What is an Ice Cream Maker?
An ice cream maker is a home appliance designed to make homemade ice cream. In fact, you can use this appliance not only for making ice cream but also for preparing delicious frozen cocktails, various refreshing drinks, delightful frozen desserts and other exotic frozen delicacies like fruit-flavored sorbet or delectable gelato. Typically, an ice cream maker freezes the mixture while churning it in order to aerate the mixture and prevent the formation of ice crystals. Therefore, an ice cream maker evenly freezes ice cream, turning it into a soft texture.
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What Features to Compare
When choosing an ice cream maker, the first thing to consider is the Operation Principle, which primarily depends on the freeze method. It should be noted that the earliest ice cream makers were hand-cranked. Thus, to make some ice cream you had to stir the mixture manually every 2-3 minutes. Currently, these machines are out-of-date and replaced by semi-automatic and automatic ice cream makers. To use a semi-automatic ice cream maker, you need to pre-freeze the bowl in the fridge prior to use. This method of making ice cream is called Freezer Bowl. The freezing time is generally up to 8-12 hours. To make the next batch, you have to wait until the bowl freezes again. There are also semi-automatic ice cream machines that require no pre-freezing of the bowl in the fridge. You just need to add ice and rock salt between the bucket and the inner bowl. This is so-called Salt and Ice method. Salt and ice lower the freezing temperature, therefore, the temperature of the mixture around the ice cream gets colder. On the contrary, automatic ice cream makers are more convenient as they require no pre-freezing or adding ice and salt. Although, such models are more pricey as they feature a built-in refrigeration unit. It's very easy-to-use - just turn the electric motor on, wait for 5-10 minutes until the bowl is frozen to the desired temperature, pour the prepared ice cream mixture, and get the ready product in a short while.
The other thing we’d like to draw your attention to is ice cream maker's Capacity, which is mainly determined by a bowl capacity and freezing time. There are models with smaller and bigger freezer bowls so you can choose the one to fit your family needs. As a matter of fact, the overall amount of ice cream depends on bowl capacity. A freezer bowl of 1/1.5-quart capacity will be surely enough for a small household. However, if you are planning a dinner party, you should choose an ice cream maker with at least 4/6-quart bowl capacity. While churning the mix, ice cream gets saturated with air and becomes fluffy. The time required for freezing usually varies between 20-60 minutes (depending on the chosen model and the amount of product you need to produce).
And finally, you should pay attention to the Usability of an ice cream maker. In fact, ice cream makers are quite easy to handle even for inexperienced users. Actually, you should press the on/off button on the front control panel, or simply plug your machine in. Some ice cream makers come with an LCD display with a number of handy features like a built-in timer, various temperature modes, a pause option, etc. Next, when selecting an ice cream maker, it's reasonable to choose a compact and lightweight appliance that can be easily stored or transported. Besides, you should pay attention to the material a bucket and a bowl are made of. Ice cream makers can be manufactured from a high-quality plastic that makes them lighter. If an ice cream maker is made of metal, it is considered to be more solid and durable. Meanwhile, the inner bowl is typically made of stainless steel or aluminum that ensures better absorption of the cold. Furthermore, a reliable lid adjustment prevents ice and rock salt from getting into the bowl and spoil your frozen dessert while rubber feet on the bottom of the bucket keep the base stationary, providing safe use of the appliance. To sum up, all these useful features can make your cooking experience really enjoyable.