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Lactose crystallisation is always a risk in ice cream where the lactose content is too high and storage conditions poor. Depending on the amount and size of the lactose crystals that develop, ice cream gains an unpleasant sandy mouthfeel. This Technical Memorandum describes how and why lactose crystals are formed in ice cream, and how this quality defect can be controlled.
Lactose exists in two isomeric forms, α and β, which differ only in the configuration of the substituent on the first carbon atom of the glucose residue. The solubility of the two isomers differs significantly, only 7% w/w α-lactose dissolving in 15°C water compared to 50% w/w β-lactose. Once the lactose is dissolved, mutarotation of the two isomers occurs, yielding a solution that contains approx. 63% β-lactose at equilibrium. Sources Traditional ice cream is based on cream or vegetable fat, with skimmed milk powder and whey powder contributing fat-free milk solids. Table 1 shows the approximate composition of the most
Lactose (milk sugar) is a naturally occurring carbohydrate present in milk and milk products. In ice cream, lactose contributes to mouthfeel and taste through its ability to add bulk, influence on freezing point depression and sweetness. The freezing point depression factor (FPDF) of lactose is 1.0, which means it has the same reducing effect on the freezing point as sucrose, while the relative sweetness is 0.3 compared to 1.0 for sucrose. Chemical properties of lactose Lactose is a disaccharide comprising one D-glucose and one D-galactose unit joined in a β-1,4-glycoside linkage as illustrated in figure 1.
common lactose-containing ingredients used in ice cream formulations. A wide variety of tailor-made skimmed milk powder replacers with differing lactose content are available on the market. In order to estimate the total lactose content of a formulation, it is necessary to know the lactose content of the skimmed milk powder replacer. The total lactose content of a recipe can be calculated by multiplying the lactose concentration of each raw material with the amount used (in %) and then adding up the results. Table 2 illustrates three ice cream recipes based on 8% vegetable fat and different sources of MSNF (all the recipes have a MSNF factor of 17).
Whole milk Skimmed milk Skimmed milk powder Cream, 38% fat Traditional whey powder Whey protein concentrate 35 Buttermilk powder Evaporated milk Condensed milk
4.5 4.7 50.5 3.0 79.0 51.0 50.0 9.7 11.9
3.4 3.5 36.0 2.2 12.0 35.0 33.0 7.5 7.8
3.5 0.1 1.0 38.0 1.0 3.0 5.0 8.3 8.5
87.8 90.9 4.0 56.4 2.5 5.0 3.5 27.0 30.0
Table 1. The composition of ice cream ingredients.
OH 3 OH 4 OH 5 O 2 H 1 O OH H 4 OH OH CH2OH O
Coconut oil Skimmed milk powder Whey powder Sucrose Glucose syrup powder Water Total percentage
7.90% 9.50% 2.00% 12.00% 5.00% 63.60% 100.00%
7.90% 5.75% 5.75% 12.00% 5.00% 63.60% 100.00%
7.90% 11.50% 12.00% 5.00% 63.60% 100.00%
Figure 1. Chemical composition of lactose.
Table 2. Composition of three ice cream formulations.
