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Butter in ice cream


pastrygirl
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I've made ice cream bases with butter before, either intentionally to make brown butter ice cream, or out of desperation when there was no cream to be found. My usual recipe is cream, milk, egg yolks, sugar, salt and flavors.

Today our new chef gave me an ice cream recipe from one of the high end restaurants he had worked in in another city. It is for 'neutral ice cream base' and is something like 5 liters milk, 1/2 liter cream, egg yolks, sugar, milk powder, atomized glucose, stabilizer, salt, and 325 g butter mixed in with the immersion blender at the end. This strikes me as odd. Why would you opt to add butter rather than just use a higher proportion of cream? Dairy fat is dairy fat, isn't it, and why add an extra step? I'm not planning to adopt this method, just curious what the reasoning behind it might be.

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I've been monitoring this topic, hoping for some input from an experienced ice-cream-butter-user. I'd never heard of using butter in ice cream although I might try it in my next batch...not for some time however...mu ice cream churner is 2000 miles away. Sounds interesting and I hope that someone who has tried it will come forth.

My usual recipe is half&half, (milk), cornstarch, sugar, invert sugar, salt and whatevers in flavors and inclusions.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Why would you opt to add butter rather than just use a higher proportion of cream? Dairy fat is dairy fat, isn't it, and why add an extra step?

I'm just guessing here, but maybe the goal is to raise the amount of butterfat without raising the water content as much? It's true that dairy fat is dairy fat, but cream is only 35% dairy fat, while butter is 80% or so.

Edit: Oh, wait. I see what you mean... more cream as opposed to milk. No idea, in that case!

Second edit: Is the butter mixed in with an immersion blender after the base has been cooled? Is it intended for same-day churning? What kind of machine was it churned in, a regular ice cream machine, or a Pacojet?

Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I'm curious about the texture of this ice cream. Is it smooth like a regular custard ice cream or does it have flecks and patches of butter like a frozenish buttermilk? It sounds like it wouldn't be one of those things that would fly off the shelves as a commercial product.

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I once cooked a butter pecan ice cream that involved mixing melted butter into the ice cream base. It didn't come out well. The butter froze into little globules in the ice cream. The texture was unpleasant and the taste of frozen butter (if you think about it) is not that great. Perhaps some serious blending with an immersion blender would have helped, but overall, I'm unenthusiastic about adding butter to an ice cream.

The recipe I tried is on Googlebooks, here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ReV1lS1J9NMC&pg=PA311&lpg=PA311&dq=weir+butter+pecan+ice+cream&source=bl&ots=wzICPnOfiD&sig=zzo256pXAOkQgpS8WzU71YAuUEg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Kv7sTtGOCeSJiALGqcH8DQ&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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See, djyee, that's what I was thinking would happen. It sounds like someone thought it would be a great idea. I don't think even an immersion blender is going to help.

Has the chef who gave the OP the recipe used it at a previous job?

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Supposedly the pastry chef this other chef worked with used it. It says to blend the butter in while the custard is still warm, chill one day then freeze in paco jet beakers. You want lower fat ice cream when using the paco jet, because the more fat you have the greater your risk of it getting overspun and buttery from the high speed of the rotating blade. When I make brown butter or butter pecan ice cream I adjust the milk:cream ratio to account for the added fat. I hadn't considered it as a flavor enhancer, never thought of butter flavor as particularly desirable in ice cream. Does butter really make everything better?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think people are missing a pesky concept called homogenization. Cream is homogenized which in lay terms means pushed through a very fine sieve at high pressure to chop up the butter fat molecules. Adding butter to ice cream base, regardless of how much whipping is done, will just separate in colder temperatures to result in an ice cream that has an icy greasy mouth feel. Even if you try to incorporate the butter into eggs when you are taking the eggs to nape, you will still get separation because it would be just like cooling Hollandaise that will ultimately break into pools of solidified butter. I do not believe there is a way to increase butter fat in ice cream by using butter - you always have to use homogenized creams to achieve the desired effect.

