Getting the most out of your ice cream maker (from Salt & Straw)
August 4, 2015 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Portland, Oregon's Salt & Straw creative director, Tyler Malek, was recently named to Forbes "30 under 30" list. In this PDF he generously shares how to get the most of your ice cream maker. To calculate how to get to his "magical 17% butterfat" for YOUR quantity of ice cream, use this handy Butterfat Calculator from Ice Cream Geek. See also their handy Ice Cream Butter Fat Converter.
posted by spock (56 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
 
Salt & Straw is the longest I've ever waited in line for something without ultimately being disappointed.
posted by MoxieProxy at 4:40 PM on August 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Salt & Straw is probably the best ice cream I've ever had. I hope people don't freak out over the revelation that they use corn syrup. Or maybe I do—it would make the line shorter.
This one is genius. To create an airblock against the off-flavors that your freezer has been collecting, take whatever container you're storing the finished product in and flip it over in the freezer. This creates a barrier against the circulating air in the freezer and locks your flavor in while keeping “freezer funk” out.
I don't understand how this is supposed to work.
posted by grouse at 4:45 PM on August 4, 2015


The linked .pdf has some tips that look useful, and the way the recipe uses cherry stones is really interesting, but christing fuck am I sick of hearing about Salt & Straw. I mean, their ice cream is...fine. (And, to be fair, some of the flavors are really good.) But it's not substantially different from, well, y'know, ice cream, and certainly not worth coming into town from the suburbs and waiting in line 45 minutes for (which is, inexplicably, a thing people do). I can name at least three places just in N/NE Portland with ice cream just as good as--if not better than--Salt & Straw.
posted by dersins at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why is that a web page in .pdf format?
posted by teponaztli at 4:50 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here is the actual page
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:52 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ice cream tips with an All Your Base reference and a Warren G reference? I don't know if that was Tyler Malek's doing or the author of the article, but at least one of them is a guy after my own heart.

It's also possible that everyone else reading the same thing just rolled their eyes and sighed, and I have become a dorky middle-aged mom type without even realizing it. Warren G is now mom-joke territory.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:54 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't speak to the wonderfulness of Salt & Straw, but a recent revelation to me is how simple it is to make fabulous ice cream at home with these newfangled machines. I found a Cuisinart ICE-21, new in the box, at a garage sale last weekend (for $10). It works by putting the machine mixing bowl in the freezer until the liquid inside it is frozen. Then you put it on a base that rotates the bowl while holding a paddle stationary (stirring the contents). Put your cold ingredients in and in 15-20 minutes you have soft-serve. Put it in a contain in the freezer to firm up. My first batch was something I call "Chocolate Fire & Ice". It is a vegan recipe using canned Coconut Milk as the base with cinnamon, cocoa powder and SRIRACHA. MMmmmm DELICIOUS. Now I've ordered a copy of the "bible" by David Lebovitz called "The Perfect Scoop" and spend way too much time hanging out in Reddit's budding r/icecreamery. Bottom line: Anybody can do what Salt & Straw does for family & friends (for the cost of ingredients).
posted by spock at 4:58 PM on August 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


grouse: upside-down, there is no air flow to mingle flavors (the gap is sealed by the ice cream)
posted by idiopath at 4:58 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I do NOT agree about adding xanthan gum or any other stabilizer. If you're making ice cream at home, make it with (my recipe through the Butterfat Calculator) 27% fat, freeze it as much as possible, then eat it RIGHT THEN and put the rest in the freezer. I promise it will be a life-changing experience. Later, when you have to struggle to get your leftover ice cream out of the container where it has frozen almost solid (leave on the counter for a few minutes & use a butterknife), you will still be glad.

Ice cream wasn't invented with xanthan gum, yet people went to ENORMOUS trouble to make and eat it back in the day. I can taste the dilution in flavor with added gums -- even in Breyer's changed recipe (they used to only have milk/cream/sugar/vanilla in their vanilla, now they have a gum in there).

