Okay, so now you’re thinking with all these delicious Ice Cream, Sorbet, Gelato, and Frozen Yoghurt recipes you’re seeing, you want to make some of your own homemade delicious treats, but you don’t have an Ice Cream maker. Fear not!
Making homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker is easier than you might think.
There will be differences in the end result, of course, and without the use of an Ice Cream Maker, there’s a little more work for you to do. But it’s still perfectly achievable.
Let’s first understand what an Ice Cream Maker does, so we can work out what we can do without one.
The Churning Process in Ice Cream Making:
Churning is a fundamental step in the ice cream-making process that involves the controlled mixing and freezing of the ice cream base.
This process is typically carried out in an ice cream maker or churn, which has a central container surrounded by a freezing agent, usually ice and rock salt.
The ice cream base, a mixture of cream, milk, sugar, and flavourings, is poured into the central container before churning begins.
- Mixing and Incorporation: As the churning begins, the ice cream base starts to freeze around the edges of the container. The churning blades or paddle inside the container continuously scrape and mix the partially frozen ice cream base. This motion ensures that air is incorporated into the mixture, resulting in a light and creamy texture. The churning process is essential for creating the desirable mouthfeel of ice cream, distinguishing it from a dense and icy frozen dessert.
- Preventing Ice Crystal Formation: During the churning process, the formation of ice crystals is actively discouraged. Ice crystals can be problematic in ice cream as they lead to a gritty and less pleasant texture. The constant movement of the churning blades breaks up large ice crystals that may have started to form. It also promotes the distribution of air and fat molecules throughout the mixture, which hinders the formation of larger ice crystals. The presence of air and fat molecules acts as stabilisers, preventing ice crystals from growing too large and yielding a smoother, creamier consistency.
- Temperature Regulation: The ice cream maker’s freezing agent, such as ice and rock salt, helps maintain a consistent low temperature inside the container. This controlled freezing is essential in preventing the formation of large ice crystals. By freezing the mixture quickly and evenly, the churning process ensures that small ice crystals form uniformly, enhancing the smoothness of the ice cream.
- Monitoring the Churning Time: The duration of churning varies depending on the specific ice cream recipe and the type of ice cream maker used. Typically, it takes around 20 to 30 minutes for the ice cream to reach the desired consistency during churning. Once the ice cream has achieved the ideal texture and thickness, it is ready to be transferred to a lidded container for further hardening in the freezer.
Churning plays a crucial role in transforming a simple ice cream base into a velvety, creamy dessert. By constantly mixing, incorporating air, and controlling the freezing process, churning not only produces a smooth and creamy texture but also prevents ice crystals from forming too large. The result is an ice cream that is rich in flavour, light on the palate, and free from unwanted gritty textures. There’s a science and artistry to creating indulgent, creamy homemade ice cream.
So, now that we understand the need for churning – a process that Ice Cream makers make easy, let’s look at ways we can get around this and still be able to make delicious and creamy Homemade Ice Cream – without an Ice Cream maker.
Here are some methods to try:
Hand Mixer Method: This method requires only three ingredients: double cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Whip the double cream until stiff peaks form, then fold in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a container and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. This method results in a rich, creamy ice cream without the need for an ice cream maker.
Food Processor or Blender Method: This method involves using a food processor or blender to create a smooth ice cream base. Combine frozen fruit puree, double cream, and any desired flavourings in the food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, then transfer the mixture to a container and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. This method results in a fruity, refreshing ice cream.
Mason Jar Method: This method requires a mason jar or other large glass canning jar with a screw-on lid. Combine double cream, vanilla extract, and sugar in the jar, then screw on the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously for 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens and doubles in volume. Freeze the jar for at least 3 hours or overnight. This method results in a light and airy ice cream.
Freeze and Stir Method: This method involves freezing the ice cream mixture in a shallow container, then stirring it every 30 minutes until it reaches the desired consistency. Combine double cream, whole milk, sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then pour the mixture into a shallow container. Freeze for 30 minutes, then stir the mixture vigorously with a spatula. Repeat this process every 30 minutes until the ice cream is smooth and creamy. This method requires more effort but results in a creamy, scoopable ice cream.
The suggested methods listed show that there are many ways to make homemade ice cream with a few simple ingredients and techniques – without an ice cream maker. Whether you prefer a rich and creamy ice cream or a fruity and refreshing ice cream, there is a method that will suit your taste preferences and equipment availability.
How to Prevent Ice Crystals from Forming in Homemade Ice Cream.
A common problem with Homemade Ice Cream is that it can be icy and there are a variety of reasons for this.
Here are some tips for preventing ice crystals from forming;
- Cover the Ice Cream: To prevent ice crystals from forming in ice cream, place a piece of waxed paper, parchment paper, or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream. Press it firmly onto the ice cream so that it forms a tight seal. Cover with the lid and return to the freezer.
- Chill the Ingredients: Chill the ingredients before mixing them together. This helps to prevent ice crystals from forming and ensures a smoother texture.
- Use a Good Recipe: Use a recipe that limits the amount of free water in the mixture. The more “free” water there is in the mixture, the more water that’s able to form and grow ice crystals. By using recipes that limit the amount of free water in the mix, we can limit the size of those ice crystals to make super smooth ice cream.
- Pre-Freeze the Ice Cream Container and Mix-Ins: Pre-freeze the ice cream container and its lid, as well as ingredient mix-ins. The colder you keep the ice cream mixture, the less likely it is to form ice crystals.
- Freeze and Stir: Stir the ice cream mixture every 30 minutes while it’s freezing. This helps to break up any ice crystals that may have formed and creates a smoother texture, as noted above.
- Use Sweetened Condensed Milk: Sweetened condensed milk is a key ingredient in many no-churn ice cream recipes. It adds sweetness and creaminess to the ice cream and helps to prevent ice crystals from forming.
By following these tips, you can create a delicious, smooth and creamy homemade ice cream that rivals shop-bought options.
Some Common Mistakes to avoid when making Homemade Ice Cream
Here are some common mistakes to avoid when making homemade ice cream:
Using Dairy with a Low Fat Content: Using dairy with a low-fat content can result in a less creamy texture. Opt for double or whipped cream, a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk, or half-and-half to achieve a better-tasting ice cream with a smoother consistency.
Adding Mix-Ins Too Early: Adding mix-ins like chocolate chips or nuts too early can cause them to sink to the bottom of the ice cream and freeze into a solid mass. Add mix-ins once the Ice cream has been partially set to ensure even distribution.
Not Resting the Base: After making the ice cream base, it’s important to let it rest in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight. This allows the flavours to meld and the mixture to chill thoroughly, resulting in a smoother texture.
Neglecting the Salt: Adding a pinch of salt to the ice cream base can help to enhance the flavour and prevent ice crystals from forming.
Not Covering the Ice Cream: Covering the ice cream with plastic wrap or waxed paper can help prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface. Press the wrap firmly onto the surface of the ice cream to create a tight seal.
Ready to give Homemade Ice Cream a Go?
Making homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker is definitely possible, in fact, it’s much easier than you might think.
With the right ingredients, a few techniques and some patience, you can create a variety of flavours and even better, customise your ice cream to exactly your taste and preferences.
Whether you use naturally thickening ingredients like condensed milk or opt for the freeze-and-stir method, you can create amazing homemade ice cream.
So why not give it a try, even without an ice cream maker, create your own delicious and creamy homemade ice cream today.
If you would like to know about Making Ice Cream with an ice cream maker, please see our article – What is the Best Ice Cream Maker? A Detailed Review.
Please get in touch and let us know how you get on and of course, if you have any comments, please do drop us a message below.