What is gelato?
What exactly is gelato? Gelato is a frozen dessert that originates from Italy and is known for its intense flavors, artisan presentation and nutritious value. While considered somewhat similar to ice cream, the ingredients, production, flavoring, presentation, nutrition and texture all differentiate it.
Gelato is a natural product - the raw ingredients include milk (or water), sugar (and in some cases fruit). There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors and gelato is lower in milk fat and has fewer calories than ice cream. gelato also contains a good amount of protein as well, because of the nutritious value and variety of flavors, gelato can also serve as a meal replacement.
How Gelato is made?
The raw ingredients, milk (or water) and sugar are combined with a blend of emulsifiers (such as mono- and di-glycerides), stabilizers (such as guar gum or locust bean gum) and other natural ingredients used in order to make the highest quality gelato.
There are two main ways to make this delicious, Italian frozen dessert - hot process and cold process. Neither process is better than the other - they both produce a great product - it just gives the gelato maker different options to chose from.
Hot Process combines milk (or water), sugar and PreGel's Hot Process base. All ingredients are carefully weighed and blended. The dry mixture is then added to the liquid and heated.
Once this process is complete (anywhere from 15-45 minutes depending on the machine and size of the batch), measured amounts of the liquid base are poured into a bucket. Now comes the flavor - the flavor paste (Traditional Paste or Fortefrutto®, PreGel's brand of concentrated fruit flavor) is weighed according to the recipe specifications and mixed with a commercial blender.
Next is batching, where the mix is poured into the batch freezer. Here, the mix is quickly frozen while being stirred to incorporate air to produce and control formation of small ice crystals that are necessary for a smooth and creamy texture, and a satisfactory overrun (percentage of air).
The product is now in a frozen state and extracted into a cold pan; any optional Arabeschi® (different fillings that add texture) or other toppings can be added for a whole new flavor perception. This is a critical moment for gelato makers as this is also where artisanal elements are added to gelato so that it is truly an eye-catching display. The pan can then be placed in the blast freezer (optional) or it is ready for the display case.
Cold Process combines milk (or water), sugar and PreGel's Cold Process base. With Cold Process, there is no heating of liquids. The dry ingredients are weighed according to the recipe, blended together and combined with milk or water. The flavor paste (Traditional Paste or Fortefrutto®, PreGel's brand of concentrated fruit flavor) is weighed and added to the liquid, and then everything is mixed with a commercial blender and poured into the batch freezer.
The finished product is now in a frozen state and extracted into a cold pan. As with the Hot Process, Arabeschi® or toppings can be added for decoration or additional flavoring. The gelato is placed in the blast freezer (optional) and then in the display case where gelato makers present the artisanal elements of gelato.
Super Sprint Process
Within the Cold Process is the Super Sprint Process, which only requires a liquid and one bag of Super Sprint base. The process is for the gelato provider who produces a wide range of flavors in a very short time as the process takes little time to produce product and offers consistency. As with the Cold Process, everything is mixed with a commercial blender and poured into the batch freezer, and so forth. While the process is streamlined, it leaves little room for flexibility.
Depending on the adventurous nature of the gelato artist, a variety of flavors can be created. Some people mash a freshly baked pie and add that to a small bucket in the machine, so the gelato gets all of the flavor from the pie without making it "chunky." The sky's the limit on flavor potential and PreGel has a collection of unique recipes for all the tastes and flavors you crave!
The finished product
Typically, stores have anywhere from eight to 36 flavors in their display case, depending on the size of the store. The best gelato is made fresh daily, so the Gelato shop owner is making gelato throughout the day as flavors run out. Often times, the gelato is garnished with wafers, fruit or chocolate shavings, making it even more pleasing to the eye.
Once the gelato is ready to serve, the gelato artist uses a spatula, scrapes the gelato into a small cup and presents the customer with a small, flat spoon to enjoy. Bon appetite!
For even more information on gelato, check out WhyGelato.com