Now, making ice cream at home seems to be your only chance to try the real stuff. It would be a shame to add xanthan gum! You can cut the sugar, too (maybe reduce by 25%), and really enjoy the sweetness of the cream and/or any fruit you add.

In short, I might try this Salt and Straw ice cream someday, but my homemade ice cream is qualitatively different and delights all who have tried it.
posted by amtho at 5:16 PM on August 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Would love to know your base recipe, amtho. Feel free to share it here. :)
posted by spock at 5:19 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ben + Jerry's recipe book is canonical: Don't leave out the egg yolks.

Salt and Straw makes the same mistake here as Molly Moon's, and without egg the ice cream freezes to a solid brick with a weird, flaky, decidedly un-ice-cream-like texture.

You can cook the ice cream base down to a custard, so long as you keep stirring. In fact, reducing the base this way makes an amazingly thick, yet still creamy ice cream.

Don't leave out the egg yolks. Portland is wrong.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 5:20 PM on August 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


I like Molly Moon's a lot also.
posted by grouse at 5:22 PM on August 4, 2015


I discovered a killer ice cream this summer that was nothing but cream, sugar, cocoa powder and raspberries - whisk the first 3 together In a pan and heat until simmering, then dump in the raspberries and let sit for 10 minutes. Purée, chill, then churn.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:23 PM on August 4, 2015


From the research that I have done, the point of egg yolks is to provide lecithin. This can be done in other ways than adding egg yolks. A small amount of Soy Lecithin (available at health food stores) for example. (I realize the some people avoid anything with the word "soy" in it, but research shows that soy lecithin does not trigger those sensitive to other soy products. Lecithin is handy any time you are trying to blend fats with other ingredients, particularly water.
posted by spock at 5:25 PM on August 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


IceCreamGeek also has a big article (with comments) on stabilizers. I've printed it off, but not read it yet - let alone experimented with its advice. SeriousEats also has an article entitled "Real Talk: Stop Bashing Ice Cream Stabilizers". I'm willing to concede that there very well may be "supertasters" that can sense the difference, but if you are not one of those people...
posted by spock at 5:28 PM on August 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is it economical to make ice cream at home? Here in Canada dairy products are a screwed up monopoly, and the price of ice cream has been on a one-way rocket ride to the stratosphere such that now 4L (4.2 quarts) costs at least eight bucks. And that's for the cheapest quality dreck you can buy. Any kind of fancy name brand is much more. It would be nice to save money (and eat ice cream more often) by making it at home, but with ingredients like "heavy cream" and milk I'm not sure it would be any cheaper.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:44 PM on August 4, 2015


4L (4.2 quarts) costs at least eight bucks.

The worst part is that's only $6 American.
posted by grouse at 5:48 PM on August 4, 2015


I'm guessing that it wouldn't be cheaper, but it would taste better?
posted by Kevin Street at 6:07 PM on August 4, 2015


I find that home made ice cream keeps a much better texture when made with significant amounts of alcohol. No need for egg yolks or lecithin.
posted by jeather at 6:10 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Re: xanthan gum.

I stopped purchasing Breyers Ice Cream the day they began adding stabilizers. I have an ice cream maker which I no longer use, as I cannot replicate the mouthfeel of black lid Turkey Hill, the only remaining commercial ice cream which I enjoy. Its sole ingredients are milk, cream, sugar and flavor. Nothing else is needed. It is perfect. If only a commercial freezer will achieve the proper texture, so be it.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:21 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why isn't anybody talking about the delicious egg yolks one can find in Häagen-Dazs ice cream?
posted by oceanjesse at 6:37 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ice cream wasn't invented with pasteurisation or electrickery, yet people went to ENORMOUS trouble to make and eat it back in the day. I can taste the dilution in flavor with added electron exposure and the reduction in lethal bacteria.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:49 PM on August 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


My recipe dates back to my great-great grandmother from Temple, Texas...and it is the greatest thing ever. They had nothing but a milk cow, chickens, and access to sugar and the occasional vanilla bean.

I haven't changed the recipe and I am like the ice cream king at parties...never forget the egg custard....never. (corn syrup is a crutch....and egg yolks...so much protein)
posted by Benway at 7:06 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how this is supposed to work.

