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Ice Cream Machines


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From what I understood the ice cream was pretty much soft serve and had to go into the freezer to "set" regardless of the machine that made it.  Is this not true?    Given that it has the compressor and I don't have to freeze the bowl ahead time I can deal with the softness if I have the ability to make another batch right after the last one.  Many times I will make a couple different batches in a single day for when friends are coming over or just to make sure I have enough.  If I had to freeze the bowl for 24 hours after each batch, it would take me days to do what I want to do.

On a side note, I can't recall exactly but doesn't one of the ingredients in ice cream have an effect on how hard it freezes?  Sugar?  Cream or type of cream?  Alchohol?  One could add more or change the type of ingredient to help keep your ice cream from turning into a block of ice?  I mean, even the ice cream books say certain types are typically harder than others.  I guess the point of this side note is that maybe it's not the machine but the ingredients or type of ice cream being made rather than the machine making it.  Just a thought.

Pretty much everything you say is true, Octaveman...it's soft-serve till it hardens in the freezer for a while. Alcohol, sugar and cream all affect the freezing process.

I've had great luck, with my Lello machine, which is at a very mild price point, imo. They (Lello) make a number of different machines, but my 1 quart is just right - and I can make 3 or 4 quarts in a row no problem...click here.

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On a side note, I can't recall exactly but doesn't one of the ingredients in ice cream have an effect on how hard it freezes?  Sugar?  Cream or type of cream?  Alchohol?  One could add more or change the type of ingredient to help keep your ice cream from turning into a block of ice?  I mean, even the ice cream books say certain types are typically harder than others.  I guess the point of this side note is that maybe it's not the machine but the ingredients or type of ice cream being made rather than the machine making it.  Just a thought.

While this is true, I have made this exact recipe numerous times in my ICE-20 with superiors results. The final consistency achieved with the ICE-50 was a very soft soft-serve, the kind that forms puddles within minutes. My ICE-20 achieves that consistency fifteen minutes into the freezing process. When I let it run a half hour or more, most ice creams and sorbets I have made with it achieve a much firmer consistency right out of the canister, similar to store bought ice cream that has sat at room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes. One notable exception was David Lebovitz's salted butter caramel ice cream, which has so much sugar in it, it doesn't get very hard even after 24 hours in the freezer.

That having been said, part of the problem undeniably could have been the leaking coolant not allowing the machine to get as cold as possible. But, then, why did the dasher stop turning altogether at one point when the ice cream was perceived to be too firm for it to move? Even when I got it going again, it eventually resorted to jerking back and forth in short bursts in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, struggling to move through the ice cream. I feared it would break, and so shut it down.

In retrospect, I've read some less-than-glowing reports on Amazon that reflect exactly my criticism. I would still take a shot at a replacement ICE-50, however, because I still really, really want a self-refrigerating machine. Was the too-soft consistency an anomaly, or does this machine simply work this way? Would one with a metal dasher and more powerful motor forge ahead and continue to churn the ice cream beyond this consistency? Even the ICE-20 does this, so I'm confused as to why the more expensive Cuisinart would not. :unsure:

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Basically, alcohol and all disolved solids effect the freezing temperature. The amount of freezing point suppression you get from a solid depends on the size of the molecules. This sounds like pure geekery, but it's helpful to keep in mind with sugars. While all sugars will suppress the freezing point, monosacharides like glucose (dextrose) and fructose have around twice the freezing point suppression power of disacharides (like table sugar, or sucrose), because the molecules are half the size. Pastry chefs take advantage of this by vaying the proportion of sugars to control hardness. This gives you a lot more flexibility than just varying the amount. It lets you control sweetness and freezing point suppression separately.

Another ingredient that helps is nonfat dry milk. This suppresses the freezing point and also adds body. Most of the professional recipes I've seen have fair amount of this. I was shy about using it at first, because I had memories of it tasting terrible. But if it's fresh, it adds nothing unpleasant to ice cream.

Any added water, whatever form it takes (pureed fruits, etc.) will have the opposite effect. They'll raise the freezing point and make the ice cream harder at any given temp.

