What Type Is Right For You
Have you ever thought about creating unique and delicious ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts in the comfort of your own kitchen? It’s easier than you may think, and much more rewarding than your regular pint from the grocery store.
Home ice cream makers allow you to customize a ice cream recipe for flavor preferences or dietary reasons. They are reasonably priced and in the long run could save you a ton of money, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try one today. There’s nothing quite like homemade ice cream– a frozen treat perfect for a picnic, party or snack on a warm summer day.
Looking at the different types of ice cream makers on the market today can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different brands and types that sorting through all your options is difficult. Once you know the basics between the different machines, however, choosing the right one to fit your needs becomes easier. Use our guide to help you decide what ice cream makers fit your needs, and soon you’ll be scooping away!
Why Buy Ice Cream Makers?
If you’re one of the millions of Americans limited in their diet because of food allergies, diabetes, or other diet limiting disorders, it can be difficult to enjoy a creamy scoop of ice cream. But there’s no reason you should fear what ingredients may be used in your food with homemade ice cream! Ice cream makers offer homemade ice cream that you have complete control over.
Try inventing a new flavor of ice cream, or revive one of your favorite discontinued flavors. Make it sugar free, or with soy milk. Best of all, do it from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Types of Ice Cream Makers
The most important step in choosing your ice cream machine is to look at the freezing mechanism. The different types of ice cream makers have different amounts of time required, make varying quantities of ice cream, and cost different amounts.
Gel-Canister Freezer Bowl
The gel-canister models are the most common type of ice cream makers. The canister is a double- walled freezer bowl that is specially lined with a freezing liquid in-between its walls. The bowl must be placed inside the freezer prior to making the ice cream, usually for at least 12 hours
The bowl is ready to be placed in the ice cream machine when the freezing liquid is frozen. Ice cream ingredients are placed in the freezer bowl and an electric powered paddle turns the ice cream for uniform freezing. The paddle also prevents ice crystals from forming and aerates the ice cream.
These ice cream makers are typically the most affordable, and you can find one for as low as $30. The preparation time, however, is long, and you can only make one batch (about 1.5 quarts) at a time.
Try an old-fashioned wooden bucket machine if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic. It’s a fun way to get the whole family involved and is as attractive as it is functional. Wooden buckets use packed rock salt and ice around the bucket to maintain a cool temperature. Some bucket ice cream makers operate electrically, and others use an old-fashioned hand-crank.
They typically make between 4 to 6 quarts of ice cream at a time, but you should keep your eye on them as they churn because of the rock salt component.
Compressors are the most convenient type of ice cream makers. They create consistently great-tasting ice cream because compressors constantly freeze your ingredients. The self-chilling mechanisms yield the best results and require no pre-freezing of parts or ingredients.
Since compressor ice cream makers are completely electric, they do not require the level of maintenance that the canister freezer bowls or wooden bucket machines do. Compressor ice cream makers can churn out batch after batch with no wait time in-between.
Their convenience, however, comes at a premium price, and they are much heavier and slightly larger than other types of ice cream makers.
Choosing The Right One For You
So now that you’re familiar with the different types of ice cream makers, here are some tips on how to choose the right one.
- Determine your budget
- Ice cream quality
Compressors make the best quality ice cream because of their self-cooling abilities, but canister models make perfectly adequate ice cream for an occasional treat. Bucket-style ice cream makers usually make smoother ice cream than canister ones.
According to Cook’s Illustrated magazine, canister-style ice cream makers produce dense, rather than airy, ice cream. The ice cream can be frozen for a few hours to achieve a firmer consistency whereas compressor ice cream comes out firmer right away.
- Ease of Use
If you can plan ahead, canister ice cream makers will work for you. Some people even store their canister in the freezer so they’re always ready to go. Unfortunately, you’d only be able to make one batch at a time since you need to freeze the canister for at least a day in-between batches.
Some buckets are hand cranked, so you’ll have to stand there and churn. Other ice cream makers are electric so you can just throw in the ingredients and let them run. Most models are very easy to clean, too, especially canister models since you can just wash the bowl.
Now that you know what to look for in an ice cream maker, the hardest part may be choosing just one!