Tools of the Trade – Gelato & Soft Serve
1. Plastic Buckets/Cambro®
Look for buckets or containers that are a durable plastic that will not crack or break. Be sure the size is appropriate for your recipes—usually about 5 quarts for a standard gelato recipe (1 pan), and up to 12 quarts for larger soft serve batches.
2. Digital Scale
Ensure that the scale has a large enough capacity for your recipe—generally 6kg maximum is sufficient, though 10kg are available for larger operations. Calibrate your scale regularly using certified weights or service with a scale company.
3. Immersion Blender
This is an efficient blender that quickly ensures your ingredients are completely blended and that your liquid mix is well emulsified. While industrial sizes are available, a smaller blender may be sufficient for your operations.
4. Gelato Pans & Metal Spatulas
Pans are available in various shapes and sizes – choose those that fit your display case. Metal spade-type spatulas are ideal for extraction.
5. Serving Cups
In the case of soft serve when pans are not used, a high-quality, creatively designed cup can make a unique statement to your customers.
Tools of the Trade – Pastry
1. Rubber Spatulas
Keeping a good number of these, in various sizes, will prove useful in nearly every pastry recipe. It is a good idea to make sure the rubber/silicon is heat-proof.
The whisk is another essential pastry tool — for everything from whisking eggs or cream to combining dry ingredients, you will want a few of these in your kitchen.
Known by various names as their shape, size and mesh fineness vary, these have many functions. For example, a larger mesh may be used to sift dry ingredients while a very fine mesh is ideal for straining out fruit seeds or smoothing a custard.
4. Piping Bags & Tips
Whether decorating desserts, piping mousse, filling baking pans or performing many other pastry tasks, piping bags ensure clean and neat work. While reusable bags may be cost-effective, they can be difficult to clean, making disposable bags convenient. Tips allow you to customize your work and show off your creativity.
5. Microplane® Graters
Great for zesting citrus, grating spices, making chocolate shavings and more, Microplane® graters are an efficient and creative pastry tool.
These tools are widely available at your local kitchen and/or restaurant supply stores, and also at a variety of online retailers.
Equipment – Gelato & Soft Serve
1. Batch Freezer
The main distinction between batch freezers is whether or not you will Hot Process your gelato liquid mix prior to freezing. Batch freezers are available as Hot/Cold Process or just Cold Process in various sizes.
2. Soft Serve Machine
Soft serve machines may be gravity-fed or pump-fed, both achieving the same end result. You may select single or double flavors, as well as tabletop models, depending on your operation.
3. Heat-Treatment Machine
This piece of equipment allows you to heat-treat (and hold) a large quantity of liquid base at one time, to be later flavored and frozen. The most common sizes are 40, 60 and 120 liters.
4. Blast Freezer
In the case of gelato production, blast freezing the finished gelato prior to placing it in a display case ensures good texture and increases shelf life.
5. Display Case
The best way to show off your gelato creations and tempt your customers, display cases range in pan sizes from very small (about 4 pans) to as many as 24 pans.
Equipment – Pastry
The ideal oven type for most pastry production is convection—the movement of hot air allows for controlled and efficient baking.
The addition of a microwave to your kitchen is a small, inexpensive way to save time with a variety of pastry applications.
3. Induction Burner
While any type of range or cooktop would technically suffice, induction burners are extremely fast, efficient and safe heat sources that leave a small footprint in your kitchen.
4. Blast Freezer
While a regular freezer may suffice for smaller operations, the blast freezer is an invaluable time-saver during many pastry projects.
A staple in your kitchen, it is crucial to anticipate your production needs in order to ensure that you purchase units that will be large enough to accommodate your raw materials and finished products.
For more information on purchasing any of the above equipment, visit your local appliance centers, online vendors and/or brand-specific representatives in your area.