What is the difference between ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, and frozen custard?

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The difference between ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, and frozen custard is the ingredients used and how each is made.

ICE CREAM

Ice cream is usually made from milk, cream, sweetener, flavoring, and sometimes eggs. According to the FDA, ice cream must contain at least 20% milk solids and 10% milkfat by volume. More expensive brands of ice cream generally have a higher percentage of fat, usually about 15%. The ingredients in ice cream are first cooked together and are cooled. It is then churned at a fairly high speed to incorporate air and increase its overall volume. Ice cream is served frozen which allows the scoops to hold together, easily.

GELATO

Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. Two of the main ingredients in ice cream and gelato are the same, but it is the amount that each uses that makes the difference. Ice cream contains more cream than milk, whereas gelato contains more milk than cream. Also, ice cream sometimes has eggs, whereas gelato generally doesn’t. Having little or no cream reduces fat while intensifying flavors. It is churned at a much slower rate than ice cream, incorporating less air, leaving the gelato denser than ice cream. Gelato should be served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, resulting in a silkier and softer texture.

FROZEN YOGURT

What makes frozen yogurt, frozen yogurt is the yogurt used to make it. Frozen yogurt is made a mixture of yogurt, milk, cream, sweeteners, and flavorings. The term “frozen yogurt” is not regulated by the FDA, so there isn’t a minimum amount of yogurt or milkfat that has to be used. There is also often more sugar in frozen yogurt than in ice cream, but this isn’t always the case. Yogurt often has a bit more of a sour flavor than ice cream does.

FROZEN CUSTARD

Frozen custard uses the same base ingredients of ice cream but to be called frozen custard it has to contain at least 1.4% egg yolk and 10% milkfat by volume. Some brands have more and others have less. Frozen custard often has a richer taste and a creamier texture the ice cream and often contains salt.

INTERESTING FACTS
  1. Ice cream was originally made of ice before milk-based ice creams were introduced in the 10th century.
  2. A “brain freeze” is triggered when something cold touches the roof of the mouth.
  3. Sunday is usually the most popular day for ice cream sellers.
  4. Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor.
  5. A cow can produce enough milk for 9,000 gallons of ice cream over its lifetime.
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INTERESTING REFERENCES
  1. Chowhound.com – What is the difference between ice cream and custard?
  2. HowStuffWorks.com – What’s the difference between ice cream, frozen custard, gelato, and frozen yogurt?
  3. IceCreamHistory.com – Facts About Ice Cream

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