Stabilisers: ingredients of natural origin used for making hand-made gelato

Stabilisers: ingredients of natural origin used for making hand-made gelato

As every gelato-maker knows, making a good hand-made gelato needs stabilisers. Although they are commonly associated with something merely chemical, stabilisers are natural products used during ageing, freezing, storage and even tasting.

Everyone has heard of stabilisers, and every gelato-maker uses them. But curiously, stabilisers are products of natural origin, which act and interact with the other ingredients used for making hand-made gelato.

If we are fully aware of the characteristics of stabilisers, of how to use them, we can gain a better insight into their action, which takes place at a number of specific stages during the hand-made gelato-making process: ageing, freezing, storage and even tasting.

One of the main characteristics of stabilisers is to absorb water and thus make hand-made gelato thicker. Thickening agents include a seaweed extract called carrageenan, locust bean or carob gum, and guar gum.

However, it is important to know that each stabiliser has its own characteristics, that make it interesting and distinctive, and by blending stabilisers in their own recipes, gelato-makers can achieve excellent results.

For example, carob gum can make hand-made gelato thicker, as it absorbs the greatest amount of water and creates a structure that slows down melting. On the other hand, guar gum is a perfect stabiliser for absorbing air during gelato freezing. Clearly, by incorporating more air, using guar, and slowing down melting, using carob, a proper blend of stabilizers can be achieved, leading to the best hand-made gelato.

If you want to be a professional gelato-maker and to make outstanding hand-made gelato, you simply have to know all about the characteristics of the ingredients used in the gelato mix and know how they interact – that way, the end result will be excellent and each customer will leave your gelato parlour fully satisfied. 

Stabilisers: ingredients of natural origin used 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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