Those looking to invest in an ice cream machine, commonly called an ice cream maker, can choose from the manual or electric types. A manual ice cream maker is made up of an outer bigger bowl and an inner smaller bowl that makes use of a hand-cracked system for turning the paddle or dasher used for stirring the ice cream mixture. The outer bigger bowl on the other hand is filled with a mixture of ice and salt.
The combination of ice and salt will result in freezing point depression. This process occurs because of the heat of fusion resulting from the salt melting the ice, which in turn absorbs this heat from the mixture and freezes the ice cream. This kind of ice cream machine is very affordable but will suffice for those making ice cream at home. However, it can be sometimes messy since the salt and ice mixture generates extra salty water that should be properly cleaned up. Likewise, the mixture should always be replenished for each new batch of ice cream.
Other manual machine units can hold 500ml or a pint of ice cream mixture and have hollow walls that contain cooling element. Usually, the paddle is placed into a plastic top. The ice cream mixture will be placed in the frozen bowl and then put in the freezer. The paddles should be operated by hand every 10 minutes or more in the course of several hours until your reach the ideal flavor and consistency.
The electric ice cream maker comes in three types. All types use an electric motor for stirring the ice cream, but each has different cooling mechanisms. Freezer-unit, electric ice cream makers’ functions similar to food processors. The paddles automatically turn every several seconds when stirring the ice cream and will stop automatically once the ice cream is sufficiently frozen. Because the ice cream will be cooled via storing it in a freezer as opposed to the bowl having direct contact with a coolant, the ice cream tends to freeze slower than other types.
On the other hand, a countertop ice cream machine utilizes a two-walled bowl that holds a solution in the middle, usually made of urea and distilled water. This solution is capable of freezing well below the water’s freezing point. The unit must be frozen a solid day in advance in a freezer before using. The frozen bowl is then placed in the maker, filled with the ice cream mixture, and turned on. The mixture will slowly freeze because of contact with the bowl as the paddles continuously stirs. The cooling solution will thaw out in 20-30 minutes and you’ll see the finished ice cream product.
Ice cream makers that are bigger, sturdier, and more expensive make use of a built-in freezing system that doesn’t require pre-chilling bowls. Once you turn on the cooling mechanism, you can pour the ice cream mix in several minutes and activate the paddles. Depending on how much ice cream you are making, the freezing process can take around 20-30 minutes.
This type of ice cream maker is perfect for small-scale commercial ice cream production since you can use it on the fly and can accommodate countless ice cream batches without delays. However, some models can’t be moved around without a 12-hour waiting time prior to use since moving the machine around will negatively affect the coolant’s integrity. They are therefore not practical for home kitchens where appliances are more often than not re-positioned before and after use.