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Questions Beyond Ice Cream 101 (long)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Preamble or TMI Section

I have questions beyond kitchen counter top production & just so the community knows I am posting my questions on several different boards as the knowledge of those visiting them varies.

Straight off, I am no professional (yet), however I am an avid ice-cream producer. I have spent a considerable amount of time reading posts in forums after searching for ice cream & gelato. I have also visited the local mega-bookstore to peruse their selection of books specifically about ice-cream. I have found the forums to be much more informative than a book full of recipes & the same information repeated over & over from book to book.

That said a local restaurateur has expressed interest in using my ice cream in their establishment this coming spring/summer (2010) & if it works out well, I will look for other avenues.

I am also taking steps to participate in a local Small Business Administration/University cooperative venture to help small business.

To this point I have been making 5 quart batches of slurry & then processing them through my Cuisinart ICE-50BC for friends, family & co-workers.

My production will increase to supply the restaurant & any other avenue I choose. My first three years I am only interested in producing hard ice-cream and/or sorbet.
Renting an industrial kitchen has been discussed; however I doubt there are kitchens with the appropriate equipment as it may be too specialized. I am also not in the position nor do I have the desire to produce 1000g per day as I currently work full time.

The restaurant has offered for me to attend any local restaurant equipment auction with their head chef.

I have approximately 500 sq feet of room in my home to dedicate to this venture, which is more than enough given I need the following (I think):

Device to cook my slurry (Say, a kettle)
A mixer/freezer
A blast freezer

Beyond Ice Cream 101

I know the amount of energy an industrial range puts out is higher than my home model, so that needs to be addressed.

1) Do most of you produce your slurry on the range or in a kettle (there is an industrial kitchen at work & when I asked the staff there what the large thing was (100? 200 gal?) they cooked the soup in they said it was called a Kettle. They open a spigot on the front to dispense the end product).

2) Mixer/Freezer
I have found the following mixer/freezers on the internet & have seen several of them discussed on this board and others:

Emery Thompson
Paco Jet

I am sure there are more, but what I am interested in are the opinions of those who work with these makes & others every day. What do you like/dislike about each, repairs, ease of use, cleaning, product result, etc.

3) Blast Freezer
I know they also go by another name as well, which escapes me at the moment, however I have no experience with these at all. It is my understanding they take a product & reduce the temperature very rapidly; in this case, out of the mixer/freezer, resulting in smaller ice crystals & therefore a smoother product.


4) I have used milk & egg (crème anglaise) bases to make various flavors. It is my understanding when using fruit it is better not to use a crème anglaise base as it interferes with the flavors due to the acid in the fruit & the eggs not getting along(?).
I have been toying with alcohol in my product, both in the base & as an added ingredient (brandy soaked cherries, for example). I am aware of the antifreeze properties of alcohol.

5) At what alcohol point do I need to be concerned about serving to minors? While the restaurant would be liable for anything served there as they would be fully informed of the product, I am concerned about serving to the public when I am at the farmer’s market & at what point I would need a license? Is it best to add the alcohol from the beginning or just before freezing it when used as a flavor?

I want to stay as local/organic as possible; I am not interested in labeling my product with anything the normal consumer can’t pronounce.

6) What are culinary alcohols? I have read the flavor is concentrated & the alcohol is reduced. However, do you prefer them to alcohol right from the bottle? *hic*
7) When upsizing a recipe to production levels I have been told there are certain ingredients which do not scale. For example, if your recipe calls for:

1 cup of X
2 cups of Y
2 eggs

When you upsize, it may actually be:

10 cups of X
20 cups of Y
14 eggs

However, I think I have normally heard this in connection with baking & things like baking soda, powder and/or salt etc.

8) I have experienced the ice crystals in fruit when put in my ice cream. I have read by cooking my fruit with some sugar, like you would jam, you can cure this, but have never made jam. Is this a simple x parts fruit to y parts sugar over z heat until reduced?

9) How can a person produce ribbons of…chocolate or strawberry fruit (as in #8 above)…in the end product when dealing with smaller amounts (not full scale production with specialized equipment)? Do you remove it from the mixer/freezer, fold the ribbon of fruit base in to it by hand & then move it into the blast freezer?

10) I have read to never boil my slurry as it will curdle, but recently I have read several recipes calling for exactly that. One called for bringing the milk to a frothy boil & then mixing with eggs & sugar which had been chilled while another was based on canned condensed milk being boiled. Is it only the crème anglaise which shouldn’t be boiled due to the eggs? Or do you boil the milk & then just strain before freezing?

11) Without computerized equipment, how do you control your overrun? I have added slurry to my mixer/freezer (Cuisinart ICE-50BC) to a certain level & then I know it will incorporate air until the slurry rises to the top of the pot & the paddles stop. I know a certain amount of overrun is necessary; however I’m selling ice-cream not air.


12) Once I calculate my costs for production including equipment, time, ingredients, and packageing what percentage amount should I add to the cost when selling to the restaurant? And to the public at the market?

Thank you for making it this far & thank you to those who take the time to share what they know.
Science Driven maker of Ice Cream & Deserts for friends & family
Science Driven maker of Ice Cream & Deserts for friends & family
post #2 of 4
OPOSSUM - You have some great questions and though I don't feel qualified to answer them all, I will throw my two cents in.

2) Mixer/Freezer - I am a huge fan of the paco jet, BUT it has its purpose. It is great when you are in a restaurant kitchen and need to spin a quart or two of five different flavors before service. The time spent cleaning between flavors is minimal. However, it is not as practical for spinning a large quantity of just one or two flavors. For that, it might be more practical to look at Taylor or Carpigiani. These companies often offer good support and classes on ice cream making. Also, some ice cream varieties, like those high in butterfat or cocoa butter, do better in a batch freezer.

Books - I also haven't found a lot of helpful information, with one exception -
Frozen Desserts by Francisco Migoya. This book does a great job of explaining the why of ice cream making. You may be able to check it out of your library or take a look at his blog - The Quenelle

10) Boiling your slurry - there are occasions when you need to boil a component of your anglaise (milk and/or cream), but after the eggs are added, it should not go past the nappe stage to a boil.

Lastly, I love alcohol in my ice cream and often don't cook the alcohol off, but keep in mind, that along with sugar and water, the amount of alcohol in your ice cream base will affect its freezing point - Too much alcohol and your ice cream will stay soft when frozen. This can be a good thing, but it needs to be kept in balance.
post #3 of 4
Opossum, I'm not sure where you are located, but if it IS in the USA, there are VERY few, if any, jurisdictions that permit commercial food production in anything other than a licensed, inspected, food production facility, i.e. a commercial kitchen, and even then, those are rarely, if ever, allowed within a typical residence.

I suggest you start by checking with your local health inspector, then your local zoning board, then your local fire department, then your local building department.

Until you have a legal production location, your remaining questions are academic at best or moot at worst.
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #4 of 4
Pete is right in particular with a potentially salmonella containing product like dairy cream. I know that commercially in some states you must save a sample of every batch you make for health dept inspection in case there is an outbreak. Be very careful and find out the local laws and rules before proceeding further. Heaven forbid you have a problem you could loose everything via lawsuits/liability.and no rest. owner in their right mind will buy from you unless you are licensed.
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