Milk. Cream. Sugar. Those are the only ingredients that an ice cream base should have, according to Tom Morrison of Heritage Family Farm. As a son of a dairy farmer, Tom always had a passion for the frozen confection. After he and his wife Ursula, and his financial partners, Matthew and Rachel Swain, purchased acres of land in Sanbornton, they created a destination for families that included a petting farm, ATV rides, a pancake house with its own maple syrup production and, most important for Tom, a creamery.
The land they purchased was on the verge of development. Sanbornton once had 30 farms gracing its beautiful rolling hills. Now, the concept of a family destination helps preserve the scenic beauty. Both Swain and Morrison had grown up on that farm land, so the investment also preserved a multi-generational heritage. Both families worked hard to build the Pancake House and Creamery from lumber milled from trees on the land. Their slow-paced ATV tours run the gamut of the property.
The Creamery was finished in 2002 and Morrison started producing a frozen custard. He adds eggs to the basic recipe above. The natural lecithin in the eggs acts as an emulsifier, so the cooked base does not need monoglycerides to make the product smooth. After the base is cooled, it is frozen in a tabletop vertical batch machine and is ready to serve immediately. The product is served warmer than traditional ice cream and is made fresh daily, so it naturally has more flavor potential. With only 10 percent butterfat, the eggs give it the mouth feel of a rich ice cream.
By churning vertically, less air is whipped into the product. Most Taylor ice cream machines run horizontally and the action, much like a clothes dryer, moves more air into the product. By law ice cream makers can incorporate up to 100 percent air, or “overrun” as they say in the industry. That overrun is pure air and pure profit, but Morrison feels too much air dilutes the flavor. He says if you close your eyes when tasting the fluffy products you may have to guess the flavor. His custard is about 25-percent air and is just enough to disperse the flavors without diluting them. He claims his strawberry custard tastes like strawberries, not like “strawberry flavor.”
Morrison has no formal training, but with his early exposure and “hundreds of experiments” he has perfected the base recipe and flavoring quotients. With the glass top on the vertical freezing unit he can keep a visual check on the mixing or taste the product at any time. Flavoring can be anything from local in-season fruits to rich chocolate or even cucumbers.
When he grew up “at this grandmother’s side,” they where churning milk and cream from the family farm in a White Mountain freezer. (See sidebar on page 86.) Now, even though there are dairy cows grazing across the field, he cannot legally use that milk. By state regulation, all dairy farms have their milk purchased by a larger company and pasteurized in bulk before resale. Unfortunately, the available supply of regional certified organic milk is purchased by Stonyfield Yogurt and Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream. He also cannot use eggs from his own chickens, also by law — they need to be pasteurized. But he tries to buy local whenever possible for flavoring ingredients, especially fruits and berries.
Within these limitations, Morrison is bringing the basics of his micro-batch custard to a larger scale. His new, more visible outlet is Rock Salt Creamery in the Belknap Mall on Route 3 in Belmont. He’s a Christian so the name signifies the Rock of Ages and Salt of the Earth as well as the old-fashioned method of ice cream making. He also stresses old-fashioned values with his employees, usually young people. His T-shirt reads “Get high on ice cream.” A scoop of custard is referred to as a “stone.” He grew up on a farm and found that hard work was a good preparation for life and now wants to give that opportunity to young people.
At Rock Salt Creamery, the same type vertical batch machines are churning out custard from the egg base now made in a professional unit that first cooks, then chills the product. A special “cold plate” of marble is available for mixing in dry ingredients, while a blending unit can mix in natural flavors.
The retro-themed shop, with all its shiny equipment, is new on the outside, but within the product, and within the heart of Morrison, are old-fashioned values. Like he says, “I am just trying to build something a little better.” NH
Make Your Own Ice Cream the Old-Fashioned Way
One of the first and best ice cream makers was built in New Hampshire. The coopered wooden tub held an inner metal container and special blades to create a creamy product.
