Here are the top best Cuisinart ice 70 electronic ice cream maker voted by readers and compiled and edited by our team, let’s find out
27 MINUTE READAfter a month of testing, I’ve found that the Cuisinart ICE-70, available from amazon*, makes good ice cream that is smooth and creamy with very few coarse or icy bits. I’ve found that it makes ice cream that is nearly comparable to that made in the more expensive Cuisinart ICE-100*, which has an in-built freezing system, and slightly creamier than the older Cuisinart ICE-30*. It has an optimum capacity of 900ml (0.95 quart) of ice cream mix, producing about 1090 ml (1.15 quart) of ice cream with about 22% air in 28 minutes and 30 seconds. To get the best out of this machine, I’d recommend freezing the large 1.89 litre (2 quart) removable bowl for 24 hours at around -26°C (-14.8°F). I’ve found that freezing the bowl at -18°C (0.4°F) produces ice cream with coarse texture.
You can view the top selling ice ice cream machines on amazon by clicking here*.
My Review Method
I’ve used a slightly unconventional method of review. Let me explain. The best ice creams in the world have a smooth and creamy texture. This texture, primarily associated with a high milk fat content, is also determined by the average size of the ice crystals: smooth and creamy ice cream requires the majority of ice crystals to be small. If many crystals are large, the ice cream will be perceived as being coarse or icy.
Because ice crystal size is a critical factor in the development of smooth texture, I’ve discussed the key principles that underpin ice crystal formation and growth, and how these principles are affected by the features of the Cuisinart ICE-70. By having an understanding of these key principles, I hope that you’ll be in a better position to evaluate this machine. If you’re short on time, you can skip to the Summary of this review. If you fancy a nice long read, then sit back, grab yourself a hot cup of cocoa, and the enjoy this comprehensive review. 🙂
1. Ice Crystals in Ice Cream
Ice crystals range in size from about 1 to over 150 μm in diameter, with an average size of about 25 μm in commercial ice cream (Berger et al., 1972; Caldwell et al., 1992; Donhowe & Hartel, 1996; Hagiwara & Hartel, 1996; Hartel, 1996; Koxholt et al., 2000; Marshall et al, 2003; Sofjan & Hartel, 2004; Inoue et al., 2008; Kusumaatmaja, 2009). Small ice crystals, around 10 to 20 µm in size, give ice cream its smooth and creamy texture, whereas larger ice ice crystals, greater than 50 μm, impart a grainy texture (Marshall et al., 2003; Eisner et al, 2005; Drewett & Hartel, 2007). To produce ice cream with the smallest possible ice crystals, it’s important to develop an understanding of ice formation (known as crystallisation) during the freezing of ice cream.
Ice cream is frozen in two stages, the first being a dynamic process where the mix is frozen in a scraped-service freezer (SSF) (an ice cream machine) whilst being agitated by the rotating dasher, a mixing device with sharp scraper blades attached, to incorporate air, destabilise the fat, and form ice crystals. Upon exiting the SSF, the ice cream, at about -5°C to -6°C (23°F to 21.2°F) and with a consistency similar to soft-serve ice cream, undergoes static freezing where it is hardened in a freezer without agitation until the core reaches a specified temperature, usually -18°C (-0.4°F). Cook & Hartel (2010) argue that the dynamic freezing stage is arguably the most important step in creating ice cream because this is the only stage in which ice crystals are formed.
During dynamic freezing, the ice cream mix is added to the SSF at between 0°C and 4°C (32°F and 39.2°F). As the refrigerant absorbs the heat in the mix, a layer of water freezes to the cold barrel wall causing rapid nucleation, that is the birth of small ice crystals (Hartel, 2001). For smooth and creamy ice cream, it’s important to have a high rate of nucleation so as to form as many small ice crystals as possible (Hartel, 1996). The more ice crystals that are formed during dynamic freezing, the more will be preserved during static freezing, resulting in a smaller average crystal size and smoother texture (Cook & Hartel, 2010).
