More mofo vegan ice cream – and an ice cream machine review!

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

2009-03-21 - DIY Soy Ice Cream! - 0004

Yesterday, I reviewed Wheeler del Torro’s The Vegan Scoop, otherwise known as MY FAVORITE COOKBOOK OF ALL TIME. (It’s a must buy for all ice cream-loving vegans. In other words, all vegans.) Since most of the recipes contained within require an ice cream maker, I thought a review of my own machine might be fitting.

In Christmas 2008, my lovely mom gifted Shane and I an ice cream maker. Specifically, a Cuisinart Ice-45 Mix-It-In Soft-Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice-Cream Maker. It retails for $185 on Amazon, but at the time of this writing, you can score your very own for just $87.95 (with free shipping!).

When it comes to purchasing an ice cream machine, you have several styles from which to choose:

Manual vs. Electric:

[Manual] machines usually comprise an outer bowl and a smaller inner bowl with a hand-cranked mechanism which turns a paddle, sometimes called a dasher, to stir the mixture. The outer bowl is filled with a freezing mixture of salt and ice: the addition of salt to the ice causes freezing-point depression; as the salt melts the ice, its heat of fusion allows it to absorb heat from the ice cream mixture, freezing the ice cream.

This type of ice cream maker is inexpensive, but inconvenient and messy as the ice and salt mixture produces a lot of salty water as it melts, which the user must dispose of, and the ice and salt mixture has to be replenished to make a new batch of ice cream. […]

[Electric machines] have an electric motor which drives either the bowl or the paddle to stir the mixture.

Counter-top vs. Self-freezing:

Counter-top machines use a double-walled bowl which contains between the two walls a solution that freezes below the freezing point of water. This is frozen in a domestic freezer for up to 24 hours before the machine is needed. Once frozen, the bowl is put into the machine, the mixture is added and the machine is switched on. The paddles rotate, stirring the mixture as it gradually freezes through contact with the frozen bowl. Twenty to thirty minutes later, the solution between the double walls of the bowl has thawed, and the ice cream has frozen. The advantage of this type of electric machine is low cost, typically under $100. The disadvantage of the pre-frozen bowl approach is that only one batch can be made at a time. To make another batch, the bowl must be frozen again. For this reason, it is usually possible to buy extra bowls for the machine, but of course these take up a lot of freezer space. […]

More expensive, and much larger, machines have a freezing mechanism built in and do not require a bowl to be pre-chilled. The cooling system is switched on, and in a few minutes the mixture can be poured in and the paddle switched on. As with coolant-bowl machines, ice cream is ready in twenty to thirty minutes, depending on the quantity made. These machines can be used immediately with no preparation, and any number of batches of ice cream can be made without a delay between batches.

As you’ve no doubt already surmised, the Ice-45 is an electric counter-top model. Keep this in mind while reading my ratings, since each is in comparison to other electric counter-top models – versus, say, a high-end $1,000 self-freezing machine.

(More below the fold…)