Notes from the underbelly

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That having been said, part of the problem undeniably could have been the leaking coolant not allowing the machine to get as cold as possible.  But, then, why did the dasher stop turning altogether at one point when the ice cream was perceived to be too firm for it to move?  Even when I got it going again, it eventually resorted to jerking back and forth in short bursts in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, struggling to move through the ice cream.  I feared it would break, and so shut it down. 

In retrospect, I've read some less-than-glowing reports on Amazon that reflect exactly my criticism.  I would still take a shot at a replacement ICE-50, however, because I still really, really want a self-refrigerating machine.  Was the too-soft consistency an anomaly, or does this machine simply work this way?  Would one with a metal dasher and more powerful motor forge ahead and continue to churn the ice cream beyond this consistency?  Even the ICE-20 does this, so I'm confused as to why the more expensive Cuisinart would not.  :unsure:

The paddle material has little affect on it's ability to freeze the stuff inside the bowl. The compressor and motor do that. Since it was leaking fluid of some kind it obviously wasn't working right. The motor probably didn't have enough strength to keep going nor did the compressor get cold enough to freeze properly. Can't base conclusions on a defective product.

I usually make sorbets and it comes out pretty stiff. Almost to the point of not being able to pull the paddle out without the sorbet coming with it. The handful of times I've made ice cream using milk products it froze the liquid pretty solid IIRC. It too took some pulling to get the paddle out of the bowl.

The motor will stop on it's own when it's unable to move. Sometimes I get the same back and forth happening too. I just shut it off and put the ice cream in the freezer as it's pretty much ready. A couple of hours later and I have pretty firm ice cream.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind. Putting hot or warmed milk or heated syrup (water/sugar) in the bowl will lengthen the time it operates. Has nothing to do with the end result just something to remember as some people complain about how long it takes. Ambiant temperature also affect it's performance. This is the first compressor type maker I've owned so this is all I know. I've never used the freeze-the-bowl type so I can't say why one is different than the other. It's quite possible that motor strength of the two may be different since one doesn't have the compressor to power and one does. That may also be a factor.

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I am familiar with the properties that varying amounts of sugar and alcohol contribute to the consistency of the finished product. While I'm neither a food scientist nor a chef, I have made tons of ice cream over the years with the ICE-20 and similar predecessors, and read enough on the subject, that these are not foreign ideas to me. I am also aware that the mixture must be extremely cold before attempting to freeze it in the machine. As always, I cooled down my custard mixture over an ice bath then refrigerated it overnight. That should not have had anything to do with the softness of this particular batch.

About the dasher, I wasn't saying that it contributes to the freezing of the mixture, merely that it stopped turning once the motor perceived that it was too stiff to plow through it. Each time, I disconnected the motor arm and manually turned the dasher myself, thinking the ice cream was done because the dasher appeared stuck in semi-solid ice cream. What was really happening was that it was temporarily frozen to the bottom of the canister. A quick turn proved, however, that it could move quite easily through the mixture because the mixture wasn't actually that hard. I wonder if this why some people suggest putting a bit of alcohol in between the outside of the bowl and the machine, to prevent the dasher from sticking so much? Not a great theory, I realize.

As a side note, my ICE-20 will also hesitate and occasionally stop working once the mixture gets too stiff, but it takes a lot to get it to that point. I usually have to work really hard to scrape it out of the machine when it is this stiff. The ice cream I made yesterday was so soft that it took no effort at all. Perhaps the dasher isn't as robust, or maybe it has more to do with the fact that the dasher spins in this model whereas the bowl spins in the cheaper model. That, combined with a less robust motor, has to be a contributing factor. I think the leaking gas only made the freezing process take longer or be incomplete, but shouldn't have caused the motor arm to be too weak to work the dasher through anything but really soft ice cream. Unless the motor was on the fritz too. :hmmm:

Regardless, I've got to decide whether I think it's worth trying out a replacement machine. If the dasher still stops the machine at super soft serve consistency, but is otherwise working, I'm going to want to exchange it for the $79.99 2-quart model anyway.

