How does a soft serve ice cream machine work?

Updated July 19, 2017

Soft-serve ice cream, also known as creemee in some New England states, is processed ice cream prepared in a speciality machine. The ice cream is served through a spigot at the bottom of the machine. Individual flavours are poured through each spigot, but in some cases the machine may be able to make a "twist," which combines two flavours. Commercial soft-serve machines are large, stainless steel appliances specifically designed to properly mix and distribute the ice cream. Machines must be cleaned daily with hot water to avoid contamination.

Soft -Serve Mix

Soft-serve mix comes in several varieties, including liquid and powder forms. The ultra heat-treated liquid mix is considered the safest and most consistent mix, as it is heat-treated, sterilised and sealed and may be stored without refrigeration. This liquid mix may be used right from the package without any additional ingredients. It should be cooled to just above freezing for best results. A powdered mix is considered the second-most reliable mix, because it is simply a dried version of the liquid mix. Water must be added to the powdered mix. However, it is impossible to create a consistent product from one location to the next with a powdered mix, as water quality differs. A fresh liquid mix is also available and may be stored at cold temperatures for up to 1 week. The danger in using a fresh liquid mix is keeping it properly cooled to avoid contamination. Soft-serve mix is available in chocolate and vanilla flavours. Other flavours are created by adding syrups that are preloaded into the machine and mixed with vanilla when a particular lever is pulled.

Soft Serve Around the World

Soft-serve ice cream is available around the world and, in fact, is said to have been developed in the U.K., where it was marketed as "Mr. Whippy." In Asian countries, soft-serve is often referred to as "soft cream." In the U.S., the most popular soft-serve outlets are Dairy Queen, which serves a proprietary mix and offers chocolate dipped cones, Tastee Freeze, Fosters Freeze and Carvel. Frozen yoghurt may also be prepared and served in a soft-serve ice cream machine.

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About the Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.