How to use sugars for making hand-made gelato

How to use sugars for making hand-made gelato

Sucrose is not the only sugar used for making gelato – in fact there are a variety of sugars, each with its own sweetening and antifreeze properties, and all of them can be used for making hand-made gelato.

Each with their own sweetening and antifreeze properties, sugars are a key factor in making hand-made gelato. Sucrose, dextrose, invert sugar, fructose, glucose, isoglucose, honey, etc. all have their own characteristics that help us to create various different levels of sweetness in our hand-made gelato, but maintaining the same level of robustness, a gelato which is just as sweet, but with a different texture or a sweeter or less sweet gelato with different resistance to freezing.

To make a hand-made gelato that will satisfy the palate of our customers, we need to understand the different properties of sugars, and get a feel for what consumers are looking for in a gelato, in terms of sweetness and consistency.

 For example, we have to bear in mind that mixing two sugars with a similar effect, often has an effect that is totally different from what we might have initially calculated. This effect, known as synergism, makes our hand-made gelato sweeter than we might have anticipated.

The quantity of sugar needed also varies according to the type of gelato: the creamier hand-made gelatos, which have a higher fat content, tend to contain less sugar, whereas those with lower fat content (fruit gelatos) need more sugars to reach the right percentage of total solids.

In terms of consumer tastes, here in Italy we need to bear in mind that people in most areas of the South tend to prefer a much sweeter taste. Conversely, most areas further north prefer a gelato that is less sweet, but with more cream in it. The use of sugars for making hand-made gelato changes according to the season. During spring and summer, consumers prefer a more tart, refreshing hand-made gelato, while in autumn and winter consumers go for a hand-made gelato that is sweeter, rich and nutritious.  

How to use sugars for making hand-made gelato
Brioche with gelato
Brioche with gelato

Sliced open and filled with gelato, with cream, or even with both, the brioche with gelato is a typical Sicilian speciality which has recently been exported to the rest of Italy; it is becoming increasingly common to see gelato shops offering this delicacy, with regional variations such as croissants and buns or the truly Sicilian “tuppo” brioche.

Vegan gelato, the new trend of Italian gelato-making.
Vegan gelato, the new trend of Italian gelato-making.

The last SIGEP, the International Homemade Gelato, Pastry, and Bakery Fair, in Rimini, saw a trend among all of the major companies in the industry to offer products – and in some cases an entire product line – for vegans. 

Part 2 - Pasteurization and homogenization of italian gelato
Part 2 - Pasteurization and homogenization of italian gelato

After selecting, assaying and processing the raw materials with the other ingredients, the next stages in making hand-made gelato are pasteurization and homogenization.

Part 3 -Maturation and Batch freezing of Italian gelato
Part 3 -Maturation and Batch freezing of Italian gelato

After pasteurization and homogenization, it is time for the mixture to undergo maturation and batch-freezing, which are crucial stages for a good hand-made gelato.

How to select ingredients for your gelato
How to select ingredients for your gelato

Why do manufacturer of ingredients for gelato parlours offer such a wide range of different bases? As user requirements differ so widely, the products are designed to help the gelato-maker to get consistently balanced mixtures, for creamier, more scoopable gelato.

Investments, costs and revenues in opening a gelato shop
Investments, costs and revenues in opening a gelato shop

Over the course of time, Italian gelato has earned itself a reputation for continuous innovation in production methods, technologies and ingredients, often dictated by the needs of both practising and would-be gelato-makers.

Differences between artisan Italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream
Differences between artisan Italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream

Often the differences between italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream are not clear to everyone, even though in Italy the fact that there are so many gelato parlours as well as a history of hand-made gelato making would seem to facilitate this distinction.

How to make a good hand-made gelato
How to make a good hand-made gelato

Making gelato used to involve a machine known as a sorbetière, refrigerated using ice and salt, with the mix being batch frozen by hand using a long spatula-shaped stick. Luckily, things have changed quite a bit since then! 

Selecting the gelato ingredients
Selecting the gelato ingredients

Choosing the right raw materials is a fundamental part of making outstanding hand-made gelato: the finest milk, eggs and sugar, and the best semi-finished ingredients and semi-finished products are a key component in the creativity of every craftsman.

The role of semi-finished products in gelato-making
The role of semi-finished products in gelato-making

Compound ingredients for gelato or semi-finished products are mixtures of ingredients in powder or paste that the gelato-maker keeps by his side when preparing mixtures (stabilization) and giving them flavor.

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