Basics for ice cream production

Sundae with different kinds of homemade ice cream
Sundae with different kinds of homemade ice cream

In the following I would like to explain some basics about ice cream and its production. Let's start at the base and take a look at the rough sequence of ice making.

Basic steps for making ice cream

  1. Production of the ice cream mass
    This varies greatly from variety to variety. Below is more general information about this. As a rule, the various ingredients are mixed together and briefly heated on the stove. The time required varies from a few minutes to 30 minutes.
  2. Cool down and let it mature in the refrigerator
    This step can be extended from a few hours to several days. The prerequisite is that you have worked hygienically. Some swear by a long drawing time. Personally, I prefer a few hours and only extend it if it fits better for the process.
  3. Freezing process
    The ice cream mass is transformed into ice cream in the ice cream machine (approx. 30 minutes) or in the freezer (approx. 4 hours).
  4. Development of the final structure
    When produced in the ice cream machine, the structure of the ice cream develops better if it is further cooled down in the freezer for 1-2 hours. For those in a hurry, this step can also be skipped, but the ice melts quite quickly directly from the machine.

General rules for ice cream production:

Hygiene has a very high significance in ice cream production
Hygiene has a very high significance in ice cream production
  • Hygiene is a major issue in the production of ice cream - whether at home or at work. Milk and eggs are susceptible to pathogens. That's why you should always wash your hands thoroughly with soap before starting and only use fresh ingredients. All kitchen appliances must be thoroughly cleaned after each use.
  • Ice cream easily takes on the taste of other foods. Therefore the ice cream mass and the finished ice cream should always be airtight containers must be kept.
  • Even if the ice cream container holds 1.2-1.5 litres, you should not fill it to the top, but generally only allow a maximum of 1 litre of cooled ice cream to be processed. Because during the freezing process will up to 25% air introduced into the mass and the volume increases.

Challenges in home production

If you want to make ice cream at home, you have to overcome a few obstacles. But none of them are really difficult.

One of them is the right gear. You can get ice either in the Freezer compartment or in an ice cream machine with or without compressor manufacture. There are different advantages and disadvantages of the individual production possibilities. In general, I would always advise you to use an ice machine, unless it is a granita or Nicecream. Sorbets can also be made in the freezer, but the structure benefits greatly from an ice cream machine.

Creamy sesame honey ice cream during production in the ice cream machine
Creamy sesame honey ice cream during production in the ice cream machine

The next hurdle is the Temperature of the home freezer. At home you usually do not have such a high throughput as in an ice-cream parlour. And so it happens that you store your ice cream in the freezer for a certain time.

Some say you should Always prepare fresh ice cream and eat. The ice cream that is not eaten that day can be defrosted again and, if produced hygienically, can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days until the ice cream machine is started up again to freeze the ice cream again. I can understand this very well from the quality, but from ecological viewI cannot condone this course of action. I still find ice cream that has been stored for a long time very tasty. But everyone has to decide that for himself.

Back to temperature: Ice cream is stored in Ice cream parlors as a rule on a Temperature from -14°C so that when portioned into wafers or cups it warms up by a few degrees and reaches the optimal temperature for consumption. This is when the taste and structure develop best. Unfortunately our domestic freezer compartments usually -18°C and colder is set. As a result, many types of ice cream become hard and can no longer be easily portioned.

So either you create your own freezer compartment for ice cream (because other frozen goods should be stored at a minimum of -18°C for their shelf life) or you use the following method: the hard frozen Ice cream is placed in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before consumption until it's soft again. This gives it the optimal temperature for consumption. It is better not to carry out this defrosting process at room temperature. The refrigerator has the advantage that you achieve a slower defrosting under the same conditions.

Finally, I would like to give you a small glossary to help you get to know the different ingredients that can be contained in an ice cream. Any Ingredient has differing characteristics and fulfilled various roles.

Ice cream ingredients glossary


He should give the ice cream a special Taste but may not only in moderation can be used. On the one hand the taste should not be too much in the foreground, on the other hand alcohol lowers the freezing point and above a certain percentage, you won't be able to make decent ice cream. A small amount of alcohol leads to the formation of smaller ice crystals and thus finer ice structure.


With fresh eggs the spirits separate, but the structure becomes wonderfully creamy
With fresh eggs the spirits separate, but the structure becomes wonderfully creamy

They improve the Structure and lead to a full flavor. By binding water, fewer ice crystals are formed. Since eggs always contain a certain amount of salmonella, regardless of their origin, you should only fresh eggs use. In addition, the ice cream mass with egg is heated to 70°C for a certain time to kill bacteria and thicken the cream. If heated too much, the egg coagulates and the ice cream becomes unusable. There are various alternatives to avoid the use of eggs, such as the use of ice base (see next entry).

Ice base

An ice base is a mixture of different substances which is intended to facilitate the production of ice and to give the ice a creamy consistency even without the addition of egg allowed. There are many commercially available variants, some of which contain controversial additives. But you can also simply even your own Ice base manufacture.

Guar gum

This stabilizer is made from the Seeds of the guar bean and acts similar to locust bean gum as a natural thickening agent. There is also an E-number here: E412. This powder is also part of the Ice base.

Locust bean gum

This is produced from the ground Seeds of the carob tree manufactured. It's a natural stabilizer. It prevents the formation of large ice crystals and is particularly important for ice cream varieties with a high water content. It is part of the Ice base. Do not be deterred by the designation E410.


