A mixing tank is used in the beginning of the ice cream production process. Once the milk comes from the chilled silos, it is deposited into the tank where it is mixed with other ingredients. This is where wet and dry ingredients come together to become blended, and agitated to create a stable liquid. These tanks range from 16 gallons to 1,000 gallons depending on the facility size.
After the mixture has been blended, about 5 to 9 minutes the manufacturer may use cocoa, or other ingredients to stabilize the mixture. Once mixed and blended, the cream mixture moves to a pasteurizer. The idea of pasteurization, was created by Louis Pasteur in the late 1800’s to get rid of the tuberculosis disease once carried in milk. This process is still used today in two different ways. One process of pasteurizing is LTLT or low temperature and long time, sometimes called batch pasteurizing. The other process of pasteurizing is HTST, high temperature, short time. Both of these are used throughout the dairy industry as a way to decontaminate milk before it is sent on for consumption or further processing.
Once bacterium is killed in the pasteurization process, the homogenizer comes into play. A homogenizer has a tube that feeds the ice cream product through. The product is fed through the tube where high amounts of air PSI is injected and used to break down large bits in the mixture. Once the air is injected to the liquid the product has a soft serve consistency and will support heavier ingredients. The viscus liquid is then blended with liquid flavors and chopped bits of fruit, chocolate and other ingredients. The mix stands in a cooler overnight and then is packaged and frozen again.