The are numerous ice cream making machines available but despite the variety, most units break down into one of two categories: manual or electric. Both models are used for making small quantities of ice cream and operating in a similar fashion. Ice cream is made by combining ingredients in a container then continuously stirring the concoction while chilling the mixture to below freezing. The continuous mixing is of the utmost importance as it stops the formation of ice crystals and also aerates the mixture making it light and smooth. Rock salt has always been an ingredient in the process as it chills ice water to sub freezing temperatures. However, modern devices have done away with the need for salt as they freeze the ice cream in a pre-chilled tub or provide the refrigeration within the unit. The advantage of the salt-free technique is not only a time savings, but reduced cost and clean-up as well.
The Cuisinart ICE-20 is a counter top model that can make a 1.5 quarts of ice cream in about 20 minutes. The quick freeze without the use of rock salt is achieved by pre-freezing a gel-filled canister for several hours before. Ice cream production is achieved by combining ingredients, turning on the electric motor and leaving it alone to do its work. The unit has an automatic shut-off that will turn off the motor when the ice cream has reached proper thickness. This unit works best with custard recipes which require eggs and heavy cream and is one of the quickest units available.
Koolatron Deluxe Double Treat Ice Cream Maker -- FT03
The Koolatron is unique as it allows you to make two flavors of ice cream at one time. This small freezer unit is dishwasher safe, operates on batteries and uses the freezing temperatures of your home freezer to chill the mixture into ice cream. A built-in thermal sensor activates the mixing unit continuously stirring until the proper consistency has been achieved. While the unit is inexpensive, the containers are not very big and allow for a very limited amount of ice cream.
The Cuisinart ICE-50BC is different from most non-rock salt ice cream makers in that is there is no need to pre-freeze the container. The 50BC has its own refrigeration unit and an automatic shutoff feature that assures perfect consistency. Larger than most home ice cream makers, the unit can make up to 2 quarts of ice cream, which is a large amount for a home unit.
- Photo Credit chocolate ice-cream image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com
How to Use an Ice Cream Maker this Summer
When planning that summertime barbecue for family and friends, remember to add homemade ice cream to the menu. But, if you've forgotten...