Author Topic: Thinking of buying electric ice cream maker. Experiences and Suggestions Please  (Read 6076 times)

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
The headline says it all.  Anybody with any experience with these please chime in.  I have made lots of ice cream with old fashioned ones where you add salt and hand crank but none with the modern kind.  All insights on styles, brands and best use are welcome.  Thanks.

RyanAtTanagra

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: SF Bay, CA
I have this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-ICE-30BC-Indulgence-2-Quart-Automatic/dp/B0006ONQOC/

No complaints, it makes really good ice cream.  It's super easy, just follow the instructions and find a recipe that looks good, mix everything together, dump it in, wait 20 minutes, ice cream!

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
Thanks.  I think that's the one they are selling at Costco.  I love anything twice as much if I can buy it at Costco.

KungfuRabbit

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
we've made ice cream in the lab before using liquid nitrogen.  the whole process takes like 30 seconds and its awesome ice cream (the super cold liquid nitrogen makes smaller ice crystals so its super smooth).

TrumanGrad

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
It depends on how much ice cream you want to make and if you want to make multiple batches at the same time.

But if you are only going to want to make a quart and a half or less at a time, I would recommend:

http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-ICE-21-Frozen-Yogurt-Ice-Sorbet/dp/B003KYSLMW/ref=pd_sim_k_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=016CF9MNMXAAWVMT908S

America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated recommended this model in the category of having to freeze the ice cream bowl in the freezer (rather than more expensive ice cream makers which freeze themselves, if that makes sense) and I bought one a couple of years ago.  It has worked really well for us!

If you are going to buy new (rather than the Mustachian route of used), I would check out Bed Bath and Beyond - with a 20% off coupon, even with sales tax it might be cheaper than Amazon, so worth exploring.

The_Crustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
This might be a stupid question, but is spending 60 bucks on an ice cream maker (what Alton Brown would call a Unitasker.. tsk tsk!) really worth it and cheaper, after factoring in cost for ingredients? Or is this more about having control over what you put in your food? What is the break even point for a device like this?

And can it make frozen custard?

RyanAtTanagra

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: SF Bay, CA
This might be a stupid question, but is spending 60 bucks on an ice cream maker (what Alton Brown would call a Unitasker.. tsk tsk!) really worth it and cheaper, after factoring in cost for ingredients? Or is this more about having control over what you put in your food? What is the break even point for a device like this?

And can it make frozen custard?

It's not about cost, it's about control.  Both for ingredients and for making whatever kind of ice cream you want.  I can shit food for cheap, but it'll be unhealthy and not taste as good as something I can make myself, even though I first need to buy pots and pans and cooking utensils and spices and all that other stuff.

In first attempt at eating healthy, about 8 or 9 years ago, I implemented only two rules: 1) no HFCS, and 2) no partially hydrogenated oils.  It was a little before those two things started getting looked at more, so they were in everything, including every single brand of ice cream I could find (some would have one, others would have the other), but I love ice cream, so ice cream maker it is!

Also, about 13 years ago there was a bumper crop of apples or something, prices were almost free, and one of the ice cream makers came out w/ an apple crisp vanilla ice cream.  Favorite ice cream EVER, but I've never seen it again.  Now I can make it!

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-ICE-21-Frozen-Yogurt-Ice-Sorbet/dp/B003KYSLMW/ref=pd_sim_k_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=016CF9MNMXAAWVMT908S

This is the #1 best ice cream maker ever. Simple, reliable, inexpensive, and there's no reason you'd need more volume unless you're trying to run a business off it. In two weeks of cruising craigslist, I found one of these for $20, brand new. It's even pink which, beside being an awesome color, will probably have more resale value when they inevitably discontinue it (actually, looks like they already have!).

Of course you can get gallon tubs of shitty ice cream (mostly air) for cheap, but why do that when you can make your own for the same price. With a bit of practice your stuff will come out on par with the best. My machine paid for itself compared to pints of B&J's in less than a month.

I would strongly recommend against buying new. These are the kinds of things people buy and only use once. Capitalize on that and there will be no loss if you decide for whatever reason that it isn't for you. Environmentalism etc. as well. No need for 10 lbs of new plastic when somebody already has a hunk of plastic they don't want.

And keep in mind that cream, especially iced, is a luxury. Consider that buying this will mean that you are not buying something else (including a free future). That's something we can't decide for you

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2951
We have an old hand me down ice cream maker that my parents bought when I was a kid. It's like the ones mentioned already, except it's doesn't have a motor. It has a hand crank and the kids have to remember to stir it every couple minutes.

When it eventually breaks (the lid that holds the crank handle is cracked) I will absolutely replace it. Crap ice cream from the grocery is $5 and tastes revolting. I can get a litre of cream from Costco for $3.5 and make the most delicious ice cream you'll ever taste in minutes.

