Choose The Best Ice Cream Maker
Why Homemade Ice Cream?
Do you make a lot of ice cream and are thinking of getting an ice cream maker? Well it is that time of year again; the sun is shining, the sky is blue and our thoughts go more towards treats that cool us down rather than comfort food to warm us up. Ice cream makes that perfect treat for long hot summer afternoons and is also a cooling dessert for any occasion.
Luckily, these days we can just pop out to the shops and choose it in practically any flavour that we could wish for, but wouldn't it be much more enjoyable if you could make your own at home? Making this delicious frozen dessert is easier than you think and the whole family can join in and share the fun.
So what do you need to make your own ice cream at home? You will need a freezer and an ice cream maker, your favourite recipes and lots of scrummy ingredients. You can whip up home-made ice cream in all of your favourite flavours, so you could try making chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate chip, mint, lemon, kiwi, pineapple, toffee or even hokey pokey!
Why Use An Ice Cream Maker?
While you can make this delicious frozen dessert without using an ice cream maker, it is a lot easier and faster to use one. During the preparation time the mixture of ingredients needs to be churned to ensure that the resulting confection is smooth and does not contain any ice crystals, whilst simultaneously also chilling the mixture to freeze it.
This is all much easier to do using an ice cream maker rather than trying to do it all by hand. Luckily, these days there are many different models available,including both manual and electric ones. So there is one out there to suit all requirements and budgets, and there is a huge selection both in stores and online.
Hand-Crank Ice Cream Makers
If you still want to feel that you are putting some hard work into making your home made ice cream, maybe a manual hand-crank ice cream maker is for you? The process that these machines use to create ice cream has been around for some time as Nancy Johnson invented the first hand-cranked model in 1947, and generally they consist of an outer bowl with a smaller inner bowl that has a hand-cranked mechanism that turns a paddle or dasher to mix the ingredients.
What makes the mixture freeze is that the outer bowl is filled with a solution of salt and ice. By adding the salt to the ice, freezing-point depression is caused and as the ice begins to melt its heat of fusion allows the melting ice to absorb heat from the ingredients and thereby freezing the mixed ingredients.
The hand cranking can be great fun for kids to help with, but there is a mess factor as the salty water created by the ice melting needs to be cleared up and a new lot of salt and ice needs to be placed in the machine every time you want to make another batch of delicious home made ice cream.
You can get smaller manual ice cream makers that have a bowl with hollow walls that needs to be filled with a coolant, with a paddle attached to the plastic top. If you want to make ice cream when you are camping, sitting on the beach, or out on a picnic, you could get a brightly coloured ‘Ice Cream Ball’. These ice cream balls work by putting the ice and rock salt in one end and the ingredients in the other end and then shaking the ball around for about a quarter of an hour. Hey presto instant delicious homemade ice cream!
Do you use an ice cream maker?
Electric Ice Cream Makers
If hand cranking is not your thing, and you want to whizz up your frozen dessert quickly, efficiently and with the minimum of mess, you would probably be best checking out an electric ice cream maker. Although they are all powered by electricity which turns the paddles automatically, there are three main different ways that the mixture gets frozen.
You can buy counter top ice cream makers, that are usually reasonably priced, which require you to put a double walled bowl containing a solution into the freezer for up to twenty four hours before you want to make your frozen confectionery. Once frozen, the bowl is attached to the ice cream maker; the ingredients are put in the bowl, and the paddle switched on to churn the mixture.
The mixture freezes while it is being churned because of the contact it has with the frozen bowl. Your scrumptious home made ice cream can then either be eaten straight away or stored in the freezer for use at a later date. One of the disadvantages of this type is that you can only make one batch at a time, as you then have to refreeze the bowl before you can start making any more.
You can find ice cream makers that make the ice cream while they are actually in your freezer. The mixture is placed in the machine inside the freezer and the paddles rotate slowly and just stir the ingredients up enough to prevent ice crystals forming in your ice cream and keeping it smooth and creamy.
The paddles stop stirring automatically when the mixture is frozen enough and then they lift themselves out. As the ice cream is frozen directly in the freezer, the freezing process takes longer and you have the inconvenience of having to close the freezer door over the flat electrical cord.
You can buy cordless, battery-operated ice cream makers that work by being put directly into the freezer, but these are usually powered by expensive non-rechargeable batteries and you always run the risk of the batteries running out in the middle of your ice cream being churned and frozen. However, if you are really a fan of homemade ice cream, you can now buy fridge/freezers that have an ice cream making compartment built into them.
Probably the most expensive types of electric ice cream makers are the ones which have a freezing mechanism built in, so that you do not have to freeze a bowl first. You just switch the inbuilt freezer in the machine on, and a short while later add the ingredients and set the paddles churning.
These tend to be quite large machines and one of their advantages is that you can make multiple batches, one after another if you so desire. This is great is you have a large family of dessert lovers to feed or if you enjoy catering for large parties or dinners.
Soft Serve Ice Cream Makers
If you are a fan of soft serve ice cream, you can also get ice cream makers that dispense soft serve ice cream, just like the cones that you get from your favourite mobile vendor.
The ones that I have seen use the double-walled frozen bowl method of cooling and have a cone holder and a handle that forces the ice cream out of the dispenser in the classic swirl shape. Just add a chocolate flake and you have ‘99’s for the whole family!
So making your own ice cream can be simple and fun. Just select the right ice cream maker for you from the huge selection that is available.
Before buying one, take into account how much of this delicious frozen dessert that you want to make and which type of machine would work best for you and your kitchen. You can quickly and easily find a great ice cream maker online and also all the accessories that you may want such as rock salt, flavours and that all-important recipe book!
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