From Ice Cream Sixth Edition by Robert T. Marshall, H. Douglas Goff, and Richard W. Hartel:
“Ice cream is a complex food colloid embodied in a product the consumer associates with pure enjoyment. It is paradoxical that what can seem so simple is indeed so complex.”
And that about sums up Ice Cream 101, y’all. In a word…overwhelming. Leave it to me to select a food to sell that is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations. I was trying to get away from working for the man.
If I wait any longer to write about Ice Cream 101, I won’t, so here are my thoughts:
- “Ice cream” has a standard of identity defined by the federal government (so recipe development is not as simple as you might think, unless you are willing to sell something you have to call “frozen dairy product.”).
- The mix must be pasteurized (even if your dairy ingredients are pasteurized). Before the professor hammered this point home, he said, “now is when I shatter your dreams.” We were told 98% of ice cream shop owners purchase their mix and most of us sighed dejectedly.
Who knew ice cream could be such a pain in the ass?
This was hour one of a two-day course. Quite frankly, I tuned out a little the rest of that morning. I want to MAKE ice cream, not flavor and freeze somebody else’s mix.
- During the tasting lab, I ended up being quite attracted to the version of vanilla made with artificial sweetener instead of sugar. Oops. My taste buds must have been exhausted by then…
- A presentation on the business side of opening an ice cream shop likened the process to having a baby. Unfortunately, conception is the only part of pregnancy that sounds like any fun, and I worry the ice cream business might feel the same. The part of his talk that stuck with me most was the following off the cuff remark: “if I could get rid of all my staff and I could get rid of all my customers I would have the best business in the world. Just go down and make ice cream.” Uh-oh.
On the afternoon of day two, several batch freezer (basically a huge expensive ice cream maker) representatives hawked their wares. They demonstrated their machines and let us taste the ice cream. The moment I saw fresh ice cream extruding from the first machine, I was back on board. I wanted to remove the bucket from under the spout and replace it with my open mouth.
- I’m a very risk-averse person. I learned there is a lot I didn’t know about making ice cream. And I know even less about starting and running a business.
In the short term, I plan to make a lot of ice cream. We’ll see if it’s as much fun as I thought and whether my friends and family think it’s any good. My lovely husband ordered me a snazzy new ice cream maker for Valentine’s Day. Last weekend, I made my first batch of my signature flavor idea, basically ice cream that is supposed to taste like chocolate chip cookie dough (I threw in actual cookie dough for good measure). I couldn’t decide if I should share the full view or close-up, so you get both.