50% skimmed milk powder with 50. for example. possibly explaining the slow growth rate of α-lactose crystals.5% x 79. These fragments can result from agitation. This 2 results in mutarotation of β-lactose to α-lactose in order to maintain equilibrium. Secondary or forced crystallisation refers to the process of nuclei formation due to crystal fragments already present in the solution. while formulation C contains 9. The combination of the high lactose concentration and its reduced solubility due to the lower temperature results in a supersaturated lactose solution that contains more sugar molecules than if the system had been in thermodynamic equilibrium.1% lactose (11.0 Temperature.4%). air. only skimmed milk powder and whey powder contain lactose.5% lactose (9. Primary crystallisation is the nucleation of a crystal. ice crystals have a detection limit of 50μm in the mouth. where dendrite-shaped crystals can break up. and more α-lactose crystallises. The theoretical content of the four phases is illustrated as a function of temperature.0% whey powder with 79.4% (4. When the temperature of the ice cream is lowered during hardening. creating larger ice crystals. α-lactose tends to form wedge or tomahawk-shaped crystals (see figure 3). causing its viscosity to increase and slowing down the migration of lactose and other sugar molecules in the mix. The α-lactose crystal only grows in one direction from the apex of the tomahawk. where the fat phase and air phase are assumed to be constant after the ice cream has been through the freezer. fat and unfrozen continuous phase). the total lactose content of formulation B is 7. As a result of the ice formation. Research has suggested that the average crystallisation velocity of the single active side of the tomahawkshaped crystal is comparable to that of a sucrose crystal. When more α-lactose is formed. α-lactose crystallises. Using the same formula.75% x 50. Lactose crystaLLIsatIon Figure 2.0% = 1.0 -20. Lactose crystallisation is the process of formation of solid crystals from a solution. which illustrates the concentration of the four phases in formulation A with 100% overrun. sucrose crystals.0 0 -30.0% lactose (2. Figure 2 also illustrates the lactose concentration in the unfrozen water of the continuous phase.6%) giving a total lactose content of 6. and does not show the multidirectional growth of. the water in the formulation freezes. % 30 20 10 0. heterogeneous crystallisation is the primary mechanism and it is initiated by solid particles of impurities in the ice cream. the solution becomes supersaturated. Crystallisation happens in two steps: nucleation and crystal growth. Ice cream Phases 60 50 40 Content.0 -5.8%) added to 2. By way of comparison.6% = 6. providing the mutarotation rate is sufficiently high compared to the crystallisation rate.1%).75 x 79. It is widely recognised that the critical size of tomahawk-shaped lactose crystals is around 15μm for detection in the mouth. % Concentration. The concentration of the four ice cream phases during freezing and the concentration of lactose in the unfrozen water during freezing. In practice.50% x 50.5% = 4. the unfrozen continuous phase decreases.4%). Because α-lactose is much less soluble than β-lactose at low temperature. The second step. crystal growth. pumping or other kinds of mechanical treatment.0% x 79.4% (5. for example. The crystals that form are mainly α-lactose.0 -15. The difference in the detection limits of the two crystal types . Thus the total lactose content of formulation A is calculated as 9. This is outlined in figure 2.0% = 9. The sharp edges of the tomahawkshaped crystals make them extremely unpleasant in the mouth when they reach a certain size. Homogeneous crystallisation generally takes place in pure systems in the absence of any foreign particles. Crystallisation can be divided into primary and secondary crystallisation.0 -25.5% + 5.0 -10.In these recipes.0% = 7. the continuous phase becomes more concentrated. from a cluster of lactose (homogeneous crystallisation) or by using other seeding materials in the solution (heterogeneous crystallisation).8% + 1. Nucleation occurs when dissolved molecules of solute lactose aggregate and form stable nuclei. follows when these nucleus start to grow. During the ice cream freezing process.ºC Air phase Ice crystal phase Lactose concentration in unfrozen water Fat phase Continuous phase Frozen ice cream consists of four immiscible phases (ice. causing the solution to become less supersaturated.
