If you wanted to make a small amount of ice cream at home, you can use an ice cream maker or other traditional method. However, so many people like to eat Yarde Farm’s ice cream that we now need to make thousands of litres a day to keep up with demand!
Our ice cream factory in Plymouth, Devon has larger equipment and uses different methods than you would at home. Each ice cream company makes their products slightly differently, but it generally works something like this:
1) Weighing and Mixing: First step is to look at the recipe for the flavour to be made. The ingredients for the ice cream base mix are then weighed out and blended together. These ingredients are things like:
- Milk, Cream, Butter: The proportion of these sort of ingredients to be used in the recipe affects the smoothness, palatability, texture, colour and nutritional value of the ice cream (protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals). Yarde Farm Premium ice creams contain a high percentage of milk fat for that lovely, luxurious, rich and creamy taste.
- Sweeteners: Sugars give ice cream its characteristic sweetness and also lower the freezing point of the mixture. This means the ice cream isn’t frozen solid at serving temperature and is easier to scoop and eat.
- Stabilisers: Made of plant derivatives, these are used in small amounts to prevent the formation of large ice crystals. They help to ensure the ice cream maintains a smooth consistency.
- Emulsifiers: Used in small amounts, emulsifiers encourage the stabilisation of microscopic air bubbles that have been churned into the mixture, by distributing fat evenly. This helps to give a smooth and creamy texture to the ice cream. Without the correct level of emulsifiers, ice cream can be unstable, melt more easily and become grainy, coarse or lumpy in texture. Getting the right balance of protein and emulsifiers is all part of the art of ice cream making!
2) Pasteurisation: The mixture is then pasteurised by heating to a high temperature for a set period of time to kill off any harmful bacteria.
3) Homogenisation: The mixture is filtered and goes through a homogeniser which breaks up the fat globules in the milk or cream and ensures the ingredients are blended evenly. This means the ice cream’s texture will be smoother and more stable.
4) Rapid Cooling: The mixture is then cooled down very quickly from over 70°C to below 4°C. This is to ensure the mixture is in the temperature zone that bacteria like to grow in for as little time as possible, keeping it safe.
5) Ageing: The mixture is then left for at least four hours (we leave ours overnight), whilst being stirred gently. This lets the fat cool and form into crystals and allows the proteins which stabilise the mixture the time they need to hydrate. This step contributes to the smoothness of the end product.
6) Freezing and Flavours: This is the exciting part where the mixture is partially frozen by a continuous freezer machine which whips air into it at the same time (without air the ice cream would end up as a solid lump!) Flavours such as fruit purees, ripples and bulkier ingredients are added to the mixture at this stage. At Yarde Farm we add tasty inclusions such as meringue pieces, rum-soaked raisins and honeycomb pieces through a fruit feeder as well as scooping them in to tubs by hand. Our hand-made products allow our team of experts to ensure that each tub is filled with the care and attention it deserves - and gives each tub a personality of its own!
7) Storage: With the lid firmly on, the tubs of ice cream are carried into a blast freezer which is kept under -25°C where the ice cream quickly hardens up. It is later moved to a storage freezer where it waits for the short time until it is sold and eaten by a lucky person – MAYBE YOU?!