Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ice Cream Machine

When I was a kid, my dad had an ice cream machine. I thought it was the neatest thing in the world – in retrospect I still do. His ice cream making machine was one of the old style. It was basically a bucket that you would fill With ice, surrounding a smaller inner bucket. Although there are more efficient ways to manufacture ice cream nowadays, the mechanism of these old ice cream machines is pretty ingenious. Basically, you would put salt on the layer of ice. That would cause the cold from the ice bucket to cool the inner layer which held the ice cream. As you stirred the ice cream, you could mix it up as it was freezing. In 20 minutes or so, you would have a new batch of completely frozen ice cream.
As I was growing up, ice cream making became a passion of mine. My dad would always let us use the ice cream machine during the summer – although he would limit how much we could eat. We got to play with his ice cream making recipes, and soon we were some of the best ice cream makers in the neighborhood. All of my friends would come over to have sweet, frozen treats from the ice cream machine. No one was surprised when I grew up and had an ice machine of my own.
Of course, Making small batches with a hand crank ice cream machine, and becoming a professional ice cream manufacturer are two very different things. During my first year or two, I almost went broke about three times. Basically, I could sell enough ice cream to pay the bills, and that was it. My ice cream machine days seemed to be nearing an end before I found a good distributor. Finding someone to market your wares is always the key. No matter what came out of the ice cream machine, whether it was good or bad, no one would get to taste it without someone peddling it at all the local grocery stores.
A lot of people worry about commercial ice cream machine recipes. They are hesitant to even try until they are sure that they can get the perfect ice cream the first time. To me, this ruins the fun. As long as you know a little bit about what you're doing, your ice cream will taste good. Through tinkering, you can make it perfect. The goal is to have fun with ice cream machines!