as ice crystals melt (disappear) in the mouth whereas lactose crystals do not. Previous research has indicated that the practical maximum growth rate and lowest induction time for nucleation of lactose crystals in standard ice cream is around -10°C to -12°C. which is highly likely to result in lactose crystallisation.Yoav D. Lactose crystallisation is substantially decreased as the temperature of the continuous phase moves towards the glass transition phase (approximately -30°C). The mutarotation of β-lactose to α-lactose is dependent on temperature. promoting or inhibiting nucleation. if enough nuclei are added. In the example used in this paper. explaining why decreasing temperatures slow the growth rate of lactose crystals. Donhowe & Richard W.34. Factors such as 14 12 Induction time. Daniel P. h 10 8 6 4 2 0 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 pH and a high concentration of other sugar molecules and salts also have a negative influence on the mutarotation of α-lactose to β-lactose. Livney. It is widely accepted that. lactose crystallisation is a consequence of the ice cream formulation and storage temperature. regarded as a quality defect. where the total lactose content is 7. when the amount of frozen water goes up.1% lactose. nut paste or cake inclusions. inhibiting lactose crystallisation due to the lower molecular mobility of the phase.7%. lactose crystals only appear in ice cream if the formulation contains excessive lactose and is subject to poor storage and distribution conditions. 3 The presence of lactose crystals in ice cream results in a sandy.A B Figure 3. by altering the conditions of the equilibrium solution. As the amount of water decreases in the continuous phase during freezing. giving a low risk of lactose crystallisation.5% (10% x (100% . Formulation C contains 9. Therefore. . or changing the growth rate or shape of the crystals. which means the lactose content should not exceed 6. Experiments have shown that additives that work as nuclei for lactose crystallisation can also prevent sandiness by promoting a high number of tiny lactose crystals. This is often the case with chocolate. leading to increased lactose crystallisation. the main factors involved in lactose crystallisation are a critically high lactose content and the storage temperature of the ice cream. it is important for lactose crystallisation that mutarotation occurs. The risk is higher with formulation B. the viscosity of the continuous unfrozen phase starts to increase. PreventIng Lactose crystaLLIsatIon Temperature. Microcrystalline cellulose is one of the additives suitable for nucleation and can be used in formulations where lactose crystallisation is a potential problem.7%)).0°C with a 10-min. The rate of lactose crystallisation is primarily controlled by two competing mechanisms. As described. depending on the freezing point depression of the recipe (see figure 4). Hartel. gritty mouthfeel. thus enhancing the inhibition of lactose crystallisation at low temperatures. International Journal of Food Science and Technology (1995) 30. Factors InvoLved In Lactose crystaLLIsatIon In practice. the supersaturation of lactose goes up. However. The speed of crystallisation is temperature dependent. then the risk of lactose crystallisation is high. sinusoidal thermal fluctuations of +/-1. Additives. is partly the crystal shape and partly the fact that lactose crystals do not dissolve in the mouth. Dependence of induction time for nucleation on storage temperature. It has also been shown that the addition of smaller amounts of particles that can act as lactose crystal nucleation sites can dramatically speed up the development of sandy textures in ice cream. can be maintained below 15μm. cycle time. impurities or conditions can interfere significantly with lactose crystallisation. The crystals are then naturally smaller in size and. The total lactose content of formulation A is 6. the total solids content of the three formulations is 34. As β-lactose appears to inhibit the growth of α-lactose crystals. cookie. Source: Influence of temperature on crystallization of lactose in ice cream. the best way to control lactose crystallisation is to focus on the recipe and storage temperature.4%. This makes it easy to distinguish lactose crystals from ice crystals in ice cream. adjusting the viscosity of the continuous phase. °C Figure 4.4%. The increased viscosity can be manipulated by the use of specific hydrocolloids. page 311-320. This reduces the crystallisation rate at low temperatures.Tomahawk-shaped lactose crystals in bright field optical microscopy using white light (A) and polarised light (B). if the total content of lactose exceeds 10% of the water in the ice cream mix. for example. However.
07 . Users should. expressed or implied.com www.com The information contained in this publication is based on our own research and development work and is to the best of our knowledge reliable.danisco a/s Edwin Rahrs Vej 38 DK-8220 Brabrand. however. conduct their own tests to determine the suitability of our products for their own specific purposes and the legal status for their intended use of the product. 06. Statements contained herein should not be considered as a warranty of any kind. Denmark Telephone: +45 89 43 50 00 Telefax: +45 86 25 10 77 email@example.com. and no liability is accepted for the infringement of any patents.
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