Ice cream is a frozen food consisting of several ingredients such as milk, cream, sugar, fruit, nuts, water, etc ... as well as stabilisers and emulsifiers. After mixing all of these elements in a timely manner, the mixture is pasteurized and then frozen in an ice cream machine. In short, it is the transformation of a compound of ingredients from a liquid to solid state.
Whatever the process and manufacturing technique of artisan ice cream, it must be preceded by a very important task called the "balanced mix".
In the traditional production techniques, several steps or phases are followed, all of them important and must be carried out in the correct order.
1. Choice and processing of ingredients
To get a quality artisanal ice cream we must provide the best quality ingredients, as well as fruits, nuts, vegetables, sugar, milk, cream ... and know each of them to perfection, such as their maturity, processed, cleaning, quality, etc ... all this will benefit us to get a quality final artisan ice cream.
It is very important to pay attention to this phase, as it is a selection and precise dosage of all the ingredients. For a correct dosage it is essential to use a scale, because the unfortunate habit of putting the ingredients "by eye" leads without remedy to the imbalance of the formulas and the consequent loss of the quality of the product.
3. Mixing of ingredients
When it comes to mixing of the ingredients, it is an operation that consists of the perfect union of all the ingredients with each other. The mixing is usually carried out in the pasteurizer to allow us to obtain the maximum performance of the elements that we are going to use.
Pasteurization is a thermal process based on heating the mixture until reaching, in some cases, 85ºC. It may vary depending on the type of ice cream and its ingredients. Then, once the desired heating temperature has been reached to finish the pasteurization, we must cool the mixture to 4ºC. This operation ensures the destruction of pathogenic organisms.
Maturation consists in the hydration process of the proteins and the stabilizers of the mixture. The purpose of this process is to bind the water and prevent the formation of thick ice crystals in the freezing and conservation phases that will take place next. In addition, it allows the fat globules to solidify gradually, without compromising the stability of the emulsion. The maturation is achieved by keeping the already pasteurized mixture at a temperature of 4 ° C and under agitation, continuous or discontinuous, for at least 12 hours. The use of stabilizers and emulsifier allows to considerably reduce the ripening time. This process can be repeated depending on the ingredients that are added to the base to give the taste we want.
6. Freezing proccess
It is the process in which the mixture passes from liquid to solid state for which it is placed in the ice cream machine until it reaches the right consistency and temperature. When the water is freezing it crystallizes, transforming the ice cream into a set of fine crystals. The faster the process of turning the mixture into ice cream, the less time ice crystals have had to grow, and the smaller these crystals, the finer the structure of the ice cream. The slower the freezing or chilling process, the larger the ice crystals will be, regardless of whether the mixture has matured or not.
7. Conservation of ice cream
It is the process that allows the artisan gelato to keep and maintain its characteristics and structures unchanged. It is normally done in a ventilated "freezer" blast chiller that allows the temperature of the ice cream to be lowered internally around -22ºC, exerting a cooling force that reaches -37ºC or -40ºC. A good freezing should be done in the shortest possible time. The freezing is essential to have the ice cream in optimal conditions until the moment of its service.
Do you want more information about the machinery that is needed and the bases or ingredients to make homemade ice cream? Contact us without obligation.