This article will take you through the process of ice cream manufacturing.
The manufacturing process can be divided into:
Ingredients are selected on the basis of desired formulation method, recipe, and are blended together to produce the ‘ice cream mix’. High speed blenders are used to incorporate powders for blending.
The mix thus formed is pasteurized. This is done to eliminate pathogenic bacteria present in the system. Pasteurization also plays the vital role of reducing the number of spoilage organisms and helps hydrate some essential components. Whey protein denaturation that occurs due to pasteurization gives ice cream a smoother body.
In this step the mix is homogenized which leads to the formulation of fat emulsion by breaking down fat globules found in milk or cream. For an ice cream mix, two stages of homogenization are used.
Clumping or clustering fat is reduced, producing a thinner, more rapidly whipped mix. Even melt-down is improved through homogenization.
Homogenization confers additional advantages of smoother and richer ice cream that increases it palatability along with improving resistance to melting.
This process should take place at pasteurizing temperature to enhance efficiency.
The mix is then aged overnight. This gives fat time to cool down and crystallize and for protein and polysaccharides to hydrate completely. Ageing improves whipping quality of the mix and enhances texture of ice cream. It also allows for increase in viscosity and membrane rearrangement. This process is performed in insulated tanks or silos.
5) Freezing and Packaging
After mix processing is done, the mix is drawn into a flavor tank where liquid flavors and colors are added. The mix then enters the dynamic freezing process in which water is frozen and air is whipped into the mix. Ice cream contains a significant amount of air which gives it its characteristic lightness. When ice cream is drawn with about half of its water, frozen, fruits, and nuts are added to the semi-frozen slurry which has a consistency similar to soft-serve ice cream.
Once the extra fruits, nuts etc have been added, ice cream is packaged and placed in a blast freezer at -30° to -40° C. Hardening involves static freezing of the packaged product in blast freezers. Freezing rate is required to be rapid hence freezing techniques are carried out at low temperatures.
Packaging takes place after this final step of ice cream manufacturing.
High quality and smooth ice cream manufacturing takes place when all these processes are carried out properly and using equipment from the best dairy equipment manufacturers.