The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of emulsifiers, waxes, fat concentration, and processing conditions on the application of wax oleogel to replace solid fat content and create optimal fat structure in ice cream. Ice creams with 10% or 15% fat were formulated with rice bran wax (RBW), candelilla wax (CDW), or carnauba wax (CBW) oleogels, containing 10% wax and 90% high-oleic sunflower oil. The ice creams were produced using batch or continuous freezing processes. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and cryo-scanning electron microscopy were used to evaluate the microstructure of ice cream and the ultrastructure of oleogel droplets in ice cream mixes. Among the wax oleogels, RBW oleogel had the ability to form and sustain structure in 15% fat ice creams when glycerol monooleate (GMO) was used as the emulsifier. TEM images revealed that the high degree of fat structuring observed in GMO samples was associated with the RBW crystal morphology within the fat droplet, which was characterized by the growth of crystals at the outer edge of the droplet. Continuous freezing improved fat structuring compared to batch freezing. RBW oleogels established better structure compared to CDW or CBW oleogels. These results demonstrate that RBW oleogel has the potential to develop fat structure in ice cream in the presence of GMO and sufficiently high concentrations of oleogel.
Many ice cream formulations are being designed without the use of milk fat, so the use of oil gelation as an alternative to nondairy saturated fats such as coconut or palm kernel oils is of interest, provided that it will establish appropriate fat structure. In this research, we showed that oleogels will form fat structure in ice cream with appropriate conditions, and we showed that the use of rice bran wax, unsaturated emulsifiers such as glycerol monooleate, sufficiently high oleogel concentration in the mix, and high-shear freezing from a continuous freezer all enhance oleogel structure in ice cream.