For the specialty dessert connoisseur the difference between a top-notch creation and an average one can be miles apart. Although the ingredients, base, recipe, process and equipment play a critical role in the final result, there’s one product category in particular that’s often misunderstood and forgotten that can make all the difference – texture improvers. Like the name indicates, these products enhance the texture of frozen desserts.
An ar tisanal gelato, sorbetto or ice cream, when made properly, can be one of the finest desserts you can taste on the face of the earth. By the same token, bad frozen desserts are also very easy to spot and even more common to come across. Most of the time, it’s the product’s texture that gives the defect away. If you currently offer frozen desserts in your shop, it’s imperative to develop a deep understanding of the product itself in order to perfect it. The perfect cup of gelato, ice cream or sorbetto is par t ar t and par t science – science in which texture improvers play a critical role.
Depending on the flavor and recipe, there are a few options that will help with the texture. By controlling the texture in recipes, you can keep at bay the dreaded crystallization that gives customers an uncomfortable brain freeze, extend the shelf-life after production and provide a soft creamy body. With the assistance of PreGel’s Professional Training Center (TC) chefs, here are some key texture improvers to understand:
Fibraplus translates to more fiber or more solids. Fibraplus consists of alimentary fibers and fructose. It provides solids to recipes because fiber is an actual solid piece of vegetable tissue, but very small in scale
when looking at powdered products. In gelato recipes, these solids help interfere with water molecules and prevent them from sticking together to create large ice crystals. By evenly dispersing the liquids in the gelato, a smoother more creamy texture results.
A high-quality sorbetto requires the perfect balance of liquids and solids.When making a sorbetto using fresh fruit exclusively, it may prove challenging to achieve balance. The TC explains that PreGel’s Fibraplus supplies essential solids to fruit sorbetto, especially when it is made with a fresh fruit that has a high liquid composition. For example, a sorbetto produced with fresh watermelon will lack solids for a properly balanced recipe, since watermelons are approximately 93% liquid and 7% solids.
Other examples of fruit with high liquid composition are oranges, lemons and mandarins. PreGel’s Fibraplus can be employed to provide the much-needed missing solids and improve the texture, providing a creamier body. Another byproduct of a recipe with low solids – especially when only fresh fruit is used – is a sandy and compact finished product. By bringing up the level of solids in the recipe with Fibraplus, the sorbetto’s structure will be creamier and warmer to the palate.
“Piu” in Italian means more and “Cremoso” means creamy, literally. So you get the picture, if you want to achieve a creamier gelato, Piucremoso is a great alternative. This product was developed as a cream substitute in gelato recipes, and although it isn’t powder cream, it does provide the same benefits in its use in addition to being shelf-stable. Piucremoso is composed of coconut fat, skimmed milk powder, some emulsifiers and salt.
The shelf-stable product is an alternative for certain shops with cold storage restrictions and can lower production costs and increase convenience for the same reason. Piucremoso’s main function is to increase the solid’s percentage in a recipe, resulting in a smoother gelato which makes for a superior scoop.
Vellutina® is definitively the rock star of the texture improvers. Part emulsifier, part sorbitol, this product is key if you want to achieve the best texture and extend the shelf-life of the product.The science behind Vellutina® is quite simple – you only need to grasp the relationship between water and oils (we’ll refer to them as fats) to understand its functionality. Water and fats are two substances that separate naturally, and both are found in your gelato. So, what happens to water inside the gelato? It separates from the fats, as it does naturally, groups together and freezes to produce gelato’s number one texture offender: ice crystals.
This is where the emulsifier portion of the Vellutina® comes into the picture to save the day. Vellutina® prevents crystallization by bonding fats and liquids together – stopping water molecules from grouping together and spreading the liquids evenly throughout the gelato as a result.This translates to a uniform and smooth texture because of the lack of water crystals. Eventually, the water will always find a way to group together and make ice crystals, but by including Vellutina® in your recipe this process will be delayed significantly, resulting in a much longer shelf-life in the showcase.
Furthermore,Vellutina® is also a sorbitol which reduces the product’s freezing point. As a result gelato remains soft under lower temperatures, making it easier to work with and serve. Without Vellutina®, gelato will become too hard.This is especially important when a nut paste recipe. Nut pastes have nut oils in them, which harden when frozen. The sorbitol helps soften the overall gelato so it does not get so hard from the nut oil. The emulsifier in Vellutina® evenly disperses the fat and water, providing a creamier smoother texture.
In sorbet, there is a slightly higher water content because water is used in the recipe instead of milk (milk is not 100% water – the little bit of fat and solids in milk add to the creamy soft texture of standard gelato). In a sorbetto, the lack of extra fat and solids from milk results in a sorbetto freezing a little firmer. Vellutina® helps in this regard by providing a sugar alcohol (sorbitol) to lower the freezing point of the water.
Texture improvers are the ideal ingredient solutions to achieve the best possible gelato, ice cream and sorbetto.These products not only extend the product’s shelf-life, they also perfect flavor and texture allowing customers to delight in one of the best treats they have evertasted–acreamy,warmtothepalateandflavorful scoop of gelato. Evaluate your current offerings and perfect them with these solutions to offer a topnotch culinary experience.