Have you ever wondered why frozen custard tastes so different from soft-serve ice cream? The answer lies in one key ingredient: eggs. While all custards are soft-serve, not all soft-serve is custard. In this article, we’ll explore the main differences between these delightful frozen treats and discover what sets them apart.
The Ingredient that Sets Them Apart: Eggs
Ice cream is typically made from milk, cream, and sugar, whereas frozen custard includes the addition of egg yolks. According to FDA guidelines, frozen custard must contain no less than 1.4 percent egg yolk solids by weight. If a product contains less than that, it is considered ice cream. While soft-serve doesn’t have FDA standards since it’s not packaged or frozen, most people still consider it to be “ice cream.” However, it’s worth noting that ice cream contains more milk fat.
The Air Factor
One significant difference between soft-serve ice cream and custard is the amount of air introduced, also known as “overrun.” Soft-serve typically has 35-45 percent overrun, resulting in a softer, fluffier, and whiter product. On the other hand, custard has a lower overrun of 15-30 percent, creating a heavier, creamier, and more dense treat.
The Machine Matters
The machine used also plays a role in the differences between soft-serve and custard. Soft-serve machines constantly churn air into the product, achieving a light consistency and mouthfeel. Custard machines, however, introduce far less air. Soft-serve is dispensed to order through a pull handle and can be swirled into squiggles and peaks. Custard machines, typically more expensive than soft-serve machines, use a continuous-feed system that directs a much firmer product down a stainless-steel chute and into a holding vessel. Custard is normally served within minutes after production to maintain consistency.
Now that we’ve explored the technical aspects, let’s talk about the true essence of what makes frozen custard so special.
The Creamy Consistency and Luxurious Texture
A proper frozen custard should be made fresh and served immediately. It’s a shame that some places offer take-home containers of rock-hard custard, as that diminishes its biggest selling point – the creamy consistency and luxurious texture. Turning it into just another freezer-case product doesn’t do it justice. Fortunately, there are exceptional custard options available that live up to its reputation.
When in St. Louis, you must visit the local institution known as Ted Drewes. It needs no introduction or hype, especially after Dateline’s visit and subsequent video several years ago. Additionally, here are a few of my personal favorite spots for delicious frozen custard:
Andy’s Frozen Custard: With over 150 locations in 15 states, Andy’s claims to be the largest dessert-only franchise worldwide. Don’t miss their seasonal add-ins and “Jackhammer” concretes filled with tempting toppings.
Bobby’s Frozen Custard: Located in Maryville, Illinois, Bobby’s Frozen Custard offers a small-town vibe along with mouthwatering custard cakes and seasonal treats like Key Lime Pie.
Fritz’s Frozen Custard: Since 1985, Fritz’s has been delighting customers with various flavors of vanilla and chocolate custard and their famous flavor of the day. Check out their July calendar for the exciting options.
St. Louis Frozen Custard Factory: Despite the incredible variety they manage, this place serves up a range of custard offerings, including 98% fat-free vanilla, no-sugar-added vanilla, chocolate, and a different extra flavor every week.
Silky’s Frozen Custard: Highly acclaimed by food critics, Silky’s offers an unforgettable experience. Indulge in their specialty flavors like Turtle, Elvis Pretzely, and Muddy Sneakers, or try their handheld custard cookie sandwich.
Shake Shack: This legendary chain draws inspiration from icons like Steak n Shake, Fitz’s, and Ted Drewes. After enjoying one of their famous burgers, treat yourself to a scrumptious “flavor of the day” custard.
When in the mood for more, you can visit Culver’s for their tempting “flavor of the day” custard or savor a delightful Turtle Sundae at Freddy’s. And if you’re up for an adventure, make sure to try Lyon’s Frozen Custard in St. Charles. I’ve heard great things about their Dole Soft Serve and the decadent drumstick.
In conclusion, frozen custard and ice cream have their unique characteristics that stem from the inclusion of eggs and the different overrun percentages. When seeking the ultimate frozen custard experience, look for places that prioritize freshness and immediate serving. St. Louis has a fantastic selection of eateries where you can indulge in the creamy consistency and luxurious texture that make frozen custard so special. So, why wait? Treat yourself to a delightful frozen custard experience today!
Ice Cream is always a great choice for frozen treats, and it offers a wide range of delectable options for every craving.