Sorry to go on and on about this but, as you can tell, this has really been bothering me!

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  • 1 year later...

New ice cream maker? Decisions, decisions ...

Hi all.

I've been thinking an ice cream maker might be a nice thing to add to my collection of toys. However, on doing a spot of research I find that, unless I want to spend about 10 times as much for a unit with its own refrigerating system, the available products rely on churning the mix in a special double-skinned bowl which has previously been frozen.

My question is: is one of these things really much better than chilling the mix in a food processor bowl and giving it a quick blast of the motor every 10 minutes or so until the desired consistency is reached?

Supplementary question: somebody in an appliance shop yesterday warned me that home-made ice cream is intended for immediate consumption, as it sets like a rock if kept in the freezer. I can understand that commercial ice cream will have emulsifiers or whatever added to keep it 'creamy'. Why can't we do that at home? I own things like lecithin already. Would a small quantity of that, or something else readily available to home cooks, improve the texture?

Thanks for any advice.

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My question is: is one of these things really much better than chilling the mix in a food processor bowl and giving it a quick blast of the motor every 10 minutes or so until the desired consistency is reached?

Yes, it's much better. That's because what's between the walls of the bowl supplied with home ice cream makers (like my $50 Cuisinart) is, in essence, a freezer pack, much like you'd use to keep picnic goodies cool. In addition the food processors blade will create heat, which you definitely want to avoid! Just as important, the food processor will not create "overrun," i.e., add air to the mix, as is done by the rotation of the ice cream maker's bowl and/or mixing arm.

Bottom line: I wouldn't even try using a food processor as an ice cream freezer.

That said, you can find plenty of recipes on making home-made ice cream without an ice cream maker. They will be harder and more crystalline than what you could produce with a machine, but they will still be tasty. It will require frequent attention while freezing to break up the ice crystals as they form. Starting out with a rich, egg-based custard will also improve the odds of obtaining a creamier product.

Supplementary question: somebody in an appliance shop yesterday warned me that home-made ice cream is intended for immediate consumption, as it sets like a rock if kept in the freezer.

It's great consummed immediately, but doesn't have to be. In fact, I like it better after "aging" in the freezer for at least three or four hours.

The rock-hard outcome can be an issue, and was the first couple times I made ice cream. But it need not be, and you don't even have to use commercial additives. Egg yolks contain lecithin, so you could go that route, making a custard-based ice cream.

I usually just add a third of an envelope of unflavored gelatin to 1.5 quarts of base work; it works just fine.

You also need to make sure you don't skimp on the sugar in making your base, since sugar helps keep ice cream soft. (I find it's especially important to use plenty of sugar in sorbets.) Replacing a little of the sugar with light corn syrup can help considerably, since it helps prevent crystallization.

Alcohol, like sugar, doesn't freeze as easily as bases made without it, so feel free to add it as a flavoring (3 tbs. per quart; too much and your base won't freeze at all) or, if you don't want flavor, just its thermo influence, use unflavored vodka.

In any event, after you've "aged" your ice cream, let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before dishing out (or 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator compartment).

Also, be aware that using fresh fruit can result in lots of hard pieces in your finished product. Again, I'm sure someone with more experience in ice-cream making than me can offer other solutions, but one would be to increase the sugar level of the fruit, often (assuming we're not talking delicate berries, here), by lightly cooking with sugar or, in the case of strawberries and similarly textured fruits, chopping to size, sugaring and letting them sit a while.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

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I used to have an Il Gelataio SC, which had a gel-filled canister that stayed in the freezer, and it worked pretty well. I think they stopped making that model, unfortunately, because the gel canister was integral to the main container, so it could function as an ice bucket and had fewer parts to clean than most ice cream makers of that type, but eventually the gel canister burst, and I had to toss it.

I replaced it with the Cuisinart self-freezing model, which is more expensive, but it lets me make multiple successive batches, if I want more than one flavor at a time without waiting to freeze the canister, and it doesn't take up any freezer space. It does make a lot of noise, however, which can be annoying if you have other things to do in the kitchen while it's freezing (usually 40 min. to an hour).

