How to make Gelato and the origins of this quintessential Italian dessert are some of the most frequent questions people ask. The Gelato is a critical part of the Italian cuisine, it has also become incredibly popular all over the globe and for good reason: Soft, spongy and amazingly delicious, it’s hard to not see a “cono di gelato” around summer in all cities in dozens of countries. The world is in love with it and it’s no wonder they want to learn how to make it themselves. Today we will show you:
- Gelato vs. Ice Cream
- Gelato Recipe
- How to make Gelato without a machine
- How to make Gelato professionally
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Gelato vs. Ice Cream
Gelato, as you probably already know, is a completely different creature from ice cream. Obviously, they both are iced desserts, and they will both help you cool off during those hot summer days. And, in some cases, ice cream tastes quite similar to Gelato. The flavoring is virtually the same: you get the all too common vanilla and chocolate flavors, but also the fruity ones.
But Gelato has a special savoriness which makes it almost perfect. It’s both amazingly creamy, soft fluffy, but also incredibly light. So what makes Gelato so different?
Gelato (which means “frozen” in Italian) can be directly translated into English as ice cream, but there’s a slight undertone… Gelato is not quite ice cream. You can consider it a type of ice cream, but its recipe is quite distinct. Firstly, Gelato has more milk, but less fat than normal ice cream. Also, some Gelato recipes don’t include eggs at all, making this Italian dessert far lighter than its American counterpart. Secondly, Gelato is also prepared quite differently: the mixture is churned at a much slower rate, making it denser than ice cream. This is why Gelato is creamier and fluffier, but lighter than ice cream.
Unlike normal ice cream, Gelato is much easier to make at home. You won’t need eggs and the overall process is simpler. You will also use less cream than in conventional ice cream, but more milk, which should be whole fat, as well.
Let’s take a look at the recipe:
The ingredients are for ¼ gallon of gelato (about 1 liter) are:
- 22 oz. whole milk (min 3.25% fat content)
- 4 oz. double cream
- 6.5 oz. refined sugar
- 1.5 oz. skimmed milk powder
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- flavoring – use either extracts, chocolate chips or raw/frozen fruit
As for tools, you’ll need an ice cream machine (a simple one should be OK), a hand blender and a probe thermometer. If you want to use a pre-freeze ice cream machine, keep in mind to put the freezer bowl in the freezer overnight (for at least 12 hours).
How to make Gelato without a machine, at home?
We always recommend to have a machine to make Gelato. However, this delicious cold dessert can me made in your home kitchen. Just make sure you have the required ingredients and tools (as listed above). Obviously, you’ll need common kitchen utensils and a stove, but that’s expected. Let’s go over the process step by step:
- Place the cream and milk in a large saucepan on the stove and set it on medium heat. As soon as it starts getting warmer, add the sugar, the skimmed milk powder and the cornflour in the measuring jug. Mix these ingredients well.
- Use the probe thermometer to measure the milk’s temperature. As soon as it reads 104F or over, add the dry ingredients mixture. Whisk vigorously and stir with a spatula until the thermometer reads 185F.
- Create an ice bath in your kitchen sink by filling it with ice and very cold water. Plunge the hot saucepan into the ice bath and continue to stir slowly. Use the thermometer to read the temperature – you should bring it to 50F in about 30 minutes.
- When the mixture is cooled, place it in a sealed container and put in a fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably 8 hours).
- After refrigeration is complete, you can start churning the mixture into Gelato. Pass the cooled liquid through a fine sieve.
- Use the hand blender on it for 3 to 4 minutes. This is the ideal moment to add flavoring extracts or berries.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn until it’s frozen.
- Your Gelato is ready to eat! Place it in a sealed container and keep it in the freezer. You can eat it within a month.
How to make Gelato professionally and run a business?
Making gelato professionally is a little different than making it at home. You’ll need special equipment for the cooling process, as well as professional mixers. The ingredients, however, are almost the same.
- Mixing ingredients: milk, cream, fruit, and sugar is all mixed together. Then, add the bases, such as milk powder, sugar or alternatives to sugar, as well as stabilizers and emulsifiers. This process, known as balancing, is critical. You’ll need to use high-quality ingredients and flavors. Make sure you have good suppliers for your fructose, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and flavors.
- Pasteurize the mixture and leave it to rest for 4 hours.
- Add other flavors or pastes, as needed. Pastes are typical flavors for how to make Gelato: you can choose from pistachio, cashew, pine nuts, hazelnut pastes. You can also use concentrated fruit jams for flavoring.
- Put the mixture into a professional batch freezer for about 10 minutes. After this, put it into the display cabinet. The dessert is ready to be served!
So, you want to turn your passion for Gelato into a business?
Starting a gelato business is fairly easy, as long as you get the essentials right. There are multiple online resources to help you out: courses, tutorials, and guides. Most of those courses won’t include hands-on experience, so if you really want to better understand the process, it is always recommended to take some on-site courses with a re-known Gelato School. They not only will teach you all the specific details for Gelato making, but they will include tours suppliers where to acquire equipment.
With an average price of just a few hundred euros for the course and some plane tickets, your trip to Spain or Italy for some serious Gelato education can become in essence and very rich and fun experience.
You will have to buy your own machines, equipment and display cabinets. Many of these items are made by Italian manufacturers, which can be found at ACOMAG* – The National Association of Machinery, Fixtures and Fitting Manufacturers for Gelato. Obviously, you’ll have to find a good supplier for quality cones, wafers, and tubs. Finally, you can pick any flavor you like, as there are thousands, but make sure you get basic ones right.