Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sorbet Science: Building a delicious gelato one brix at a time

Making Madisono's gelato and sorbet taste delicious is much more than following a secret recipe here at Madisono's. Of course, we have secret recipes but it's not like one of those little cards your mom gave you from her cookbook. It's pretty scientific. When we are working with our natural ingredients, such as fresh or frozen fruit, we have to keep on our toes since dear mother nature refuses to make each mango, lemon, strawberry or raspberry taste exactly the same. We love that unpredictable woman but it does create a bit of a challenge when our customers expect the same flavor they love each time they buy a pint!

How do we keep the perfect balance of sweet tart you've come to love about our pink grapefruit sorbet or our dark chocolate orange gelato? Science, baby. And thank goodness owner and flavor chieftain Matt Madison loves his chemistry as much as he loves his gelato!

One of the scientific tools used in our manufacturing plant is a hydrometer. It measures the amount of suspended sugars in a solution. This measurement is called a "brix" reading, written as a number followed by "°Bx". For instance, in a drop of a fruit's juice, there might be 200 milligrams of solids and 800 milligrams of water. The juice then has a 20 °Bx concentration. Maple syrup is about 66 °Bx and a chardonnay might read at about 16 °Bx.

At Madisono's we always measure the brix in the fruit juices or purées we use in our recipes so that we know how much sugar (or simple syrup) to add to each batch being produced. This ensures that each pint is as delicious as the last!

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