If the ice cream truck skipped your house today, fear not. It turns out it’s easy to make your own soft serve at home—and practice a little science in the process. All you need is some sugar, salt, vanilla extract, a few household dairy products, and a little bit of dry ice.
In a recent video, WIRED and Chef Steps teamed up to demonstrate how simple it is for anyone to make delicious soft serve ice cream in a matter of minutes. In the video above they provide step-by-step instructions for their ice cream recipe (which can also be seen here), and explain a bit of the science behind dry ice.
While other ice cream recipes recommend using liquid nitrogen or just waiting for the sweet treat to harden in the freezer the old-fashioned way, WIRED explains that dry ice is the ultimate secret ingredient for soft serve. That’s because dry ice—which is actually frozen carbon dioxide—doesn’t melt into a liquid. When it heats up, it turns straight from a solid to a gas in a process called sublimation. That means you can stir crushed dry ice directly into your ice cream mixture in order to freeze it. If you tried that with regular ice, it would melt into water, making your mix a soggy mess. Instead, solid carbon dioxide turns to vapor, leaving little pockets of gas in your soft serve, and adding to its texture.
Check out WIRED and Chef Steps’s delicious soft serve science experiment above.
Banner Image Credit: WIRED, YouTube.
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