The ice cream from either of these machines should harden for a while in the freezer, but it shouldn't get rock hard unless you leave it in the freezer for several weeks. I usually make custard based ice creams, so this helps keep things smooth. Ice cream directly from pretty much any ice cream maker is usually soft and needs to be frozen, if you want it harder, otherwise the ice cream maker wouldn't be able to turn, at least not without an impractically strong motor.

You can make ice cream with a stand mixer and ice and salt in a water jacket around the bowl. I think KitchenAid now makes an ice cream maker attachment with a gel canister for this purpose.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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  • 3 months later...

I'm looking for an ice cream machine, with integrated compressor, under US $2,000, with removable bowl, and at least 2 liter (2 quart) capacity. In my research, these conditions all seem to lead to the Nemox brand machines, and in particular, the Gelato Pro 2500. The problem is that I can't find very much information about it or the company. I've yet to find a consumer review, I can't locate any entity in the U.S. (distributor or manufacturer) that would be responsible for the warranty or repair, and I can't even find a vendor in Los Angeles, where I live, that sells the machine. Does anyone here have any experience (bad or good) with this machine, or with Nemox products in general?

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I had a kenwood IM200, small domestic Ice Cream Maker.

However the casng has split and the Salty? water has leaked out.

I was lookign at a replacement and I see that there's a attachment for the Kenwood Chef. Has anyone got any experiences with said attachment?

ta

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  • 1 month later...

There was an article in some cooking mag recently on ice cream makers. I currently have the Cuisinart and agree with the article's assessment that the results are 'slightly icy, but acceptable'. For high fat ice creams it does just fine (but then simply freezing a high fat ice cream in a pan works nearly as well. You'll be very surprised by the results), but for gelato style (ie-- lower fat ice cream) and sorbets especially, the Cuisinart results are disappointing.

That's interesting. According to the Slate article somebody linked, if I'm reading it correctly, the reviewer actually came out with the opposite conclusion:

If you want to go gel canister and plan only to perfect Philly-style ice cream, this one's for you. However, the difference between this and a compressor model is very noticeable on French-style recipes. I started with a Cuisinart, and liked it a lot, but I also understood its limits in servicing my growing obsession.

Final Product: Philly, 8; French, 5

Has anybody else run into that problem with the Cuisinart?

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I've gotten excellent results with the kitchenaid attachment for the mixer. It's pretty big, so you need to be willing to sacrifice some freezer space. The upside is that the capacity is high. I think it could probably handle 1-1/2 quarts, but I generally make 1 qt at a time.

The temp of your freezer makes a big difference. I keep mine at minus 5°F or colder, which allows ice cream to spin quickly and then harden quickly. Between this and a good formula, I get results that aren't icy at all. Typical time to spin a quart of ice cream when the freezer is this cold is 7 to 10 minutes.

This method would not be good if you need to make more than one batch of ice cream a day. For that you need a machine with a compressor, and I'm guessing you'd need a very expensive one to better the results of the KA matched with a cold freezer.

Notes from the underbelly

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There was an article in some cooking mag recently on ice cream makers. I currently have the Cuisinart and agree with the article's assessment that the results are 'slightly icy, but acceptable'. For high fat ice creams it does just fine (but then simply freezing a high fat ice cream in a pan works nearly as well. You'll be very surprised by the results), but for gelato style (ie-- lower fat ice cream) and sorbets especially, the Cuisinart results are disappointing.

That's interesting. According to the Slate article somebody linked, if I'm reading it correctly, the reviewer actually came out with the opposite conclusion:

If you want to go gel canister and plan only to perfect Philly-style ice cream, this one's for you. However, the difference between this and a compressor model is very noticeable on French-style recipes. I started with a Cuisinart, and liked it a lot, but I also understood its limits in servicing my growing obsession.

Final Product: Philly, 8; French, 5

Has anybody else run into that problem with the Cuisinart?

