Ingredients and factors to make ice cream in a restaurant

Ingredients and factors to make ice cream in a restaurant

Artisan ice cream has great potential within restaurants. The possibilities offered by this product within a menu are endless and very few restaurants who have known how to take advantage of them. From the hand of the prestigious teacher Angelo Corvitto, author of the book The secrets of ice cream. The ice cream without secrets, edited by Grupo Vilbo, we retrieve two of the articles that shed light on this elaboration.

There are innumerable, interesting and varied possible combinations that this product offers within the restoration, and infinite possibilities that we have at our disposal if we know how to take advantage of all the resources of a kitchen. A leftover fruit can be the sorbet of the next menu or banquet, a background of sweet or distilled wine can, by magic, be transformed into a Pedro Ximénez cream or a pomace sorbet. This without mentioning the possibilities offered by a piece of roquefort, a piece of salmon or a few mushrooms. Treating ice cream in restaurants is placing this product in its most natural environment. Ice cream was born in a kitchen and I have to add that he should never have left it.

El professional Of the restoration, perhaps because he lacks sufficient technique, he gives up making ice cream, thus depriving himself, when preparing a letter or a menu, of a highly attractive product and, if he does so, he does not always obtain all the possible performance.

Angelo corvitto
Angelo corvitto


As a general definition, we can say that ice cream is an elaborated product that is consumed cold. For its preparation we need to gather some ingredients, balance them taking into account the composition of each one of them, and subject them to a manufacturing process that, in the butter maker or sorbet maker, by means of a simultaneous shaking and cooling, manages to incorporate a certain amount of air and make the finished product present, despite being kept at low temperatures, a plasticity that allows its service and consumption in the best conditions.

At this point I would like to deal with an issue that I think brings with it some confusion in restoration. Sorbets and slushies are not often confused. The relationship between ice cream and sorbet is not very clear either. Without resorting to the official definition, I will try to explain the differences that exist in these elaborations.

  • International shipments may take up to  milk or cream ice cream They are those that contain milk fat, milk powder and milk proteins in its composition. During the manufacturing process they have incorporated a certain amount of air. They are pasty and despite being subjected to low temperatures they must have a texture with enough plasticity for service and consumption.
  • International shipments may take up to  sorbets They are ice creams that do not contain fat or powdered milk in their composition. They must contain a minimum of 15% of fruits, juices or concentrates and 20% or more of total solids. During the manufacturing process they have incorporated a certain amount of air. They are pasty and despite being subjected to low temperatures they must have a texture with enough plasticity for service and consumption.
  • And slush They are elaborations that are presented in a semi-liquid state with a minimum of 10% of dry extract. They do not contain air. Its service temperature is between -2 and -4ºC. The thickness of the ice crystals they contain is related to the amount of sugars in their composition and the cooling capacity of the slush machine.


If we use the same formula and the same process to make two identical ice creams, but nevertheless we start with ingredients of different quality in each case, the final result of both products will be different in terms of flavor and aroma.

Therefore, to make a top quality ice cream, that is, that meets the most demanding requirements in terms of flavor, texture and temperature, it is essential to apply the correct technique and carry out the most appropriate manufacturing process. But it is not less important to have the best ingredients we can find.

In addition, in terms of profitability, the price difference between two ingredients, one high-end and the other of medium quality, is minimal considering that the amount used in a liter of ice cream is small, and that of this liter of ice cream you get a large number of servings. Finally, our ice cream will have greater commercial value the better the ingredients used, and our satisfaction will also be greater. professional if we make an ice cream starting from the best of the best.


Elements such as sugars, fats, powdered milk, neutrals (stabilizers or emulsifiers), water or air itself, among others, intervene in ice cream. And it is necessary that all of them are together and in perfect balance. Making this coexistence possible taking into account the characteristics and behaviors of each ingredient and the relationships between all of them is what is known as the ice cream balance exercise.

Saying that not all ice creams are the same may be obvious. Little do they resemble each other a chocolate ice cream, with a high content of vegetable fat, one of liquor, antifreeze by definition, and a fruit sorbet, with little solid matter and total absence of fat. Despite their notable differences, these three types of ice cream must have the same texture, the same amount of air incorporated and they will also have to live together under the same temperature. That is, three different ice creams that must nevertheless meet the same taste, texture or structure requirements, marked by the amount of air incorporated, and temperature, which has to do with their power to resist freezing.

