No matter what type of ice cream maker you use, a few simple tips can ensure perfect results.
Start with a well-chilled base. Refrigerate your custard to 40°F before freezing it so the machine doesn’t have to labor longer and harder than necessary.
Start the dasher before adding the custard. This is crucial for the pre-frozen cylinder machines. If the lid has no hole to pour in the custard, waste no time in securing the lid and crank. If you wait too long, the mixture will freeze to the sides, impeding the dasher.
Don’t overfill the canister. As air is incorporated into the custard and ice crystals form, the ice cream expands. If the canister is more than three-quarters full when you start, it will inhibit expansion and slow freezing.
Don’t expect frozen-solid results. Ice cream is made in two stages: first freezing, then hardening. When the mixture mounds softly, the freezing is complete. Next, you’ll need to cover it well (see below) and stash it in the freezer for an hour or two until it’s firm enough to scoop.
Wrap well for storage. Store ice cream in small, airtight containers and blanket the surface with plastic to minimize the formation of ice crystals. When scooping ice cream, use a scraping motion that leaves a fairly level surface, rather than digging out deep wells with the scoop.
Make only as much as you can eat within a day or two. Homemade ice cream peaks a few hours after it’s made.