The YouTube channel Reactions features episodes that explain why certain foods are the way they are, through the lens of science.

The channel has come up with a video that pays special attention to how the main varieties of hard ice creams, soft serves, custards, and sherbets are created. In the video, American University’s Dr. Matthew Hardings explains that the ice crystals in the ice cream determine its consistency. Essentially, the bigger the crystal gets, the harder and crunchier your ice cream will be.

So, how do you get your ice crystals to be small? The first way is to get an emulsifier in your ice cream. This way, the water and fat molecules in the ice cream will mix together, thus preventing water molecules to clump together and form bigger crystals.
The second way is by changing how fast the water freezes. If the ice crystals are frozen rapidly, they will be smaller; however, if frozen over a longer period of time, they will end up being bigger. To prove his point, Dr. Hardings made ice cream three ways: in a regular ice cream maker, which churned the ice cream slowly; put together in a bag with salt (which changes the freezing point of water to achieve lower temperatures) and ice; and mixed with liquid nitrogen. Pouring in liquid nitrogen proved to be the winner in reaching a creamier texture.

Hardings says,

“Whenever you make ice cream, you want to keep incorporating air into your ice cream, that it helps with the flavor and the stability of your ice cream, but also because we want to quickly transfer the liquid nitrogen through our liquid to cool it evenly.”

[Photos: Eater]

Here’s some more stuff we loved from today:

Watch a flying drone made out of chocolate. [Eater]

Hottest pepper in the world now available in candy form. [Eater]

7-Eleven taking cheese-stuffed doritos loaded on nationwide food truck tour. [Foodbeast]

Starbucks still can’t fire unionized barista who cursed out co-workers. [Grub Street]