The differences between these three types of ice cream prevent us from applying the same treatment in balance.

Thus, it will be necessary to consider as many balances as types of ice cream can be made, rejecting the idea of ​​a unique formula. Without ignoring the nuances that can occur within each type, we can classify the world of ice cream into 16 large families or categories:

  1. White cream
  2. Egg yolk cream (shortbread)
  3. Fruit sorbet
  4. Yogurt cream
  5. Chocolate cream (toppings, cocoa)
  6. Nut cream (hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios)
  7. Citrus or fruit cream
  8. Spice cream or herbal infusion
  9. Spice sorbet or aromatic herb infusion
  10. Liquor cream
  11. Liquor sorbet
  12. Cava fruit sorbet
  13. "Salty" creams
  14. "Salty" sorbets
  15. Hypocaloric creams
  16. Low calorie sorbets

Analyzing the composition of a cream ice cream, we find ourselves on the one hand with water as a quantitatively more important element, and on the other hand with solid elements, mainly fat, lean milk, neutrals and sugars. The first balance exercise will consist of achieving a perfect conjunction between the solid elements and the water. There cannot be a single drop of free water, but neither can there be a single gram of dry extract unrelated to water.

It may interest you:  How to set the price of your restaurant menu

This relationship can occur in several ways, depending on the type of solid in question.

Thus, some solids, such as sugars for example, melt in the water creating what we know as a true or natural solution.

Others, like fat, never melt in water, so it is necessary to disperse this matter into tiny particles, "tie" them and hold them in a stable way along with the also tiny drops of water, in the state of emulsion or suspension.

There is no single balance for all ice creams, since it is necessary to take into account the differences of each type or family and all external and internal factors

So important is this conjunction that water droplets that are neither in solution nor retained, at a temperature of 0ºC, would freeze, giving rise to the appearance of ice crystals that would end up negatively altering the final structure of the ice cream. And vice versa, an excess of solid matter would result in a dry ice cream with a sandy texture. For this reason, it is necessary to know the composition of all the elements involved in ice cream and their behavior with respect to others.

For a cream ice cream, the amount of water will be around 58-64% of the total, with the rest, 36-42%, for solids or dry matter. In the case of so-called sorbets, the proportion of water can exceed up to 70% of the total mixture, which will not be an obstacle, as we will see in subsequent articles, to achieve balance, so that the aforementioned flavor requirements, structure and temperature are similar to those of ice creams.

Also between the solid elements there must be a perfect conjunction, so that there is a compensation between fats, sugars, lean milk, neutrals and other components. This will ensure that the prepared mixture is not only capable of collecting all the free water but also incorporates the necessary air.

And a third issue, within balance, has to do with the serving temperature of the ice cream. A balanced ice cream made for display and service in a classic ice cream display case, therefore subjected to a temperature of around -11ºC on the surface of the tray, would not be valid for a restaurant It normally has a chest or freezer cabinet, with a temperature of between -18 and -20ºC, since at the time of service said ice cream would have an excessively hard structure.

In summary, there is not a single balance for all ice creams, since it is necessary to take into account the differences of each type or family and all external and internal factors. The common goal will be that they all have the same resistance to cold, that is, the same antifreeze power (PAC) and the same incorporation of air (overrun).

Thus, all our ice creams will have the same weight, the same structure and texture, and an identical behavior against the same temperature.


The main ingredients involved in making ice cream are air, water, fat, skimmed milk powder, neutrals and sugars.


It is one of the basic elements of ice cream. Without the air there is no ice cream, or it would not have its characteristic texture. The air does not weigh, it is non-freezable, and it is also insulating. In the maturation phase, a small amount of air is incorporated into the mix, but the greatest amount comes naturally during the chilling by stirring at the time of cooling. The incorporation temperature of the air is between 4ºC to -4ºC. At lower temperatures the cold retains the air and the stirrer breaks it into tiny bubbles and distributes them throughout the ice cream.

The correct amount of air in the ice cream is favored by an adequate balance of the mixture, by the amount and type of fat used, by the presence of egg yolks, by the amount of protein and lean milk (milk powder skimmed), for the quality and dosage of the stabilizers and emulsifiers used, and for a correct manufacturing process in all its phases.

