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.

Good semi-finished ingredients have well-balanced components, giving a product with good consistency that is tasty, healthy, and hygienic.
To make perfectly creamy gelato, its solid and liquid ingredients need to be mixed together as much as possible, so that the water particles freeze smoothly and trap a sufficient amount of air.

In modern gelato workshops, this is all possible at much higher levels of food safety than before, using equipment which ensures efficiency, precision and hygiene, and using balanced and carefully selected semi-finished ingredients: bases, stabilizers, emulsifiers and plant-based thickening agents are able to do their job without altering the sensory properties of the finished product, and without affecting its natural characteristics.

Depending on your personal inspiration, seasonal factors, and your customers’ personal preferences, semi-finished products can be used for various purposes. Here is a list of those available.

Semi-finished ingredients for base mixtures
In powdered, liquid, or paste form, these are produced at various concentrations, according to which ingredients the gelato-maker wishes to add. For example, mixtures may contain additives which emulsify and stabilize hand-made gelato, to which the fresh ingredients will be added later; or else they may contain milk, cream, eggs, and other basic ingredients. Which ones you choose will depend on how much time you have available, the time of year and therefore the availability (and perishability) of diluted raw materials, and according to how many pasteurizing machines you have in your workshop.

Flavor mixtures
These ingredients are added to base mixtures to provide them with flavor. For example, this category includes powdered fruit or milk flavors (cocoa powder, freeze-dried coffee, liquorice powder) and flavor pastes (pistachio and other nuts, syrups, fruit pastes), used to create the various gelato flavors. Again, which exact one you choose will depend on various factors, first and foremost the season.

Ready-to-use compound ingredients
Prepared mixtures in powder, paste, or liquid form, with a full range of ingredients, for making cream- or fruit-based hand-made gelatos in an instant – just add water, milk, and/or whipped cream, depending on the recipe.

Semi-finished ingredients for decoration
This category includes a wide range of preparations used to garnish gelato, based on honey or sweet syrups, chocolate or cocoa, coffee or other infusions, dried fruits, fruit and vegetable preserves and preparations, fruit juices and pulp, candied or canned fruit, alcoholic beverages, artificial colors, flavorings, and additives.

Selecting the gelato ingredients
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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