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The purpose of this article is to help anyone wishing to download an ice cream mix spreadsheet to select the correct spread sheet and to provide some additional information on how to use the spreadsheets.
Caution! Some expertise in ice cream mix formulation is required before you will be able to get benefit from using a mix calculation spreadsheet. If you want to make ice cream or gelato at home for the first time it is unlikely that you will need a spreadsheet. You need a simple recipe. The spreadsheet will come later when you need to use some science and maths. to take advantage of a wider range of ingredients and to develop your product in a controlled and systematic way.
I can provide a small number of well tested specifications for donors who need help.

Converting a formula or mix specification to a recipe

Commercial ice cream manufacturers usually produce a range of ice cream products varying in milk solids-not-fat (MSNF) and fat content depending on the market e.g. high fat ice creams are typically produced for the higher price luxury market. These ice creams are produced from liquid mixes that are defined in terms of their percentage MSNF, sugar, fat, emulsifier and stabiliser content. Other ingredients such as egg yolk, honey or corn syrup solids (CCS) may also be used and would also be defined in the formula or mix specification.
A specification which might have the following component composition: 8% fat, 11% MSNF, 13% sucrose, 0.5% emulsifier, 0.5% stabiliser may be designated as the ice cream formula, mix specification or target mix specification. The formula or mix specification is not the recipe for making the ice cream. The recipe has to be “worked out” or calculated using the mix formula and the ingredients that are available for use.This is where mix calculations are required. Both fat and MSNF can often be supplied by more than one ingredient e.g. cream will supply both MSNF and fat and the relative contributions must be calculated.
The major sources of fat are cream, butter and anhydrous milk fat and vegetable fat. As discussed earlier cream will also supply MSNF. If a mix higher in fat that say 4.5 % is required, a high fat-containing ingredient other than milk will be required e.g. cream or butter.
MSNF can be supplied by a number of sources including skim milk powder (SMP), whole milk powder (WMP) and concentrated milks such as evaporated or condensed milk.  WMP and some concentrated milks will also provide milk fat. If a mix higher in MSNF  that say 9 % is required a high MSNF-containing ingredient other than milk will be required e.g. skim milk powder or other  concentrated milk solids source.

How to use the spreadsheets

These have been designed to be virtually self explanatory.

Download the correct spreadsheet for your purpose.

The spreadsheets are provided in packs or bundles. There are currently 9 packs. You must first select the pack that contains the spreadsheet you wish to use; each pack has been designed to use different ingredients to enable a formula to be converted into a recipe. So choose the pack that contains the spread sheet that you need to use! If in doubt, please send me an Email.

Depending on the spreadsheet you may be presented with the option of adjusting the fat, total solids, or the MSNF of certain ingredient e.g. cream.  All the spread sheets will automatically calculate the MSNF based on the fat content of the cream.
  • Some of the spreadsheets will enable you set the batch size of a mix and to calculate the recipe required. Others also offer the option of costing a mix.
  • With some exceptions the default values for target ingredients such as sugars assume 100% solids. Some spreadsheets allow target values values to be changed via a table of set values.
  • It is important that you check that all the ingredients sum to 100 and that the sum of the MSNF and fat supplied by the ingredients balance with the formula or mix specification as shown below.
  • Finally all the spreadsheets carry a warning to check that the starting formula is balanced for fat: sugar ratio and MSNF. Warning! Before undertaking mix calculations technologists should ensure that the quantities of ingredients calculated will give a balanced mix. This concept is explained in more detail in the article on ice cream e.g. an ice cream mix containing 8% fat must be balanced with respect to sugar and MSNF. If this mix was produced using a vertical freezer, the mix should contain a concentration of 13% sugar. Assuming 1.25% emulsifier/stabiliser was used then the MSNF required can be calculated as 11.1%. Ice cream mixes produced using cows' or goats' milk and no concentrated source of MSNF e.g. skim milk powder cannot be balanced for MSNF in the conventional commercial sense.
  • Some also offer a facility for checking that MSNF is optimal and will give an error message if the mix is not optimal.
Further information on ice cream, and other ice cream related calculators is available in the article on ice cream and in the references provided in the article.

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