Air, which is an insulating element, makes ice cream lighter, less cold, creamier and ductile.

On the other hand, an incorrect balance, the presence of alcohols or vegetable fats, the excess of lean milk or sugars and a poor manufacturing process are some of the factors that can hinder the incorporation of air into ice cream.

The air, which is an insulating element, makes ice cream lighter, less cold, creamier and more ductile. The increase in volume of the ice cream by the incorporated air is what we know as overrun, whose ideal parameter we place at 35%.

Therefore, the weight of a liter of ice cream will be 740 grams.

We will try to balance all our ice creams so that, regardless of the family they belong to, they incorporate the same amount of air. With this we will ensure that all have the same weight, the same structure and the same insulation capacity.


Quantitatively, it is the most important ingredient in ice cream. The total amount of water in the mix is ​​the sum of that contained in each of the ingredients that compose it. Thus, apart from the water that we add directly to a sorbet, in ice cream we find water in milk (88%), in cream (60%), or in fruit (80-90%), among others. The water is the only ingredient in the mix that freezes from 0ºC.

In a mix, the water-solids mixture must be as homogeneous as possible, preventing water from remaining in a pure state, that is, free.

At the outlet of the butter maker, the ice cream has a temperature of between -10 and -12ºC. Through rapid cooling (blast chiller or cabinet with low temperature), we will have to reach, as quickly as possible, the posible18¼C in the heart of the ice cream and thus stabilize the activity of the water.

Knowing the temperature at which we are going to serve the ice cream, we will balance, through sugars, the antifreeze power (PAC) of the mix, so that at the temperature we serve the ice cream there is no more than 75% frozen water, an essential condition for proper product texture.

Regarding water qualityes it is important to use purified water, with no odor and color, drinkable and without excessive hardness.

Skimmed milk powder (Non-greasy milk solids)

The main function of the non-fat or lean milk solids in the milk is to retain the water present in the mixture and help to balance it. It is the ingredient that gives ice cream body and structure. It has great power to absorb water, fixing it and reducing the percentage of "free water" in the mixture, which prevents ice crystals. It helps the incorporation and retention of air by natural means by stirring in the freezing phase.

It may interest you:  15 typical dishes from around the world that you should try once in your life

Lean milk is found to a greater or lesser extent in almost all dairy products. Milk contains almost 9%. 6% cream, but the main source of non-fatty milk solids, is skimmed milk powder. There are several types of milk powder on the market, but for practical purposes it is preferable to use skimmed milk powder, spray-type powder or better granulated spray.

It is the ingredient that gives ice cream body and structure. It has great power to absorb water, fixing it and reducing the percentage of “free water” in the mixture, which prevents ice crystals.

In the composition of skimmed milk powder we find lactose, 50% of the total. It is a sugar, the only one of animal origin, which as such slows down and influences the freezing point of the mix. It has the property of absorbing up to 10 times its weight in water, which on the one hand helps to retain free water, but in excessive amounts it can cause the rest of the solids to not find water, resulting in sandy ice cream. It is advisable not to exceed 10% milk powder in the total mix.

38% of powdered milk are proteins, excellent emulsifiers that provide creaminess and help to incorporate and retain air. Among them, casein stands out for its quantity and quality, which has the peculiarity of "precipitating" or "cutting" in the presence of acid at 4,5 pH or lower. This is a drawback if we want to make milk or cream ice cream with acidic or citrus fruits. The rest of the skimmed milk powder are vitamins, mineral salts and moisture.

Fat Matter (MG)

Fats, also called lipids, when they are in a solid state or in the case of oil in a liquid state, have important functions in ice cream: they provide creaminess and body, confer a smoother and creamier texture, print a characteristic flavor (if they are of dairy origin) and help the incorporation of air (up to 8-10%).

There are several reasons that suggest using dairy fat: the consumer knows them and appreciates them more; being, by nature, partially emulsified, they are easier to incorporate into the mix. In addition, the current regulations require us, if we want the name of Cream (maximum quality), that our ice cream contains a minimum of 8% milk fat and 2,5% milk protein.

