Churning and Chilling

This installment is most relevant to those of you who’ve chosen to use the KitchenAid attachment. I’m not exactly sure how the standalone ice cream makers work, except that science is involved.

The KitchenAid attachment comes with four pieces. First, the bowl — plastic, double-walled, with a chemical in between the walls that I believe is also in freezer packs. Never put this in the dishwasher. Also, if you see blue fluid leaking from anywhere, that means the seal is broken and unfortunately you’ll have to replace the entire bowl. Second, a plastic white circle that is the adapter seating for some stand mixer bases. Third, the dasher — which you put in the middle of the bowl. Fourth, the adapter for the top of the mixer, so that the dasher can turn with the motor of the stand mixer.

You have to keep the bowl in the freezer for fifteen hours prior to use. I just store mine in the freezer itself. In terms of cleaning it after use, I wash it out quickly after I’ve transferred the ice cream, but then I let it come to room temperature (about two hours) before I actually thoroughly wash it. Then, you dry it with a towel before storing it in the freezer (or in a cabinet).

The KitchenAid instructions tell you to make sure the dasher is turning before you add the base. I find this to be tricky to do because there isn’t a lot of clearance and I am clumsy, so I invariably would spill some and make a mess. Therefore, I cheat and put the base in the bowl, then insert the dasher (turning it with my hand a couple of times), then add the adapter and turn on the stand mixer.

Depending on what’s in the base, it can take anywhere from five to fifteen minutes for the ice cream or sorbet to become close to solid. Two things to note: one, if the dasher starts to catch and click, your ice cream is definitely solid enough and you should transfer it to the freezer. Two, if you let the ice cream maker go too long, some weird chemical thing happens involving the separation of milk fat. This is imperceptible to the naked eye, but when you eat the ice cream, you’ll taste a residue on the spoon. So don’t do that.

Your ice cream may not look solid even after fifteen minutes, but at that point you just have to cut your losses and freeze it anyway. It will likely freeze to a roughly solid consistency. The dirty secret of all of this is that you could just stick the base into the freezer proper — but then the consistency would be pretty solid and not as nice as actual ice cream.

If you are using solid mix-ins, add them close to the end of churning. Turn off the mixer, add the mix-ins, and then churn for another minute or two. If using liquids (fruit sauces, caramel, butterscotch, etc.), I usually layer them in the bowl that I will freeze the ice cream in, by adding a layer at the bottom of the bowl, and then adding churned ice cream and sauces in two or three layers.

Once the ice cream is as frozen as it’s going to get, I like to remove the bowl and place it on a cutting board. I first lift the dasher out of the bowl, using a rubber spatula to push whatever is clinging to it into the bowl. Once I’ve done that, I grab the bowl with one hand and use the spatula to scoop the base into a bowl for freezing.

You are supposed to let the ice cream freeze for eight hours. I have managed to get pretty good results with six hours, but eight is ideal.

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