So I was going to say that it's woo, on second thought there might actually be something to it.

If your container isn't completely airtight and not completely full of ice cream, then there's an air space at the top. As the temperature of the freezer fluctuates either by opening the door or just the compressor cycling, that will cause the air inside to expand and contract slightly , which would cause a small amount of air to get pumped in and out. If you flip it over (and the ice cream falls to the bottom) then the ice cream might make kind of a seal which might prevent the air from being pumped in and out. The ice cream has to be mushy enough to conform to the container. Just flipping over an already frozen solid container of ice cream won't do anything.

I'm not sure I believe that this really works, but at least it's plausible. I don't think it's different or better than storing in a completely air tight container, or storing the container in a zip-lock bag. The zip lock bag would also work for already hardened or half eaten ice cream.
posted by All Out of Lulz at 7:16 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a great post. Ice cream is my favorite food.

This is as good a place as any to share my most recent, and probably controversial, thoughts on ice cream. After finishing off a pint of ice cream this week (basically chocolate ice cream, fudge, truffles, Heath bar and sea salt) from our great local ice cream shop, I have decided that the dessert trend of the last few years of putting salt in everything (as a marketing concept, not as part of the regular pinch of salt that may be called for in some recipes) needs to end immediately.

Because my theory* (which I haven't researched, so may be pulled out of my ass) is that one of the main flavor roles of salt in sweet things is to enhance flavor by kind of providing a contrast to the sweetness. In almost every salt-named dessert I've had though, I can taste the salt, and not in a good way, but in a way that makes fucking ice cream taste salty. I FEEL THIS IS WRONG. So, salty desserts trend, you are now dead to me.

*IANA food bichemist
posted by triggerfinger at 7:18 PM on August 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


What about mustard ice cream? Is that best served without emulsifiers?
posted by oceanjesse at 7:23 PM on August 4, 2015


Base recipe (from my old ice-cream maker's instruction book):

1 cup whole milk, scald just until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pot; remove from heat, then add sugar: I use less than the recipe's requested...

1 cup sugar (maybe 3/4 cup or 4/5 cup - the strawberries will sweeten the ice cream); stir.

1 cup half and half
2 cups heavy whipping cream
vanilla

Chill all the above in the refrigerator -- maybe inside the churn's vessel - until ready to churn.

While that's going on: thaw 2 bags frozen organic strawberries enough to cut them into small pieces. Frozen strawberries are a little soft, so they'll blend well with and flavor the ice cream. Keep them in the refrigerator also.

When you're ready to churn, put the strawberries in and go.
posted by amtho at 7:27 PM on August 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Salt and Straw is pretty good, though I usually only go when the line isn't ridiculous. And they will always have a place in my heart for giving us my favorite picture of Joe Biden ever.

The lines at Ruby Jewel or Scoop are way more manageable, and the latter's salted caramel remains the best ice cream in town, for my money.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:32 PM on August 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, and I have begun adding a pinch of salt, and it's good. Not enough to be "salty" or whatever people are trying to accomplish these days; it just complexifies the sweetness a bit.
posted by amtho at 7:33 PM on August 4, 2015


I have decided that the dessert trend of the last few years of putting salt in everything (as a marketing concept, not as part of the regular pinch of salt that may be called for in some recipes) needs to end immediately.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It needed to be said.
posted by gimonca at 7:37 PM on August 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is it economical to make ice cream at home?

Not really. I have one of those Cuisinart tub-in-the-freezer gadgets and when the NYT did its master ice cream recipe with variations in the magazine last year, we rounded up all the ingredients we didn't already have. Good news: super delicious ice cream. Bad news: the cost was comparable to the local dairy super premium stuff we can get at the organic market (South Mountain Creamery, for those near enough to DC/MD/PA to know the brand). I think it may even have been a little more expensive. But holy cow the bourbon butterscotch.

