I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for MSU Dairy Store Ice Cream

The Michigan State University (MSU) Dairy Store has the ideal summer snack to fill the order.

Contact:  Sara Long
  517-432-1555, ext. 170

EAST LANSING, Mich.—One store. Countless flavors.

  Cold. Frosty. Delicious. There’s nothing more refreshing than the sensation of ice cream hitting your tongue on a warm summer day, and the Michigan State University (MSU) Dairy Store has the ideal summer snack to fill the order.   

  Since 1914, the MSU Dairy Store has served the East Lansing community with its quality ice cream. A wide variety of unusual flavored ice creams line the shelves of the coolers in the MSU Dairy Store.

  “Customers typically start coming in to order ice cream early in the morning and continue right through until closing time on a sunny day,” said John Engstrom, MSU Dairy Store manager.

  Though many loyal customers don’t know the secret to the popular ice cream,  they keep coming back!

  So what does make MSU Dairy Store ice cream such a hot commodity?

  Engstrom said making quality ice cream is a complicated process.

  Engstrom works with Rodney Clark, MSU Dairy Plant operation manager, and a group of seven students to produce the store’s popular ice cream. Another approximately 30 students are employed in the MSU Dairy Store. These students manage the store, serve customers, clean the facility and help operate machinery in the Dairy Plant.

  The Dairy Store orders its cream and milk from the Michigan Milk Producers Association, where the products are “guaranteed fresh,” Engstrom said. Most of the special flavoring ingredients are ordered from companies such as Pecan Delux and Sensient. 

  Once all the ingredients are on hand—including cream, water, non-fat dry milk powder, granulated sugar and stabilizer—workers mix the items together to make ice cream, which is then stored in two 500-gallon stainless steel tanks

  The first step is to take one of the three base ice cream products— chocolate, vanilla or sherbet—and add to it one of several distinctive flavorings before partially freezing the ice cream. Next, when the ice cream reaches about 22 degrees Fahrenheit, it is moved to the deep-freezer where it sits at -20 degrees Fahrenheit until it is hardened.

  What sets MSU Dairy Store ice cream apart from other ice cream brands?
  Engstrom said more expensive ingredients such as granulated sugar and non-fat milk powder give the ice cream a “cleaner” taste. Granulated sugar is pure and doesn’t interfere with the flavor of the ice cream, he said. 

  “Quality ingredients can make a world of a difference,” Engstrom said. “What we have is a premium product.”

  Engstrom said most ice cream makers use less expensive ingredients such as fructose and corn sugar.

  The most popular flavor of ice cream at the MSU Dairy Store is Sesquicentennial Swirl, which is a blend of cake batter, vanilla ice cream, thick fudge swirl,  and green and white cake pieces.

  The MSU Dairy Store often rotates the flavors of ice cream available for purchase in the store. Some flavors are seasonal, such as the peppermint stick and pumpkin spice flavors, which are served in the fall. And, with the Spartan basketball team’s success in the NCAA tournament, Engstrom pulled out an old recipe for the Final Four Fudge Dribble ice cream and served it to the community at the beginning of April.

  “We have flavors you won’t find anywhere else,” Engstrom said. “People get bored with the standard flavors, so we cater to the community by giving them a new ice cream to taste each season when they stop in the Dairy Store.”

  The MSU Dairy Store has locations in the MSU Union and Anthony Hall. The university dining halls also regularly serve Dairy Store ice cream to their students.

  For more information about the MSU Dairy Store, contact John Engstrom at 517-355-7713,  ext. 173.

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