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Ingredients for Success
Got, the RIGHT, Milk?
Part I

 

Click for Gelatician Home Page and Introduction
Gelatician Home Page & Intro


SHOWCASE

Below Zero
Bad Gelato

Cool Ideas
Premium flavors could be your answer to premium profits

Fabulous Flavor
Reinventing one of the most popular flavors with just a pinch of salt

Grande Gelateria
The Love of Gelato with That's Amore!


Gelatician's Gelatician
How Angela Damiano used her gelato skills to open a prosperous shop and become one of North America's most sought after consultants

Featured Machinery
The Kenwood Cooking Chef is not just for chefs!

SWIPES

Making More with Less
Bigger is NOT Always Better: The Upside of Downsizing

Sweet Science
Taking a position on 'neutrals'

Ingredients for Success
Got (the RIGHT) Milk?...

Chillin'
Gelato lingo...

SIGEP
The mother of all gelato tradeshows may very well be worth that trip to Italy!

 

Using all natural ingredients is not a trend, it is the personification of gelato and indubitably the reason why it remains an integral part of the daily diet in Italy and, soon, the rest of the world. As this magazine grows so will this section and we encourage farmers and makers of genuinely natural products to contact Gelatician so we can spread the important wealth that you are producing.


As artisans, we steadfastly adhere to many self imposed prescripts each deriving from our main decree: Flavor Rules. So when it's time to select our ingredients, we test and taste until we find the flavor that's perfect for us. Prior, or subsequent, to taste we ensure that the products we use are organically natural, non GMO and that they are bound to sustainable and/or humane practices. Milk should be no exception.

The word seasonal has almost become hype, publicized in an exaggerated and often misleading manner. But if we carefully consider what it actually means, we'll understand that 'seasonality' has always been in vogue. For the past fifty years American cities have been some of the only places in the world where one can find an endless supply of the same 'fresh' fruit and vegetables year round. Europe, on the other hand, thanks to its terrible distribution system, has not had that 'fortune'. Thanks to this lack of luxury, most European countries have been able to truly adhere to seasonality effectively awarding them a great prize: tastier food.

All of the ingredients we use in gelato are seasonal. With some, we have the power to choose while others we do not. Depending on where they grow, cocoa beans are certainly seasonal and will yield their most desirable consistency in a particular month. But do we have to ask our suppliers if our cocoa powder originates from seasonal cocoa beans? Of course not because we know that the producer would not have been able to pick, process and refine the beans if they weren't ready. Of course, this is all obvious. However, when we study other important or even indispensable ingredients in our gelato, it becomes increasingly clear that we must examine every step we make and especially everything that goes into our mix.

Milk, like fresh fruit and even dried fruit and nuts, is seasonal. Nuts are picked and dried upon ripening ensuring that we are getting a product that derives from its optimal season. Although fresh fruit is only available in season, it's usually not imperative to always have a particular fruit since our menus can be (should be) seasonal as well.

When it comes to sourcing however, the similarities between milk and other essential ingredients end. First of all, we ALWAYS need milk. But the flavor of milk varies according to several factors including how it's processed, the type of pasteurization, the location and microclimate of the farm, the type of feed used and, finally, season. The latter of which is a bit problematic considering that the best tasting milk seasons may be spring or winter and, for most of us, high season is in the summer. Hmmm...

But does milk really taste different according to the seasons? And is organic milk better tasting than the others? We'll cover the all important issue of TASTE in Part II of this report because before we do that we have to first look at WHERE our milk comes from...
According to the USDA, organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural products have been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

The United States’ dairy herd produced 83.9 billion kg. (185 billion lbs.) of milk in 2007, up from 52.6 billion kg. (116 billion lbs.) in 1950. However, in 2007 there were approximately nine million cows on US dairy farms, 13 million fewer than there were in 1950. WOW! Either the 1950 cows belonged to a better union or the 21st century has produced Supercows! Actually, the latter is not far from the truth...

About 17% of dairy cows in the United States are injected with Bovine somatotropin, also called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and most commonly known as artificial growth hormone. The use of this hormone increases milk production a whopping 11%-40%.

On an industrial dairy farm, the main substances of a cow’s diet are corn and soy. Since their digestive systems weren't intended to process grains, cattle often develop serious health problems including liver abscesses and even sudden death syndrome. The use of artificial growth hormones create an array of health problems in cows including greater incidence of mastitis and reproductive problems to name a few . Many feeds contain fillers comprised of animal byproducts believed to have transmitted mad cow disease to both animals and humans.

The US Food and Drug Administration claims that the use of growth hormones is not harmful to humans. Studies from independent groups internationally disagree citing an array of potential problems notwithstanding the long term effects which remain clinically unknown. For us, the consumers, the matter is further complicated with the FDA's most ludicrous ruling which actually prohibits dairies from claiming there is any difference between milk from rBGH injected cows and milk produced without the artificial hormone! In direct contradiction to the FDA, growth hormone is banned in Canada, most of the European Union, Australia and New Zealand.

The difficulty in identifying and acquiring natural milk, however, deepens even further. Many commercial farms also incorporate industrial feed into the cows’ diets. This creates a whole other series of problems. Industrial feeds are generally comprised of grains (which aren't even part of a cows diet) and genetically modified crops. By and large, grain fed dairy is lower in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Grass-fed dairy products have an ideal ratio of essential fatty acids and actually have FIVE TIMES the levels of CLA! Grain fed dairy products also have higher levels of fat than products from pasture fed cows and the list goes on...

Industrial feed uses pesticides with some actually having the pesticide genetically incorporated within them. Pesticides accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals. When products from these animals are consumed, the pesticide can be transferred to the consumer increasing the risk of developing cancer as well as affecting the reproductive, nervous and immune systems.

So, short of milking the cow directly into our pasteurizers, is it even possible to find natural milk!?!?! Of course it is...

There are many resources available to find milk that has been produced by grass fed cows and that does not contain antibiotics and added hormones. Eat Wild (http://www.eatwild.com) is a website with a huge database of dairy and cattle farms throughout North America that adhere to strict criteria for production and processing. Additionally, every territory in North America has a dairy association, most of which are thrilled to answer inquiries and will assist in sourcing your milk. Gelatician is always available to help you source anything that will make your gelato even better. Visit our website at www.gelatician.com.
Short of visiting your gelateria with a portable analysis laboratory, most of your clients would never know what type of milk you use. That is exactly why the usage of natural products is your obligation. Firstly, it’s one of the most critical requirements for being a gelatician, so you owe it to yourself, as a professional. Finally, most of your clients will eventually be children and you owe it to them for much more important reasons...

REFERENCES:
•The Changing Landscape of U.S. Milk Production, a b Blaney, Don P. (June 2002).
•Dairy 2007 Part II: Changes in the U.S. Dairy Cattle Industry, 1991–2007
•Why Grassfed Is Best!, Robinson, Jo, Vashon Island Press, 2000
•Pasture Perfect,Robinson, Jo, Washington, Vashon Island Press, 2004
•http://www.sustainabletable.org

Send your comments, observations and thoughts to info@italianculinary.it.
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