The dairy program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has unveiled its first two lactose-free ice cream flavors, catering to customers who may have a hard time digesting milk sugar.
People who have tried the new flavors, vanilla and hazelnut cafe, say the new ice cream is a little grainier than regular ice cream and not quite as creamy but still a viable substitute, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Health officials estimate that as many as 80 percent of Asians and Native Americans are lactose-intolerant. That means their body lacks the enzyme that breaks down lactose.
Making lactose-free ice cream turned out to be a challenge. Student intern Sandy Hughes, who helped develop the ice cream, said early versions had a weird stringy texture and were sweeter than the standard ice creams. But after enough trial and error they came up with a recipe that Hughes figured could catch on.
"They’re delicious and taste very, very similar to regular ice cream," said Hughes.
Bill Klein, who manages the Babcock Hall Dairy Store where the ice cream will be sold, said he's not sure there's much demand for lactose-free ice cream. He said officials will wait and see how customers respond.
If response is positive, Klein said, the next lactose-free flavor might be orange custard chocolate chip, one of the more popular flavors.
Babcock’s lactose-free ice cream starts with basic ice cream ingredients: milk, cream and sugar, according to a release. After the milk is pasteurized, the enzyme lactase is added to the mixture so it can cut the lactose molecules into two smaller, easy to digest sugars – glucose and galactose. Then flavors and other ingredients are added and the mixture is frozen.