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Hay Rosie Craft Ice Cream Co. and…dairy plant?

Weve been talking so much business lately,  I thought it was about time to really dig into our ice cream a bit.  I am so excited to tell you all about the flavors were working on and let you know what you can expect when we are fully operational!  All that good stuff is coming very soon.  But I think its best to start at the beginning…fundamentals, right?

Back when I began to seriously consider opening this business, I knew one thing: I wanted to make ice cream from scratch.  Seems like a no-brainer, right?  I thought so.  But as I began researching, I realized that the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of ice cream shops/sellers in the US dont make their own base mix.  Most purchase a mix from a dairy or supplier that is comprised of some combination of milk, cream, sugar, and depending on the destination, stabilizers and/or emulsifiers.  It can then be flavored it,  frozen, and sold.  I had seen this in my own experience working in the ice cream business, but I had no idea how rare a made on-site ice cream establishment really was.   I assure you, Im not knocking this model there are plenty of really great bases available, as evidenced by some of these fantastic businesses.  There are even dairies out there that will create custom bases for  certain customers, tailoring them to fit a particular brand or style.  But, being the control freak that I am,  I knew it would be really important to me that we make our own in-house.

For example, when making a caramel ice cream, if youre working with a standard mix, adjustments cannot be made to that base.  Caramel is made of, among other things, sugar and cream.  So in making the ice cream this way, wed essentially be adding sugar and cream to a base that already has sugar and cream.   At Hay Rosie, our ice creams are formulated across the board to have a low relative sweetness level in order to give other flavors the floor.  By making our own base in-house, when I make a caramel ice cream I have the ability to adjust sugar levels in the base so that the finished product is consistent with the sweetness level applied to all of our ice creams.  Making our own base allows me the flexibility to change up those formulas, to construct each ice cream the way that I imagine it to be, and to allow them to evolve as necessary.

So the decision was a simple one, but execution was another story.  Making our own base requires that we pasteurize the mix and therein lies the challenge.   I found myself actually being advised at every turn by industry folks and educators that this was a nearly impossible model given the financial and regulatory challenges associated.  In recent years,  however, Ive been lucky enough to visit some super successful businesses right here in New York and around the country who have chosen this road; for me the proof was in their wonderful products.

45-gal-pasteurizer2

A Batch Pasteurizer, similar to what we will have at Hay Rosie

In order to do this we actually need to become a Dairy Plant as recognized by the state of New York, which means purchasing a pasteurizer and being licensed through the NY State Dept of Agriculture. Turns out that when I said I wanted to make ice cream, what I meant was that I wanted to become a Dairy Processing Plant Superintendent!  I found a really great family-run business that actually manufactures pasteurizers for small-scale dairies and theyre in the process of building our system.

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A rendering of the Hay Rosie batch pasteurizing system.

The point to this story is that at Hay Rosie, our process will vary a little for each flavor, and that is information that is really important to keep in mind when we start talking about all the fantastic combinations weve been working on.

Now that weve got a little background down on our process, stay tuned to read about how were applying that system in crafting each of our scratch-made ice creams!

Stef

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