Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Gelato Tips & Techniques


  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#31 Khadija

Khadija
  • participating member
  • 275 posts
  • Location:Halifax/Toronto/Kingston Canada

Posted 12 January 2010 - 11:27 AM

Thanks so much paulraphael!

I'm pretty sure I can make the gelato for J's party the day it's served. My guess is that there will be 15-20 people at most at this party, and servings will be small. My machine can churn/freeze 1 qt in approximately 1/2 hour. Without having given the matter a lot of thought, my guess is that I should aim to make 4 quarts. Does that sound right? Since I haven't tried, I don't know if there will be any problems with trying to turn out that many batches of ice cream back to back.

Decisions about fat and stabilizers seem to be the main challenge in gelato making, as far as I can tell. I guess I can't procrastinate on experimenting much longer. For me there are a few kinds of things to make decisions about:

"Natural" Stabilizers (milk fat, cream fat, egg fat)
In principle, I'm not against any of these. The only reason I want to minimize fat content is to maximize the capacity of the milk to deliver flavour to the tongue. But I know I need to strike a balance here. Some fat is desirable, because a creamy texture is desirable. I've been using full fat milk from an Ontario organic dairy (Harmony) that I really like, and cream from the same dairy. I find the flavour of the cream really strong, so I don't think I want a lot of it. As for custard bases, I think I need to play with them. Eggs will impart extra flavour, especially if I use my regular source of eggs. Also, I associate custard bases with chewy ice cream, and I always assume I dislike chewy ice cream. But I've heard that some people value a degree of chew, so maybe I just don't adequately appreciate this characteristic.

Processed Stabilizers (dried milk, cornstarch, gelatin, xanthan gum, etc.)
I think there are probably degrees of processed-ness in these things. I'm not in principle against most of them, but I want to understand what they do before I use them. I don't want to use pre-packaged mixes, because it would defeat some of my purposes, as a home gelato maker.

Alternative Sugars
I suppose this is a sub-category of stabilizer. I have a preferred brand of organic cane sugar that I use for baking. I like to think I'm not dogmatically committed to it, but I admit that I avoid using more refined sugars. (I'm fascinated by sugar, both by its aesthetic properties and its chemical properties. Part of what's exciting about this gelato project is that it will motivate me to learn more about sugar.)

Not surprisingly, I feel most comfortable with natural stabilizers. I feel less comfortable with the other two categories, and so, as is becoming increasingly apparent, I guess I just need to experiment. I'm thinking of beginning with dried milk and maybe cornstarch.

Edited by Khadija, 12 January 2010 - 11:31 AM.


#32 paulraphael

paulraphael
  • participating member
  • 3,052 posts

Posted 12 January 2010 - 11:49 AM

Everything I mentioned is 100% natural. Many are just 99% unfamiliar in a lot of people's kitchens.

Even the word "processed" is tricky. For example, cane sugar is much more processed than dried milk. Cornstarch is no more processed than white flour. Products like locust bean gum and gelatin have been made by artisans for thousands of years. Glucose and Fructose are not so far removed from table sugar.

I think you're smart to start simple and try the ingredients your most familiar with first. Then if you find you want to tweak things, you can experiment with new ingredients / techniques one at a time.

And I agree that dried milk would be a good place to start. It adds what ice cream gurus call "nonfat solids," which improve creaminess and stability. I resisted using this for a long time, since I had such bad associations with dry milk. Then I saw both Pierre Hermé and Michael Laiskonis used it in their ice creams and decided I was being irrational!

Edited by paulraphael, 12 January 2010 - 11:52 AM.


#33 RichardJones

RichardJones
  • participating member
  • 115 posts

Posted 12 January 2010 - 11:57 AM

Just FYI, here is an Oolong chocolate recipe from Wybauw: http://www.callebaut.com/ocen/2237.
===================================================
I kept a blog during my p√Ętisserie training in France: Candid Cake

#34 Khadija

Khadija
  • participating member
  • 275 posts
  • Location:Halifax/Toronto/Kingston Canada

Posted 12 January 2010 - 12:25 PM

Thanks so much for highlighting the difficulty of categorizing ingredients as "natural" or "processed." We might also look at the situation by saying that every one of the ingredients mentioned is processed, in the sense that every one of the ingredients has been "worked" by humans. I think the word "processed" undeservedly gets a bad reputation. Homemade ice cream (or cake or whatever) made from "local" and/or "organic" ingredients is processed: it's a bunch of stuff that's been made into something else. I don't think it's possible or really sensical completely to embrace or to avoid either so-called processed or so-called natural foods. But I think it's very important to try to understand where food comes from and how various materials get processed into food.

