Ever wonder how ice cream is made? Ice cream is one of the most popular desserts in America. It is a staple in most households. The work that goes into making large amounts of this delicious frozen treat is quite extensive and fascinating.
The very first step to making ice cream is blending together all of the ingredients. Large productions of ice cream will require the milk to arrive straight from local dairy farms. So first, the milk is pumped into large storage silos, which are temped at thirty-six degrees. Then, a premeasured amount of milk is pumped into a blender along with eggs, sugar, and other additives and mixed for six to eight minutes.
Once blending is complete, the mixture is then moved to a machine used to pasteurize. This usually includes a series of stainless steel plates and water that is a hundred eighty-two degrees. The milk mixture is piped into one side while the hot water is piped on the other. Once the mixture reaches a hundred eighty degrees, the bacteria are effectively killed, and the next step can begin.
The next step is for the hot mixture to be pushed through a small opening into the homogenizer, which is basically a high-pressure piston pump. This breaks down fat particles and prohibits any separation from the mixture. Once it is successfully transferred into the homogenizer, the hot mixture is blended more by being drawn into the pump cylinder on a down stroke and then forced back by an upstroke.
After that process, it is time to pipe the mixture back into the pasteurizer, where water temped at thirty-four degrees flows into one side of the stainless steel plates and the mixture on the other side. This is how the mixture is cooled, so the ingredients thoroughly blend together.
It is then time to flavor the ice cream. After cooling, the mixture is pumped into various stainless steel vats, and different flavors are piped into the vats and blended thoroughly.
Once the ice cream is flavored, it is time to freeze it. The flavored mixtures are pumped into powerful freezers that can freeze up to seven hundred gallons per hour since the temperature is set at negative forty degrees, and liquid ammonia is used as a freezing aid. As the ice cream is freezing, air is added to the mixture to ensure a soft-serve consistency.
If a specific flavor being made includes chunks of fruit or cookie pieces, that needs to be added next. The now frozen mixture is pumped into a fruit feeding, and the chunks are loaded into a hopper at the top. A smaller hopper is fitted with a starwheel and put at the front of the feeder. Then, an auger on the bottom of the machine rotates these hoppers, so the chunks drop into the starwheel in a premeasured amount. As the mixture moves through the feeder, more chunks are added, and everything moves to a blender so everything is evenly distributed.
One of the final steps in the process is packaging the mixture. An automatic matching drops a pre-determined amount into ice cream cups with lids and is then pushed onto a conveyer belt. The cartons move along under an inkjet that will paint an expiration date and product code on each individual container. Afterward, they get covered in plastic wrap and are put through a heat tunnel so the plastic can shrink to the container.
After all, the last step is to ensure the ice cream reaches a temperature of negative ten degrees. Once that happens, the cartons are stored in a refrigerated warehouse until they are ready to be shipped out.