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.