I'm really happy that to hear what you have to say about the milk powder. I'm looking forward to playing with it!

Edited by Khadija, 12 January 2010 - 12:28 PM.


#35 paulraphael

paulraphael
  • participating member
  • 3,052 posts

Posted 12 January 2010 - 03:45 PM

I've gotten a lot of great technical help from Michael Laiskonis's blog. He's a wizard with frozen dessert and is one of the few people I've found who can talk articulately about why he does what he does. At the very least his recipes serve as great examples.

Your comments made me realize that the most processed ingredient I ever work with is chocolate! The number of steps between the bean and your belly is pretty dizzying. And the technology to make it as smooth as we're used to didn't exist until the 19th century, even though cocoa has been consumed for thousands of years.

As I'm sure you gather, i'm not trying to suggest that processed food is always good. I won't be suggesting that you make gelato out of twinkies, or butter-flavored shortening, or I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-__________
:)

#36 gap

gap
  • participating member
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted 12 January 2010 - 08:32 PM

This book is an excellent resource on Frozen Desserts (it's one of my favourites)
http://www.amazon.co...NFHF5HS70F51PH

It also covers ice cream and sorbets so may be a little broader than what you're after, but the science of frozen desserts and technical explanations of ingredients would, I imagine, be helpful to you.

#37 KarenDW

KarenDW
  • participating member
  • 617 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, BC, Canada

Posted 13 January 2010 - 01:13 AM

Thanks so much paulraphael!

I'm pretty sure I can make the gelato for J's party the day it's served. My guess is that there will be 15-20 people at most at this party, and servings will be small. My machine can churn/freeze 1 qt in approximately 1/2 hour. Without having given the matter a lot of thought, my guess is that I should aim to make 4 quarts. Does that sound right? Since I haven't tried, I don't know if there will be any problems with trying to turn out that many batches of ice cream back to back.

Maybe I've missed the point, upthread, but where will the party be held? My original concerns were around keeping the ice cream freezer cold enough, but then I read a bit on-line about your machine being self-cooling with its own compressor. Very nice! Anyways, I am wondering whether you have enough freezer space to keep each batch frozen while you are churning the next batch. Also, most of the on-line reviews make a point that the freezing process actually takes closer to 45 minutes than 30. Of course, you are probably already experimenting with that, and there are enough days between now and Saturday to do a LOT of experiments! But it seems that your machine may be very capable in churning several subsequent batches. Lucky you.
My only "party" experience with ice cream freezers involved taking my equipment to someone else's home. I have the "canister stored in the freezer" type of ice cream machine. Even though the canister was out of the freezer for less than 2 hours, and even though it was packed in a cooler for the whole travel time, and was put promptly into a deep freezer, it never did get cold enough. I ended up with vanilla custard mush, which I rescued by adding more eggs and whisking over heat to make a creme anglais of sorts. (!) There are never disasters, only recipes we haven't discovered yet.
Hope your party this weekend goes well! The Oolong infusion sounds heavenly.
Karen Dar Woon

#38 Khadija

Khadija
  • participating member
  • 275 posts
  • Location:Halifax/Toronto/Kingston Canada

Posted 17 January 2010 - 02:31 PM

I'm happy to report that I made the milk oolong gelato and madeleines, and both were a hit at my friends party. I managed to make gelato, as opposed to ice cream! And I now have skim milk powder and dextrose in my cupboard! Thanks so much to everyone for the input and encouragement. I feel very inspired.

KarenDW: the party was at my friend J's place. I made the gelato and madeleines at my house, and then took them over to J's.

paulraphael: your post drove me to google "Twinkie gelato." Nothing surprises me anymore. I'm not going to google margarine gelato -- I just don't want to know.

Full report, with photos, to come.