So if you gain enjoyment from the process itself, or you want a flavor you can't buy, it's fun and delicious and worth it, but not exactly any more economical than buying premium or super premium ice cream at the store. But it is definitely not more economical than whatever big brand is on sale at the supermarket from week to week.
posted by fedward at 7:40 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, good, nobody from Portland has commented to give away our best kept ice cream secret, Fifty Licks. No wacky flavors, no line, and boozy sorbet cocktails for thems that need it.
posted by redsparkler at 7:40 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not enough to be "salty" or whatever people are trying to accomplish these days; it just complexifies the sweetness a bit.

I feel like that's how it's supposed to be! If you can taste the salt in a sweet food, you're doing it wrong! It is really rare that I come across a "Salted Blahblahblah" thing where it seems like the sweetness is enhanced, rather than deadened, by the salt.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:42 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I got into my kick a few years back using Alton Brown's premium recipe as my base. It calls for 8 egg yolks in just over a quart, which is ri-iiiiiiiiiiiii-iiiii-iii-iiii-ich. I should dust off the churn and try Malek's base. I actually have some xantham here at home.

I'm surprised the sample recipe didn't call for use of the peach pit--the real source of amaretto flavor--not almond as many assume.
posted by sourwookie at 8:00 PM on August 4, 2015


For all the hype around salt and straw, I've found them to be pretty meh. Fifty Licks however has yet to disappoint me. Toasted milk FTW
posted by Dr. Twist at 8:11 PM on August 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


peach pit--the real source of amaretto flavor

Amaretto is from apricot kernels. Peach pits don't have a whole lot of flavour.
posted by ssg at 8:17 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ice cream wasn't invented with pasteurisation or electrickery, yet people went to ENORMOUS trouble to make and eat it back in the day.

I found it interesting that Thomas Jefferson is credited with the first ice cream recipe to be recorded by an American. Google: "dutch oven" "ice cream" and you'll find you don't need fancy gadgets to make it either, if you want to spend money on ice and rock salt. It is interesting go to Google Books and limit your search to the 1800s and early 1900s and download some of the early books that covered "ice cream making".

Economics may not be the reason you get into ice cream making. It can be a fun and educational activity to do with the kids or grandkids. It's satisfying (and entertaining) just to make something yourself, particularly when it turns out better than what you can buy at the grocery store. In addition, you know exactly what went into it. There are vegan recipes, for instance. Trying the myriad of recipes out there might lead to flavors (and textures) you'd never find (at least outside of Portland?). Impress your family or guests with something you didn't buy. Makes a special gift. The reasons could go on and on.

Also, don't forget that besides "ice cream" there is also frozen yogurt & sorbet that one can try their hand at, if the spirit moves you.
posted by spock at 8:28 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Amaretto is from apricot kernels. Peach pits don't have a whole lot of flavour.

oops!
posted by sourwookie at 8:46 PM on August 4, 2015


My secret recipe is the nyt base, but with brown sugar and a little too much salt. Sometimes I stir in hunks of dark chocolate. I also love the Otto olive oil gelato recipe.

I definitely don't save any money making it at home! But it's so worth it.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:47 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, I'm intrigued by Fifty Licks... and I'll be in the area next week. Do they sell pints? Favorite flavors?
posted by Auden at 9:09 PM on August 4, 2015


I find that home made ice cream keeps a much better texture when made with significant amounts of alcohol.

Are you talking about alcohol in the cook, or in the recipe? :)
Seriously, I don't think I've come across many recipes like this. If you are serious, can you share some links or something? (Inquiring minds want to know.)
posted by spock at 9:20 PM on August 4, 2015


Is it economical to make ice cream at home?
Nope, especially if you count the value of your time. What it is, it's better than grocery store ice cream. Whether through better produce (e.g. local strawberries fresh rather than bulk frozen) or flavor combinations you like that the market doesn't provide (e.g. grade B maple syrup with salted caramel pecans), homemade ice cream has way more potential to be good than mass-produced stuff.
posted by Daily Alice at 9:39 PM on August 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


"...Because my theory* (which I haven't researched, so may be pulled out of my ass) is that one of the main flavor roles of salt in sweet things is to enhance flavor by kind of providing a contrast to the sweetness."

