The Modern Home Ice Cream Maker

The home ice cream maker has come a long way from its earliest days of basically being a bucket full of ice and salt, with an inner pail full of cream and sugar and flavoring, and a hand crank that took intensive labor until a small amount of frozen "iced" cream was ultimately hard frozen and consistent enough to be eaten and enjoyed.

Today there are modern ice cream machines that sell for anywhere from $20 to well over $1,000, and the ease of use and consistent product produced is reflected in that price difference.
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, Red
There are still hand crank models on the market, and there are electric models that relieve the owner of that awesome duty of cranking, but that do not independently freeze the mixture, rather they must be kept inside the freezer compartment of the nearest refrigerator in order for the goopy mixture to turn into a frozen solid. There are also some machines on the market that do the cranking for you, but that you still have to put ice and salt inside before it will turn your sweet liquid mixture into ice cream.

But, the rest of the vast number of electric ice cream machines on the market now fall into one of two major categories, those that require pre-freezing of a container for the liquid "pre-ice cream" mix, and those the do the freezing themselves.

The standard, affordable ice cream maker, such as many of those seen in our Ice Cream Makers Section from manufacturers such as Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach. have an outer casing into which fits a separate double-walled bowl that has a freezable liquid, such as a mixture of distilled water and urea, and which much first sit in your real freezer for up to a full 24-hour day before it can be used to prepare a single batch of ice cream.

Once cold enough, that bowl then is returned to the outer casing, the pre-ice cream mixture of your choice poured in, and a top is then attached, a top that has some form of a paddle included that extends down into the liquid. That's where the electricity enters the picture - the power source powers the bowl that turns around the paddle (shouldn't it be the other way around - the paddle turning inside the bowl?). Depending on the quality (i.e. "cost") of the machine, the amount of liquid it holds and the nature of your ingredients, sometime around 15 minutes to 45 minutes later, you have a quart or two of fresh, delicious, home made ice cream, make to your taste.
Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker
Lekue Silicone Springform Loaf Pan

But, you ask, what what is the second type of ice cream maker, and what are those other machines such as the machines with names like Musso and Breville, you know, the ones that cost ten or 20 times as much as the Cuisinart models?

Well, folks, those are the machines that do not require in interior bowl to be pre-frozen. Rather, the machine does the freeing for you. This means three things. First, as I'm sure you noticed, these machines cost a lot more. Second, you do not have to plan a day or more in advance of when you will want freshly made ice cream, and freeze that interior bowl. Third, and maybe most important (or, the cost is the most important part of all this), you do not have to stop after one single batch, as that pre-freezing is unnecessary: Finish making one batch of, say mint chocolate chip, clean up a little, and make a second batch of cherry vanilla, without waiting that 24 hours for the interior double walled, water and urea-filled bowl to slowly, oh-so-slowly, re-freeze. Just fire up your expensive machines, and in 20 or 30 minutes you have more ice cream. These machines generally have larger capacities as well, as some, such as the Musso Pola Ice Cream Machine can make six quarts at one shot.

It is thought that the ancient Persians were the first to produce a fore-runner of modern ice cream, by mixing a concoction of grape juice over snow. The Persians did a little experimenting and not too long later were mixing more sophisticated combinations of rose water and saffron with various fruits and flavorings. The process has advanced a bit over the past 2500 years, but feel free to put rose water and saffron into your Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Compressor, along with some chocolate fudge.

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Revised and updated July, 2015
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