Cocoa is made from the beans of the cocoa fruit
Cocoa is made from the beans of the cocoa fruit

It should always be unsweetened and of good quality. There are different stages of de-oiling. Basically all variants can be used, but with Cocoa that is not or only slightly deoiled the taste will intensive. Chocolate ice cream should always be made with cocoa and not with chocolate.


This is not actually an ingredient, but is very important for a creamy ice cream. When freezing, air is stirred into the ice cream. This increases the volume of the ice cream and makes it creamier. Miscellaneous Ice cream machines do this more or less pronouncedly. The air content is particularly high in industrially produced ice cream because it is actively pressed into it. Homemade ice cream usually contains approx. 15-25 % Airwhile industrially produced ice cream sometimes consists of up to 50 % of air.

Milk, cream, other dairy products

Dairy products are often used in ice cream production
Dairy products are often used in ice cream production

These give the ice a creamy consistency. Milk is a little less caloric and airier, cream is creamier. It is best to use a mixture of both. You should preferably use untreated but pasteurised milk work. UHT milk or cream with a particularly long shelf life is not recommended.

Skimmed milk powder

This powder is produced by the Drying of skimmed milk manufactured. It is often part of ice base products to Viscosity and reduce the formation of ice crystals.

Vanilla pod

This is the orchid podwhich today is mainly cultivated in Madagascar. Through a Fermentation process the typical vanilla taste develops. The vanilla pod is sliced lengthwise on one side. With for example a spoon handle the Scraped out vanilla seeds. You can either add the scraped-out vanilla pod to the ice cream mixture and remove it before freezing or you can put it in a glass with sugar to make your own vanilla sugar.


For the Taste sugar is very important, but also for the Structure he's doing his part. The more sugar it contains, the lower the freezing point. I have listed the most important species below.

The best known sugar is the white household sugar, which is very often used in ice cream production
The best known sugar is the white household sugar, which is very often used in ice cream production

White sugar: in the recipes it is usually referred to briefly as sugar and used very often. It is the normal Household sugar and is usually sophisticated. This means that it has been purified by various processes. Chemically, it is almost pure sucrose. It is very suitable for many types of ice cream, as it has no aftertaste. It is made from Sugar cane or sugar beet manufactured. However, the trend is moving more and more towards unrefined sugar such as the raw sugar that now follows.

Raw sugar: is a brown one, unrefined sugar from beet or cane. The brown colour comes from the remaining molasses. This gives the ice cream a very special taste, which can be caramel or liquorice like. Depending on the type, the intensity and colour can vary greatly.

Honey should only be added to the hand-warm ice cream mixture so that the important ingredients are not destroyed
Honey should only be added to the hand-warm ice cream mixture so that the important ingredients are not destroyed

Honey: the taste and aroma depend on the Flower type off. The darker the honey, the more intense it is. Different types of honey should therefore be used for different types of ice cream. Acacia honey for example, is a good choice for rather subtle flavours of ice cream. Since the valuable substances in honey are heat sensitive, one should Stir in honey only after boiling. It is best to wait until the mixture is lukewarm and then dissolve the honey.

Glucose: has a less sweetening power than sucrose (white sugar) and makes the ice soft and smoothwithout increasing the sweetness too much. I use glucose powder because it is easier to dose.

Caustic sugar: is a Syrup solutionwhich are made up of equal parts Water and sugar is produced. Simply boil up e.g. 250 g sugar and 250 g water together and fill while still hot. Due to the liquefaction of the sugar it can be dosed easily and dissolves in the mass very easily.

Vanilla sugar: real vanilla sugar consists, as the name suggests, of Vanilla and sugar. This can be achieved either by storing sugar with (scraped out) vanilla beans or by adding ground vanilla beans to sugar. The vanilla sugar frequently offered is mixed with synthetically produced vanilla aroma and should be avoided if possible.

Useful equipment for ice cream making

There are a few devices that can be used in addition to an ice cream machine for making ice cream. Most of them are probably already available in the own kitchen. Most of it is not absolutely necessary, but for some kinds of ice cream or ice-cream sundaes it is easier.

A scoop helps to form beautiful ice cream scoops
A scoop helps to form beautiful ice cream scoops

Ice cream scoops: for forming ice cream scoops. There are simple (as shown in the picture) or portioning machines, which have a device for easier dispensing of the ball. The latter are often used in ice cream parlours.

Hand mixer: for whipping creams and cream or for making ice cream in the freezer.

Mixer: is important for pureeing fruit, for ice cream from the freezer before serving or for making Nicecream.

Spaetzle press: can be used well for the production of spaghetti ice cream. There are also own spaghetti presses, but for home use a spaetzle press does the job as well.

A scale is a kitchen utensil to be recommended in any case for making ice cream
A scale is a kitchen utensil to be recommended in any case for making ice cream

Thermometer: to check the temperature when the ice cream mass is heated, especially when egg is involved.

Scales: this kitchen appliance is one of the few that you definitely need. Alternatively, you can also use a measuring cup. But the scale definitely has the advantage that you can weigh any ingredient in grams.

Citrus juicer: to obtain orange, lime and lemon juice.

I hope you got something out of that article for yourselves. and that you now have a real desire to make your own ice cream to manufacture.


    1. Hello Lennart,

      I am very happy that you like my post. Thank you very much for the nice comment! 🙂

      The ice cream maker

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