Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

The same way that a good porter on draft is better when it's on nitro, ice cream can realize some benefits from nitrogen. When ice cream is churned with nitrogen it has a richer creamier flavor.

78% of the air you are breathing in Nitrogen. At negative 321 degrees Fahrenheit, nitrogen will become a liquid. Simply stated, liquid nitrogen is really cold.

You can get your liquid nitrogen for making ice cream from a wielding / medical supply retailer. I get mine from Norco on Trent.

Two litters will make a gallon batch of ice cream but you may want to get three the first time. The nitrogen is about five dollars a gallon.

They will give you the nitrogen in dewar. A dewer is kind of like a large insulated milk jug. It will work fine for transport but it is rather unwieldy to work with when making your ice cream.

The dewer has a lid that fits loosely and will not hold pressure. From the moment you pick up your liquid nitrogen those little N2 will be turning into gas and escaping to join their little nitrogen friends in the atmosphere. In the dewer liquid nitrogen will shrink at a rate of about 3% per day.

Always wear safety glasses when working with liquid nitrogen. Wear gloves because containers will become very cold. Even a very small amount of direct contact will give you instant frostbite. Never seal a container holding liquid nitrogen; it will build enormous pressure and explode. Liquid Nitrogen Safety Guidelines - USDA ARS

I like to transfer my liquid nitrogen to a vacuum growler for easy handling, but you can use other household containers. Always use caution because the extremely cold temperature could crack or shatter some materials.

Basic ice cream recipe: 1 pint whole milk, 1 pint heavy whipping cream, ½ cup sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

I mix all my ice cream ingredients together in a KitchenAid. While the KitchenAid is running, I slowly poor the liquid nitrogen into the mixture. Poor a little, let it churn and poor a little more. If you poor too quickly, the mixing bowl freezes up and the ice cream sticks to the side. You will need to experiment with it and develop your own technique.

After you make your first batch it is time to experiment with the recipe. Ice cream has a sweet cream base that you add fruits, chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, coffee, nuts and a plethora of other ingredients to flavor it as you like.

The sweet cream base can be made with a variety of milk products, sugars and other base materials. Using these different ingredients will affect the flavor, texture, richness and other properties of the ice cream. After some experimentation, you will come up with a formula that you like. It is likely that you will come up with a formula that you like with your rich creamy vanilla, another formula that intensifies the flavors of fruit and still another that you use with chocolate or coffee.

In the column to the right I have listed different ingredients that you can use in your sweet cream base and the affects that each will have on the finished product. There is no right or wrong, just have fun.

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