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May 16, 2007 08:28 AM

Anyone tried home ice cream makers

with the whole pinkberry scandal going on, was thinking of purchasing a home ice cream/frozen yogurt maker. Any tips on which one to get and how they work?

Thanks in advance, any recipies are encouraged as well.

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  1. We've moved this post from the Home Cooking board, so please keep responses here focused on ice cream maker recommendations.

    Centerline24 - you are welcome to post a request for recipes on the Home Cooking board.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        I use a Krups, too. It's the kind with a bowl and separate motor like Pei describes below, and works just fine. You can spend lots more for a model with a built in freezing unit, larger capacity and other bells and whistles, but I doubt the extra money always translates into better ice cream.

        As for "crunchy" ice cream, the faster the mix freezes, the smaller the ice crystals will be. A couple of tips: chilling the mix prior to churning is critical. Use a thermometer and get it down around 35-40 F before adding to the mixer. And don't fill the bowl more than half way (cut down the recipe or make two batches, refreezing the bowl in between).

      2. Home ice cream makers are a lot of fun. However, you have to be forewarned that your homemade treats will never taste like a tub of commercial ice cream. The commercial churners, along with stabilizers like carrageean, give commercial ice cream that distinctively smooth fluffy mouthfeel. Homemade ice cream with a $50 machine, even when you get really good at making it, will always be a little more "crunchy." I, and many others on this board, have come to love the texture of homemade ice cream because it tastes more natural. But there are some people who really crave that smooth fluffiness and will never like homemade (like my friend, who said of my concoction of fresh cream and Madagascar vanilla: "Um, this could be smoother").

        I like my Cuisinart, a lot of people like the Donvier, but I'd be surprised if there were huge differences in the two or three $50 models on the market. There's a mechanical component and a bowl that you put in the freezer. Once the bowl is frozen, you put it on top of the mechanical component, which spins it. You pour in your mix and a paddle churns it while the machine spins. In about 15-20 minutes you have very soft ice cream, no thicker than a thick milkshake. This throws a lot of people off. It looks nothing like ice cream. You just have to trust the machine, freeze it, and come back 5-6 hours later. At that point it will have firmed up into a more ice cream like texture.

        Ask back when you are ready for recipes, or search the boards. There have been a lot of "what is the best first ice cream to tackle?" posts over the years.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Pei

          I have to disagree--homemade ice cream is better. It's rare that you'll ever taste truly fresh ice cream in a store--the creaminess of homemade ice cream is sublime (some of the textural issues Pei speaks of could be solved by making a good custard base before freezing the mix)

          You should start with the $50 cuisinart, it's not going ot produce the best ice cream possible, but it is the easiest and least expensive. I have to say that I think the cheapie, pack a plastic bucket full of salt and ice machine I had before upgrading actually made much better ice cream than the frozen bowl types, but you can't beat the cuisinart for mixing up a batch of ice cream quickly.

          1. re: Mandymac

            I don't think I expressed myself correctly. I'm with you on this one--homemade ice cream IS better. But it's different. There's a certain--for lack of better word--sliminess that stabilizers give to commercial ice cream. It's that icky stuff that coats your tongue when you're done eating. I know, to people who are used to homemade that stuff is disgusting. I can't even eat Breyer's anymore without gagging.

            But to people who aren't used to homemade, that stuff is what ice cream tastes like. In its absence, they wonder "what did you do wrong?" Even if you've made the best custard base ever.

            1. re: Pei

              Did ya' have to use the word "sliminess" in connection with ice cream? I think I'm off ice cream for at least a couple of hours.

        2. This is an interesting thread to me as I am just about to make my first batch of ice cream tonight. I have a Donvier that I picked up cheap on eBay a while back. For the first batch my son and I are making raspberry swirl. I'm very excited to see how this turns out.

          Edit: OK, I just made the custard. (This recipe uses a cooked custard base.) So far so good. At least I think (I hope) I cooked the custard correctly. Now I have to run to the liquor store because I just realized I don't have any vodka - which is an ingredient in the raspberry "mash" component of the recipe. BTW, this recipe is from "Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz. Has anyone else made anything out of this book? If so, what did you think of the results?

