Strawberry Ice Cream |
with xanthan gum

Strawberry Ice Cream | with xanthan gum

July 1, 2021

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© 2022 Biterkin

updated: June 6, 2022

For this Strawberry Ice Cream you need fresh strawberries, cream, sugar and xanthan gum. It is a Strawberries and Cream ice cream, with enough cream to give it a comforting mouthfeel, yet super-loaded with fresh strawberries to make it burst with strawberry gloriousness.

Xanthan gum is a stabiliser which helps thicken the ice cream mixture, creating a lovely body very close to a store-bought one, which churns beautifully, melts uniformly during serving, and keeps well in the freezer.

Gums -like xanthan gum, carob gum and locust bean gum- are used in ice cream making to stabilise the ice cream mixture. Although you can mix various to make stellar ice cream, the problem is that they can be rather expensive. So instead of buying and storing 2-3 different kinds of gums, you can use only one and still have a terrific ice cream mouthfeel: xanthan gum.

Why xanthan gum? Well, it is the easiest to find online and at the grocery store. It is also the only one which works well on its own (no other gums needed); furthermore, you do not need to apply much heat to it, which means least cooking over the stovetop. And you will never run out of ice cream recipes to use it in: here is a whole collection of ice cream recipes with xanthan gum.

Plain Ice Cream (it’s just milk, cream and sugar – MY FAVOURITE) 

Vanilla Ice Cream with vanilla extract

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with vanilla bean

Strawberry Ice Cream  with fresh strawberries

Chocolate & Cocoa Powder Ice Cream to make it really rich in chocolate

Cocoa Powder Ice Cream with cocoa powder only 

Chocolate Ice Cream with chocolate only 

The Biterkin tricks for a perfect Strawberry Ice Cream with xanthan gum:

Here are some tricks used in the making of this strawberry ice cream, which take it to the next level.

If you want a beautiful, intense fresh strawberry flavour in your ice cream, there is only one way: cut the strawberries into neat slices and macerate them in sugar for a few hours.

As the strawberries sit in the sugar, the sugar draws out water from the strawberries, creating a strawberry syrup. While the strawberries lie in this syrup, they gradually soften, releasing their strawberry-awesomeness. They end up as the berry-iest version of themselves; sweet, with rounded-up flavours and no acidity.

This way of macerating the strawberries levels up the flavours of any strawberries you use, even the non-seasonal ones. 

When using xanthan gum for ice cream making, you need to bring the ice-cream mixture to the right temperature (approx. 52ºC/ 125ºF) before adding the gum. At this temperature, xanthan gum dissolves without clumping, fully hydrates during blending, and effectively stabilises the ice cream mixture.

While it is good to have a thermometer, it is only natural that you may not have one at home. For this reason, I have developed a simple method to bring the mixture to the right temperature without a thermometer before adding the gum. How does it work? Thanks to physics, you can calculate the temperature of a mix of liquids with different temperatures. But to do so, you need two temperatures that you do not need a thermometer to measure. Luckily, there are two temperatures in a modern home which are always the same:

  1. the one is the boiling temperature of the milk with the sugar, which is always approx. 95ºC/ 203ºF;
  2. the other is the temperature of a liquid, which is cold from the fridge; that can be anywhere between 4ºC-14ºC/ 39ºF-57ºF in normal conditions (abnormal conditions like extreme hot weather; or frequently opening and closing the fridge’s door can dissrupt the standard temperatures of your fridge).

What we do is divide by 50%-50% the blended mixture (milk, cream, sugar) that we want to stabilise with the xanthan gum; half of the blend must be boiling hot and the other half fridge-cold.

  • The boiling hot is “all the sugar”+”enough milk to reach 50% of the total blended mixture” 
  • The fridge-cold is the remaining ingredients: cream and rest of milk (if any)

When you blend them together, the blended mixture instantly reaches approx. 52ºC/ 125ºF; you then sprinkle the xanthan gum and blend for two minutes to fully hydrate. That works every time, and it is an easy way to use xanthan gum without a thermometer. And fear not for minor differentiations in the above temperatures, as xanthan gum is quite forgiving. In fact 52ºC/ 125ºF is the temperature I prefer for convenience; actually xanthan gum works anywhere between 45ºC-62ºC/ 113ºF-143ºF.

