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Ben Vear's brown bread ice cream

07 June 2012

This recipe is thought to date back to the Victorian era, when ice cream was a treat reserved for the rich. It makes use of caramelised scraps of brown bread to produce a sweet and somewhat subtle flavour, with the addition of brown sugar – simple and delicious. To make it, Ben Vear uses organic brown bread from Tom Herbert’s Hobbs House Bakery.

Bowl of ice cream
Brown bread ice cream made to Ben Vear's recipe

Cooking time

10 minutes


  • 50g brown breadcrumbs
  • 150g Fairtrade brown caster sugar
  • 150ml organic full-fat milk
  • 350ml organic double cream
  • 1 tsp Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
  • A dash of lemon juice


1. Put the breadcrumbs on a baking tray and sprinkle with the sugar, spreading out all of the breadcrumbs evenly and ensuring an even coverage of sugar. Place the tray under a grill on a medium heat, checking constantly to see that the breadcrumbs don’t burn.

2. Keep spreading out the breadcrumbs and returning them to the heat until both the sugar and breadcrumbs have caramelised. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

3. Before the breadcrumb-caramel mixture has completely cooled, put it in a bowl, add the milk and double cream and stir vigorously.

4. Pour the mixture into a medium, heavy-based saucepan, stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice, then place over a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

5. Pour into your ice-cream maker. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and leave to churn. (Alternatively, pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container, seal it firmly with a lid and place in the freezer. Whisk after 1 hour to prevent ice crystals from forming; repeat 3 times before leaving it to set).

6. Place in the freezer to let the ice cream set before serving.

Recipe taken from Make Your Own Organic Ice Cream Using Home Grown and Local Produce by Ben Vear. ISBN 978-1-905862-75-7. Available at all good bookstores priced at £14.99. Orders: 01476 541080/


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.