          3 Replies
          1. re: flourgirl

            You are brave. I skipped the custard recipes the first few times until I got the hang of the regular stuff. I have the Cuisinart model -- two bowls from WS. It works well enough and as long as you remember to freeze the bowls ahead of time, you will probably get a great consistency and flavor. Just be sure not to put anything in there that is not ready to be frozen as is. The sides get so cold that you can't add things easily once it gets started churning because the mix-ins will stick to the sides and won't come off, so mix the fruit or other mix-ins into the liquid in a separate bowl first and POUR. For the money, this was cute and fun and very reliable. I don't think you need to spend much more than that. You can even buy extra bowls if you want to make multiple flavors at onces (we all do!),

            1. re: RGC1982

              I was a little nervous about the cooked custard but Lebovitz does a really great job of describing each step of the process and what to look for so that you know when the custard has reached the right consistency (as well as the right temperature.)

              So of course what happens, but we have a severe thunderstorm and we lost the power for a while. (I'm not even sure how long, because we had to go out for a while - but it was long enough for the freezer temp to rise to 13 degrees F.) I was a little concerned about the cylinder still being cold enough (not to mention I didn't chill the base as long as is recommended) but my 6 yr old son has been really looking forward to this and I didn't want to disappoint him, so we forged ahead and gave it a try. Well, we just finished making the ice cream and it worked out better than I expected. A little of it was still really soft, but for the most part it actually looked like ice cream right in the cannister, and more important, it tasted great! We added the raspberry swirl and now it's in the freezer firming up. Can't wait to try it!

              I have to say, so far I'm pretty impressed with the very low tech Donvier. The only drawback I can see is that I don't believe extra cannisters are available. And actually, even if this was an option, I just don't have the freezer space to devote to more than one cannister at a time anyway.

              1. re: flourgirl

                I just wanted to add that we had the ice cream tonight and it was a big hit. I was actually very (pleasantly) surprised by the texture. Very smooth and creamy. We're going to try another recipe out of "Perfect Scoop" this weekend. Just haven't decided which one yet.

          2. home made ice cream rocks. I love it, love it, love it.

            There are three basic types of home made ice cream machines (see list below). The good news is that you can make great ice cream with whatever type you choose. And, between the different models in each category, nearly all of those too will turn out great ice cream.

            1) The most common type these days are the freezer bowl models, where you freeze an insulated bowl for a day before making ice cream. These are really convenient and really only require a space for the bowl in your freezer. They do need to be frozen a good 24 hours in advance however. (also, it's best to have a freezer that is at or below 0 degrees F, for best results. One downfall of these is their capacity... usually only yields between 1.5 to 2 quarts max.

            2) Rock Salt/Ice type. These are the kinds we had as kids, where you use ice and rock salt and crank either by hand or by a machine. With these, you obviously have to deal with the whole ice and salt issue, and they are a little messier. If you get a machine model, they are typically very loud, so you'll want to run it outside anyhow. One big benefit with these is most of them will yield a full gallon of ice cream, which is great for parties, etc.

            3. Internal freezer types. These are the "professional" style machines with a built-in freezing system. They are large and expensive (usually around the $300 range). The obvious benefit though, is that you don't have to fuss with freezing a bowl or dealing with rock salt or anything like that. you just pour your custard in and turn it on. Downfall... price and size.

            Now, as for the model, it somewhat depends on a few things. For the first category (freezer bowl variety) I had a krups model for a number of years until the seal on the bowl broke. It worked very well. About 18 months ago I bought a KitchenAid model that attaches to my standing mixer. It's slightly more than some of the models (about $80). but it works very well. And holds slightly more than most of the freezer-bowl varieties. Some people complain its messy getting the custard in, but I haven't had any problem there. I'm very happy with it and I love that I can easily get a full 1/2 gallon of finished ice cream.

            for the second category, the rock salt/ice kind, the only model I'd get is a White Mountain. They aren't the cheapest, but the motors work very well, you get a full gallon (at least) of finished ice cream and they just work well. the motorized version is very loud...

            I, unfortunately, don't have any experience with the third type of maker. Sorry...

            Good luck and don't hesitate. Homemade ice cream is amazing and just so much better than anything you can get in the store. And, with some practice, you can make ice cream that has the exact texture you want - whether it be light and airy, smooth and dense, etc. We can help with all that on the home cooking board.

