24, 2014

I have always found the refrigerated milk-based ice cream mixes to be preferable to dry powder mixes reconstituted with water. When I worked in the restaurant industry, one of my jobs was to maintain the ice cream machines in a buffet. At the end of the night, I would turn off the freezer units and pour the remaining ice cream mix into a sanitized tub for storage. The milk-based mixes always held up better overnight than the dry powder mixes.

I think the flavor profile was much better with milk-based mixes, too. The powdered stuff usually tasted like artificial coffee creamer, not real dairy.

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