Note: if you live at a high altitude, you can still use this method as xanthan gum is quite forgiving. A minor differentiation in the boiling mixture will not affect the outcome.

Well, the answer is: don’t. Straining removes part of the strawberry pulp along with the seeds. This strawberry pulp is essential in our final ice cream, both for its flavour and the sugars it contains.
So avoid straining; the seeds will go unnoticed anyway, as everyone is too busy devouring this ice cream’s bright strawberry flavour to bother with them.

The ingredients:

This is what you will need:

Every ingredient plays a vital role in the recipe. Do not attempt to reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason. Look out for these:

The recipe at a glance:

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

Strawberry Ice Cream | with xanthan gum
Ingredients:

This recipe makes 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers). If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down , use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only):  strawberries 41.8%, heavy cream 41.8%%, sugar 16.28%, xanthan gum 0.12% in desired total weight of ice cream mixture.

For best results, use a digital kitchen scale and measure the ingredients directly into the utensils, as you proceed with the recipe. Avoid weighing in one utensil and transferring to another, as this causes a small, but important loss of quantity, especially in liquids.

If you have a kitchen scale, weigh the ingredients instead of measuring them by cup; it provides accurate results, very much needed in ice cream making. If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines: 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 Tbs. = 15 ml

– Sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Do not use a regular tablespoon: you need a 15 ml measuring tablespoon; this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure, scoop the sugar to fill the tablespoon, then level it with the flat side of a knife. Repeat scooping and levelling. Do not convert the sugar into cups with the usual “1 cup=200 grams” conversion; this is too much sugar, which results in sloppy ice cream.

– Strawberries: unfortunately, you cannot measure the strawberries in a cup, only by weight.

– Heavy cream: make sure that you thoroughly scrape the cup with a rubber spatula every time you measure something and empty it.

Only use fresh strawberries, preferably juicy, in-season ones. Frozen strawberries will not do.

You can find xanthan gum in speciality shops, health food stores and online. It should contain only xanthan gum and no additional ingredients. 

You can adjust the quantity of the xanthan gum in the recipe to your liking, depending on the texture you want to achieve:

  • To slightly stabilise the ice cream without affecting its texture and mouthfeel much, use 1/4 teaspoon (0.7 gr; 0.025 oz; this is 0.06% in total weight of ice cream mixture) xanthan gum and decrease the sugar by 10 gr; 0.35 oz.
  • To create a firmer texture, which has a fuller body and mouthfeel, use 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 gr; 0.05 oz; this is 0.12% in total weight of ice cream mixture) as per the recipe.
  • For a stretchy texture similar to Booza/salep ice cream, use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (2.7 gr; 0.1 oz; this is 0.22% in total weight of ice cream mixture) and increase the sugar in the recipe by 15 gr (0.5 oz.)

Heavy cream: 35-40% fat content is ok. It should be of pourable consistency. “Ultra-pasteurised cream” and “cream suitable for whipping” with 35-40% fat are ok, too. Avoid any cream which contains sugar or other sweeteners. Do not substitute with low-fat cream or plant-based cream.

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe. To make 500 gr (17.6 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 350 gr double cream (12.3 oz.) (with approx. 50% fat)
  • 150 gr/ml whole milk (5.3 oz.) (with approx. 3.5% fat) 

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a medium bowl and pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring smoothly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Avoid whisking, as it may turn into whipped cream.

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 500 gr (17.6 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

Only use regular sugar (white granulated sugar).

Do not use a raw cane sugar such as Turbinado or Demerara, they tend to mask the strawberryies’ delicate flavours.

Do not try to reduce the calories of the ice cream by cutting down the sugar or replacing it with low-calories or “healthy” sweeteners. Do not use:

  • sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia, liquid or granulated. Sweeteners mixed with sugar are not suitable either.
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • honey or other liquid sweeteners, natural or artificial

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop.

