It may be called ‘Italian ice cream, but gelato (authentic gelato) is made with less air. It is denser and has a more intense fruit flavor (when fresh fruit is used). Did you know there are also no regulations for making Italian gelato; however, there are regulations on ice cream? In the U.S., this may make it difficult to find a gelato company (which produces high quality, authentic gelato).
Like ice cream, the amount of butterfat added to gelato can vary from each individual gelato company. Did you know that Italy is the only country that requires gelato makers to use a minimum of 3.5 percent butterfat in their Italian gelato? This is only a minimum and many Italian gelato makers add almost as much butterfat as is needed to make ice cream.
Do not say ‘Italian ice cream’ to the Italians, because Italian gelato is not ‘Italian ice cream.’ It’s Italian gelato, which is not the same as ice cream. In Italy, gelato making is serious business and a street vendor selling the cool dessert outnumbers a commercial gelato company selling the frosty treat, 5,000 to 500.
How does any gelato company make authentic gelato?
Do you use a hot or a cold process to make great tasting gelato? Gone are the days when Italian gelato makers used the old-fashioned method to make gelato from milk, eggs, and sugar. They also were limited to four or five traditional, authentic gelato flavors. These days a gelato company may use what is called a “hot process” to make gelato. A pasteurizer is used to heat gelato ingredients up to 85 degrees Celsius for five seconds. Then, the temperature is dropped to 5 Celsius. Controlling the process allows the emulsifiers and stabilizers to work properly and this safely makes the mixture safe to eat.
However, gelato makers may also use a cold process. This process started in the 1980s as a way to make Italian gelato making easier. Many gelato makers use this process to make authentic gelato flavors. In this process, raw ingredients are mixed with a product base and flavor, and placed directly into a batch freezer. There is no need for a pasteurizer, because ingredients are already microbiologically safe.
The newest method of making this “Italian ice cream” is called the sprint process. Hot milk is added to a bag or mixture that already includes the gelato flavors, stabilizers, and pasteurizers. Then, this dessert is poured directly into a freezer. While this produces the most consistent texture, it leaves little room to experiment with flavors. The last met method may be popular with a number of gelato shop owners who serve “Italian ice cream.” This is why there may be an increase among gelato shop owners, whose gelato company, to use this process. It may also be the fastest way to produce quality gelato; hence, this process is called the sprint method.