You can never go wrong with ready-made ice cream, but there’s a certain pleasure in making your own ice cream at home using the freshest ingredients. There’s no such thing as too little Oreo, chocolate, nuts, pralineand other delightful surprises when you have the freedom to add as much as you want!
The art of ice cream making is delicate and a science in itself, so the possibilities for errors are little high. We have a list of 25 tips to make the best ice cream at home that will definitely come in handy the next time you decide to venture on your ice cream making expedition.
1) The right kind of milk you need
Make the right decision when it comes to the milk you use for making ice cream. Skim milk has low-fat content and can result in your ice cream having a light, watery flavour without any richness. Whole milk, 2%, 1%, soy milk, rice milk and goat’s milk are the best options.
2) Your choice of cream is important
Whipping cream is the best choice to give your ice cream a smooth and creamy texture. Heavy cream works well for vanilla ice cream but takes away the flavour of other ingredients such as chocolate.
3) Fruits for wonderful taste
Fruit-flavoured ice cream can be heavenly but only when you use ripe fruit to make the sorbet. The tricky part about fruit ice cream is that the sweetness of the fruit decreases during the freezing process. Make sure to use fruit that’s ripe and sweet or add sugar to compensate.
4) Egg yolks for better texture
Egg yolks do wonders for ice cream. Their high levels of fat and protein make the ice cream soft, creamy and more stable.
5) Swapping ingredients
Never make the mistake of swapping one ingredient for another simply because it is low in calories or for any other reason. Ice cream is temperamental and does not appreciate any changes in ingredients. Always stick to ingredients that are tried and tested to get great results.
6) Sugar substitutes
Honey, agave syrup and maple syrup act as great substitutes for sugar. They make ice cream softer and smoother as they prevent the formation of ice crystals.
7) Ice cream machines
Ice cream machines work differently depending on the model and brand. Make sure you know the workings of your machine before you begin the process!
8) Setting time
The bowl of the ice cream machine needs at least 24 hours in the freezer. Wrap your ice cream maker in a plastic bag and store it in the freezer so that your ice cream achieves the right consistency.
9) Hot cream in egg yolk
During the tempering process, do not pour more than 3 or 4 tablespoons of hot cream into your egg yolk if you’re making a custard-based ice cream. You may end up curdling the entire mixture accidentally if you add too much hot cream in quick succession.
10) The right pan for custard
Use a heavy bottomed pan while heating your custard on the stove. These pans help distribute the heat more evenly so that your custard doesn’t burn at the bottom. And don’t forget to keep stirring the mixture!
11) Avoid curdling eggs
There could be a chance that your eggs start to curdle while you’re heating your custard. To avoid this, strain the finished custard so that any bits of curdled egg get caught in the strainer.
12) Reduce the egg flavour
Is your custard tasting very eggy? The overpowering egg flavour is caused due to overheating the ice cream base. When cooked at high temperatures, the proteins in the egg yolks coagulate and make the custard thick. The ideal temperature for cooking would be 69 °C (156 °F) to reduce the egg flavour in your custard.
13) Chill custard for good shape
It’s a good idea to chill the custard before pouring it into the ice cream machine so that it churns properly and helps the ice cream hold its shape.
14) Adding extracts
For the best vanilla, maple, almond or any other flavoured ice cream, add the extracts after the ice cream mixture has cooled, but before churning.
15) Extra space to churn
Always keep extra room in your ice cream maker because while churning, air gets into your ice cream mixture. Depending on the model of your machine, don’t fill up more than about 2/3rd of the bowl.
16) Churning is important
Don’t skip the churning part when making ice cream! Churning helps break up ice crystals as they form and adds air into the batter. Placing your bowl of ice cream into the freezer without churning it can just turn it into a solid, lumpy mass!
17) Alcohol for that extra bite
Want to add a few drops of alcohol to your ice cream to give it a bit of a bite? You need to be cautious about the amount of alcohol you use because alcohol doesn’t quite freeze well. Adding more than a splash can prevent your ice cream from setting, so be sure to measure out and add just a small amount.
18) When to add chocolate chips
If you want to try your hand at making chocolate-chip ice cream, remember to add the chips only at the last-minute of the churning process. This prevents them from breaking down in the machine before freezing.
19) Freeze flavouring ingredients
Other flavouring ingredients such as nuts, candies, cookies etc. should be frozen before adding them into the mixture to prevent the formation of ice crystals. You don’t want to be biting into cold chunks of ice and giving yourself brain freeze!
20) Adding cakes, cookies, etc.
If you’re adding cakes, cookies or brownies into your ice cream, make sure they’re low in moisture and relatively hard. The moisture from the ice cream will soak through these pieces and make them soft.
21) Get the chocolate effect right
There’s nothing better than biting into a big chunk of chocolate covered in soft ice cream. But there’s a way to get the perfect chocolatey taste without making it gritty and bland. The key is to melt the chocolate, pour it on a parchment-lined tray, and then freeze it before cutting it into chunks. You can then add it into the mixture right before churning.
22) Cling film to prevent ice crystal formation
Adding cling film to the top of the ice cream custard before you put it in the freezer is a great idea! This prevents a skin of ice crystals from forming on the surface, so make sure you press down the cling film directly on the custard.
23) Freezer temperature
Temperature plays an important role when making ice cream. During the freezing process, make sure your bowl of ice cream sits at the back of the freezer because it’s generally colder in that region. This ensures that the temperature remains consistent through the entire process and you’ll end up with ice cream that has a lovely and smooth texture.
24) Choose the right container
The container you use to store your ice cream makes a big difference to the flavour and texture. Choose a long, shallow container for your ice cream so that you can easily scoop it when serving.
25) The right time to eat it
You don’t want to struggle to scoop out your ice cream when it’s time to dig in. Let your ice cream sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes and remember to use a wet spoon while scooping it out. A hot spoon may seem like a good idea but all you’ll end up getting is a big, melted mess!