-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.
If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Instructions
Plan ahead:

Make the ice cream mixture (steps 1-3) one day before churning it.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Macerate the strawberries

Slice the strawberries (500 gr; 17.6 oz.) into 1 cm (0.5 in.) slices with a sharp knife, taking care that you do not smash their flesh,

Mix the strawberries with the sugar: in a large bowl put the strawberry slices and the sugar (195 gr; 6.9 oz.). Stir with a rubber spatula, leaving the spatula in the bowl. 

Macerate the strawberries: leave the strawberries to macerate at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Stir thoroughly at least 3-4 times with the spatula while they sit. Each time you give a stir, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with the spatula, wiping away any sugar stuck there.

Check for any undissolved sugar on the bottom of the bowl; the strawberries are ready when all the sugar has dissolved; by now, a red syrup, enough to cover the strawberries, will have formed. If there is still any undissolved sugar in the bottom of the bowl, give the sugar a thorough stir to dissolve it and let the strawberries macerate for 15 minutes more.

Step 2: Make the ice cream mixture

Separate the strawberries from their syrup: with a slotted spoon, remove the strawberries from the bowl and place them in the blender’s jar. Pour all the syrup into a medium saucepan.

Blend the strawberries until smooth; stop the blender and leave them there while you boil the syrup.

Bring the red syrup to a boil over medium-high (this is at 95°C / 203°F /  when large bubbles which pop vigorously appear on the surface).

The moment it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat.

Pour the boiling hot syrup into the strawberries: turn the blender on low speed and start pouring the hot syrup.

Add the xanthan gum and blend: with the blender on, slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum (½ tsp.) over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate the xanthan gum. At this point, do not expect the blend to thicken; this will happen as it cools.

Add the cream: with the blender on, pour the cold cream in the strawberries and blend until a uniform pink colour is obtained. If needed, stop the blender and scrape down its sides with a rubber spatula, then blend again until fully combined.

Step 3Chill the ice cream mixture

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream mixture over it, taking care that no water slips into the ice cream mixture. Let it cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or until completely cold; and up to 1 day.

The ice cream mixture will get colder if you store it in a glass container (vs storing it in a plastic one).

If you don’t have a glass container, store the ice cream mixture in the back of the fridge where things are colder.

You want the ice cream mixture to be as cold as possible before you churn it so that it fluffs us to its fullest potential. If you have a thermometer, the perfect temperature of the ice cream mixture to start churning it is at 8°C / 46°F (and anywhere between 4°C-12°C / 39°F-53°F it is ok too!)

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, your ice cream mixture should always be fridge-cold. Otherwise, if the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

Step 4: Churn the ice cream

Check the ice cream mixture if it is cold before churning: it should feel fridge-cold to the touch (if you have a thermometer, this is approx. 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-53F ). 

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Stir: this ice cream mixture may become very thick after chilling, so give it a thorough and vigorous stirring with a rubber spatula to loosen it (or a quick blitz with an immersion blender); this will allow it to churn for longer and to acquire a better texture.

If the ice cream mixture is too thick (say, like yoghurt), give it a blitz with an immersion/regular blender before churning it to loosen it.

Why should you do that? If the ice cream mixture is too thick, the ice cream maker may stop before it incorporates enough air into the ice cream. In this case, the ice cream will be sloppy instead of fluffy.

So, if you are after fluffy ice cream, take the time to bring the ice cream mixture to a fluid (pourable) thickness before churning it.

If you feel unsure about the ice cream’s thickness, prefer to err on the side of fluid and give the ice cream mixture a blend nevertheless before churning it.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes (see below).

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy. That could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will be still soft like soft-serve ice cream. If you lift ice cream with the spoon and a pool immediately starts forming on its edges, you will have to churn it for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave it to churn for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to automatically stop after a specific length of time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 4: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream machine and:

  • remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine,
  • remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl,
  • cover the ice cream bowl and put it in the freezer to set.

