I once asked the legendary Ferran Adria what he still dreamed of achieving in the kitchen, a dish, technique or ingredient he still hadn’t tamed? Quick as a flash he said: “hot ice-cream” and that was the end of the interview.
I quipped at the time that if anyone was capable of pulling off the impossible feat it was certainly Mr Adria but it seems that while he’s been busy working on the elBulli Lab in Barcelona, a team of researchers at Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh might have found the key.
Jordi Roca also had a go:
They’re currently working on an ice-cream that doesn’t melt, even if it’s left out directly in the sun. The research centres around the production of a protein they’re calling Bs1A. It’s something that occurs naturally in some foods and the team have now discovered a way to reproduce it inside friendly bacteria.
Bs1A basically sticks to water, fat and air bubbles inside the ice cream, binding them together and producing a much more heat resistant product - the researcher behind the work say the ice-cream using the protein won’t taste any different and, although it won’t be totally unmeltable, it will withstand a much higher temp than standard ice-creams. Just think of the desserts you could pull off - hot right next to cold in the same bowl, without the runny mess at the bottom.
Apart from the obvious, the discovery has a number of other benefits. Manufactures could store and transport ice cream without the need for longer, more cost and energy consuming deep freezing techniques and the protein also helps remove any frozen crystals inside the ice-cream - which researchers say makes for a much smoother texture. They also say that the new technique for could help reduce the amount of fat required - making all our desserts a little healthier.
They say it could be commercially available within three to four years.
It’s not the first time that ice cream that doesn’t melt has made the news, last year one woman in the U.S. started an online debate when she noticed that her son’s Walmart ice-cream sandwich didn’t melt when left in the sun, even though it had been there for hours.