Gallery: Making Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at What's the Scoop in Portland, OR

The secret ingredient
The secret ingredient

The Ostrovskys use liquid nitogren to freeze their ice cream quickly in a big Hobart mixer—they believe it helps the texture by creating smaller ice crystals.

First step: get it in the mixer
First step: get it in the mixer

The custard base goes into the Hobart and the flat beater screws on tight.

A puff of nitrogen
A puff of nitrogen

Gloves are necessary for handling the hose.

A little more
A little more

The kitchen at What's the Scoop is open so customers can catch the liquid-nitrogen show.

Ok, a lot more
Ok, a lot more

Brian Ostrovsky manning the mixer. He attended the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course to perfect his recipes and technique.

Soup?
Soup?

At first, the texture is pretty soupy, but this method yields 6 gallons of ice cream in about 5 minutes.

Thickening
Thickening

As more liquid nitrogen is released over the churning mixer, the ice cream texture thickens into smooth ribbons.

That looks better
That looks better

The texture begins to harden, which means it's ready for add-ins.

Squirt in some chocolate
Squirt in some chocolate

To add chocolate bits, Ostrovsky squeezes in some melted chocolate shell (made in house.)

Mix 'er up
Mix 'er up

A little more mixing breaks the chocolate into bits.

More chocolate
More chocolate

To make sure there's chocolate throughout, more is added after churning.

A cool blast
A cool blast

After the chocolate is added, a little more liquid nitrogen cools it all down further.

Scrape
Scrape

Then it's time to get it out of the mixer and into the freezer. A little scraping is necessary to get the beater clean.

Into containers
Into containers

The soft ice cream is scooped into freezing containers.

Chill out
Chill out

The hardening cabinet is 30 degrees below zero.

Pints
Pints

Pints are for sale for those who want to enjoy their ice cream at home.