The advantage of getting a self-cooling model over the kind where you just freeze the bowl in the freezer is that it would allow you to make flavors that require cooking (aka chocolate) in one day, rather than over 2 days.

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616

O.P here:

Wow, I have ignited a passionate ice cream controversy.  For those who asked (and this is not the RIGHT answer just MY answer) this is really about making good sorbet.  I happen to live in a part of the country where we do fruit in a big way and I love sorbet. I know from experience I can buy really ripe peaches and apricots for 50 cents/lb. and very ripe bananas for way less at local fruit markets.  At that price I think I can eventually at least break even while eating better and healthier sorbet than I can buy.   Thanks very much for your help.

TrumanGrad

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
This might be a stupid question, but is spending 60 bucks on an ice cream maker (what Alton Brown would call a Unitasker.. tsk tsk!) really worth it and cheaper, after factoring in cost for ingredients? Or is this more about having control over what you put in your food? What is the break even point for a device like this?

And can it make frozen custard?

It's not about cost, it's about control.  Both for ingredients and for making whatever kind of ice cream you want.  I can shit food for cheap, but it'll be unhealthy and not taste as good as something I can make myself, even though I first need to buy pots and pans and cooking utensils and spices and all that other stuff.

In first attempt at eating healthy, about 8 or 9 years ago, I implemented only two rules: 1) no HFCS, and 2) no partially hydrogenated oils.  It was a little before those two things started getting looked at more, so they were in everything, including every single brand of ice cream I could find (some would have one, others would have the other), but I love ice cream, so ice cream maker it is!

Also, about 13 years ago there was a bumper crop of apples or something, prices were almost free, and one of the ice cream makers came out w/ an apple crisp vanilla ice cream.  Favorite ice cream EVER, but I've never seen it again.  Now I can make it!

I agree with RyanatTangara - if you like ice cream (or sorbet in the case of the OP), these machines are great.  You can control the quality of the ingredients, for one.  Second, DH likes B & J, I can probably make the equivalent flavor for about half the regular price of B & J at the grocery store.  Third, it is great for entertaining - I made eggnog ice cream for Christmas and it was a real hit to go along with the cookies I made (and going back to point one, you can control the ingredients).  Fourth, I think homemade tastes much better than even "premium" ice cream.

Ricky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 842
http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-ICE-21-Frozen-Yogurt-Ice-Sorbet/dp/B003KYSLMW/ref=pd_sim_k_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=016CF9MNMXAAWVMT908S
I would strongly recommend against buying new. These are the kinds of things people buy and only use once.

Is it just me or do I just not see the logic in those two sentences? If you're going to make a one time purchase that, in theory, should last a lifetime, why would it matter if you bought new? I could see your argument for things you repeatedly buy and wear out anyway.

JohnnyDollar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
The secret to icecream-making is economies of scale.  Custard will have to chill overnight whether it's 1 quart or 6.  I prefer the 'makers with built-in compressor/chillers.  They can be loud, but with one you can churn pack and freeze away 6-8 quarts of custard per day, vs 1 quart/day with the cheaper kind.  Definitely worth the investment IMHO.

RyanAtTanagra

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: SF Bay, CA
They can be loud, but with one you can churn pack and freeze away 6-8 quarts of custard per day, vs 1 quart/day with the cheaper kind.  Definitely worth the investment IMHO.

Jeez, how much custard do you eat? ;-P

I would strongly recommend against buying new. These are the kinds of things people buy and only use once.

Is it just me or do I just not see the logic in those two sentences? If you're going to make a one time purchase that, in theory, should last a lifetime, why would it matter if you bought new? I could see your argument for things you repeatedly buy and wear out anyway.

$50 savings is $50 savings.  Just because you plan to have something for a long time doesn't mean you have to buy it new and can't save some money when getting it, especially when like mentioned some things are bought and used once, so are effectively new.  Let someone else absorb the 50-75% new item depreciation.

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
Thanks everybody.  I think in the short term I will borrow one from my neighbor during cheap fruit season.  If I actually use it enough to make it worth while, it will be time for the next step.

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
The secret to icecream-making is economies of scale.  Custard will have to chill overnight whether it's 1 quart or 6.  I prefer the 'makers with built-in compressor/chillers.  They can be loud, but with one you can churn pack and freeze away 6-8 quarts of custard per day, vs 1 quart/day with the cheaper kind.  Definitely worth the investment IMHO.

I can't even fathom how dangerous it would be to my health if I could make 6 QTS of custard at once!!!