The White Mountain Freezer Company was originally located in Laconia in 1872. After a fire they moved to Nashua in 1888. The company again burned in 1930 and moved to Broad Street. In 1963 it was sold, moved to Winchendon, Mass., and renamed the Alaska Freezer Company. The name “White Mountain Freezer” was brought back in 1974 by an investor group. To this day they sell wooden ice cream freezers, both electric and hand crank, based on the original patent of its triple motion blades. $149 to $189.
The Scoop on Ice Cream
We’re talking American ice cream here. Sure, creamy gelato is nice, but sometimes a hot summer evening calls for standing in line at one of the many shops claiming to “make their own” fresh, rich ice cream. For most, that involves using a pre-made base from Hood with a butterfat content of 14 percent. Carolyn Dudley, of Dudley’s on Route 106 in Louden, claims that percentage is just about right. Any more, she says, and there is a greasy mouth feel. Most are also made in a horizontal freezing machine, then whisked to a “blast freezer” where a molecular change in the water crystals at -25 degrees gives it a smoother mouth feel. After 24 hours or so of sub-zero temperatures, the product is put in a “tempering” freezer at 8 degrees to bring it closer to serving temperature before being transferred to the scooping freezers.
It may help your mental cholesterol to remember that by government regulation the air content (overrun) can be up to half of the volume. Ben and Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs have a low volume of air, but some may consider it too dense and heavy.
Your personal taste, the air content and the quality of the flavorings are what make the difference. Each shop has its specialties, so just because you like their pistachio does not mean their mint chocolate chip is fabulous, too. You might have to shop around for your favorite flavor. Here, we give you a few of the specialties from a selection of shops. Unless otherwise specified, the shops use a 14 percent butterfat content mix from Hood. Shops that serve ice cream from a vendor are listed at the end.
Farmstand Ice Cream
When a dairy makes their own ice cream you know you can’t find a more fresh or pure product.
Connolly Bros. Dairy in Temple (924-5002) make their own ice cream from their dairy cows. The flavors are limited, but delicious. You can find it at the Union Mill Market at 374 Union St., West Peterborough (603) 924-6039
Tom Merriman at the Sandwich Creamery in North Sandwich makes a fine ice cream in about 20 flavors. It is available by the pint at the farm or check the Web site for retail locations. www.sandwichcreamery.com
The Walpole Creamery makes their ice cream from scratch with dairy from the Tom and Sharleen Beaudry farm just up the road. 532 Main St., Walpole, (603) 445-5700
Made on SiteJB Scoops
41 Route 25, Meredith, with others in Ashland, Wolfeboro and Weirs Beach
Owner Jim Goren says of homemade ice cream: “It’s like sex, not all is good.” What makes his better? He uses a Hood mixed with butterfat content ranging from 14 to 22 percent. The higher fats are used in the chocolates, caramels and a butter crunch pecan in which he actually whips in another 3 lbs. of butter per tub. Goren claims to use more complex recipes and use intense flavors that “hit the palate and explode in the mouth.” After all, the product is frozen and numbing your tongue so flavors need to be intensified. His chocolate is made with imported Belgian chocolate and he avoids artificial flavorings. A few of his specialties include Lemon-Raspberry Custard, Caramel Coffee Cream and Pineapple Upside-down Cake.
Most exotic may be Firecracker with embedded Pop Rocks. Goren’s personal favorites are Chocolate Raspberry or Black Raspberry Crumble Cake.
Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream
49 Ceres St., Portsmouth
Annabelle’s makes their own 16-percent base with all natural ingredients. Flavorings are also made from the “best ingredients around.” Their Triple Chocolate is a dark chocolate with fudge swirls and large chocolate chips. And all flavors are kosher, too.
250 Valley St. Manchester
Owner Tom Queena says they use a Blake’s Creamery mix with 14 butterfat. Their vanilla uses extra pure vanilla, not vanillin for flavoring. No fancy names here, just mango chip, strawberry peach, coffee. The business has been family-owned for 60 years, but in 1988 they refined the process. He claims their chocolate is to die for.
