Happy 2018 everyone! This week I promised to bring you a different type of flavor. Now I must clarify what I mean: freshly churned vanilla ice cream from my commercial-sized ice cream machine! This caused quite an adventure to ensue, so keep reading!
I am not sure if you remember how over the summer I bought a Stoelting ice cream machine in Wisconsin and had it shipped home. Life was too busy for me to dedicate the time to learn all about it. Until last week. I decided it was high time to fire up this baby! I did not want to spring for a complex flavor in case something went wrong, so I decided to go with a plain vanilla. But it would have to be of epic proportions because it has a minimum batch size of 2 gallons.
Vanilla ice cream can be made two ways: custard or Philadelphia style. A vanilla custard involves tempering the eggs and cooking the custard until it coats the back of a spoon. This is my normal method of making ice cream because it makes a rich and sinful ice cream. Philadelphia-style creates an icier type of ice cream because it only involves cream, milk, sugar and vanilla. Because I was going to have to make 2 gallons of ice cream mix and I had no prior experience with my machine, I opted for the simpler and more cost-effective option. This would be easier to make and be easier to churn, as the ice crystals that are present in the milk and cream would freeze faster.
In a custard, the free water molecules are more protected and shielded by the eggs. This makes the ice crystals smaller and creates a smoother mouthfeel. I knew I was taking a risk by switching up my normal method of mix making, but for the sake of the first attempt, I would try it.
Experimental Apparatus and Procedure
The first thing I had to do was quadruple my recipe. Then I had to stock up on my supplies, and spend $20 on heavy cream alone. Its days like this where I wish I had a dairy cow in my backyard. I used a huge stockpot to combine the milk, sugar and some of the cream until it just barely came to a simmer. Then I removed it from the heat and stirred in the remaining cream and vanilla. It smelled like a vanilla paradise. After it chilled, I stuck it a full-sized Igloo and brought it to my dad’s work where it was being stored. The easy part was over.
When I bought my machine, it did not come fully assembled. No it came in a box of parts along with the full machine. There was no instruction manual of how it went together or how it worked. All I knew was that I had to sanitize it prior to putting in that ice cream mix. When I got to my dads work the two of us spent around two hours trying to figure out how the mix pump was assembled. This was a true test of an engineer because it had plenty of pistons and gaskets in various shapes and sizes that had to go together in a certain order in order for it to work. Finally we got it together properly and ran some water through it. It seemed to work fine so I went ahead with the sanitizing step.
Once I poured in the ice cream however it churned in the machine for around an hour and when I opened up the lever it was still completely liquid. Something just wasn’t right. My dad is quite the problem-solver and open up the side panel to reveal that there was not enough refrigerant in the machine. So while it was working fine it was not forming ice cream. What was it forming instead?
Finally I just called it quits and opened up the machine to clean it. What I found was about a stick and a half of the worlds most delicious butter I’d ever tasted. I had churned my ice cream mix that I had worked so hard on into butter. And then that butter fell on the floor. It was time just call it a day, take a deep breath and try again the next. Thankfully my dad was able to get some of the proper refrigerant and refill the machine. The next day we repeated the whole process much quicker because by this point we were experts on how to disassemble and reassemble pump and finally made some ice cream.
Talk about a sweet victory.
Maybe it was because of the amount of effort I put into it but this tasted like the best vanilla ice cream I had ever eaten in my life. It wasn’t too rich that you couldn’t eat a lot of it and the vanilla flavor really shone through. I let it run through and continually kept emptying the barrel until finally it appeared as if it was forming vanilla ice cubes. This gave away the fact that it was getting too cold which was the opposite of the previous days problem.
So finally I put some hot water into the hopper and called it a day. A successful one because I had finally used my commercial sized ice cream machine and managed to get something delicious out of it. This flavor was the perfect blank pallet for adding any sort of topping, syrup, sauce or anything you could imagine to it to make a perfect sundae. My family even put some amaretto on top of it as yummy nighttime snack but I preferred to put a scoop on top of a freshly toasted marshmallow.
Life has been busy his break. I feel like I’ve been running all the time and I’ve only given Fiona pets when I see her before I fall asleep on the couch. But that’s all about to change because in just a few short days I will be heading up to take my dream course.
That’s right the ice cream short course at Penn State is happening finally this year for me. I have through packing list, my suitcase is set and my brain ready for learning. I’m really looking forward to observing as much knowledge as I can and enjoying this experience as well as finally having ice cream from the Creamery.
I hope everyone celebrated the coming of the new year just as they wished and made some resolutions they can keep. A resolution that I made is to finally, after 21 years, stop biting my nails. Another resolution that I made has been one I have been working on for years: to be more patient with myself and others.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and ready for a fun new flavor that will be coming soon. What are your resolutions? Share them in the comments below. Until next week, scoop you later!