If I am clear on your question, you are asking about a problem with 'the' Cuisinart? I have the little ICE-20 model, purchased second hand two years ago, and my only problems are that you have to refreeze the canister after each batch and that it makes only a small amount. OK. Those conditions came with the machine.

As for the various 'kinds' of ice cream: I've made egg custard, Philadelphia, coconut milk base, cornstarch based, etc, etc, and never had any problem with any frozen dessert which wasn't directly attributable to a) something I have done, b) my two very different temperature freezers, c) our lack of central air conditioning and very hot and humid weather.

The beast is a little darling and I bless the day I jumped at the chance to acquire it. :wub: :wub:

I might add that paulraphael is THE ice cream mentor of the list and I follow his instructions in some form in every batch I make. :wub:

Edited by Darienne (log)

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Darrienne, many thanks for the vote of confidence, but remember that I'm just a guy who not long ago was asking the same questions you're asking now. I have my own guru, and he has his!

Back to the question ... if ice cream is icy, there are a handful of likely factors. Two have nothing to do with the machine: the formula you're using, and how quickly you harden the ice cream after spinning it (which is a factor of freezer temperature and the size of the container you've put the ice cream in).

The two most likely factors contributed by the machine are the speed of freezing, and the drawing temperature, which just means the temperature of the ice cream when you've finished spinning it. The speed of freezing is mostly influenced by the power of the machine's compressor (or the temp of the freezer used to chill the canister). The drawing temperature is either determined by an automatic program, or by you.

Aaccording to my guru's guru—an ice cream scientist name Cesar Vega whose lecture I recently attended—the ideal drawing temperature is -5°C / 23°F. He says he's flabbergasted when he asks pastry chefs their drawing temperature and they have no idea. At the very least, picking a drawing temperature is a way you can standardize your formulas ... if they all whip up to the right hardness at the same drawing temperature, you know you're not compensating for formula differences by freezing the mix more or less.

If you get your drawing temperature in the right ballpark, and can get it there fairly quickly, and have no serious issues with your formula, you should be able to make smooth ice cream. I'm curious to know how long some of the machines (especially the ones with compressors) take to freeze the ice cream. If your machine takes longer than 20 minutes, then I suspect you're going to have some crunchy ice crystals unless your formula includes some good stabilizing ingredients.

Notes from the underbelly

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The Cuisinart model with the compressor takes 40-50 minutes to freeze a quart. That's starting with the machine at room temperature. Though obvious now that I'm writing this, I've never let it run for a while to come down to operating temperature before adding the cream mixture. I'm making a batch this weekend and will time it that way.

 

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That's not fair. I thought Paul was the knife expert. He can't be the ice cream expert too! How do you have time for all this?

So if I was planning on making at most one batch per day, there is really no reason to go with a compressor model over, say, the 2 quart Cuisinart for $80 at Williams Sonoma with an additional $50 gift card? Are formula and freezer temps the only determinants to speak of in that case, or are there certain types of ice cream/sorbets/etc. that a compressor model would do better?

I have a small compressor Lello that I am very disappointed in. The compressor doesn't seem to work very well, and it takes 45 minutes or more to freeze a pint batch in a pre-frozen bowl and pre-refrigerated mixture.

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Ha ... I just happen to know some of the real ice cream and knife experts, and I bug them a lot.

So if I was planning on making at most one batch per day, there is really no reason to go with a compressor model over, say, the 2 quart Cuisinart for $80 at Williams Sonoma with an additional $50 gift card? Are formula and freezer temps the only determinants to speak of in that case, or are there certain types of ice cream/sorbets/etc. that a compressor model would do better?

My hunch is that the frozen canister machines can outperformm the less expensive compressor machines, as long as you get your freezer cold enough. But I don't have first hand experience with compressor machines, and assume there's a huge range in performance. I recently visited a pastry kitchen that has a $15,000 Carpigiani machine that will freeze a batch in 4 minutes ... so it's probably safe to say that compressor models range from among the worst to the best of the best.

I don't think there's a type of ice cream that will favor one kind of machine over another. The most important factor is the time it takes to freeze the ice cream. Faster is better; if you can't freeze it fast, then you'll have to put more attention into stabilizing your mix in order to get smooth results.

