Ice cream is basically made of eggs, milk, cream, sugar, flavorings, and sometimes bits of fruit, nuts, cheese, chocolate, or baked goods. Though the basic ingredients are mostly the same, it’s the varied amount of butterfat (i.e. the fat part of milk) that makes each product in the market taste different.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration’s regulations, ice cream generally has to be made up of at least 10 percent butterfat. Any amount lower than that can make ice cream taste icy and less smooth. On the other hand, too much butterfat can make ice cream taste greasy!
There are several types of ice cream based on the amount of butterfat it contains:
● Super-premium ice cream – the creamiest and most rich type of ice cream, containing about 16 percent butterfat, but some flavors can contain somewhere between 20 to 30 percent!
● Premium ice cream – less expensive yet still creamy. This type is made up of about 14 percent butterfat on the average.
● Regular ice cream – more common commercially and comes in many flavors, contains about 10 percent butterfat.
Anything below 10 percent is technically not “ice cream” in US standards, but it can achieve the same taste and consistency of regular ice cream:
● Gelato – an Italian version of ice cream that’s made up of 3 to 8 percent butterfat.
● Soft Serve – often around 4 to 6 percent butterfat. Ingredients in soft serve ice cream are much less expensive.
● Ice Milk – with 3.5 percent butterfat, its consistency is almost the same as frozen whole milk.
● Sherbet – has as little as 1 or 2 percent butterfat.
● Sorbet – normally does not contain milk at all. It’s basically frozen fruit juice.