The main source of milk fat is naturally whole milk (between 3,2 and 3,6%) and cream (between 30 and 40%).


Emulsifiers and stabilizers, also called neutrals, play a fundamental role in the structure and in the final quality of the ice cream.

In the case of ice cream with fat, we need the participation of agents capable of reducing the tension that occurs between water and fat inside ice cream, two immiscible substances that require an emulsion for their dispersion. This is the main function that so-called emulsifiers perform.

The most widely used are monodiglycerides of fatty acids. They are located, during the elaboration process and especially, in the maturation phase, in the zone that separates the water and the fat, orienting the glycerin (which is hydrophilic) towards the water and the fatty acid towards the fat. Each one captures and ties one molecule of water and one of fat. This favors the emulsion and prevents separation. Ocar that the rest of solids do not find water, resulting in a sandy ice cream. It is advisable not to exceed 10% milk powder in the total mix.

In addition to improving fat dispersion, emulsifiers facilitate the incorporation of air, confer a finer and smoother texture and consistency, and improve melt property.

The lecithin contained in egg yolks is also an excellent emulsifier. Three egg yolks in a kilo of mix are enough to make the emulsion without the need for another agent. Before it was the only known emulsifier. Each egg yolk weighs about 20 grams. With 2 egg yolks, that is 40 grams in a kilo of mix, that is, 4%, the regulations authorize us to call this ice cream "Mantecado". Naturally, due to its characteristic flavor and color, we will limit ourselves to using egg yolks in specific yolk-based ice creams such as vanilla, Catalan cream, biscuit ... and also in the production of cream ice cream with some liqueurs and sweet wine.

Just as in the case of the egg yolk we see the advantages and applications, instead we think that the fresh egg white would have to be banished in the ice cream parlor. It does not bring anything good. When working cold, it is extremely dangerous due to its contribution of bacteria. In some European countries its use is prohibited. Being practically water, it does not contribute anything in terms of emulsifying or stabilizing power. All it does is inflate the texture of the ice cream with a feeling of emptiness.

Neutrals used in ice cream parlors have natural origins, such as seaweed, seeds, or plant exudates

So it refers to stabilizers for sorbets, are products that regulate the consistency of food. They hydrate when added to water. During the ice cream making process and especially in the ripening phase, all of its molecules dissolve, forming a network of hydrogen bonds throughout the liquid, reducing the mobility of the water that becomes viscous. This network of hydrogen is made up of tiny balls of air that in the butter maker, in the cooling phase, break and disperse in the ice cream. This means that, although the sorbets contain neither fat nor powdered milk, they can also incorporate air and, when well balanced, can have an overrun similar to those of creams.

In addition to increasing the viscosity and promoting the incorporation of air, stabilizers improve the body and texture of ice cream and its stability in storage.

For an adequate dosage of neutrals (emulsifiers and stabilizers) it is important to follow the manufacturer's information and guidelines. In any case, the quantities being very small, a rigorous weighing must be carried out. In order to facilitate a good dispersion, it is important before use to mix them carefully with a sufficient amount of sucrose.

Most of the neutrals break down and reach their maximum performance at a high temperature, around 82ºC. This temperature is reached in the pasteurization phase. Neutrals need an actuation time that ranges between 2 and 6 hours. This period of time is called the maturation phase.

Neutrals used in ice cream parlors have natural origins, such as seaweed, seeds, or plant exudates.


There are several contributions of sugars in ice cream, the most important are to provide sweetness (POD), control freezing temperature (PAC), provide texture, enhance aromas and prevent the formation of crystals.

It may interest you:  7 steps to bone a chicken

Each type of sugar has a sweetening power and its own antifreeze power.or. The reference for both the sweetening or relative sweetness power and, for, the antifreeze power is the base sugar, sucrose (value equal to 100).

It is important, for a good balance of the mix, to know these parameters and the contribution in solids of each of the sugars that intervene in the mix, in order to control the sweetness, the texture and the hardness of the ice cream.

Sweetening power (POD): The sweetening power of a sugar is its ability to provide sweetness. In a mix, for reasons that we will see in detail later, almost never a single sugar is involved if not the combination of two or more. Sometimes, for reasons of balancing the serving temperature, we have to vary the combination of sugars, but this should not be to the detriment of the sweetness point.

