Hi guys… I recently purchased an electric ice cream machine. Made my first batch the other day, but I was very disappointed in the way it turned out. It was full of ice crystals. Don’t know if the mix churned too long or what. I made the ‘basic’ (uncooked) vanilla recipe that came with the recipe booklet. Will try one of the frozen yogurt recipes today.
Have any of you experienced ice crystals in your freshly churned ice cream?
Patricia, did you cool (really cool) the mixture before adding to the machine and/or did you leave churning long enough? It’s good to leave the mixture in the fridge for at least a couple of hours - or overnight - before placing in the machine. The large crystals are usually caused by not enough stirring - which shouldn’t happen with an electric machine - or, that it chilled too quickly. This doesn’t happen if it’s good and cold when you start. Granitas, which should have large crystals are churned in my machine for about 10 minutes whereas ice cream takes about 30 minutes. Don’t give up - it will open up a whole new world to you! What kind did you get? I have a Gaggia with three separate bowls - and I love it.
PS I usually make custard based ice creams but also make sorbets, granita, etc
Hi Annie - I didn’t chill the ingredients after mixing them, but they were mixed cold, straight from the fridge and put into the well frozen (24+ hours) bowl of the ice cream maker right away. The only thing I see in the directions now, that might have been a problem - I was apparently supposed to turn the machine on before adding the ingredients. I think I turned it on just after adding them… do you think this might have caused the problem? The ice crystals were small, but definitely detectable.
Yes, Patricia, it’s definitely a requirement to have it churning as you add the mixture. I don’t have the machine where the bowls go in the freezer, but I think the freezing process will be uneven if you add liquid to a freezing bowl without the paddle moving it around. Try that next time and I’m sure it will be fine. You are going to have so much fun this summer! I LOVE ice cream and all things frozen and there are some fabulous books out there - as if you didn’t have enough books!
Patrincia I highly recommend David Lebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop. Not only does he have great photos in there but a very detailed introduction with explanations and questions. He has a huge variety of ice creams but also granitas, sorbets, sauces, homemade ice cream sandwich wafers, etc. Great book! He recommends chilling the bowl at least overnight or 24 hours, as you did, but also chilling the ingredients in the fridge 8 hours to overnight. Use whole milk & heavy cream. The French/custard-based ice creams are best, I feel but he does have Philadelphia-style ice creams as well. I think with the machine itself, the ingedients stick to the frozen sides. I turn mine on first then pour it through the spout. I just made his French vanilla the other night, the texture is terrific! Once you make your own, you won’t want to go back. It works out well because now I have those egg whites for future mousseline! HTH
I make quite a bit of ice cream, and have never had that happen during churning—seems strange! Usually freshly churned ice cream is extremely soft—enough that you need to let it ripen in the freezer a few hours before scooping. I’ve only seen ice crystals form once it has frozen solid in the real freezer for many hours. There are a few ingredients which combat ice crystals: sugar, egg yolks, corn starch, and alcohol. I always have alcohol (vodka) and sugar in all frozen desserts I make—and many have cornstarch or egg yolks. I think your recipe probably contributed to the problem—what type of freezer is this? And yes, I will also recommend you buy the perfect scoop!
I find using Rose’s recipes to be quite good…the vodka really helps! Also, I’ve started using my kitchen thermometer to detect when the ice cream has reached it’s lowest temp. It’s hard to tell visually, when you’ve reached the optimum state (ie: is it going to get thicker or runnier if I continue)...the thermometer is great. Once the temp drops, watch for it to warm up. When it does that, you’re done!
But…I’ve been having issues with chocolate ice cream being gritty! Any thoughts on that?
Woo hoo, going to be a great summer with homemade ice cream!
My 2 cents:
-heat milk to scalding, then chill mixture overnight.
-make sure you don’t churn so long that the temp of the frozen mixture starts climbing again (I’ve cut down on batch size a little to avoid this).
-the mixture should freeze quickly to limit crystal growth, so start with mix as cold as possible, (again, smaller batch size seems to help it freeze faster).
-when finished churning, transfer to small, pre-frozen containers (mine are 1 cup glass) so that the mixture quickly drops to freezer temp- slow freezing allows crystals more time to grow (this from H. McGee).
-sugar, high fat content, and alcohol all inhibit crystal size (echoing Matthew and PPB).
By all means, check out the PPB, lovely recipes there.
Does anyone know of a good recipe for homemade ice cream cones?
Thanks for the list of tips Julie. The first batch I made (the crystally one), was made with 3 cups of heavy cream, so no shortness of fat there. My second batch (yesterday) was a frozen yogurt - used fat free yogurt, a small amount of heavy cream, and some whole milk. It was less crystally, but there were still a few. Here’s a photo of the finished batch - is it supposed to look a little lumpy like that?
That looks about right I think, but it sounds to me like you are going to be happier with a traditional custard ice cream. The non-cook recipes without egg yolks or cornstarch are never as smooth or rich as the traditional types. I would recommend trying the vanilla ice cream in the P&PB;—it really is heavenly. Also, frozen yogurt has a better texture if you use Greek yogurt or drain the yogurt overnight.