There are a couple of other factors i haven't mentioned, like dasher speed, and other design elements that will make one machine tend to pump more air into the ice cream than another. One thing nice about the stand mixer attachment is that you can control the speed. With machines that don't offer controls, you can tweak your formulas to encourage more or less whipping.

Notes from the underbelly

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The Cuisinart model with the compressor takes 40-50 minutes to freeze a quart. That's starting with the machine at room temperature. ...

But what about the temperature of your mix?

My Gaggia only takes that long if the ingredients were mostly at (warm) room temperature.

Although I can't see that it would impact the final result (with a compressor machine), the starting temperature of the mix does greatly affect (potentially about double) the "time to wait before its done".

But not having to half-freeze the starting materials is another aspect of the "more spontaneous, less pre-meditated" nature of self-freezing 'compressor' machines.

Obviously, the mix starting temperature DOES greatly affect the final result (or else the mix capacity) when you are using a "stored coldness" (frozen bowl) machine. You only have a fixed amount of 'coolth' to apply to your mix.

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Obviously, the mix starting temperature DOES greatly affect the final result (or else the mix capacity) when you are using a "stored coldness" (frozen bowl) machine. You only have a fixed amount of 'coolth' to apply to your mix.

You are correct there. I put my mixture into the freezer sometimes to get it cold enough to use and then fasten cold paks around the outside of the ICE-20 to keep the temperature down as much as I can.

We live in a century farmhouse...no central A/C and alas no A/C in the kitchen and ceiling fans just don't cut it. On hot humid days, it's not easy to make ice cream. But hey! I work hard at it. :smile:

Darienne

 

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Yeah, the mix should always be very cold before you start spinning it. For one thing, all ice cream mixes should age for at least four hours (ideally overnight) before spinning in the machine, and this needs to happen in the fridge. So room temperature mix should never even be a consideration. In addition to chilling, aging the mix allows the proteins to hydrate and the fat globules to properly crystalize. This is essential to the smoothness and whipability of the final ice cream. It's also a good time for flavors from ingredients like herbs and spices to continue infusing.

Notes from the underbelly

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Yeah, the mix should always be very cold before you start spinning it. For one thing, all ice cream mixes should age for at least four hours (ideally overnight) before spinning in the machine, and this needs to happen in the fridge. So room temperature mix should never even be a consideration. In addition to chilling, aging the mix allows the proteins to hydrate and the fat globules to properly crystalize. This is essential to the smoothness and whipability of the final ice cream. It's also a good time for flavors from ingredients like herbs and spices to continue infusing.

No one ever explained that adequately before. You see, you are my mentor, now and always. :smile:

Aging, hydrating, crystalizing...etc. Not that I can fault anyone, btw. I may have read it, but not taken it in. The old brain can take in only so much at one time. So, now I know why. I thought it was only to get it cold enough.

Just went to the kitchen and retrieved the DL Lemon Ice Cream mix from the freezer.

So...are you saying also that an ice cream mixture made from essentially a cornstarch pudding should also sit overnight before being made into ice cream?

Thanks.

Darienne

 

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The Cuisinart model with the compressor takes 40-50 minutes to freeze a quart. That's starting with the machine at room temperature. ...

But what about the temperature of your mix?

My Gaggia only takes that long if the ingredients were mostly at (warm) room temperature.

That time is for a mix refrigerated overnight.

Based on my experience only with the Cuisinart compressor machine, I agree with paulraphael that frozen canister machines can perform better than lower priced compressor models. Aside from the lackluster cooling, my other main gripe with the Cuisinart is the seeming flimsiness of the transmission. When I have enough freezer space to permit storing a canister, I will go back to those models.

 

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Hi Paul, do you find yourself often going beyond the lowest speed on the Kitchenaid when mixing ice cream? I guess it depends on how much air you want to work in? Maybe you could start a "fast churned" ice cream fad at the grocery store if it works well.

Edited by peterm2 (log)
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