Antifreeze power (PAC): Sugars not only provide sweetness. If it were only that, at most they could be replaced by some artificial sweeteners, but they provide something more valuable for obtaining quality ice creams, which artificial sweeteners do not have: antifreeze power, that is, the power to retard and determine the point of water freezing.

The sugars in ice cream provide sweetness (POD), control freezing temperature (PAC), provide texture, enhance aromas and prevent the formation of crystals

Between two ice creams, exposed to the same cold temperature, the ice cream with more sugar is softer. But not all sugars have the same PAC.

Mastering the sugars, knowing each of its particularities, both sweetness and antifreeze power, managing them appropriately, gives us the possibility of balancing each and every one of the families of ice creams. In the families of liqueurs, which are strong antifreezes, we will use a combination of sugars with little CAP. Instead, in the family of chocolates, we will use sugars with high PAC knowing that the dark coverage and cocoa tend to harden.

Types of sugars

It is the most common of sugars, affordable and easy to use. By international agreement it receives a value of 100 both for its sweetening power (POD) and for its antifreeze power (PAC). It is the base sugar, the reference standard for all other sugars. It has the drawback of crystallizing at low temperature. Sucrose crystals are very hard and affect the texture of ice cream. So it is never used alone but in combination with other sugars that are anti-crystallizing. The replacement of 20% of sucrose by another anticrystallizing sugar is sufficient to prevent the inconvenience of crystallization.


Lactose is the sugar in milk, specifically powdered milk. It is the only sugar of animal origin. It is never used in its pure state but as an integral part of powdered milk that contains around 50%. It has the peculiarity of absorbing 10 times its weight of water. So too much lactose could result in "dry or" sandy ice cream. It has little sweetening power, 16, but it has the same CAP as sucrose, 100.

Sugars derived from corn
  • Dextrose. It is the sugar obtained from the complete transformation of corn. It is a sugar in its pure state and therefore only sugar. It comes in the form of a fine powder, it dissolves easily in cold water. Its POD is 70 and its PAC is 190. It has a very high antibacterial property, twice that of sucrose, which makes it recommended for use in fruit sorbets that are not pasteurized. Its low sweetness makes it advisable in ice creams with little dry matter such as fruit sorbets or infusions of aromatic herbs.
  • Atomized glucose. When dextrose loses its purity, some other element appears in its composition, such as starch, it is called glucose. If it looks like a thick paste it is called glucose syrup. If it is in the form of a dry fine powder, it is called atomized or dehydrated glucose. In ice cream parlor it is preferable to use atomized glucose, as its handling is easier. There is more than one glucose. That is why all glucoses carry the acronym DE (dextrose equivalent to) depending on the amount of dextrose they contain. The higher the percentage of DE, the higher your POD and PAC will be. The professional You can soften or harden an ice cream using one type or another.
  • maltodextrin. Below 20 DE we find a new name: Maltodextrin. They are practically starches, with little sweetening power, but they will be useful as thickeners in the family of ice cream with liqueurs.
  • Cornstarch. When the absence of dextrose is total, we arrive at what we know as corn starch.
  • Invert sugar. The process of heating water with sucrose by adding an acid and sodium bicarbonate, results in a sugar in a liquid state that has undergone an inversion and hence its name. Because of this inversion, the resulting sugar is half fructose and half dextrose. Its POD is 130 and its PAC 190. As it is a sugar sweeter than sucrose and has only 75% dry matter, its use is highly recommended, in mixtures with excess dry residues such as chocolate, hazelnut and other nuts. Its high CAP helps us to soften ice cream with a tendency to harden. It has anti-crystallizing property.
  • Fructose. As its name suggests, it is the sugar that is extracted from fruits. Its POD is 170 and its PAC is 190. Because of its metallic taste it is used exclusively in diet ice creams, due to its easy assimilation by the body without the need for prior metabolization and therefore without the need for insulin.
  • Honey. It is the most natural invert sugar that exists, since it is the bees that carry out the investment process and those that have taught us. It has the same properties as invert sugar. The characteristic flavor of honey forces us to use it on purpose, that is, when we want to make a specific ice cream with this taste.

Original article in: Know and Taste

I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"
Ingredients and factors to make ice cream in a restaurant