Thursday, March 22, 2007

(LAB)orious

It has taken a great deal of time for family and friends to understand what our business does. With some processes, I don't even understand it. But it's fun to let loved ones come to the site or show them pictures to let them have a peak at our day-to-day processes. This afternoon, after numerous hurried projects, I went up to the office labs to check on two of our employees.

Here's the task that Carolyn, a Quality staff member, has been working on all day... and this is only about half of the samples set out in the micro lab this afternoon. She has placed small amounts of cocoa (taken from different packages) in petri dishes to test for molds and two other factors that may harm our chocolate milk products. After she mixes the cocoa with solutions, she places the petri dishes in incubators to see what will develop. It seems like a long tedious process.

Right next door, our resident ice cream maker and tester, Steve, has been rushing around making samples that will be sent to our customers. The customers will then determine if they like the flavors we make, if they'd like to adjust the flavors, or scrap the project.

So, today, I helped Steve with one of our newest ideas. I can't provide too many specifics about this flavor at this time, but here are the basics. First, we start with yummy vanilla ice cream.


Then we add chocolate covered cookies. OK, then we add even more chocolate covered cookies. Anything that you find within ice cream in the categories of fruit, chocolate chunks, sprinkles, cookies, nuts and the like are called inclusions.


Next, we transfer the basic mix of ice cream and cookies into small ice cream containers and layer it with a special salty caramel. Any syrup-like ingredient that is swirled through an ice cream, such as most fudges, caramels, and fruit fillings, is a variegate.

Steve makes up many of these little tubs for each flavor that the scientists develop. He'll then leave them in a special freezer overnight. Tomorrow, he'll package up the tubs in a dry ice filled coolers and make the long trek to the back loading dock. Less than 24 hours later, the ice cream samples will be in the hands of our customers, and those executives will make the decisions about what you find in your local grocery freezer.

Just thought I would provide a glimpse into what two of our co-workers do day after day after day, working very hard along the way. And, these are just two in the many steps of the process, so maybe I can capture more of them in future posts.

Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor (or many) that you crave or keep in your freezer?

11 comments:

Elizabeth said...

What is it that you do? Ice cream and cocoa testing - sounds like a good place to work, but what is it?

audreysnanny said...

I too would like to know more about what you do. Sounds very interesting and pleasing to the taste!!!

lydia said...

I'm a big fan of ice cream and I like almost any flavor. However, I probably crave cookies & cream the most. Reading about this new flavor made me hungry for a DQ cookies & cream blizzard! Of course, homemade vanilla ice cream is pretty high on my list too!

strem said...

I work in Human Resources (payroll, benefits, interviewing, etc.) for a world-wide flavor and fragrance company. Our site specializes in flavors for ice cream variegates, chocolate dairy powder, fruit drinks, and vitamins. I also help the Director of Operations with his projects. The Dairy Applications department creates new flavors and pitches them to our customers (the companies whose ice cream you see in stores and you eat!)

strem said...

We just never grew up having ice cream very often, so no one in my immediate family constantly has ice cream in the freezer like some of my friends do. If I ever go to an ice cream parlor, I usually order cookie dough ice cream. But, I really do love just plain old vanilla - from the nearby eateries, from the box, and especially from the homemade ice cream maker! Lydia, we need to make some again SOON!

ShowJumper said...

So that's what you do!
Now I really want ice cream.........My absolute, all time favorite flovor, is.......Chocolate Chip Cookie dough.

I LOVE ice cream and I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. The combination is awesome!!!

Elizabeth said...

Wow. So being involved in a corporation that produces flavors and frangrances is like working for Crayola and coming up with new colors and names - that's a pretty cool job!

Oh and one of my favorites is definately cookie dough ice cream -Maybe it is like a forbidden pleasure to get to actually eat the dough, and to put it in ice cream : magic!

Dani said...

I think I want to be a customer that gets the test flavors. Yum!

Sandy-san said...

Awesome! I just ate a bowl of Cheerios... but now I want ice cream! *laughing*

Okay, I am a major choco-holic, so anything with chocolate sounds good to me! I don't usually go to the ice cream isle, so I don't know; maybe they now have dark chocolate in ice cream. Dark chocolate is my absolute favorite!!!

Sandy-san said...

Butter pecan... mmm!

Siren said...

I'll happily eat just about anything from Ben & Jerry's, but if I'm picking one single favorite I'd probably have to go with Haagen Dasz Dulce de Leche.