Make Your Own Ice Cream – Making homemade ice cream is pretty easy, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to whip up a batch every week. Here are the ins and outs of making ice cream with a simple vanilla custard ice cream recipe to get you started!
Before you start making ice cream, you need to know the basic steps and schedule. Ice cream is pretty easy to make at home, BUT there is a lot of waiting involved and you have to time each step to get the best results:
Make Your Own Ice Cream
There are two types of ice cream you can make at home, and the ingredients in each ice cream base are what differentiate them:
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Before you whip up your first batch of ice cream, it may be tempting to use less cream or less sugar, but every ingredient in an ice cream base has a role and serves a purpose. Learn what each ice cream ingredient does:
Using cream to make ice cream is really important because cream contributes fat, and that fat helps you:
To be considered ice cream, the mixture must contain more than 10% milk fat. Some premium ice creams have up to 18% fat, while some cheaper products have closer to 10%.
Fat also contributes greatly to the flavor of ice cream, as not all flavors are water soluble and sometimes fat absorbs these flavors better.
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Milk provides more protein to the mix and this protein helps to trap water. When milk is heated to make the base of the ice cream, some of the proteins will unravel (in a process known as denaturation) and these proteins are then free to bind some of the free water in the mixture. When water is bound, it cannot form large ice crystals during the freezing process, and so the protein actually contributes to a less icy ice cream.
Some ice cream makers may include powdered milk or other high milk protein sources in their base recipes. Cream cheese also provides plenty of milk protein.
You might be wondering where the water in ice cream comes from: it comes from the dairy products you use as well as the egg yolks. Water is inevitable, so ice cream recipes are designed to help you trap that water so it can’t form as many crystals and so your ice cream doesn’t melt as quickly.
Knowing that most ice creams should be between 10 and 20% fat, you can easily use a combination of milk and cream to get that fat content, or you can choose half and half to replace both. Half and half is usually 10 to 18% fat. Since I believe that whole milk and 35% cream are more common than half-and-half and low-fat cream options, the ice cream recipes on this site are made with a mixture of milk and cream to make them more affordable.
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Sugar adds sweetness to the ice cream and helps bring out the flavor. But sugar’s role goes beyond taste. The sugar binds the water, thus lowering the freezing point of the ice cream, ie. lowers the melting point: less ice forms and the ice cream is softer when frozen in your freezer.
For the above reasons, you can’t mess around too much with the amount of sugar in ice cream recipes. If you do, you risk making ice cream with larger ice crystals and a more icy texture.
Some ice cream recipes call for glucose or corn syrup to be added to the mix. Remember that sugar is sucrose. Sucrose binds water, but glucose can bind more water molecules than sucrose. For this reason, adding glucose or other invert sugars such as corn syrup or honey will help improve the texture of the ice cream, reducing the free water in the ice cream base, resulting in fewer ice crystals.
Egg yolks, like dairy products, provide a lot of protein for ice cream bases, and this protein will help bind the water and fat in the mix. That is why they are called emulsifiers, as they help the coexistence of fat and water. Egg yolks usually make up 5 to 10% of the mass of the ice cream base. You’ll see that most recipes have about 5 egg yolks per 1kg of ice cream base, so 5 times 20g per yolk equals 100g of yolks, or 10% of the weight.
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Milk powder, as mentioned above, is great at trapping water and binding fat, so it’s a great emulsifier. You’ll notice that milk powder is used in Philadelphia-style ice creams that don’t have egg yolks. This Butter Popcorn Ice Cream is Philadelphia-style ice cream, although the recipe doesn’t call for milk powder instead of egg yolks.
If you read the labels of ice cream and frozen dessert products, you may see other emulsifiers such as lecithin, mono- or diglycerides, and more.
There are other ingredients that act as a stabilizer, trapping water, but you’re less likely to use them in a home environment. However, you may see them on ice cream labels and you don’t need to worry. These ingredients, like emulsifiers, are there to improve the texture and stability of the product so less goes to waste!
Most ice cream bases are flavored with vanilla or vanilla extract. You can use artificial, store-bought, or even homemade vanilla extract. As you know, a common substitute for vanilla extract and vanilla beans is vanilla bean paste, which provides the flavor of the extract with the characteristic flecks of vanilla seeds we’ve come to expect from vanilla-flavored products:
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You can’t make ice cream without salt. Well, actually you can, but it might taste a bit boring. Salt is a very common baking ingredient because it brightens flavors and balances sweetness. Some ice creams contain a little salt. fear not But remember that fine kosher salt is not the same as table salt and that fine kosher salt (like the Diamond Crystal brand) is half as salty as table salt, so be sure to use the right kind of salt or adjust accordingly!
I’ve flavored ice cream with some fun and crazy flavor elements like tea leaves for this masala chai ice cream and even buttered popcorn. Think about the flavor element you’re working with and how best to use it:
If you want to get really fancy with your ice cream making, you might consider adding some fun toppings like chopped nuts or chocolate, maraschino cherries, cake pieces, brownies or cookies, etc. I folded chopped homemade chocolate chip cookies into a batch of vanilla cream base to make this cookie ice cream that I love. You can fold brownie pieces into chocolate ice cream to make chocolate ice cream brownies!
Adding them to the machine towards the end of your churning session will distribute the additions evenly, but it will also crush them into smaller pieces, and more delicate inclusions, such as maraschino cherries, will inevitably be crushed by the paddle and drum. turning your entire batch pink.
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A better option would be to layer them in the container as you transfer the freshly churned ice cream to the storage container. So pipe some ice cream, then add a layer of inclusions, then some more ice cream and some more inclusions and repeat until you’re done. I find that layering works better than trying to fold the pieces into the soft ice cream because it is very soft and on the verge of melting and therefore difficult to work with. Layering is the way to go if you want to jazz up your ice cream!
Whipping is done in a freezer bowl (also called a freezer drum or Dewar) with a paddle attachment (like the paddle on your mixer). The machine rotates the frozen bowl, causing your chilled liquid ice cream base to fold repeatedly. This encourages slow, even freezing of the mixture and the incorporation of air, resulting in a lighter ice cream that is easier to scoop and has smaller ice crystals.
Ice cream is not difficult to make, but if you want to make your own at home, I recommend investing in an ice cream maker that will churn it for you and make your life easier.
The problem with these methods is that you may end up with larger ice crystals, resulting in a less smooth mouthfeel. For some of these methods, no-beat recipes may include sweetened condensed milk or even cream cheese. They provide additional ingredients that can help reduce ice crystal formation as no-churn ice cream freezes. No-churn ice creams sometimes contain more sugar than whipped ice cream, again to make the ice crystals smaller.
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Personally, I vote for investing in an ice cream maker if you want to make homemade ice cream. This will make your ice cream making journey so much easier!
When churning ice cream at home in an ice cream maker, you want to make sure you don’t over-churn it: Homemade Ice Cream
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