Tips on Making Ice Cream at Home

1. What’s the most important tool in making ice cream at home?
A heat resistant plastic spatula. The ice cream mixture will go between bowls, pot, and container many times during the process, so you will lose a bit of mixture between each transfer. To prevent too much from being wasted, use the spatula every time.

In addition, stirring with the spatula is the best way to prevent the mix from sticking to the bottom of the pot when cooking.

2. What’s the difference between ice cream recipes on Season with Spice and others?
After trying many ice cream recipes from books and online, I found them to be too sweet and too rich, meaning too much sugar and too many egg yolks. For a quart of ice cream, I rarely use more than 1/3 cup of sugar (raw or brown) and 2 egg yolks..

3. Why add egg yolks to ice cream?
Egg yolks act as the emulsifier, to “glue” all the ingredients together and give the ice cream its smoothness. Egg yolks also give ice cream its rich flavor and deep color.

4. Why add gelatin to ice cream?
Gelatin powder acts as a stabilizer, to prevent ice crystals from forming, which improves texture and extends the life of the ice cream. The more water in your recipe (e.g. strawberry), the more gelatin needed. But don’t exceed a teaspoon in a quart of ice cream. If you prefer not to use gelatin as a stabilizer, try Agar or Xanthan Gum as an alternative.

Uncooked mango, pineapple, kiwi, papaya, ginger, and figs contain an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down gelatin (and its alternatives like agar), preventing it from thickening the ice cream mix.  If using any of these ingredients, either leave out the gelatin, or cook the fruit first to deactivate the enzyme.

5. Why heat milk and cream first before mixing in eggs and sugar?
Mixing all the ice cream ingredients together first before cooking may save you some time.  But it is important to scald the milk and cream first in order to shorten the cooking time when eggs are added in.  If heating cold milk and cream with eggs, there is a higher chance the eggs will curdle and your ice cream will be ruined.

Scalding the milk and cream also helps infuse the flavors with the liquid.

6. Why is homemade ice cream harder than store bought ice cream?
Due to the amount of air whipped into ice cream, and a few other factors, store bought ice cream will generally remain soft when frozen, while homemade ice cream will freeze too hard to scoop. Easy solution is to take the homemade ice cream out of the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving, so it becomes soft enough to scoop.

Think of store bought ice cream like a bag of chips.  When you open the bag, half of it is air.  A quart of ice cream isn't really a quart unless you make it at home.