-- Mache

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I'm sure your correct about homoginization and all that. Except that this was a tested recipe that did work. Since he is the chef and the technique is novel it makes sense for the OP to test the recipe and if it works or not at least you learn something. Even if its that he doesn't know a thing about pastry.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Bradwells claims their ice cream is "butter-rich". I guess butter could add a richness of flavour, much like pastry or shortbread tastes much richer when made with butter. Butter does have a kind of toffeeish flavour when it's sweet. I have also seen "butter oil" listed as an ingredient in ice cream, can't remember the brand though.

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I have made ice cream with butter added in the past, I feel it can go one of two ways. The first (which usually happen to me) the added fat from the butter made it separate during the spinning process so it never churn properly. The Second outcome is you made Paula Deans day by adding butter to something that doesn't need it. This is base for a plain vanilla recipe. Just my two cents. I hope it works for you.

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I am always amused at the notion that it makes any sense at all to load up ice cream with extra fat. Heated fat (steak, bacon, etc.) carries enormous flavor. Cold fat is the enemy of flavor. You can mask the salt in an over-salted dish by adding cream. If you want the flavor of cream or butter, no problem. However, the flavor-masking problem is why gelato is, in most of its incarnations, ice milk. The dairy base is only a carrier for the vibrant, superior flavors of chocolate, vanilla, fruits at the peak of freshness and nuts...

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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A higher proportion of cream definitely adds a "buttery richness", I intentionally add a much higher ratio of cream to my maple ice cream and it ends up having that butter-and-maple richness that you get when the melted butter and maple syrup combine on waffles or pancakes. But adding actual butter to ice cream does result in a different taste than you get from using more cream. Whether or not that's a good thing depends on what you're trying to achieve. It doesn't diminish the flavor if the flavor you're after is butter. The additional fat may slightly diminish the perception of other flavors but so does the temperature of frozen items. We adjust the base to compensate for the temp, we can do the same to compensate for additional fat if we need to. Personally, if the butter is being added only to boost the overall fat content with no interest in the flavor aspect, I'd just adjust the cream ratio... but butter works.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 6 years later...

Since this thread turned up while I was searching for something else:  there is no mystery;  butter as a source of butterfat is used commercially in ice cream manufacture.  If you want to use butter at home, homogenize your mix.  Otherwise suffer globules of frozen butterfat in your dessert.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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As Jo said, butter is used in some commercial ice creams (I assume when it's more readily available than fresh cream).. When you make butter, you break the cream's emulsion and all the fat globules coalesce. To use butter in ice cream and to get the best texture, the fat needs to be broken up into the smallest globules possible and re-emulsified. Ideally this is done with a high-pressure homogenizer and strong emulsifying ingredients.

 

If you're just using butter as a flavor source (brown butter ice ice cream, etc.) and there's also a decent amount of cream in the mix, it's not too challenging to get good texture. Make sure it's an egg-based recipe or that you're adding emulsifiers, and ideally, blend the bejeezus out of the hot mix with a vitamix or equivalent.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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lol.  Maybe i'm not that smart but my reaction is pretty much the same all these years later. Why are they using a recipe that doesn't work at a good restaurant? Occam's razor -they are not -the recipe works.

 

So what is there to learn  from doing the experiment. What is the flavor, texture. I'm curious.

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On 4/26/2020 at 11:50 AM, AAQuesada said:

lol.  Maybe i'm not that smart but my reaction is pretty much the same all these years later. Why are they using a recipe that doesn't work at a good restaurant? Occam's razor -they are not -the recipe works.

 

So what is there to learn  from doing the experiment. What is the flavor, texture. I'm curious.

PacoJets are very, very forgiving!  You can practically turn a bag of Quikrete into something that looks almost edible.   So really, your only main concern is flavor.  And 300g is not much in a recipe of this size.  I use that much cream cheese in a kg of CC flavored ice cream.

Edited by jandreas (log)
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