How to make ice cream

 

Whatever the occasion, a hot summer day, the need to relax, or simply experiencing a fresh sensation or a new taste... everyone loves ice cream!

But how is one of the most popular foods in the world produced?

Several processing phases have the purpose of transforming the basic element, the milk, into a soft and delicious emulsion mixed with flavors and sometimes food colors. We are talking about traditional ice cream made with fresh milk and not about sorbets or preparations made with vegetable milk.

The milk must undergo a first stage of processing called filtering, which is important for the removal of bacteria and suspended substances. The purpose of this step is to eliminate impurities and potentially bad interactions between milk and flavors that will be added later.

After filtration, the ingredients are added according to the chosen recipe to create the ice cream mixture. Precisely, this phase is called mixing.

The next phase is separation which has the purpose of dividing the fat part of the milk from the rest of the mixture. The machine which is called after the process is the separator which rapidly mixes up the product.

Once the mixture has been decomposed, the pasteurization phase is carried out with high temperature pasteurizers (UHT or HTST systems). The purpose of this phase is to destroy the pathogens and to reduce the organisms that favor the deterioration of the compound (such as psychrotrophs, which proliferate in the cold) and the hydration of some components such as proteins and stabilizers.

After pasteurization, homogenization comes into play: this process is critical to get an excellent product! Specifically, during homogenizing, fats are emulsified through the micronization of the milk’s fat globules smaller than 1 µm. Two-stage homogenizer is recommended for the production of ice cream. The fat lumps are reduced, by favoring the consistency and melting of the ice cream in the mouth.

Among the benefits that homogenizing process brings, we have:

       • reduction in the size of the fat particles
       • increased consistency and richness of the blend
       • increased taste perception
       • increased digestibility
       • creation of a membrane that protects the mixture
       • decreased of the cold sensation
       • increased of softness and creaminess of the mixture
       • smoother compound
       • increased stability of the ice cream to air exposition

And all of this is attained without adding any ingredients, only with a mechanical process!

After having the mixture homogenized, it is left in special refrigerated containers for at least 4 hours: this phase is called refrigeration and allows the fats to cool off and crystallize while the proteins and polysaccharides hydrate to the right point.

Once the mixture is well worked, it is placed into a tank containing flavors and fruit purees or food colors will then be added. Soon after, the dynamic freezing phase begins and freezes part of the water and mounts the air in the frozen mixture.

Once the freezing phase is completed, hardening begins: the ice cream is placed in the freezer at a temperature of -30° / -40°C where the remaining part of the water will freeze. Below -25°C the ice cream remains stable for an indefinite time without incurring the risk of the growth of ice crystals.

And now it is just time to go and get an ice cream ... are you coming too?