Monday, 23 September 2013

The Search for Perfect Homemade Ice-Cream without a Machine

Ever since I was a very little girl, I've always wanted to perfect homemade ice-cream. In the early noughties, my parents bought an ice-cream machine for making homemade frozen delights, but it wasn't fantastic: the bowl of the churn was too small, and it was very expensive. It took an early retirement in the shed. Since then, making ice-cream at home without the aid of a churn has proven to be an elusive skill to master.

Over the last few months, I've spent hours and hours researching blogs, articles, watching videos and television programmes, and even read many scientific documents on how ice-cream freezes, the properties of the individual ingredients, and how best to make the perfect soft ice-cream at home. Homemade ice-cream runs the risk of being grainy, icy and rock solid on freezing. Scientifically, the faster the ice-cream is frozen, the smoother it will be, hence why Heston Blumenthal likes to use dry ice to instantly freeze the custard while it's mixing.

I've so far found a way of making a very tasty ice-cream mixture, that is nice and rich and creamy, but on freezing it becomes rock solid, grainy, icy and has an overall unpleasant mouth feel; I just can't work out how to get it right!

Now, through research I've learnt that the key to nice soft, creamy dreamy ice cream is the inclusion of things that don't freeze at conventional freezer temperatures, such as fat, sugar and syrups, alcohol, complex proteins and stabilisers, and air. The recipe I have developed is high in fat (double cream), uses a sugar syrup that won't freeze, and is stabilised with cornflour slurry, but incorporating the air throughout freezing is proving to be my biggest challenge yet.

Any suggestions? Or do you think I might just have to invest in a machine or in some dry ice?

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