Originally Posted by Aurora
The hardness of your ice cream will also be a function of the composition of the mix. As someone else has already pointed out, you may need more emulsifiers in the recipe to keep the fat droplets and air bubbles which are incorporated into the mix during the churning process suspended in the frozen ice cream. The most frail components of the mixture are these bubbles and the fat droplets. If they are broken or do not stay mixed then you are freezing mainly water which can comprise 65 to 75 percent of the mixture. You know how hard water can get (ice).
An emulsifier doesn't prevent air bubbles or fat droplets from being 'broken.' Emulsifiers break down the globules of milkfat into tinier droplets, dispersing them among tinier droplets of water. The smaller the droplets of water, the less structural integrity they will have when frozen, i.e. the softer the ice cream and the better the mouthfeel. Stabilizers, on the other hand, play a role in maintaining the foam matrix as well as prevent water activity during prolonged storage.
Nodakkid, to achieve scoopable ice cream, I would try these three things:
1. Additional freezing point depressors. Ice cream contains a certain percentage of unfrozen water. By adding freezing point depressors, this percentage increases and you get a softer, more scoopable end product. Freezing point depressors include:
Sugar (if you can handle additional sweetness, add more sugar, if not, turn to monosaccharides such as glucose or fructose, i.e. try adding some corn syrup or inverting sugar with some acid/heat)
Salt (All desserts can handle/are improved by a small amount of salt)
2. Foam forming ingredients. Just about any ingredient that adds viscosity to the mix will aid in the formation of foam. Proteins work well, such as gelatin or powdered milk. Soluble fiber gum stabilizers also help, such as xanthan gum, guar gum and carageenan.
3. Additional emulsifiers. Egg yolks work well in this regard. Lecithin works even better and impacts the flavor profile less than yolks do.
You can also try whipping the chilled ice cream base before you put it in the machine. You have to be careful with this, though. If you mix contains too much milkfat, the whipping + the churning will create butter.