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.

Pasteurization is without doubt one of the most delicate phases in the gelato-making process, and serves to reduce the amount of bacteria normally found in the mixture. Every foodstuff naturally contains a certain amount of pathogenic microbial flora which multiplies quickly at temperatures between 15-20°C and 55-60°C, whereas above and below those temperatures, bacterial proliferation slows down considerably.

Pasteurization is a heat treatment used to destroy spoilage agents and to give biological and enzymatic stability to foodstuffs, in this case gelato mixtures. Of course, during the process, the organoleptic qualities of the ingredients, i.e. the sugar, the semi-finished ingredients  and other flavorings, must be preserved intact. During this phase, the gelato is heated to between 65 and 85 °C, and then rapidly cooled to just 4-5 °C.

Optimal pasteurization ensures that the gelato-making process is complete and safe from a food hygiene point of view. The pasteurizer is the piece of equipment used to perform this function, and the most modern models cover each step in the cycle, from mixing the ingredients to dissolving them, from heating to rapid cooling, from maturation to conservation of the mixture, until the time comes to freeze it, all in a single closed tub. A product that has been properly pasteurized is also far better from a quality point of view. Pasteurization also ensures that the flavorings and semi-finished products are at their best, as are the solubilization of the sugars and the hydration of the texturizers and proteins, while the fats dissolve and can be evenly distributed throughout the mixture, all of which leads to a perfect stable emulsion.

Homogenization takes place alongside pasteurization. As the term indicates, this phase serves to make the hand-made gelato mix uniform, harmonious and homogeneous. Whereas it is fairly simple to dissolve substances such as sugars and proteins in water, given that they are more or less hydrosoluble, it is far more difficult to mix components such as water and fats.

During the pasteurization cycle, when the mixture reaches 60-75 °C, the fats are broken down and amalgamated so that they can be homogenized. In order to help a homogenized mixture maintain its stability, emulsifiers can be added. These serve to reduce the surface tension by creating a stable emulsion – the result is an even softer, creamier mixture.

The whole pasteurization/homogenization cycle takes 2 to 3 hours.  

Part 2 - Pasteurization and homogenization of italian 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.

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.

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.

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! 

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.

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.

Up Arrow