Call Hall ice cream has been a K-State tradition since 1963, according to the Kansas Historical Society. Call Hall ice cream was being made in the processing plant and served at the Dairy Bar only a year after the Hall’s first opening. Call Hall was named after Leland Everett Call, who served 21 years as the dean of agriculture beginning in 1925.
From The Beginning
K-State has had a dairy unit since 1977 with a herd of 200 milking cows, according to the Dairy Unit website. The Dairy Teaching and Research Center is home to research work regarding dairy nutrition, housing and management. The dairy unit staff is partly made up of K-State students performing the daily tasks and chores that the animals require.
Without the contribution of milk from the K-State dairy herd, the production of Call Hall ice cream would be not possible, according to the Dairy Bar’s website.
At The Plant
Once the milk arrives at the dairy processing plant, the creation of the ice cream begins. Jared Parsons, dairy plant manager, said he has eight years of experience in the production of Call Hall ice cream.
To qualify as hard-dipping ice cream, it has to be 10.5 percent butterfat or higher, Parsons said.
The importance of butterfat in ice cream is that it is responsible for the creamy and fluffy texture of the ice cream. The lower the butterfat content, the more icy the ice cream will be, according to the “Praline’s Own Made” ice cream webpage.
The smooth consistency of Call Hall ice cream is a result of the incredibly high amount of butterfat. For example, the soft-served ice cream at Dairy Queen is only 6 percent butterfat compared to the 12 percent used at Call Hall, Parsons said.
“(The secret to Call Hall ice cream) is using such fresh ingredients and not cutting corners with regards to the fat, using only dairy fat instead of vegetable fat or artificial ingredients,” Parsons said.
When making ice cream, the producers at the plant add whole milk to the cream and then add additional ingredients to the mixture, such as sugar, nonfat dry milk powder and corn syrup solids, Parsons said. This creates a mix that, once frozen, results in ice cream.
When deciding what flavors to make, there is a person in charge of keeping track of the flavors stocked, Parsons said.
K-State students employed at the dairy plant act as delivery personnel and also assist in the production and the cleaning of equipment, Parsons said.
Once the final product is complete, Call Hall ice cream is delivered to campus dining centers, off-campus greek housing, local Dara’s convenience stores and other locally owned businesses as well as the Dairy Bar, Parsons said.
Shaina Ott, senior in agribusiness and one-year employee at the Dairy Bar, said she believes the Dairy Bar is a definite “tourist stop” in Manhattan.
The busiest days in the Dairy Bar are football or basketball game days and on Fridays when there are a lot of student tours, Ott said. The Dairy Bar currently has 16 flavors to choose from, and there are a total of 32-35 flavors in production, she said.
The current crowd-favorite flavor is Purple Pride, Ott said. She said her favorite, however, is Espresso Ecstasy.
Opportunities for Students
There are many opportunities for students to get involved in the ice cream production process, whether it be at the dairy unit, processing plant or Dairy Bar, Parsons said.
Several classes are offered that take place in the dairy processing plant, like Fundamentals of Milk Processing offered in the spring semester, and a Dairy Products class that covers products such as yogurt, cheese, butter and ice cream.
Alaycia Ryan, sophomore in food science and industry, said she is excited about what the dairy industry and K-State can offer her.
“There are a lot of opportunities in the state of Kansas that are developing in the dairy industry,” Ryan said.
She said she is most interested in understanding all of the steps that go into manufacturing dairy products. Ryan said she recommends other students get involved in the classes offered at the plant because otherwise, there is not much opportunity to get involved in the production process.
“It was cool to see the full spectrum of being in a dairy processing unit,” Ryan said.
Ryan said knowing where food comes from is something that is really important to people, and she believes Call Hall will continue being a tradition at K-State. When friends or family from out of town visit, she said she recommends Call Hall due to its “home-town novelty.”
“You get to see exactly where it came from and how it’s done,” Ryan said.