Ok, are there any of you out there who own an ice cream machine?
These machines come in three types and styles.
1. Manual & Electric with large ice bucket;
This machine comes either with a hand crank or and electric motor. A canister that holds the ice cream mixture sits in dead center on a small pivot.
Usually, this container is either a 4-qt. or a 6-qt. size. The bucket is either wooden or plastic.
You need rock salt and ice to freeze the mixture in the container. When the motor begins to labor, or when the hand crank becomes difficult to turn, it signifies that the mixture is frozen, but still soft enough to remove form the machine. The ice cream is usually eaten then or placed in containers for priming in the deep freezer. I had one of these. I owned it for 20 years. These go for about $60.00 to $80.00.
2. Manual and Electric freezer bowl models;
These are smaller machines that allow the production of about 1-qt. batches. The bowl that comes with these units are usually double-walled and contain a freezing chemical that's hermetically sealed within the confineds of this double wall.
You place the bowl in your freezer for about eight hours or overnight, letting the confined liquid freeze solid. The next day, you can then put this bowl into your machine, add the premade ice cream mixture, put the motor or hand crank on and begin the process of freezing the liquid to a semi solid form. you then eat it or place the prefrozen mixture into a container and place it in the freezer for priming.
The main drawback with these machines is that you must freeze the bowl again for another eight hours before you can make more ice cream unless you have a double-bowl machine. They run for about $40.00 to $60.00.
3. Self-contained machines;
These are regarded to as the Cadillac or King of ice cream machines! Cream of the crop!!
State of the art!!! Simply because they all have there own sealed refrigeration systems built right into the units, much like a small room air conditioner. I own one of these. They are a godsend, saving you the usual drudgery of work that's involved with the bucket-style machines that require salt & ice.
You do not need salt or ice, they are usually electronically operated, they have beeping signals to alert you when the ice cream is ready and you can leave the compressor on if you intend to make two or more batches of your favorite frozen treats. They also have timers to let you chose the amount of time to procees the ice cream.
The main advantage here is that you are not forced to wait for the stationary bowl to to refreeze for another batch. You do not have to have any salt or ice on hand as with the bucket-style machines.
The drawbacks though, are that these machines can be vary awkward and heavy. You must also plan to have plenty of space where you plan to use it, as they strongly demand a considerable amount of kitchen real estate.
And oh yes, they are very costly, ranging in price from $200.00 to a whopping $1,000.00 depending on the material used for the outer shell. Plastic-shell models (mine has one) go for between $200.00 to $400.00. Stainless-steel-shell models range in price from $600.00 to over $1,000.00.
KitchenAid has one that sits on the countertop and it looks quite similar to the commrecial-type soft-serve machines, which this one DOES make soft-serve ice cream. It's very expensive, costing a whopping
$1.200.00 or more!
You may also want to keep it in a permanent location to avoid having to carry it too often, as these units seem to weigh a ton. But they are so nice to have and convenient use in light of the few drawbacks!