The Ultra-Premium Difference
What makes good ice cream? In our opinion, there are three primary elements to look for: milkfat, egg yolk, and overrun.
Ice cream is like any other food, with FDA-issued Standards of Identity that manufacturers must follow. To qualify as ice cream, a dairy product must contain a minimum of 10 percent milkfat (also known as butterfat); “premium” ice cream must contain 12-14 percent milkfat; “super-premium” must contain 14-16 percent milkfat. Any product containing more than 16 percent milkfat is considered “ultra-premium.” We’re proud that Moorenko's ice cream contains a whopping 17 percent milkfat, giving it that signature ultra-premium richness and creaminess. You might be wondering, isn't more fat a bad thing? But an ice cream with more milkfat actually contains less sugar—and (we think) is a much more satisfying dessert.
In order to be sold as French custard or to be categorized as French Vanilla, ice cream must contain at least 1.4 percent egg yolk. Egg yolk is desirable in ice cream because it acts as an emulsifier, keeping the fat evenly distributed and stabilizing the mixture. Egg also gives ice cream a long finish, so that the flavor lasts even after the ice cream has been swallowed. We think it provides a more gratifying experience. Ice cream without egg yolk will usually contain mono and di-glycerides to act as emulsifiers. The Moorenko's secret recipe uses eggs from small, family-owned farms.
Overrun is the industry term for the air that is whipped into a frozen dessert. More air means less ice cream. Less air means more ice cream. If a product has large cells of air or a marshmallow-like consistency, it is probably a high overrun ice cream. At Moorenko's, we purposefully keep our overrun low, which means you get more of what really matters—the ice cream, of course!
In summary, if an ice cream is labeled super-premium or (even more rare) ultra-premium, lists egg yolk in the ingredients, and is dense when you dig into it, it’s probably good. If a manufacturer has gone to the expense of using a high percentage of milkfat and egg yolks, and is not fluffing their product with a lot of air, they are likely using high quality flavoring ingredients as well. There are a number of secondary factors too, including the candy or cookies or other mix-ins; just keep in mind that those less expensive things displace the actual ice cream, which is the costliest part of the entire pint!