How to choose the right equipment: pros and cons of combined machinery in gelato shops

Equipment in gelato parlors is always an interesting topic, because is also about the process of preparing recipes .

Many of you will know the distinction between the following two production system concepts:

  1. Traditional system (batch freezer and pasteurizer)
  2. Combined system (unique machine with both functions)

Today I’ll talk about the combined method ! This method requires a direct approach to the recipe: the recipes will have to be individually balanced.

How a combined machine works

The first thing to note is the type of machine, consisting of two separate cylinders which are connected (depending on the company) by an internal or external channel. In my experience I prefer the option with the internal channel because the transfer is faster , the machine is more compact and easier to clean and there is no risk to burn yourself!

A cylinder has the function of heating and bringing the mixture to the correct temperature . Depending on the type of stabilizers used, it is possible to heat at 65 ° C or 85 ° C and as soon as the desired temperature is reached , the mixture passes , through the manual opening of the valve separating the cylinders, in the cooling cylinder . Then begins the abatement of the temperature until the extraction which generally occurs between -8 and -11 ° C.

Let’s cut off the bull’s head and look at what are pros and cons of the combined gelato production method.

Advantages and disadvantages of combined ice cream machines

Benefits :
  • Personalization of taste ! In fact, in this way we are going to make a unique and personal gelato that, if balanced correctly and made with quality ingredients ( #nosemilavorati ), allows you to make a difference
  • We can differentiate the sweetness of each single recipe, properly balance fats and, depending on the characterizing ingredient, we can reduce milk fats according to the recipe (think about example of a hazelnut)
  • Better preservation over time ! The thermal shock blocks the fats with water and the texture will be smoother and creamier. Always for this effect the flavors will be more defined and more accentuated
  • Best hygienic-sanitary quality ! Also for the thermal shock that occurs on average in 6 minutes, the bacterial charge is much lower than the use of pasteurizer and batch freezer.
  • Better management of raw materials and production of small quantities ! Think of a day of rain or bad weather: with this machine we can make minimum production based on the capacity of the machine that can range from 2 liters to 4 liters.
  • Fast processing cycle ! In fact, with the double cylinder, the combined batch freezer can work in sequence without having pauses, except for the inevitable washings! So the trick is to create a HOC sequence to maximize machine performance.
  • Less incorporation of air (overrun) due to the lack of maturation of the mixture. This is around 5-10% depending on the batch freezer and above all the balancing of the mixture.
  • More weighs . Inevitably, each recipe being a story in itself, this implies more weight than the traditional method with batch freezer and pasteurizer.
  • More time for gelato production . With the combined machine the gelato is ready in 6 minutes; with the traditional method, starting from a mixture that is already at 4 ° C and must only be whipped, time is halved.

Focus: Production with multi-function machines

There is also another type of combined machine called multifunction machine . It is composed of a single cylinder that heats and cools .

This type of machine has been designed more for restaurants than for gelato parlors . In fact they have a lot of features (once I saw a demonstration where a mushroom risotto was made !!!).

They are not suitable for implementing the combined production process, in fact with a single cylinder the average time to extract an gelato is around to 20 minutes .. An infinity!

In their defense they may be more suitable for confectioners or restaurateurs who want to take advantage of other functions , but if you make the gelato well done you will not have time to think about anything else!

Buying such a machine in my opinion is a big mistake in gelato shops . You will never use it for all its functions and it is very slow in the production of gelato. On the other hand, with a single cylinder it could not be otherwise! Furthermore water and electricity consumption is higher and the purchase price is very high .

My choice

In conclusion, according to my experience and according to my way of thinking and making gelato, with the combined machinery I can have gelato as I wish, working and refining the recipe like a chef’s dish ! And, if you get to talk about very high productions (in my Chiccheria gelato shop we get to produce about 300kg a day in about 7 hours) it’s all tied to a correct organization and a sequence of tastes very well studied.