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What Is the Difference Between an Ice Cream Maker and a Gelato Maker?

A great ice cream maker or gelato maker can make all the difference to your company. A quality frozen dessert starts with good ingredients, but it ends with a quality machine that produces a consistent, high-quality product at the speed you need to keep up with customer volume. If you’re looking for the best in ice cream or gelato machines, your first step should be to decide what you want to serve.

What Is the Difference Between an Ice Cream Maker and a Gelato Maker?

Ice Cream vs. Gelato

The first thing to know is the difference between these two creamy desserts. Gelato is of Italian origin, so when you’re speaking of Italian ice cream, that’s gelato. For Italians, the two terms are interchangeable.

However, if you’re talking about gelato vs American ice cream, which most people in America are, then you’re talking about two completely different products. American ice cream is lighter and has more air incorporated into it. Gelato is thicker, creamier, richer, and denser.

Different Ingredients

The first thing that makes a difference between these two products is the ingredients. Ice cream typically uses eggs, while gelato typically does not (though there are exceptions on both sides, depending on your recipe).

Another difference is the main base ingredient. Quality American ice cream uses a lot of cream while Italian recipes invariably call for just whole milk. This makes a big difference in texture, fat content, and calories.

The Real Difference: Mixing

Where gelato and ice cream really differ is in the way they are mixed up. In fact, if you use an ice cream recipe in a gelato machine, you’ll get a product that has a more gelato-like texture, though anyone with a discerning palate will be able to tell the difference. Be aware that it doesn’t work in the opposite direction, though. If you try to churn a gelato recipe the same way you churn ice cream, you’ll just get a mess.

Ice Cream Mixing

Regular American ice cream can be up to 50% air, and it’s the machine and the mixing that does this. This isn’t a mistake: the air is purposefully forced in during the process. This accomplishes two things. First, the extra air “fluffs” the liquid base and produces more quantity. Second, it gives the ice cream a light texture, which, for many people, is exactly what you want in a frozen dessert. Ice cream machines are pretty simple, really. They allow air into the ice cream simply by not keeping it out.

Gelato Mixing

Gelato, meanwhile, is churned in a way designed to keep the air from getting in. That’s what keeps it dense and rich. If you’ve ever mixed anything, you’re probably wondering how that can work. After all, the very act of mixing always involves air getting in, but gelato machines are specifically designed to avoid allowing much air in, and they also come with air-tight lids.

Which one is right for you? It depends on what you want to serve. For the best in quality gelato and ice cream machines, visit ADI Electro Freeze Ohio and check out our great options. 

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