Written by: J. Vigotsky
Since we’re now a month into spring, it won’t be long before seasonal ice cream shops open for the warmer, summer months. But ice cream parlors today aren’t what they used to be. Some specialize in products like gelato or frozen yogurts, while others strive to go above and beyond by offering a full gauntlet that also includes soft serve and hard ice cream. This post will explore each of these four frozen treats and explain the differences between them.
Hard Ice Cream
Thick and full of fat, hard ice cream is usually made from a combination of milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks. The classic summer-time treat comes in a wide range of flavors, satisfying every type of sweet tooth. Baskin Robbins was once famous for offering 31 unique flavors, but advancements in ice cream technology have allowed modern ice cream shops to far surpass that number.
Hard ice cream can be easily and safely stored in ice cream dipping cabinets and commercial chest freezers. Cabinets and freezers vary significantly in size, enabling foodservice owners to find the perfect unit for their unique establishment. For best results, it’s recommended that traditional ice cream is served at a temperature between 0°F and 6°F.
This Italian treat is made mostly of milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings. This quality means gelato weighs more than ice cream, so servings of the Italian treat are usually smaller than that of ice cream. To achieve perfect gelato consistency, you’ll want to serve cups at 10°F. If gelato is served at a colder temperature than that, there’s a chance it will be too frozen and won’t have that unique soft consistency that sweet tooths crave.
Featuring between 3%-8% milkfat as opposed to traditional ice cream that has 14%-18% milkfat, gelato also has less air than ice a cream. As a result, the Italian treat has distinct richness and requires less flavoring and added sugar to achieve its desired taste. The dessert comes in dozens of flavors and looks perfect on display, helping to prompt countless impulse purchases. Gelato is often served by the scoop, and customers frequently combine two or more different flavors to make their own personalized creation.
While a gelato dipping cabinet might look similar to an ice cream dipping, it’s not. Gelato dipping cabinets are specifically designed to hold gelato. Investing in the wrong type of cabinet can result in you serving a product that’s not up to par. Always be sure to research cabinets beforehand so you know exactly what you’re getting..
Soft Serve Ice Cream
Perhaps the standard for cooling off in the summer heat, soft serve ice cream is just as delicious whether in a cup, cone, or between two ends of a cookie sandwich. Usually offered as chocoloate or vanilla, soft serve also comes in more exotic flavors and is best enjoyed at a temperature between 10°F-20°F. Most soft serve machines enable users to choose between two individual flavors or go with a twist option. With less milk fat than traditional ice cream, soft serve features more air than its counterpart and has a texture that’s predictably soft, creamy, and delicate.
Also known as Fro-Yo, frozen yogurt is exactly what it sounds like. Yogurt is mixed with milk, cream, sweetener, and sometimes even live cultures that can aid in digestion then served at a temperature between 17°F-19°F via a soft serve machine. Fro-yo mixes vary in regards to whether they utilize pure fruit sugar or cane sugar, and consequently the ideal serving temperature of frozen yogurt differs on a case-by-case basis. Always be sure to read the label on your frozen yogurt mix before serving.
Since frozen yogurt does not contain cream, the frozen dessert has significantly less fat content than traditional ice cream. However, toppings are extremely popular among customers when it comes to frozen yogurt. By adding sauces, fruits, and other toppings atop cups of fro-yo, the delicious treats can quickly approach the fat level of a regular cup of ice cream.