Ice Cream Process
Ice cream, and its cousins, are created using one basic process. The difference in the textures, tastes, and appearance are created by the ingredient and production temperatures. First, the raw milk must be brought in from an outside source, and stored at 36°F in huge silos. Then other ingredients and the milk must be blended together. The ingredients include milkfats, non-fat solids, stabilizers and emulsifiers to make sure the fusion is complete. Once the mix is blended, it needs to be pasteurized. Pasteurizing the mixture kills off any unwanted existing bacteria. The temperature at which the hot water is injected is 182°F which will bring the whole product to 180°F. The next step in the process is homogenization. This means the hot mixture is broken down into a smooth and easy flowing product. Interestingly, the homogenizer works like a pump. It draws the liquid in, and down then forces it out, with the up stroke. Finally, the completely processed liquid is blended in with cold water (34°F) to bring the final product temperature to 36°F, it then rests for 6- 8 hours, ensuring the flavors reach their maximum potential.
Once the ice cream has cooled and rested, other flavors are added. Any combination of flavors can be added. Most of the flavors are added in a liquid form, but can involve purees, extracts, and sometimes liquors. Once the flavored cream mix is made it moves through to the next part of the process. The product is cooled to -40°F with the use of liquid ammonia that cools the holding tanks. Inside these supper cooled tanks air is injected to the mixture and creates the desired texture. Next, bits of fruit, cookies, chocolate, and other large chunks can be added. They are pre measured to match the ice cream recipe, ensuring every batch is the same. Once added the mixture is blended again and sent off to packaging. The mixture is extruded into molds, cartons, or buckets and then stored and frozen again. The freezing temperature of the mixture is -10°F. The hardening of the ice cream creates the brick like shape we find in cartons at the store. Once hardened the cartons are put through a quality control procedure and tested for imperfections. Once a batch passes inspection, it is then transported to the consumer to be sold for profit.