112 Wentworth Rd., Rye
Considered a hidden gem, their black raspberry flavor comes highly recommended.
Just the Wright Place for Ice Cream
95 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham
Large portions, and always experimenting with new flavors. Kahlua chip is popular along with Nassau Royal made with vanilla rum from the Bahamas. Forty flavors are offered at one time with 300 flavors rotated throughout the summertime.
Lone Oak Ice Cream
175 Milton Rd., Rochester
Most popular flavor is Kahlua Fudge Brownie, most unusual is Muddy Sneakers (white chocolate with carmel swirls and chocolate chips).
Hayward’s Ice Cream
383 Elm St., Milford, (603) 672-8383
7 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua
A family-run operation that has had their recipes prepared by an outside source for the last 26 years. Waffle cones are made fresh ON SITE.
Puritan Backroom Restaurant
245 Hooksett Rd., Manchester,
Family-run operation started in 1917. All flavorings are created from scratch. With baklava as one of the flavors, you know the heritage is Greek.
Turnpike Road in Jaffrey (532-5765), and outlets in Saco, Maine and Carlisle and Westford, Mass.
They work hard on getting a rich and creamy mouth feel, especially for rich flavors like Berry Spangled Cheesecake and Mocha Almond Assault — chocolate covered almonds in a coffee base with a fudge swirl. All the ice cream is made at the Westford store. Exotic flavors include Gingersnap Molasses and pumpkin offered later in the season.
Moo’s Place Homemade Ice Cream
27 Crystal Ave., Derry
32 to 40 regular flavors with one or two new ones a week. Caramel turtle flavor has a soft gooey inside. Strawberry and black raspberry are popular, plus they offer a double-rich chocolate. They use a 16-percent mix, which is richer than most.
Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Sweet Shoppe
135 Route 101A, Amherst
New ownership in the last three years has upgraded the product. They add whole raspberries to the vanilla raspberry flavor and the cherry sorbet won an Editor’s Pick in the 2007 Best of NH.
Dudley’s Ice Cream
846 Route 106 N., Loudon
Carolyn Dudley’s family had been in the business for years. Uses real maple in maple flavors. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup is excellent and the Black Raspberry Truffle solves the rock-hard chocolate chip problem with button-size truffles with soft center.
Long tradition of 101 years. Cherry Chocolate Chunk is a favorite along with the sundae buffet with 16 homemade toppings available.
The Mill Ice Cream Café
2 Central St., Bristol
Made totally from scratch in an Italian vertical batch machine. The finest ingredients are used including a 70-percent cacao Belgian chocolate. They make a great caramel and espresso, too. A special machine can swirl in real pie, tiramisu, dark chocolate, blackberries, etc.
Bishop’s Homemade Ice Cream
183 Cottage Street, Littleton
Bishops Bash is a dark and Dutch chocolate flavor, made with homemade brownies, walnuts and chocolate. They use all-natural ingredients when possible and pure double-strength vanilla. Bishop’s has 78 base varieties with 20 available at any one time. They uses a Coldelite machine from Italy, a vertical machine which adds little air. They also offers a mini-scoop size.
1681 Candia Rd., Manchester
Sourced to an outside vendor who makes their recipes.
164 Loudon Rd., Concord, (603) 228-3225
As much natural as possible using local, maple syrup, fresh peaches, blueberries. Arnie’s limits artificial coloring so flavors like pistachio is not brightly colored.
Route 106, Belmont, (603) 267-1900
Eric Jordan has been making ice cream in the same location for 13 years. He uses local ingredients for flavorings whenever possible. Ice cream sandwiches are made with homemade chocolate chip cookies. Base is from Oakhurst Dairy and is hormone-free.
Blake’s Ice Cream
46 Milford St., Manchester, (603) 623-7242
Have been in business for more than 100 years. They use local milk to create a 14-percent base. Flavors include brownie dough, Kahlua chip, chocolate cake batter, lemon meringue pie and chocolate cherry cordial.
Stands using outside vendors
394 Main St., New London, (603) 526-9477
Serves Annabelle’s. Most popular is vanilla, most unusual is coconut.