IANA dietitian, but my rough understanding is that when we eat something sweet the hormone leptin is released from fat cells to tell our stomach that we're full and shut down the craving for sugar. But leptin does nothing to stop the craving for salt, so when we eat something that's both sweet and salty we tend to crave it and eat more of it than if it was sweet alone.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:01 PM on August 4, 2015


Aldi's Specially Selected vanilla is my favorite store brand ice cream, it's really nice and thick and custardy and like $5, which is half as much as a similar clean-label product.
posted by Small Dollar at 10:06 PM on August 4, 2015


@KevinStreet

I use the Ben & Jerry's recipe book. All told I think it costs me about 2/3 what the equivalent volume of Ben & Jerry's would. So, pretty expensive. Cheaper than the good stuff, more expensive than the bad stuff. I buy expensive milk, and the chicken cull has led eggs to be pretty expensive.
posted by JoeBlubaugh at 10:50 PM on August 4, 2015


Amaretto is from apricot kernels. Peach pits don't have a whole lot of flavor.

Depends on your recipe. I've made Amaretto and in my recipe I've added apricot kernels and sour cherry kernels (mahlab). I combined these two recipes. Give it a try, its fun.

also. fun fact: most "cherry" flavor is actually derived from almond extract
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 11:32 PM on August 4, 2015


Huh! Looks like nobody here knows about Zwahlen's, probably the best ice cream available in southeast Pennsylvania. They sell soft hard ice cream — like, they sell it fresh out of the ice cream maker, before it's frozen to set and harden. It will change your life.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:41 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't tell you how much I despise Salt & Straw. I live around the corner from the location on 23rd, and I've been known to yell at the people in line when I walk by. I mean, it's good ice cream and all, but the line is crazy. I swear people go there just to stand in line. There's a perfectly good gelato place right across the street that never has a wait.

So, yes, make ice cream at home. Don't wait in long lines just to get ice cream (or donuts). That's stupid.
posted by chrchr at 7:16 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I actually turn some of the overload on fruit I get from my CSA into sorbets. And I also just finished making a batch of limoncello, and saved some aside during the bottling process when I saw that I had a recipe for a spiked lemon sorbet.

"saving money" isn't what is on my mind when I make ice cream - what is in my mind is GET IN MAH BELLY
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:09 AM on August 5, 2015


While I understand the various opinions being shared on Salt & Straw (pro & con) and alternative placed to purchase ice cream, I guess my point in posting is that this is a guy who is much farther down the path in ice cream making than the typical home ice cream maker. Yet, I'm sure he started just like anybody, whipping up a batch in his home. The focus of the post was to take some of his tips and use (at least some of ) them to hopefully accelerate the education of the more inexperienced ice cream maker. For those who wish to create and experiment, rather than simply follow recipes, I think his words should resonate.
posted by spock at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2015


Goat cheese marionberry habanero at Salt and Straw this week. Twice. Yes, PLEASE.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:18 AM on August 5, 2015


Your favorite ice cream store sucks.
posted by grouse at 10:37 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


My favorite ice cream ever was cayenne lime butter, from the Creole Creamery in New Orleans. First you get a gentle lime flavor, then a smooth, sweet creaminess, then heat in the back of your throat that tells you that you need another bite. Lovely.
posted by Night_owl at 11:43 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, I'm intrigued by Fifty Licks... and I'll be in the area next week. Do they sell pints? Favorite flavors?

Chocolate Brown Butter has always seemed like their signature flavor, to me. Not seeing it on their site right now, so I'm not sure if they renamed it to "Chocolate As @#$&" or if it's just not showing up.
posted by redsparkler at 2:13 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


> cayenne lime butter

Want the recipe to THAT one.
posted by spock at 7:42 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Salt & Straw was definitely worth the visit if only because I was there when I could combine my love of ice cream with my guilty passion for Lucky Charms. However, the best ice cream is from my local: Cold Comfort.
posted by atropos at 9:43 PM on August 5, 2015


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