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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How the Mission Mainlines Straus Dairy

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 6:23 PM

click to enlarge Bi-Rite's salted caramel. - NCHOZ/FLICKR
  • nchoz/Flickr
  • Bi-Rite's salted caramel.
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Mission Loc@l's Heather Smith probes the conduit that runs directly from Straus Family Creamery in West Marin to the Mission ― Straus supplies the shocking amount of yogurt and/or ice cream base that churns the flavor engines at Bi-Rite Creamery, Xanath, and Humphry Slocombe. Smith breaks it down:

Straus is ubiquitous in the local ice cream market in part because until recently it was the only organic ice cream base available here. ... Ice cream base is not rocket science. It's basically ... cream, milk and sugar. But California health code is strict when it comes to dairy and to foods that are adored by small children, and so only high-end restaurants risk making their own. They do this either by proving that they sell less than 2,500 gallons a year or via the more expedient method of stashing their ice cream maker in the back of a cupboard when they see the health inspector coming.
Interesting fact: Because the base can't be heated again, Bi-Rite, for instance, has to infuse it with various flavors without benefit of heat, explains Bi-Rite's Anne Walker. And getting the texture right is challenging. Though not, perhaps, as challenging as enduring the Sunday-afternoon queue on 18th Street.

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