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Foodstuffs: How To Make Small Batch Ice Cream, 'Jake's Old Fashioned' Style

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Emily Corwin
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NHPR

Thirteen years ago, Roni Vetter bought an ice-cream shop called Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. Today, Jake’s is a locally-sourced, wholesale ice cream supplier out of Vetter’s hometown of Nashua.  For this week’s installment of our weekly series “Foodstuffs,” NHPR visited Vetter’s tiny ice cream factory, and saw her process step-by-step.

Step 1: Bags of milk

Vetter buys her milk from dairies in New Hampshire and Maine. The milk is bagged with the cream, sugar, and natural preservatives already added to her specifications. 

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On the subject of butterfat, Vetter says, "anything, in my opinion, over 18 percent is like eating frozen butter. It might be tasty, because it's butter, but it's not ice cream." Vetter says additional sugar "maximizes profits" by increasing yield and intensifying flavor, but it compromises the quality of the ice cream.

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Vetter adds cans of Guinness to her pre-bagged milk base.

Step 2: Flavor the base

Vetter adds both a Guinness-reduction and actual cans of Guinness to her base for a beer-flavored ice cream. She also adds vanilla and coffee. 

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Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR
Roni Vetter, owner of Jake's Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Nashua, NH

Step 3: The machine

Vetter's water-cooled ice cream-making machine produces 5-gallon batches. Its teflon-coated fan blades spin the ice cream, while cold water circulates to cool the ice cream. After 8 to 10 minutes, it produces the ice cream base in a soft-serve state. That's when Vetter adds the "stuff."

"I love stuff in ice cream," she says.

"Stuff" includes chocolate flakes, chocolate pieces, cookies, peanut butter cups, and other morsels. 

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Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR
The ice cream is spooned into containers while in the soft-serve state.

Step 4: Deep freeze

"The longer it takes your ice cream to set, the warmer your freezer, the grainier your ice cream is," Vetter says.  From the soft-serve state, her ice cream goes directly into a -40 degree Ferenheigt freezer. Thanks to that freezer, Vetter says, "our ice cream is extremely smooth, extremely creamy." 

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Jake's Old Fashioned Ice Cream truck is driven by Dale, Vetter's father.

Vetter sells her wholesale ice cream product to restaurants and grocery stores across the Northeast. Vetter calls her father Dale, who's retired after a career in computer science, the "truckster." He drives a Jakes' ice cream truck locally for weddings and other events.