Next time you want Ice Cream, consider making it yourself instead of buying it. Making ice cream is easy, and it's a great project to try with kids. This article contains various different ways to make ice cream, one of which is bound to work well for your kitchen and available tools.
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 5 hours, 50 minutes (active cook time: 15 minutes)
- Total time: 6 hours
EditMaking Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker
- Make a custard base with your favorite mix-ins. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze your ice cream in your freezer. Starting with a custard-based ice cream will help your finished ice cream freeze with a creamy, smooth texture. If you use a cream base instead, your ice cream is more likely to freeze solid - it'll be more icy than creamy.
EditFreezing ice cream in the freezer
- Freeze the ice cream in the freezer. Just pour it into a deep, freezer-safe container and put it in the freezer. Every 45 minutes, open the freezer and stir the ice cream vigorously. This will help it freeze slowly and take on a soft, creamy texture instead of freezing into a solid block of ice. Keep stirring the ice cream every 45 minutes until it has frozen completely. This method takes 4-5 hours.
- If you like softer ice cream, you can eat the ice cream as soon as it has attained the texture you like.
- For more traditional-style ice cream, let the ice cream freeze overnight after your last stirring. The next day, it will have a texture similar to that of store-bought ice cream.
EditUsing a freezer bag
- Pour the custard base into a quart-size bag. Make sure it's a sturdy bag with a good seal.
- Fill a larger bag with ice and salt. Take roughly two quarts of ice, crushed if possible, and place it into a gallon-sized bag with rock salt (also known as coarse salt). Ideally, the gallon bag will be roughly half full with the ice and salt mixture.
- Place the sealed quart-sized bag into the gallon-sized bag. Make sure the bags stay sealed. Do not allow the contents to mix at any time. If the bags don't seal sufficiently, seal the top of both bags to ensure they don't open during shaking.
- If you want, you can use two cans instead of two freezer bags to try this method. Get coffee cans of different sizes and fill the smaller one with the ice cream base. Fill the larger can with ice and salt and set the smaller can inside. Make sure both cans have tight-fitting lids.
- Shake it up. Gently agitate, massage, and shake the bags for about fifteen to twenty minutes. In this amount of time the contents of the quart bag should start to turn into solid ice cream. It is important that you are mixing the contents of the inner bag, but you don’t want to be so aggressive that you burst the inner bag or cut it on the ice. Double-bagging should prevent this.
- If your hands get uncomfortably cold, use a towel or an old t-shirt to hold the bags as you massage them; the bags will be quite cold and might become slippery with accumulated condensation.
- Consider using gloves or massaging while holding onto the top seal if a towel or similar cloth is not available.
- Remove the finished ice cream from the sandwich bag and serve.
EditMaking a pot freezer
- Fill a large tub with ice and rock salt. These are the materials you need to approximate an old-fashioned pot freezer. This is how ice cream was typically made before modern refrigeration, using ice cut from lakes and ponds. Hand-cranked ice cream machines are a variation of the sorbetière (a covered pail with a handle attached to the lid) which is a French adaptation of the pot freezer method.
- Put the ice cream base in a bowl. Use a custard base complete with your favorite mix-ins.
- Set the bowl in the tub filled with ice and salt. Make sure the ice and salt mixture doesn't spill over the edges or into the bowl.
- Mix the ingredients of the bowl vigorously. The salty ice water will absorb heat from the mixture, bringing it below the freezing point of water and turning the mixture into ice cream. It's important to mix as thoroughly as you can to prevent the formation of ice crystals. If you can, use a whisk or better yet, a hand-held mixer.
- The process of freezing ice cream this way could take several hours, and the result will never be as solid as store-bought ice cream.
- Remove ice cream from the bowl and serve.
EditMaking Cream-Based Ice Cream
- Mix your base. It's easy to make a wide variety of ice cream flavors by starting with a good vanilla ice cream base. Cream-based ice cream is a bit icier and lighter than custard-based ice cream. This recipe will make one quart of ice cream, so double it if you want more. Mix up the following ingredients in a saucepan:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream
- Heat until the sugar dissolves. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Chill the mixture in the refrigerator. Pour the cream base into a bowl, cover it, and place it in the refrigerator to cool down for an hour or two.
- Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker. Pour the chilled base into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Depending on what type of ice cream maker you have, the freezing process might take one or more hours.
- Add mix-ins. When the ice cream is partially frozen, add your favorite mix-ins to flavor your ice cream. A vanilla base tastes wonderful with just about any type of fruit, candy or nut. Add a cup (more or less to taste) of one or more of the following:
- Sliced strawberries
- Chopped cherries
- Chopped peaches
- Chopped chocolate bar
- Chopped candy bar
- Butterscotch chips
- Shredded toasted coconut
- Peanut butter
- Candied pecans
- Chopped pistachios.
- Finish freezing the ice cream. Turn the ice cream maker back on to finish the freezing process, then put the ice cream in the freezer for about 3 hours to firm it up. Enjoy your ice cream once it's frozen solid and creamy.
EditMaking Custard-Based Ice Cream
- Mix your base. A custard base is made with egg yolks. It's creamier and richer-tasting than the cream base (although both also use heavy cream). A custard base creates ice cream that's similar to gelato, and it tastes delicious with any type of flavoring or mix-in. To make the base, beat these ingredients in a bowl:
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Optional: add 1/2 cup cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream
- Bring 1 cup of milk to a gentle simmer. Don't let it boil - just heat it over medium heat until the edges begin to bubble.
