If you are an avid ice cream fan, FDSC 1101: The Science and Technology of Foods, is the class for you. Sometimes referred to by students as the “ice cream making class,” the class is an introductory food science course that focuses on the basic principles of food production.
While this class is mandatory for food science majors, it is also open to all students at Cornell. Taught by Prof. Chris Loss, food science, the course’s final project involves developing an ice cream flavor and presenting it to a panel of judges.
For this competition, teams are required to develop the ice cream formula, calculate the cost of the ingredients, supervise the manufacturing process and choose the branding. The winning flavor from the competition is then put into production and launched on Slope Day where it is sold at the Dairy Bar and other on-campus eateries.
Every year, the ice cream competition has a different theme. For this year, it was “Flavor of Imagination.”
According to Hailey Schwartz ’21, one of the winners of this year’s competition along with Kayla Reiner ’21, a lot of creativity goes into creating these extravagant ice cream flavors. Some of the favorites this year include a matcha ice cream with strawberries and white chocolate, a currant swirl flavor, and an acai ice cream.
Schwartz and Reiner’s winning flavor is called Churrosity, a cinnamon sugar ice cream with hints of warm brown sugar and a rich chocolate swirl. Schwartz said it “highlighted three important points: the ancient spice trade, the importance of exploration, and differences in culture.”
“For our flavor, we decided to go with the more known version of the flavor, which is the cinnamon sugar covered churros dipped in chocolate, typical from Mexico,” Schwartz said.
“The most important step of developing the ice cream is the ideation and formulation. We also had our team members sample the products before we decided on our final recipe,” Reiner said.
The runner-up for this year’s flavor was called the “4-1-1,” which was a tahini-orange-chocolate-hazelnut swirl ice cream.
Making ice cream is a precise process, according to Schwartz. It requires students to not only know the ins and outs of making ice cream but also and the science behind the entire process.
“One of the most important factors of making any ice cream is the amount of air that is incorporated into the ice cream, which is called the “overrun,” Schwartz said.
In the course, Loss teaches his students that the more air that is incorporated into the ice cream, the more of a whipped and airy consistently it will have, making it cheaper to manufacture. On the other hand, ice creams that have less air incorporated into them are more rich, dense, and expensive to produce since it requires more solid ingredients.
“We really wanted an ice cream that was not too light, but also not too dense since we also had to keep in mind the cost factor. We ultimately decided that at 80 percent overrun, we were left with the perfect texture that nicely balanced our other ingredients,” Reiner said.
“I would have never thought to consider air as an ingredient in making ice cream. We learned in our class that air is actually a major contributor to the appearance, taste and cost of the product.”
Churrosity will be launched at the Dairy Bar on Slope Day, May 8.