Brown Butter Ice Cream

This recipe accompanies an article on Maillard reactions from Michael Laiskonis’s Opusculum column.


1000 g skim milk

50 g browned milk solids*

50 g nonfat dry milk powder

150 g sucrose (1)

60 g glucose powder

40 g invert sugar

50 g sucrose (2)

8 g ice cream stabilizer

160 g pasteurized egg yolks

150 g heavy cream

*Browned Milk Solids

These are the solid bits harvested from butter or cream that has been browned slowly in a saucepan. Cream contains 6 percent milk solids by weight—three times more than butter. To make browned milk solids from cream, it’s the same process as for butter; it just takes longer. As the cream is heated in a saucepan, more and more water evaporates, and the natural emulsion of the cream breaks up, causing the non-fat solids to separate from the fat. Whereas the tiny brown particles from butter are difficult to extract, the solids in cream tend to clump together. When carefully strained we have a sort of brown butter “powder” that can be added to just about anything. For 50 grams of powder, you’ll need to harvest from approximately 850 grams of milk.

There is, however, a very simple alternative solution to increase the non-fat solids in butter, one that I initially overlooked: one can simply add non-fat milk powder. This eliminates the necessity to stand over a pot of reducing cream, and also greatly boosts the yield of the non-fat solids.

1   Place milk and browned milk solids in a saucepan. Whisk in dry milk to rehydrate and add first measurement of sucrose (1), glucose, and invert sugar. Bring to a boil.

2 Meanwhile, combine the sucrose (2) and stabilizer (available online). Whisk them into a bowl with the egg yolks.

3 Temper hot milk into the yolk mixture, by whisking one ladle of liquid into the yolks at a time until the mixture is very warm. Combine with the remaining milk in the saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring, until the mixture reaches 85°C/185°F.

4 Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the heavy cream, and blend with an immersion blender until homogenous. Chill in an ice water bath. Allow the mix to rest/mature, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

5 Process in batch freezer or ice-cream maker; extract the mix at -5°C/23°F. Alternatively, transfer to PacoJet canisters and freeze; process as needed.

Brown Butter Ice Cream

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