Setting time depends on the ice cream maker you use; see below for indicative times. Do not leave the freshly churned ice cream in a removable freezer bowl for more than 5-6 hours, or it will become too hard to scoop; if this happens, read the troubleshooting bulb below:

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors. Check it occasionally while it is in the freezer. To evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when it is ready, it is soft enough to insert the knife into it and yet has the same consistency from top to bottom. If you have a thermometer, this is approx. at -11ºC / 12ºF temperature midway through the ice cream,
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to remove from the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Just read below how to soften it.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and will be difficult to remove or serve.

Do not worry though, you can still make it scoopable by leaving it in the refrigerator to soften. This can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls which must be frozen before churning
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, actual time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it once in a while while it sits in the refrigerator.)

After this, the ice cream will be easier to scoop and transfer to another container and store in the freezer or serve directly from the removable freezer bowl.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can either serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing. 

Storing and serving

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term. To soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, put it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minutes.

If you have an instant-read (or infrared) thermometer, the perfect serving temperature of this ice cream is when midway through the ice cream the thermometer reads approx. -11ºC / 12ºF. At this the temperature, the ice cream has a lovely mouthfeel and is perfectly scoopable.

6 Responses

  1. First of all, great website, great recipe, great tips along the way and very easy to follow. Incredible better than the books I bought on the subject. Just waiting for blueberry, raspberry, peach (custard) recipes and maybe a crack at watermelon/cantaloupe/melon proper custard recipes 🙂

    Tried this recipe with slightly less dosage so it fits my 1L ice cream machine but after chilling it overnight I noticed 2 things: first it gets a very “thick”, but it’s my first time using xanthan so maybe it’s normal 🙂 , I only used 3g 2nd, on my ice cream maker (freezer container, not cuisinart but ‘Lidl’ brand) it stalls the paddle only after 1 or 2 minutes. I get that sometimes but only much later at the process in thicker creams.

    The mixture was at 5ºC, I don’t know if it was because of this that it ‘froze’ too quickly on the machine or if it was too much gum causing it to be very thick. Previously I only chill it about 1h on the fridge and sometimes just a quick ice bath.

    Any tips besides just buying a cuisinart maker? (on the way)

    1. Hi Andre! First of all, thank you for your nice words :).
      Regarding the ice cream recipe, the ice cream mixture does not become very thick after chilling, so this is the reason you ice cream maker didn’t manage to churn it. In my experience, the thickness of this xanthan gum ice cream is such that most ice cream makers should be able to work with, it doesn’t need to be a Cuisinart to properly churn it. Maybe the heavy cream you used was too thick? May I ask the fat% of the heavy cream you used?

      1. It’s 35% since that’s the max available in my country. I need to try again with less chilling time on the fridge and a tad lower gum dose. Those were the only 2 differences I did from previous ice creams.

        1. Your ice cream ingredients and the procedure you use seem to be perfect. For some odd reason, it seems as through the xanthan gum dose was too much for you, but I cannot figure out why. If you like, I would love to know how your next attempt goes. Also, if you could tell me which brand of xanthan gum you have used, so that I can try and find it to see if it works differently than mine, it would be useful. I really want the recipes in this site to work for anyone, so I put a lot of effort on finding why something that works for me doesn’t work for you. Thank you again for your feedback!

  2. This ice cream is beyond awesome. I found your website, by chance, and am so thrilled with this recipe. I made the ice cream tonight with a couple of detours, I used monk fruit instead of processed sugar. After removing custard from the heat I added the vanilla and 1/2 tsp of Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum plus 17 oz of fresh strawberries I pureed in my Vitamix with an additional tablespoon of monk fruit.
    I cooled the custard in the sink with cool water.
    My ice cream freezer is packed so I chilled a 9 X 9 stainless steel baking pan and poured in the strawberry custard and put in the freezer.
    I just checked and it is not quite frozen, but enough to sample. It is a heavenly thick creamy ice cream without ice crystals.
    I am so intrigued with your recipe. Thank you thank you. It is the best.

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