How to temper your ice cream or gelato?

Is your ice cream or gelato like concrete when it comes out of your storage freezer?

How to temper your ice cream or gelato?

It’s a common problem with both a simple cause and solution… It’s all about temperature!

When you make your own gelato from scratch, it’s dispensed from a batch freezer at approximately -8°C where it is soft and pliable resembling the texture of soft serve. You can serve it at this temperature as long as you’re going to sell it all quite quickly as it will begin to sag and look a little sorry for itself if you don’t shock freeze it.

Most operators will put their freshly churned gelato into either a blast freezer or really good storage freezer to drop the temperature of the product as quickly as possible. This helps stabilise the product ensuring quality and shelf life. If you store your gelato for a period of time the colder the better is the rule as this helps prevent ice crystal formation within the product. Storing your product at really low temperatures will make it go incredibly hard.

How to temper your ice cream or gelato?Gelato and ice cream is typically served from a gelato display cabinet at around -14/-16ºC (this really depends on your product/recipe). At these temperatures the product is firm enough to hold its shape and maintain it’s appealing appearance but is soft enough to scoop or paddle into tubs or on to cones. This is usually 2-6ºC, if not more, ‘warmer’ than the average storage freezer.

The problem comes when you have to replace one of your display tubs with one from the storage freezer…

The difference in temperature, albeit 4 or 5 degrees, is enough to make the product hard to scoop or paddle which makes serving tough. The time it takes to ‘warm up’ is also impractical. What you need is a tempering cabinet.

What’s a tempering cabinet?

A tempering cabinet is simply another storage freezer, the difference being this one is set to operate at the same temperature as your display cabinet. Having a storage cabinet that’s operating at the same temperature as your display offers a couple of advantages:

How to temper your ice cream or gelato?It will help you with stock rotation, ensuring that you serve perfect gelato all of the time – you have one Napoli in your display cabinet which you serve from. You have another in the tempering cabinet which is slowly ‘warming up’ to serving temperature so when you run out of the display Napoli, you have one in perfect condition ready to go! You then replace the one in the tempering cabinet with one from the deep freeze and the process repeats…

It will help with shelf life – display cabinets are great at showing off your amazing creations but they’re not great at preserving them for any great length of time. In a perfect world, you would cover all of your Napolis and remove them from the display cabinet and store them in a proper freezer. This will help increase the serving life of your product and will ensure that the quality is maintained for as long as possible. Ice cream and gelato doesn’t like changes in temperature, having a tempering cabinet will ensure a stable environment is maintained once those Napolis have been chosen for serving. Removing the gelato from your display every night will also allow you to turn the display off which will let it completely defrost, as ‘icing up’ is a common problem in display cabinets. This will also allow you to keep your display cabinet impeccably clean as there’s nothing more unappetising than a dirty dipping cabinet!

How to temper your ice cream or gelato?

ISA Labor

The ISA Labor storage cabinet is the ideal solution for ice cream and gelato parlours, it’s unique design allow it to store 6 Napolis on each shelf, which similar sized upright freezer cabinets from other manufacturers cannot do. This give the ISA Labor the ability to hold up to 66 standard 5 litre Napoli Containers. The static freezing process ensure a relentless ‘cold’ is maintained and the cabinet only defrosts when you want it to with the manual defrost controls. The easy to use digital controls allows you to set the cabinet temperature to whatever you want it to be; -25ºC for storage or -15ºC for tempering, it’s entirely up to you!


For more information on ISA Gelato Storage Solutions,

Call the Taylor UK Sales Office FREE – 0800 838 896

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