Balance tutorial

This tutorial will describe the balance tool in more detail.

What does the balance tool do?

If we want our ice cream to have certain properties we can manually tweak and change the recipe until we reach our goal. This is exactly what the balance tool does. Instead of manually changing the recipe the balance tool does all this for you.

Recipe

So, let’s start with a recipe that we can balance. I have put this in the Share if you want to load it and try for yourself. The name of the recipe is “Balance tutorial”.

IngredientWeight (g)Amount (%)
Milk (3.0%)600.061.07
Cream (40.0%)200.020.36
Skim milk powder10.01.02
Egg yolk51.05.19
Sucrose100.010.18
Dextrose10.01.02
Fructose10.01.02
Locust bean gum0.800.08
Guar gum0.400.04
Lambda Carrageenan0.200.02

This is a pretty unbalanced recipe. The properties the balance tool looks at are.

  • Milk fat (Butter fat)
  • Total fat
  • MSNF
  • Total solids
  • PAC
  • POD

Open the balance tool

Press the balance button.
Ok, the first thing you have to do is tell the balance tool what is your main milk and cream ingredients. So, please select the milk and cream in this dialog box. Usually the program will automatically guess but sometimes you might have to select in the boxes. If you don’t have any milk or cream you can just press ok anyway. The balance tool has two buttons to increase/decrease the butter fat content that is why this is needed.


Ok this is what you will see.


First let’s go through and explain the list on the left.

  • Fixed
    • If you check this checkbox the ingredient is not changed by the balancing. This is very useful. For example as you can see here the stabilizers are automatically checked and are thus not changed by the balancing. You might also want to do this with chocolate, fruits or other flavourings that you know you want to keep unchanged.
    • It can also be useful if you want to for example only balance your sugars. You can check all ingredients except the sugars and the balancing will only change the sugars.
  • Ingredient
    • Name of the ingredient
  • Current %
    • This is the ratio of this ingredient in the unbalanced recipe.
  • Min %, Max %
    • For some ingredients you might want to limit the range when balancing. This can for example be egg yolks or skim milk powder etc.
  • Result %
    • This is the ratio of the ingredient after balancing.
  • Current (g)
    • This is the weight of the unbalanced ingredient.
  • Result (g)
    • This is the weight of the balanced ingredient. If you press OK in the dialog box this is the new value for that ingredient.

OK, let’s look at the right side of the balance tool.

At the top there is a drop down list of predefined targets. You can also add/remove your own favourites by pressing the +/- buttons.

When you select an item in the list the values in the Targets will change.

Start by selecting Current in the list. This will change the targets to the current recipe.

Now select Super premium.

This is what we will start with and balance to reach the Super premium targets.

Balance for Super premium

Ok, we have selected Super premium and are ready to balance.
Press the Balance button.

After balancing the Result column with the green boxes will be filled in with the resulting values.
The thing is that it is not always possible to reach all the Target values that is why some of the values might be red. The R:0.000938 text below the Balance button is an error measure of the balancing. The lower this value is the better the balancing. The balancing is also somewhat randomized so pressing the button again might lead to a slightly different result.

As we can see the balancing worked out really well. In fact the ingredients in this recipe makes it quite easy to balance. The key is the three different sugars used. If using these three sugars sucrose, dextrose and fructose we can obtain a wide range of PAC, POD and Solids. If the recipe only had sucrose it would be much harder to balance.

The Off checkbox

Ok, what does this checkbox do?
The balance tool tries to balance the recipe to reach all of the targets.
When checking this box the balancing will ignore this target from the calculations.
To illustrate this let’s do the following.
In the table please check the Fixed checkbox for egg yolk. What this does is fixes the amount of egg yolk and the balancing can not change that.

Now, press the balance button again.

You will get something like this. Remember that your result might vary slightly because of the randomization of the balance algorithm.
The Milk Fat target is spot on but the Total fat is off. This is of course because the only fat in the recipe that can be modified comes from milk and cream. So, it is impossible to balance to reach both the Milk fat and Total fat at the same time.
Ok, what if you don’t care what the milk fat is as long as the total fat is ok?
You guessed it, please check the Off checkbox for Milk fat and press the Balance button again.

Now, the Total fat is OK and the Milk fat is off because we removed the Milk fat from the balance calculation.

The importance of sugars

Just to illustrate the importance of using different sugars we will change the base recipe and try to balance it again. So, go back to the main dialog and remove the dextrose and fructose from the recipe and open the balance tool again.

Select Super premium and press Balance.

So, what happened here? Well the POD or sweetness is quite OK but the PAC that controls the freezing point is way off. The reason is of course that sucrose has PAC=100 and POD=100. So, to reach our target PAC of 275 we would need to have more sucrose but that would make the POD to high. So, it’s impossible to balance this and get both the PAC and POD to target.
We could of course turn Off all target except the PAC and POD and it would look like this.

We reached our target PAC and POD but the fat is way off.
You can also add back dextrose and it will look like this.

So, using sucrose and dextrose makes it possible to balance ok even if the Total solids are a bit off.

Difficult recipes

Some recipes are very hard or impossible to balance. Let’s look at a chocolate recipe and see what happens. In the Share there is a Chocolate recipe, let’s load that and have a look.

IngredientWeight (g)Amount (%)
Milk (3.0%)450.045.35
Cream (40.0%)200.020.16
Skim milk powder30.03.02
Chocolate 70%100.010.08
Milk Chocolate 40%50.05.04
Cacao powder 21%20.02.02
Sucrose40.04.03
Dextrose50.05.04
Fructose45.04.54
Lecithin3.000.30
Salt3.000.30
Stabilizer1.200.12

Start the balance tool. Check the Fixed checkbox for the chocolates because this is our flavour so we don’t want to change that. What the balancing can work with are the milk, cream, smp and sugars.

Now select Super premium and press Balance.

As you can see the Milk fat is off by quite a lot and the Total solids are a little high. The problem here is that the chocolates adds a lot of solids and fat to the ice cream so the super premium Milk fat target is not realistic. In this case we have to ignore the milk fat or change it to something lower. Let’s turn the milk fat target off and see what happens.

Ok, that is pretty good. We have more Total solids than our target but that is hard to avoid because of how much solids the chocolates add. If we really want to have 41% Total solids we will have to change some of the other targets. We can for example turn off Total fat and MSNF and we will get this.

Cases like this requires some experimentation and there are no set rules. In this case you have to make a choice between Total fat and Total solids.

Summary

If you want to balance using all the targets I suggest you have the following ingredients in your recipe. Milk, Cream, Skim milk powder, sucrose, dextrose, fructose.
The Milk and cream for the Milk fat, the skim milk powder for the MSNF and the sugars to be able to reach a wide range of PAC,POD and Solids. The sugars does not have to be sucrose, dextrose and fructose but it is good if you at least have two different sugars with different properties. The nice thing with this mix of sugars is that dextrose is less sweet than sucrose and fructose is more sweet. This makes it very flexible.

Use the Fixed checkbox to exclude ingredients from balancing. This might include fruit, chocolate, nuts and other flavour ingredients.

Use the Off checkbox to exclude a target value from balancing.

Use the Min%/Max% to limit the amount of change the balancing can do on a certain ingredient. I usually do this on egg yolks and skim milk powder.

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