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Choosing an Ice-cream Maker

By: Anna Hinds BA (hons) - Updated: 10 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Ice-cream Maker Ice-cream Homemade
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Want to whip up some exciting homemade ice-cream this summer? If your family gets through it by the bucketload, you need an ice-cream maker. Here’s our guide to choosing the right ice-cream maker.

The Price of an Ice-cream Maker

You can pay between £48 and £325 for a domestic ice-cream maker. Need an excuse to make this indulgent purchase? Well, here are a few – let us know if you come up with any more!

  • You can cater to dietary preferences, making low-fat, low-sugar, or even dairy-free ices.
  • Considering the price of premium ice-cream, you’ll quickly recoup the cost of purchase
  • You can invent your own flavours according to your family’s taste – brilliant fun for inventive kids.
  • There’s as little as 20 minutes between putting in the ingredients and serving up!

How to Choose Your Ice-cream Maker

There are two basic price brackets when you’re looking at ice-cream machines. There is a cluster of machines at the £30-£50 mark, including the Phillips Delizia, the Kenwood IM200 and the kinetic-energy-driven Midas. The premium machines, costing between £200-£300, include the Magimix Gelato Chef, Gaggia’s Gelateria, and the Cuisinart Professional.

Budget Machines

The Phillips Delizia is perhaps the best-known of the three in the budget group. Like the others it’s a countertop machine, but it doesn’t have an inbuilt ‘freezer’. This means that it works using a frozen bowl (which needs to be put in the freezer for 18 hours, so you’ll have to wait patiently for your very first batch). You can purchase extra bowls, which don’t cost much, so you are able to make more than one batch at a time. Ice-cream takes around 20-45 minutes from start to serving. The Kenwood IM250 is a similar machine, with a capacity for 1 litre (the size of a tub of luxury ice-cream like Ben & Jerry’s) – not big enough for big families or barbecue parties, but perfect for dinner party desserts. Alternatively, you can choose a human-powered machine – such as the Midas, a stylish stainless steel churner that requires you to churn.

Is a budget machine right for you? The disadvantages of these machines are:

  • (a) that you need space in your freezer to store the bowl, and (b) they have a smaller capacity than some countertop versions.

Some people have reported delays when using this type of machine in a warmer environment, which can be a problem on a hot summer’s day.

Premium Machines

Bigger machines with built-in freezer units cost a lot more – but they produce quicker results, perfect if you want to make lots of ice-cream. They typically come with a fixed bowl and a removable bowl that fits over the top (with vodka or whisky poured into the gap to conduct cold).

Magimix’s countertop machine, the Gelato Chef, produces 1.2 litres of ice-cream in as little as 20-30 minutes: perfect for impatient tasters. But there are disadvantages too: while you don’t have to put the bowl in the freezer, it is fixed into the machine, which makes cleaning more tricky. The Gaggia Gelatiera is a similar machine that’s been built in Italy. Although its capacity is smaller than the Magimix (0.6l), it’s easy to use and gives quick results in time for dessert! If you want to get a bit more ice-cream for your efforts, then try the Cuisinart Professional. It has the biggest bowl (producing 1.5l of ice-cream – using half this volume of ingredients, as the finished ice-cream will be whipped up in volume). It doesn’t require the addition of alcohol to freeze the inner bowl, and it’s even guaranteed for five years.

Recipes For Your Ice-cream Machine…

At Cake Baker we can recommend Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream book: if you love the tubs, you’ll been overjoyed to make your own at home. David Lebowitz is a renowned ice-cream expert, so his book The Perfect Scoop is ideal if you want to try some gourmet ice-cream.

We would love to hear about your ice-cream maker experiences – recommend your machine or tell us about your disasters on our Facebook page!

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