With a softer texture than regular ice cream, soft serve ice cream remains wildly popular since it made its appearance eight decades ago. Although, in Australia, it is known as soft serve, people all over the world have different names for it. Europeans call it American ice cream; the English call it Mr Whippy and the Irish call it soft whip. Like many popular and profitable discoveries, soft serve ice cream resulted from a misfortune. The ice cream truck was stranded because of a flat tyre at the beginning of the summer of 1934. The proprietor of the truck began selling the melting ice cream, and it was popular. This showed that there was a potential market for ice cream with a softer texture. Today commercially prepared soft serve ice cream derives its texture from aeration during freezing. Soft serve ice cream differs from regular ice cream in other ways besides texture. The milk-fat content of soft serve usually ranges from three to six percent. In regular ice cream, the milk-fat content is higher, ranging from ten percent to eighteen percent.
For those in Australia looking to manufacture their own soft serve either as a hobby or as a small enterprise, the process is straightforward. There are commercially available pre-mixed soft serve products. Premix comes in a variety of forms. These include liquid, which must be stored under refrigerated conditions. These products tend to spoil within a week as a result of bacteria. There is also powdered pre-mix. It is not prone to quick spoilage. As a consequence, it can be shipped over longer distances that usually entail long transportation times. In order to make soft serve from this product, water must be added. Once water is added, it must be stored at 3 degrees Celsius. There is also ultra-heat treated mix. This refers to liquid mix sterilised by heating it at temperatures exceeding 135°C for one or two seconds. The liquid is then packaged into sterile bags. These premixes do not spoil readily. They also do not need to be refrigerated. It is still recommended to refrigerate prior to use as a precaution.
There are different vendors who sell premixes in Australia. WholeFarm Australia, based in Queensland sells soft serve ice cream mix. They sell powder premixes for soft serve ice cream as well as frozen yogurts and smoothies. The premixes are usually shipped in cartons, each containing eight bags. Each bag weighs 1.5 kilograms. The company claims that the Premium product is comparable in texture to the liquid-based soft serve premix. For the Asian population residing in Australia, there is Nova Vanilla and Super Nova Vanilla. The shelf life for these powdered premixes is as long as eighteen months. Like WholeFarm, the premixes are usually shipped in cartons, each containing eight 1.5 kilogram bags. Approximately 3.5 liters of water are required to reconstitute a single 1.5 kilogram bag.
It is important to note that there is nutritional information displayed on the soft serve ice cream mix. Although soft serve ice cream is a dessert, the manufacturers of these mixes have tried to eliminate any ingredients that may be harmful to health. WholeFarm Australia has products that are free of preservatives, trans fats and artificial colouring. Furthermore, there is soft serve ice cream mix that is gluten free for those suffering from coeliac disease.