But I also own thew Cuisinart one mentioned by others and love it. We probably use it 3-4 times per year and its always a fun weekend thing to do as a family

morning owl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
  • Location: Canada
If you're into sorbet, how about just getting a vitamix? It would be much more versatile (for making smoothies, soups, etc) and makes an amazing healthy sorbet. You just freeze the fruit and purée it in the blender. It makes instant sorbet! I also like making a banana ice cream with just frozen bananas. You can add peanut butter, chocolate, etc for a real treat. It comes out the consistency of soft serve and you'd never know there was no dairy or fat.

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
If you're into sorbet, how about just getting a vitamix? It would be much more versatile (for making smoothies, soups, etc) and makes an amazing healthy sorbet. You just freeze the fruit and purée it in the blender. It makes instant sorbet! I also like making a banana ice cream with just frozen bananas. You can add peanut butter, chocolate, etc for a real treat. It comes out the consistency of soft serve and you'd never know there was no dairy or fat.

OMG, you are absolutely right.  I do have a Vitamix which I love.  I am an idiot!  Thank you VERY much for the suggestion.  Going away into corner to kick self really hard.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye

And can it make frozen custard?

There's nothing magic about frozen custard.  It is a subset of ice cream.  (I.e: frozen custard is ice cream but ice cream is not necessarily frozen custard.)  All custard means is that it has an egg base.

morning owl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
  • Location: Canada
Sweet! Glad to save you sixty bucks :)

I'm weary of single-use kitchen items. The vitamix is like 20 things in one. I use It every day!

If you haven't tried banana soft serve -- you MUST!! So easy and delicious. There are tons of recipes online but even the most basic, using just frozen bananas, is awesome.


Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Wth why does everyone on this forum own a vitamix

Fwiw that's still just fruit puree, not sorbet, which requires extra sugar and a method of freezing similar to ice cream to minimize ice crystal size. BUt hey ifyou'rehappy with that then power to ya.

RyanAtTanagra

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: SF Bay, CA
Wth why does everyone on this forum own a vitamix

Haha I wonder that every time it comes up too.  It's a $450 blender.  I feel like there was koolaid going around that I missed out on.

morning owl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
  • Location: Canada
Wth why does everyone on this forum own a vitamix

Fwiw that's still just fruit puree, not sorbet, which requires extra sugar and a method of freezing similar to ice cream to minimize ice crystal size. BUt hey ifyou'rehappy with that then power to ya.

Well I'm not a sorbet expert, but I'd say frozen fruit puréed in a vitamix makes a very delicious and easy sorbet, with no added sugar or water. there's no ice crystals -- it comes out super smooth in texture. Personally I am not a fan of commercial sorbets, which are high in sugar and low in fibre, but I find sorbets made from whole frozen fruits much tastier and healthier.

Anyone who asks why lots of people own a vitamix must never have tried one :) I am very frugal in terms of kitchen gadgets, but have no regrets with this purchase. For something that lasts longer than 20 years that I use every day? Worth every penny.

RyanAtTanagra

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
  • Location: SF Bay, CA
For something that lasts longer than 20 years that I use every day? Worth every penny.

My $80 blender is 10 years in with no signs of aging (I burnt out my $20 blender in a few years before that, I use my blender every day).  You don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a good blender.  It's not only hamilton beach or vitamix out there.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
For something that lasts longer than 20 years that I use every day? Worth every penny.

My $80 blender is 10 years in with no signs of aging (I burnt out my $20 blender in a few years before that, I use my blender every day).  You don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a good blender.  It's not only hamilton beach or vitamix out there.

Ours is around 20 years old.  I couldn't begin to guess how much it cost, but I'd guess around $100. 

morning owl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
  • Location: Canada
For something that lasts longer than 20 years that I use every day? Worth every penny.

My $80 blender is 10 years in with no signs of aging (I burnt out my $20 blender in a few years before that, I use my blender every day).  You don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a good blender.  It's not only hamilton beach or vitamix out there.

Ok, but can you blend chunks of frozen fruit into a soft serve-like consistency with your blender? If so, awesome! If not then it's not much help to the OP :) I have used a regular blender (and I'm not saying there aren't others that are just as good... I've heard good things about Blendtec too) but the last blender I had could not handle anything like that. And it wasn't a cheap $20 blender. The motor was not powerful enough. The type of things I make w the vitamix come out a bit lumpy in a regular blender.

Since I use it daily for things a regular blender cant do, IMO it's worth the cost. I make my own flour, smoothies with fibrous things like kale, ices and ice creams, nut butters and nut milks, etc.
With a regular blender, eventually the blades will get dull and it will lose its power. A vitamix doesn't lose its ability to pulverize things to a fine consistency because it has such a powerful motor.

Anyhow... I don't mean to sound like a vitamix salesperson. But you're not going to know the difference unless you've actually used one yourself for a while. If you don't know what you're missing then you probably don't "need" one, and really nobody "needs" a blender at all. But I like paying for quality things that I get a lot of value out of. This just happens to be one of those things.