What’s Dondurma?

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Dondurma is a Turkish ice cream made with mastic and salep, which create a solid structure that allows it to hold its shape even at room temperature. It has a chewy texture and is popular in Turkey, served with toppings and flavors like regular ice cream.

Dondurma is the Turkish word for “ice cream” and refers to a dessert that is made much like traditional ice cream, except that it doesn’t need to stay frozen once made and has a very chewy and firm texture. The basic ingredients of dondurma are very similar to those used in standard frozen ice cream, except that two special ingredients, known as mastic and salep, are also added. The two ingredients cause a chemical reaction when frozen that forms a solid structure within the ice cream, allowing it to hold its shape even when kept at room temperature. The dessert is very popular in Turkey and is sold in shops, off street stalls and is even commercially packaged in grocery stores. When served, dondurma is treated like regular ice cream, with similar toppings and flavors such as chocolate, nuts, and fruit.

The first distinctive ingredient in dondurma is mastic. This is a natural resin that precipitates from trees in the form of small translucent droplets. The resin can be added to liquids to provide a mild, sweet flavor and an aromatic, pine-like flavor. The mastic melts into the ice cream before it’s frozen and helps develop the thick texture.

The important ingredient that makes dondurma unique is salep. This is the root of a type of orchid that grows wild in Turkey; it is dried and then ground into a powder. This powder has the ability to store moisture and keep it from moving through a larger mix. When ice cream is frozen, the properties of the salt combine with the mastic and natural moisture in the ice cream base. The result is a molecular structure that has a solid structure, within which the humidity of the ice cream is retained, preventing it from melting.

Dondurma recipe is just like an ice cream recipe, till the end. Cream, milk, sugar and flavoring are mixed and heated. The mastic and salep are also added and the whole mixture is allowed to cook for a while before being brought to room temperature. The mixture is placed in a freezer or ice cream maker until it begins to freeze and solidify.

The salep and mastic ensure that the ice cream becomes very chewy, similar to the texture of taffy. At this stage, the ice cream needs to be kneaded vigorously for a period of time to add air into the mix and stretch and develop the molecules within. When finished, the dondurma can be sliced ​​with a knife or deftly pulled with a stick and placed in a bowl or ice cream cone.

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