            Good luck!

            11 Replies
            1. re: adamclyde

              Thanks for this analysis. I have a question though that maybe you can answer. From what I've read, and my recent experience, ice cream that is made with a unit that utilizes a pre-frozen insulated cannister requires subsequent chilling in the freezer to really become firm.

              Is this true of ice cream that is made with the rock salt/ice type of ice cream maker? (My dad used one of these when we were kids, but I can't remember anything about this issue.)

              And you raised a good point about the quantity of ice cream that is produced. My Donvier makes a perfect amount of ice cream for my little family but I couldn't use it for parties etc.

              1. re: flourgirl

                Or, you make successive batches starting a day ahead of time, freezing the ice cream and re-freezing the tub.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Yes, I did actually realize that, but it is very unrealistic - knowing myself as I do, this will never happen. But in the meantime I can have a lot of fun experimenting with the Donvier.

                2. re: flourgirl

                  It is true that the freezer bowl models, when the ice cream is done, you really need some time to harden a bit in the freezer (called ripening, I believe). There's actually a benefit in the ripening (subsequent freezing), in that the ice cream gets it's proper texture and the flavors settle in, and you are able to get a scoopable, but not overly air-y texture that happens when you churn to the point of it being hard. Most of the freezer bowl models have mechanisms that stop churning when it gets to a certain thickness. While it prevents overrun (additional air getting mixed in) it also prevents the motor from burning out too, I imagine.

                  With the motorized White Mountain, It's definitely possible to churn it to the point where the ice cream is sufficiently hard and won't require too much freezing. The motor on that sucker is pretty powerful and doesn't shut off like the freezer bowl types. For me, the white mountain is the perfect party/picnic appliance, as it feeds a lot and is done when it's done. One trade off is if you do churn it to the point where the ice cream is firm, you'll end up with more air being churned into the ice cream. This will actually make it more like store bought ice cream. But afficionados (sp?) claim that a little less air makes for better mouthfeel and flavor. Frankly, I tend to agree, however, I'm not too over the top about it. Regardless, with the white mountain, you have the flexibility to churn as long or as little as you like.

                  I hope that helps...

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    Just wanted to say thanks to all who replied, I appreciate it. Am going to get one this weekend, can't wait.

                    Thanks again

                    1. re: Centerline24

                      Just curious - what model did you decide to get?

                      1. re: Centerline24

                        If you have picked one great, but I did not see the one that I have discussed, and I absolutely love it. Its the musso machine, it has a compresser built in, so you do not have to freeze canisters and hope that it stays cold. You can also make batch, after batch, after batch. Lastly, while it will freeze quicker, you don't necessarily need to cool the custard before using the machine. Its big and loud, which sux, but it really does look good on the counter. The bowl does not come out, so cleaning it is a little bit of a chore, but given the end results, well worth the extra work. Oh yeah, its expensive as all heck.


                        1. re: chefboyardee

                          I have the musso as well, and it is the best thing I have ever purchased! I absolutely love that machine. And frankly, I like that it's big and takes up lots of space on the counter because it's really interesting and shiny and cool and people always ask what it is (and then ask me to make them some ice cream after i tell them--and with the musso, that's really easy to do on the spur of the moment!). Seriously, it is a great machine, and if you like ice cream, it is worth every penny.

                          1. re: baloo

                            I bought the ice cream bowl for my Kitchen Aid freeze it over night, and it makes great ice cream, Access to pouring ingredients into the bowl while it is running is a bit difficult...but the results are worth it

                    2. re: flourgirl

                      We used the rock salt/ice model when I was a child. When the cranking became almost impossible, the dasher was removed (and we got to lick it of course), any fruit, etc. was added, and the container was packed back into the salt/ice with additional salt/ice. The whole thing was covered with burlap sacks so the ice cream could "ripen" which meant that it could get hard enough to serve. I seem to remember that taking about an hour or so. In the heat and humidity of New Orleans without air conditioning.

                      I have an ice cream maker with an internal freezing unit and the ice cream still requires ripening to achieve proper serving consistency. It's OK just out of the machine but I much prefer the texture after ripening.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Thank you, that's exactly what I wanted to know.