There are many ways to improve the flavour and texture of your ice cream. These tips are quick and easy ideas to take your ice cream to the next level.
How to improve homemade ice cream
- Don’t overfill your ice cream machine and, if possible, keep your ice cream base below the maximum fill line. Domestic ice cream machines can’t deal with the extra volume and you’ll usually end up with slushy ice cream which will freeze with extra ice crystals. You’ll also need to allow for overrun.
- When adding mix-ins make sure they’re also chilled. Adding them at room temperature will slightly melt the ice cream causing increased icyness.
- What ice cream container will you use once the ice cream is churned? Avoid aluminium containers as they can taint the flavour. I prefer plastic but stainless steel is also ok. Whatever you choose, freeze it prior to adding the churned ice cream.
- If your ice cream machine has a bowl you need to freeze before churning, adjust the freezer to it’s lowest temperature.
- Try to avoid frequently thawing your ice cream before service then re-freezing what’s leftover. Firstly, it creates a horrible ice textured ice cream. More importantly, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Adding melted chocolate to ice cream is a fantastic choice. When you melt the chocolate, make sure it isn’t overheated or allowed to come into contact with steam or moisture; this will cause the chocolate to seize. A good method for melting chocolate is a bain marie – you just need to ensure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water and don’t allow the water to boil.
- Choosing quality ingredients will help your final product hugely. Select good quality organic dairy, premium chocolate and in-season fruits. The devil is in the detail: avoid cheap imitation vanillas and table salt as they’ll taint your dessert.
- Add spirits to your ice cream base while churning. It will reduce the freezing point, improve the ice cream’s texture and stability. Choose an appropriate spirit to pair with your ice cream. I generally use a 40% Vodka but Mezcal works well too, as does Whiskey.
- Consider adding guar gum. You’ll frequently see it used in store bought ice cream but don’t let that put you off. It’s a natural ingredient and works as a really good stabiliser. Just use it sparingly!
- Place your ice cream at the back of the freezer. There is a lot more temperature fluctuation at the front which will encourage ice crystal formation; something you want to avoid.