Your Own Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
When you look at that wonderful soft serve ice cream machine that is at McDonald’s and other places, you might wonder about how you can get those divine flavors at home. You can, actually. There are home soft serve machines. However, is it worth it to get a home machine? It’s not as simple as it first appears.
No question about it, the volume between a commercial ice cream machine and one designed for home use is going to be different. Even the smallest commercial soft-serve ice cream machine can produce 40 quarts an hour. That’s quite a lot for a single person to eat. Most home ice cream makers can only produce a quart at a time. That’s good for a single family, but if you’re planning on entertaining a crowd then that might not be enough.
One of the most popular soft serve ice cream machines on the market for residential use is the Cuisinart ICE-45 Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker. Instead of using a compressor to chill the ingredients, it uses a ‘mixing bowl’ technology. Basically, there is a dual layered bowl that you keep in the freezer to make your ice cream. After chilling and 20 minutes of processing, the soft serve is ready.
The commercial process of creating soft-serve ice cream requires a compressor. This is basically a mini refrigerator that keeps the mixing chamber cold. It’s the only way to go if you don’t plan on serving your soft serve immediately after creation. The quality of the final product will also be more consistent.
The parts which go into a home soft serve ice cream machine are not designed for heavy use. They’re only pushing through only a quart of product compared to many quarts in the commercial setting.
Thus, commercial soft serve ice cream machines use a lot of stainless steel, where the home version uses a lot of plastic. The stainless steel is a lot easier to clean by far. We would also wonder if the plastic would eventually pick up flavors or stain.
With the commercial machines, a running count of how many ounces have been dispensed will be kept for maintenance purposes. That’s something that you’re not going to see with the home soft serve ice cream machine.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. A mixing bowl style home soft serve ice cream machine is going to cost between $100 and $250.
The cost for a commercial soft-serve ice cream machine is well into the thousands, but you are paying for the heavy-duty construction as well as the certified parts which will make it run perfectly in the field. There really is no mid-volume soft-serve machine which has been developed yet.
Is it worth it to get your own home soft serve machine? Consider this: how many people do you know that still make ice cream at home? If you are one of the people who enjoy the process of making homemade ice cream more than just occasionally then a home soft serve machine could be a good purchase. If you don’t have the time or dedication you may just want to skip the hassle and find a shop that has the flavors you like.
“Strawberry Ice Cream with Strawberries 01” by Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa – sxc.hu. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.