- Stir the hot milk into the egg mixture. Use a wire whisk to whisk constantly as you slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture. Pouring it too quickly could result in scrambled eggs!
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat it. Stir it constantly over low heat until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon when you lift it from the saucepan. It should take about 8-10 minutes to thicken, and if you check the temperature with a thermometer it should read between 165 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This thickened mixture is custard.
- Make sure the mixture doesn't boil. If it boils it will curdle and clump. If this happens, pour it into a blender and puree it until it's smooth again.
- Chill the custard. Pour it into a bowl, cover it, and chill it in the refrigerator until it's completely cool.
- Add 1 cup heavy cream and mix-ins. Finish the base by adding a cup of heavy cream and stirring well. Your custard base is now ready for the ice cream maker! Before you freeze it, add a cup or more of any of the following mix-ins:
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (for mint chocolate chip ice cream)
- Sliced strawberries, cherries, plums or peaches
- Chopped chocolate bar or candy bar
- Butterscotch chips
- Shredded toasted coconut
- Peanut butter or almond butter
- Candied pecans
- Chopped pistachios
- Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker. Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
EditUsing an Ice Cream Ball
- Buy an ice cream ball. This is a commercial product that mixes ice cream within a specially made ball with two chambers.
- Prepare it for freezing. Fill the ice end with ice and 1/2 cup of rock salt (3/4 cup if using the larger size ball) and close by hand.
- Standard ice cubes may not fit. You might need crushed ice.
- You'll probably need at least 10 ice trays' worth of ice.
- Pour the ice cream mixture into the end with a metal cylinder. Leave an inch (2.5cm) at the top for expansion and close by hand.
- Shake, roll, and pass the ball around for 10-15 minutes. The ball will probably be heavier than you expect.
- Check the ice cream. Open the ice cream end with the plastic wrench that comes with the ball. If it's still soft and liquidy, scrape the sides of the cylinder with a plastic or wooden spoon (metal will damage the cylinder). Close the lid by hand. Keep throwing the ball for another 5 - 10 minutes.
- Since the chamber is narrow and deep, stirring the ice cream might be difficult. If necessary, use the wooden handle of a spoon or spatula.
- Check the ice end. Make sure you have enough ice to freeze the ice cream. Open the lid with the plastic wrench. Pour out any water and add more ice and up to 1/3 cup of rock salt if needed. Close the lid by hand.
- Scoop out the ice cream. When it's frozen to your liking, scoop it out and eat it.
- When you pour the ice cream out, be careful that it doesn't spill into the raised decorative ledges and tight crevices; these may be very difficult to clean later on, especially if you use chocolate chips.
- The ice cream tends to be "soupy" in the middle and solid along the edges.
EditMaking Ice Cream from Milk and Sugar
- Get 1/2 a cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar and/or a few drops of vanilla. Mix in a small resealable bag and seal.
- Get six cups of ice and put into a huge ziplock bag. Add a tablespoon of salt.
- Put the small bag in the big bag and seal. Make sure your milk bag is surrounded by ice.
- Get some bags and a towel. Wrap up the resealable bag and shake it up.
- When the contents of the small bag thicken, take it out and put it in the freezer. Check it every 15 minutes or it risks turning into a cube of milk.
- Take out and eat up!
- If you prefer a lower calorie ice cream that is not as rich, use artificial sweetener instead of sugar. You can also experiment with other types of milk.
- If you can, use larger salt crystals (e.g. rock salt). Larger salt crystals take more time to dissolve in the water around the ice, which allows for even cooling of the ice cream.
- For large groups, mix several quarts of ice cream mix and divide it into bags, rather than having each individual child mix their own (that gets messy).
- Make sure the ice and salt aren't together; it can burn your hand!
- Make sure you have gloves or protective gear on while whisking or throwing the mixture.
- Flavor combinations are almost limitless. Chocolate syrup is a basic option. Don’t be afraid to add your favorite fruits or nuts! Various flavor extracts that are available in your grocery store's baking section can lead to more exotic variations. Try combining mint extract with chocolate, or adding small chocolate chips.
- If you use blueberries, crush them first. Whole blueberries will become little rocks rather than mixing nicely with the ice cream.
- For older students, have them connect the ice cream making process to colligative properties.
- When you use the mixer that has the removable canister, put the canister in the freezer overnight. Then put it straight into the mixer, and the mix into the canister while it is still very cold. This cuts down on ice crystals, and produces a smoother ice cream.
- For method one, add one and a half spoons of Nutella and for more flavour keep adding.
EditThings You'll Need
- Ice cream maker
- Ice cubes
- Rock salt
- Plastic bags (sandwich and freezer size)
- Coffee cans (large and small)
- Stainless steel bowls (or deep baking dish)
- Spatula, whisk, or hand-held mixer
- Commercial ice cream ball, if possible
- Whole milk
- Make Lime Cream Sherbet
- Scoop Ice Cream
- Make Taiwanese Ice Cream
- Make an Ice Cream Cake
- Make Hard Chocolate for Ice Cream Topping
- Eat an Ice Cream Cone Without Making a Mess
EditSources and Citations
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