Earlier this week, I took a class at the Brooklyn Kitchen called Ice Cream for Everyone, taught by Elise Maiberger. Basically, it was an introduction to the wonderful world of homemade ice cream making, from simple vanilla to vegan coconut.
In addition to four tasty scoops, each student also received a packet filled with recipes and useful information. I thought Elise's "Tips" page was such a great idea that I decided to make my own, which includes much of her indispensable advice. After the jump, read my top 10 ice cream making tips.
10 Tips for Homemade Ice Cream Success
1. The bowls of most ice cream makers take at least 24 hours to freeze. Get in the habit of storing the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer, wrapped tightly in a plastic bag. That way it's always ready to go.
2. The "batter" for your ice cream can never be too cold. I pour mine into an old quart-sized yogurt container and chill it in the fridge overnight.
3. Don't overfill your ice cream maker! Three-quarters full yields the best results. It might look a little empty, but trust me, if you fill the bowl up to the top, the ice cream won't aerate properly.
4. No matter what the recipe's instructions say, when tempering egg yolks for custard-based ice creams, never pour more than 3 or 4 tablespoons of hot cream into the yolks before whisking them back into the cream. And go very slowly. Nothing is worse then creating an accidental scramble.
5. As with drinking, when using alcohol as an ingredient in ice cream moderation is key. In my experience, anything more than 1/4 cup (in a recipe that yields 1 quart) interferes with the ice cream's ability to freeze.
6. Add extracts (vanilla, maple, almond, etc.) after the ice cream batter has cooled, but before churning, for the best flavor.
7. Add mix-ins, such as chocolate chips, nuts, and candy pieces, for only the last minute of churning. The ice cream should already be done. You just want to distribute the mix-ins evenly.
8. Shallow, flat containers are best for freezing and storing ice cream. While in America ice cream is usually sold in tall round containers, in Italy gelato is kept in low, rectangular ones, which promotes an even consistency.
9. To prevent ice crystals from forming, cover the surface with a layer of plastic wrap or wax paper before closing the container.
10. Homemade ice creams keep well for up to a week. After that, they begin to lose their flavor and creamy texture. Eat quickly—you can always make more!