What Are the Best Tips for Making Soft Serve Ice Cream?

Brandon May

Soft serve ice cream is a common dessert in many places that can easily be made at home, yet relies on a few conditions to create the same texture and taste that is often found in many store-bought and restaurant-ordered ice creams. Making a successful soft serve ice cream depends on a number factors, mainly revolving around the amount of eggs used, the type of sweetener and the time applied to the cooling and freezing process. A good ice cream maker is also important for a smooth consistency in a soft serve ice cream recipe.

Soft serve ice cream.
Soft serve ice cream.

When making a soft serve ice cream, it is always crucial to create a stable base for the recipe that will help provide the creaminess and texture of ice cream. More often than not, an ice cream recipe will involve making a custard as the base, as the eggs and cream cooked together will help provide the essential softness needed for the dessert. Over a double boiler, milk or cream are heated and then mixed together with a certain number of egg yolks. As this mixture slowly cooks, the milk or cream will become thick and ready for the cooling process.

Eggs and cream provide the softness necessary for soft-serve ice cream.
Eggs and cream provide the softness necessary for soft-serve ice cream.

Before the cooling process, it is often suggested that any additional ingredients be added while the milk or cream are still hot. Ingredients such as chocolate, vanilla or sugar are important to add to the hot cream mixture, as these items need to be dissolved into cream in order to completely incorporate. A common soft serve ice cream flavor is vanilla, so adding the contents of a vanilla bean, as well as an appropriate amount of sweetener or sugar, will be helpful for the desired flavor of the recipe. Sugar is somewhat responsible for the texture of the soft serve ice cream, but adding less or more than called for in a recipe will not ruin the end product.

After adding any additional ingredients, it is important to let the ice cream cool in the refrigerator overnight before placing it into the ice cream maker and freezing. Letting it sit for a long period of time will develop the flavors in the ice cream and will speed the freezing process. After this stage in the ice cream making process, the mixture should be poured into a well-chilled ice cream maker and frozen for at least an hour. To achieve the soft serve consistency of the ice cream, one should take the ice cream out of the freezer before freezing completely, or leave out the frozen cream to thaw for an hour.

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