Best of the Batch

What is a batch freezer?

A batch freezer is a dedicated piece of equipment used to prepare gelato. Essentially it simultaneously freezes and whips the liquid mixture to create a smooth and consistent finished texture. It does this by rotating a blade inside the barrel of the machine. The blade performs two important tasks:

  • It introduces air bubbles to the mixture as it spins. These bubbles get trapped as the liquid freezes and create ice crystals.
  • It scrapes the frozen ice crystals off the wall of the barrel before they grow too large. This is important because the smaller the ice crystals, the smoother the finished texture will be.

The spinning blade is also responsible for creating even-sized ice crystals throughout the mixture to ensure the even freezing of the gelato.

Horizontal vs. Vertical

Generally speaking, batch freezers can either be ‘horizontal’ or ‘vertical’ – this refers to the direction of the barrel and blade.

There is no doubt that horizontal batch freezers are more popular – in fact, there are only a small handful of vertical batch freezers in operation in Australia – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better. Let’s take a look at the main differences:

  • Horizontal batch freezers make bigger, more homogenous batches – this means a bigger profit margin for the gelato maker. _Vertical_batch freezers make smaller, one-off batches. This means better value for the customer
  • Horizontal batch freezers automate the entire process whereas _vertical_batch freezers require more input, careful and skilled operation
  • Horizontal batch freezers seal the mixture in the barrel for the freezing process as opposed to a _vertical_batch freezer, which remains open at the top. This means:

    • Horizontal batch freezers pump air into the mixture compared to a _vertical_batch freezers which incorporates air in a natural way resulting in a creamy consistency
    • Nothing can be added during the process in a horizontal machine – extra ingredients are just stirred into a generic base at the end. A _vertical_batch freezer by comparison, allows for more unique, integrated and nuanced flavours as ingredients can be added at any time throughout the freezing process
  • Horizontal machines spit the finished gelato out through a grill at the end of the process. _Vertical_machines require a more delicate (and often decorative) extraction using a paddle… that looks a little bit like a gondola oar!

Cattabriga Effe 6

At Gelateria Gondola we use a _vertical_batch freezer to make our award-winning gelato, but not just any old machine – we use a Cattabriga Effe 6.

Otello Cattabriga, a talented Italian engineer, who designed a mechanical system to mimic the ‘stir & stick’ technique of the traditional Italian ‘gelatieres’, patented the first Cattabriga vertical batch freezer in 1927. Since then, his name has become synonymous with the world’s best gelato as well as technological advancement in the industry. The Effe 6 has no match in the industry, nor in gelato history. It is a tradition that we are proud to carry on through our partnership with Crew Australiawho supplies Cattabriga equipment to the Australian market.

At Gelateria Gondola we are honoured to be the NSW brand ambassador for the Cattabriga Effe 6 – anyone interested in seeing it in operation is welcome to visit our store for a demonstration, whether you’re interested in purchasing one for your own gelataria or simply want to see how your favourite gelato is made. The true test is in the tasting though so be sure to try a scoop or two when you visit to taste the difference.