Are you looking for an Ice Cream Maker?
**I can’t guarantee Amazon won’t change the prices, I am not fancy enough to automate that stuff**
Look, don’t lie. You probably like some form of frozen dessert. On a hot day, whether it be dairy based or not. Of course, if you live in Seattle, you might be inclined to get ice cream when it is 40 degrees and raining. Places like Sweet Alchemy would go out of business if we weren’t willing to break some norms up here.
Gelato and Ice Cream are some of my favorite desserts to make! Making your own flavors. Coming up with your own ideas like toasted chocolate, cardamom, smoked bourbon (if you want ideas, I have more than a few) o.O. I really loved cooking the custard, tasting it and making sure there was plenty of salt. Yeah, salt in the ice cream. Important note!
It really isn’t very hard to make ice cream base! Plus, if you have ever gone to the store, and not seen a flavor you think might taste good. Guess what, you can make it! So why not make a fun project on a sunny day!
The problem of course is how do you take a creamy liquid base and freeze it?
Ice cream machines vary anywhere from a 50$ Cuisine art standard freeze core to a 5,500$ Paco Jet. With such vastly varying prices, it can be a little confusing as an end-user to what the quality of the product will be after the work is said and done.
Now I have used all sorts of Ice Cream machines. Classic gelato machines, frozen cores, paco jets and a few others. Each of these had their own benefits and flaws. Sometimes it just happened to be price, other times final product. Now if you have never made ice cream before, perhaps it would not be wise to buy the 5000$ dollar paco jet. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. It may just be better to start out with 200$ cuisineart first.
Hey, then when you do a pop up you won’t have to be like me and being forced to use dry ice instead of a good ice cream maker to make Black Sesame Gelato.(Actually, that works pretty well!)
Ice Cream Makers
Let’s start with one of the cheapest options. There are still cheaper, but this ice cream maker is around 50$ and does alright. It is the standard Cuisine Art ICE. I personally bought this one when I was about 18. It requires you freeze the core over night before spinning and hold about 1-1.5 quarts of ice cream.
It doesn’t do a very good job with gelato based products. Gelato should be made almost entirely of milk, vs. ice cream which often is half cream and half milk or some combination of the two. The lower fat content requires a lower freezing temperature for a longer period of time in order to avoid the formation of ice crystals. However, the Cuisine art freeze too fast per rotation. The cheap plastic blades of the cuisine art can’t sheer the ice crystals. So if you are making a lower fat content product, it is obvious. However, if you are making peanut butter, Nutella, or olive oil gelato. It works great! I actually remember being in Culinary School and using this for my final product showing. I had to make enough for the whole school and there weren’t enough Ice cream makers in the school. So I had to add in this puppy. Luckily, I had used it before, so I only used this for my Nutella and Peanut butter ice creams. Of course, the product came out amazing.
I didn’t want this to feel like a Cuisine Art commercial, but they are often the cheaper options….. Similar to the previous Cuisine Ice cream maker. This one relies on a frozen core. These can be pains. So the reduced price tag comes with a lot of extra work. However, this model is better at handling lower fat products like gelato. It has a better blade and a stronger spin. Really, those are the best added features. Personally, I would buy the Gourmia GSI if I had to choose again. If you really just want to do this once, and then never plan to use this tool again. Then pick either of the cuisine arts. It touts an LCD display. I don’t really know why. It really doesn’t add that much to the user experience. A mechanical timer works just as well. I guess the LCD was break through technology for them.
I did say this was not a list of Ice Cream makers under 100$. In fact most of these ice cream makers will be more than 200$. The best ones sadly are :(. Now if you are like most people and can’t afford these. Check out the previous recommendations. Most of these ice cream makers will be 200$ or more and often time, you will only find them in restaurants. This product is the first product with an actual compressor. This means it cools on its own. Unlike the Cuisine Arts that require a frozen core. It can be a little bit of a pain to clean. Any of the one piece cleaners have their difficulties because you can’t really separate the pieces easily. Nevertheless, I love not having to freeze the core. Then you can easily do multiple batches. If you forget to freeze the core, no problem. This puppy just needs to spin. It can be noisy, because of the compressor. It is a small price to pay for the convenience
Alright, now we are starting to play with some real power tools. This beauty can spin you a batch of Ice cream pretty quick. It doesn’t have a cheap plastic blade, nope, it has a rotating metal blade that really helps shear through any of the ice crystal formation. Now, this puppy doesn’t come cheap. It usually is well over 1000$ for an ice cream machine. However, it requires no frozen core and is a heavy duty champ. I used it a lot when I needed to spin a a separate batch. Typically, most of my gelato and ice cream was done in a Paco Jet, which is the next option.This could make a chocolate sorbet in about 7 minutes. It is very heavy though. So make sure you know where you want to put it. It does cause it to be difficult to clean. However, I have never seen this machine break. So if you don’t mind it’s heavy duty nature. This is a great ice cream machine.
Finally, I would say, most chef’s personal favorite, as long as they don’t have to pay for it. A paco jet is amazing. Instead of spinning liquid base, you freeze the base in canisters. This step does take longer. However, it offers the advantage of being able to spin what you need, when you need it. The way a Paco Jet works is it has a very solid metal blade that it spins at XXX rpm and sheers all the ice crystals. At the same time, it is aerating the gelato or ice cream. To make it even better, you can decide how far you want the blade to go. So if you only want to spin half of your tube and leave the other half for later. Well, that is an option. If you want to spin the whole thing, go for it. Trust me, fresh ice cream is just better. So if you are border line spinning to order. Your customers are going to get their ice cream at the best it could be! The downside, a 4-5K price tag.
One final note, this is much easier to clean compare to any of the ones above. There are two parts to cleaning it. You need to clean the canisters, which can go through the dish washer. You also need to clean the actual machine. For that, you have a special insert. You just put in the insert with some water and cleaning solution(not soap). Spin it, dry, and done. Some of the ice cream makers above require you to tip the machine over, or put a frozen canister into the sink and try washing it. Way harder.
5. Dry Ice or Liquid Nitro
For this last version. You should be careful and maybe even have an expert. The last thing you want is frost bite. If you want to learn about using these products you can email me or watch the video below! I would say use a slowly spinning kitchen aid, over a whisk. Again, Safety first. I am not responsible if you freeze off your thumb :).
These were just my recommendations for good ice cream makers. I am sure some of you think differently. Please feel free to share what you prefer. Maybe your favorite ice cream to make?
Now with your new ice cream maker. You will need a solid recipe. Check out the Gelato base in the Black Sesame Gelato recipe. You can use it to make any flavor you like. If you need help mixing in other flavors, feel free to ask!
Thank you for reading. I am always trying to find good, and reliable new products. So feel free to send me your recommendation. Also, if you have your favorite restaurants, send those too! Have a great day.
[Pictures from Amazon.com]
Tags: What Ice Cream Maker Should I buy, Ice Cream Machines, Great Ice Cream Machines, Gelato Recipes, Dry Ice, Top Chef Knives