Do you need to use ice cream to make a good milkshake or thickshake?

Posted by KEN RICHARDS on 26 June 2014

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Milkshakes are great when made with ice cream, milk and some sort of flavouring but can a good milkshake be made without the addition of ice cream?  This is a question often asked especially in a commercial situation where time, cost and consistency are of the essence.  

Ice cream is used for several reasons namely 1) cooling the drink, 2) adding a creamy taste to the drink, 3) thickening up and improving the mouth-feel of the drink and sometimes 4) adding flavour to the drink.  So if ice cream is not used what can be done to still give a very similar type milkshake i.e. a thickshake.

The only proven way is to use a commercial all in one mix of ingredients i.e. ‘A Thickshake Mix’.  Cold milk is mixed with the thickshake mix to give a very similar end result.  Let’s look at how the thickshake drink achieves the above stated points: 1) the milk should be kept refrigerated and as cold as possible.  Semi-skimmed milk does not freeze until about 3 degrees Celsius so you can even semi freeze your milk so it has ice crystals in, 2) a creamy taste is achieved using stabilisers and milk protein, 3) thickening comes from a combination of stabilisers and the coldness of the milk (the colder the milk the thicker and creamier the shake, 4) flavour will be in the thickshake mix so you purchase strawberry thickshake mix if you want to make strawberry shakes, the thickshake mixes come in a variety of flavours.

Use a good thickshake mix with ice cold milk and you will achieve an ice cream textured milkshake without the need to use ice cream!