Ava Maria Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream
43 Grove Street, Peterborough (866) 924-5993
Serves Richardson’s of Massachusetts (16 percent butterfat)
Axel's Food & Ice Cream
608 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack
Serves Richardson’s of Massachusetts
292 Pleasant St., Berlin, (603) 752-1431
Serves Gifford’s of Maine
72 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham
Serves Gifford’s of Maine
Lang’s Ice Cream
510 Pembroke St., Pembroke (603) 225-7483
Serves Blake’s ice cream
956 Weirs Blvd, Laconia
Serves Blake’s ice cream.
Peach Tree Farms
88 Brady Ave., Salem, (603) 893-7117
Serves Richardson’s of Massachusetts
Stillwells Ice Cream
160 Plaistow Rd., Plaistow
Serves Richardson’s of Massachusetts
Rick’s Gourmet Ice Cream
149 Emerald St., Keene
Serves Bliss Bros. Dairy ice cream from Attleboro, Mass. Serves a 12-percent butterfat custard made from a mix. Their soft serve is from 12-percent butterfat mix, higher than average.
149 Main Street, Keene,
Serves Bliss Bros. Dairy ice cream from Attleboro, Mass.
Marty’s Ice Cream
Route 124 Greenville, (603) 878-1324
Serves Richardson’s of Massachusetts NH
Food for Thought
Making ice cream — it’s chemistry, it’s fun and it’s pure magic for small children
-By Master Baker Stephen James
When I was small I had tasted store-bought ice cream, but nothing prepared me for the excitement of the first time I had the chance to mix the three or four basic ingredients and churn-freeze the ice cream myself. The only stipulation was that I share it with my brother and twin sister.
There are two basic ways of preparing ice cream. One is with eggs and the other without. I love a good American-style ice cream, or some call it Philadelphia-style ice cream, which contains no eggs. It doesn’t have the smoothness of a French custard-style ice cream but pay no attention to all that, this is a very good tasting and a well-documented tradition in America.
Preparing the Mix
When I made it the first time, my mother didn’t heat any of the ingredients. She just had me mix the concoction all together and started freezing the mixture. I know now it is best to heat the milk and sugar together to dissolve the sugar, and then add the cold cream and chill the mixture overnight — if you can wait that long. Also, don’t overheat the milk, just bring it to a scald which means “do not boil.” If you boil milk, it will cause the lactose sugar to caramelize and give the milk an off taste. After the mixture cools a bit, I add the vanilla, cream and milk. You can increase the ratio of cream to milk which adds more butterfat content, but if you add too much butterfat, the ice cream will taste grainy. So some cream is good— too much is not. Last, make sure everything is very clean, including any little hands that are helping.
American Vanilla Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Once mixture is made (see preceding paragraph), follow the manufacturer’s directions for using the ice cream machine. I prefer the simple hand-cranked machine that uses ice and rock salt.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 jar of peanut butter (12 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat milk, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla until sugar is dissolved, remember — not too hot. Add the water last. Chill overnight or at least 4 hours and then freeze to manufacturer’s directions.
Ice cream is so good over fresh peaches that have been peeled, pitted and sliced, or how can you go wrong with seasonal berries folded in. Anytime you cook or bake, don’t miss an opportunity to include family and friends and especially children when appropriate to create those special memories.
The New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant connection is coordinating a dinner at The Sunset Hill House in partnership with the Turtle Ridge Foundation of Sugar Hill.
On August 23 the table will be set with fine serving ware, great New Hampshire cheeses and produce from Turtle Ridge Farm. A percent of the proceeds will go to a charity chosen by the foundation.
In 2005 Bode Miller and his family came together to establish the foundation as a way to help people in need and give back to the community and help protect nature’s precious resources.
Call the Sunset Hill House for reservations. $49 pp — Susan LaughlinThe Sunset Hill House
21 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill
823-5522. Edit Module
This article appears in the August 2007 issue of New Hampshire Magazine