DEEP THOUGHTS ON ICE CREAM
Structurally speaking, ice cream is a lot like bread. They’re both foams— networks of compounds connecting millions of tiny air bubbles—and as you’d do with a bread dough, you can tweak an ice cream’s formula to adjust its texture. Enriching a bread dough with butter will make the loaf more tender. The same is true for ice cream; the more butterfat you add (i.e., the more cream as opposed to milk), the richer the ice cream will be. (Paradoxically, more butterfat also translates to a lighter, fluffier ice cream, which is why super dense gelato relies more heavily on milk than cream.) And as bakers add sugar to bread to keep it soft and moist, ice cream makers alter consistency with sugar. By binding with liquids, sugar molecules prevent an ice cream base from fully freezing into crunchy ice. That is, the more sugar you add, the softer and less icy your batch will be.