Making Soft Serve Ice Cream

Written by geoffrey weed
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Making Soft Serve Ice Cream
Soft serve ice cream is easier to scoop. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

True soft serve ice cream can only be made using specialised equipment that mixes air into the ice cream during the freezing process. Depending on what you're looking for, you'll need to decide whether to purchase a more professional-style soft serve machine or one for limited home usage. Professional models--such as those made by SaniServ--can cost thousands of dollars. Smaller, home models like those made by Cuisinart or Deni, on the other hand, can generally be purchased for around £26 to £65. No matter what, though, you'll need to buy a soft serve ice cream machine if you want to make real soft serve.

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Soft serve ice cream machines

True soft serve ice cream can only be made using specialised equipment that mixes air into the ice cream during the freezing process. Depending on what you're looking for, you'll need to decide whether to buy a more professional-style soft serve machine or one for limited home usage. Professional models -- such as those made by SaniServ -- can cost thousands of poundss. Smaller, home models like those made by Cuisinart or Deni, on the other hand, can generally be bought for around £26 to £65. No matter what, though, you'll need to buy a soft serve ice cream machine if you want to make real soft serve.

Making the soft serve ice cream

Most soft serve ice cream machines come with recipe books full of different soft serve mix recipes, but the truth is that nearly any ice cream recipe (that doesn't include chunks or toppings of any kind) can be adapted for preparation as soft serve in a soft serve machine. Basically, you'll just need to lower the fat content of the traditional ice cream recipe by about 5 to 10 per cent. This is most commonly done by slightly lowering the amount of milk that is added to the mix. Once you've created your mix, pour it into the machine as directed, and then wait for it to chill, harden and get air introduced. The amount of time you'll need to wait is dictated by your soft serve machine's specifications and directions.

Without a machine

While it isn't possible to make true soft serve ice cream without a specialised machine, it's relatively easy to make a similar product. While the resulting ice cream won't be exactly like soft serve, it'll be much more similar to soft serve than it is to traditional ice cream. Take a batch of traditional "hard" ice cream and -- using a stand-mixer -- mix it together with an equal volume of whipped cream. Take the resulting mixture and let it refreeze inside your freezer for at least 12 hours. The product will resemble a soft serve ice cream in texture and hardness, although it will be noticeably different from soft serve that's made with specialised equipment.

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