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How to make scientifically perfect ice cream

It's all about balancing the equation.

Madeline Muzzi

Madeline Muzzi

Ice cream is made from a few simple ingredients: milk, cream, sweeteners, and flavorings. These ingredients come together to form the ice cream base.

Madeline Muzzi

They key to making good ice cream at home is all about controlling the ratio of sugar to fat to milk solids. Sweeteners will affect the freezing point of the base, and fat will affect the flavor and texture of the ice cream.

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Temperature control also plays a role in the finished product. The faster you can freeze your ice cream base, the smoother the texture will be. Freezing quickly prevents large ice crystals from forming.

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That can make things challenging for home cooks. Home freezers don't get as cold as industrial freezers. When making ice cream at home, it's important to chill your ice cream base as much as possible before churning to help make up for that.

Madeline Muzzi

Before churning, chill the ice cream base in a refrigerator overnight. Whipping the mixture in a blender for a minute will also improve the finished texture. This further homogenizes the base.

Madeline Muzzi

To churn, you'll need an ice cream machine. These are scraped surface heat exchangers that begin the freezing process while constantly agitating the base to prevent large ice crystals from forming. The smaller the ice crystals, the creamier the finished product.

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You can add any additional flavorings during the churning process

Madeline Muzzi

Be careful with the flavorings. Mix-ins with a lot of sugar will lower the freezing point of the ice cream base, effectively melting it before it has fully frozen. This can lead to frosty ice cream.

Madeline Muzzi

After churning, the ice cream will need to set in the freezer for several hours. Spreading the base into a thin layer on a sheet pan will decrease the freezing time. This will give the ice crystals less time to form.

Madeline Muzzi

After it's fully frozen, your ice cream should have a smooth, creamy, and scoopable texture.