Today we’re exploring the craft of handmade artisan ice cream with Lisa Dyck, the owner of Cornell Creme.
Named after Cornell Dairy – the dairy farm Lisa and her husband William run just outside of Anola, Manitoba – Cornell Creme produces “perfectly handcrafted ice cream” made from milk and cream straight from their farm. Like most business ventures, Lisa started out by making ice cream for her family and friends. But everyone loved it and, soon after, Cornell Creme was born.
Of course, it’s not surprising why. Lisa’s ice cream is the real deal…the kind that’s made with real, pure ingredients.
Cornell Creme packaging designed by Jolene Olive.
Cornell Creme’s ice cream containers bare the ’100% Canadian Milk’ symbol. Learn more here.
How It’s Made
There’s no secret here, just milk, cream, eggs and sugar.
These four simple ingredients form the base of every ice cream flavour Cornell Creme offers. Added to this delicious custard base are a variety of fresh ingredients – things like blueberries, vanilla beans and beer (yes it’s true!). There are no fillers or stabilizers…naturally.
We joined Lisa earlier this fall at the Dairy Science building on the University of Manitoba campus to get the inside scoop on the production process. The building facility is licensed by the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and houses a Dairy Pilot Plant, complete with a pasteurization room and several production rooms for making cheese and ice cream. Lisa currently uses the facility to create small batches of Cornell Creme ice cream, which she packs in 1 litre containers and sells through various retailers in Manitoba. She also packages 4 litre pails for a number of local restaurants that offer Cornell Creme ice cream on their menus.
Lisa and the plant’s dairy manager were in Day 2 of a production run, and they were using the Continuous Ice-Cream Freezer machine to fill containers with Cornell Creme’s Natural Vanilla Bean flavour. A group of university students majoring in Food Sciences were there lending a hand to gain practical work experience in their field. Careful attention was given in the set-up stage to have everything laid out in a small assembly line. Everyone was then assigned their task for the day – pouring the custard base into the machine, filling ice cream containers, covering with lids, taping the sides and finally, running full crates of ice cream containers down to the basement freezer.
Once production got under way, the process was actually quite simple, and the mood surprisingly light. Music played in the background, while the group described each step and threw out the occasional joke. Everyone was focused, though, and the assembly line ran like a well-oiled machine. During the process, the group took 3 samples of ice cream to test (one at the beginning, one mid-production, and end at the end). The dairy manager explained that samples are taken during every production run to test for contamination. The ice cream cannot be sold until the samples come back confirming it’s safe to eat.
Here’s what the process looks like:
The custard base is poured into the Continuous Ice-Cream Freezer machine.
The Continuous Ice-Cream machine transforms the base mixture into ice cream.
The plant’s Dairy Manager fills containers so that ice cream is properly distributed.
The lids go on immediately after containers are filled with ice cream.
The lids are secured with tape on each side.
Cornell Creme owner, Lisa Dyck transfers packaged ice cream containers into a nearby crate.
Filled crates are moved downstairs to the basement freezer for storage.
Post-production, floors are hosed down and milky water disappears down a central drain.
A big thank you to Lisa and the Dairy Science building’s Dairy Manager for inviting us in to document the process. Visit Cornellcreme.com to learn more about Lisa’s product.