Making Your Own Ice Cream at Home
When some of my favorite ice cream shops closed down, I took up making my own ice cream. Homemade ice cream will rock your world - it's fresher than store-bought and you can make it your own. Here's the scoop you need to know to get started making your own.
If you don't already know what's in ice cream: it's mostly milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks. In vegan ice creams, the animal products can be substituted with coconut milk. A good recipe boils down to a fat, sugar, and stabilizers. When you're experimenting, there is a handy calculator for mixing the right balance. These combined will create a base or a custard, which you will then churn into ice cream.
To churn ice cream, you can use either a machine with a compressor or the freezer bowl method. I checked The Wirecutter's recommendations but ultimately went with the Cuisinart ICE-100 recommended by David Lebovitz.Here are just some of my favorite flavors that are easy to make at home.
Favorite Homemade Ice Cream Flavors - July 2020
- Pistachio Gelato by David Lebovitz
- Coffee Ice Cream made with Chromatic Gamut beans and brown sugar substitute.
- Lemon Verbena by David Lebovitz
- Earl Grey Tea (works with any tea leaves, like Jasmine green tea).
- Brown Sugar Bourbon Vanilla
There are a few other tools that will be useful for your ice-cream making journey:
- ThermoPop Instant Thermometer
- Bamboo Spatula - to avoid damaging the ice cream bowl (dishwasher safe)
- Ice cream containers (dishwasher safe)
- Conductive Ice Cream Scooper (handwash only)
- Silicon Scraper - for every last bit (dishwasher safe)
- A mesh or tea strainer.
When it comes to making your own ice cream, ingredients matter. When a recipe calls for a certain percentage of fat or sugar, substitutions cannot be easily made.
When it comes to flavor, splurge on the good stuff. If you are working with chocolate flavors, you can add a teaspoon of espresso powder to enhance the chocolate flavor. Too much and you may find yourself jittery at night. For vanilla flavors, I prefer Madagascar vanilla extract which has a creamier and sweeter flavor.
One of my favorite things about making ice cream is that sometimes there are happy accidents. In most recipes, you will heat the cream base, infuse flavors, and then add the egg yolks to create a custard base. The recipe will then tell you to heat the custard until it thickens against the spatula.
After you strain and transfer the custard base into the refrigerator to cool, there will often be some custard base at the bottom of your saucepan. I like to scoop it into a cup, whisk it with a fork, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, you have a delicious custard treat that is also a preview of your ice cream.
Most recipes recommend letting the ice cream base refrigerate overnight, as the base will enrich with more flavor. When you're ready, follow the instructions for your churning device.
For toppings, generally most nuts and baking additions will work well. Chocolate chips, on the other hand, can feel gritty, unless you melt them to remove the chocolate tempering. If you have a box of Girl Scout Cookies around the house, they make excellent toppings.
You're ready to start making your own ice cream at home. Some might say it was mint to be. Let me know (@coleturner on Twitter) if you liked this post, or you have a great recipe you want to share. Soon you will be making ice cream every day, like its sherbert day.
Cover Photo by Erwan Hesry.