1.2 Growth and Recrystallisation
The crystals that form at the cold barrel wall are then scraped off by the rotating scraper blades and dispersed into the centre of the barrel, where warmer mix temperatures cause some crystals to melt and others to grow and undergo recrystallisation. Recrystallisation is defined as “any change in number, size, shape, orientation or perfection of crystals following completion of initial solidification” (Fennema, 1973). The greater the extent of growth and recrystallisation in the centre of the barrel, the larger the ice crystals will be. Russell et al. (1999) found that crystallisation during the freezing of ice cream is dominated by recrystallisation and growth and that these mechanisms appear to be more important than nucleation in determining the final crystal population.
2. Factors Affecting Nucleation, Growth, and Recrystallisation
2.1 The Scraper Blades
Nucleation is affected by the rate of heat transfer from the mix to the cold freezer barrel, with a high rate of heat transfer promoting a high rate of nucleation (Hartel, 1996; Goff & Hartel, 2013). Because heat travels more slowly through ice than stainless steel, ice build up on the freezer barrel wall acts as an insulator and lowers the rate of heat transfer.
Keeping the scraper blades sharp and close to the barrel wall helps promote a high rate of heat transfer by scraping off any ice that forms at the barrel wall (Goff & Hartel, 2013). Ben Lakhdar et al. (2005) found that a large gap between the scraper blades and the barrel wall slowed heat transfer. This was attributed to a permanent ice layer, which forms between the blades and the wall only when the gap is high enough (3mm). When the gap is 1mm, the ice layer is not strong enough and is periodically removed from the wall.
Does the Cuisinart ICE-70 leave a gap between the scraper blades and the bowl wall?
The Cuisinart ICE-70 comes with a plastic dasher that has both a vertical and a horizontal plastic scraper arm. These act similarly to detachable scraper blades in commercial machines by scraping off ice that forms on the bowl wall. When inserted into the bowl, the horizontal arm sits on the bottom of the bowl, and the vertical arm very closely to the bowl wall, leaving a gap of only 1 mm. This results in minimal ice build up on the bowl wall during dynamic freezing. This is a noticeable improvement on the dasher design on the older Cuisinart ICE-30, which leaves a gap of about 3mm between the vertical scraper arm and the bowl wall, resulting in a thick layer of ice forming on the bowl wall that reduces the rate of heat transfer.
TIP #1About half way up the dasher is a horizontal plastic arm that links the vertical scraper arm to a vertical arm directly opposite. One thing I’ve noticed is that after about 8 minutes of dynamic freezing, ice cream starts to stick to this horizontal linking arm in the centre of the bowl. Because temperatures in the centre are warmer than at the bowl wall, the longer these static clumps of ice cream spend in the centre of the bowl, the more ice crystal growth and recrystallisation will occur. It’s therefore important to keep an eye on your ice cream during freezing and use a spoon to disperse any static clumps that form in the centre of the bowl. The idea is to keep ice cream moving so that it makes contact with the cold bowl wall.
2.2 Air In Ice Cream
The amount of air incorporated into a mix during dynamic freezing, referred to as the overrun, affects the size of the ice crystals, with slightly larger ice crystals observed at a lower overrun (Arbuckle, 1977; Flores & Goff, 1999b). Flores and Goff (1999a) suggested that overrun below 50% does not influence ice crystal size, but the amount of air cells at 70% overrun is just enough to prevent collisions among ice crystals, which can result in an increase in crystal size. Sofjan & Hartel (2004) found that increasing the overrun in ice cream (from 80% to 100% or 120%) led to the formation of smaller ice crystals, although the effect was relatively small.
How much air does it whip into ice cream?
The ICE-70 has 3 settings that govern the speed of the rotating bowl (unlike most domestic ice cream machines, the drive gear rotates the bowl and not the dasher). The ice cream and sorbet settings both rotate the bowl at 62 rpm, whilst the gelato setting rotates at a slower 49 rpm. The default times for these settings are 40 minutes for sorbet, 30 minutes for gelato, and 25 minutes for ice cream, each of which can be increased to 60 minutes.
When the ice cream setting is selected, I’ve found that about 22% air is incorporated into 900 ml (0.95 quart) of ice cream mix, producing about 1090 ml (1.15 quart) of ice cream (I used my Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe to test this machine). With the gelato setting, the air content drops to about 11% when 900 ml (0.95 quart) of mix is frozen, producing about 980 ml (1.04) of gelato. I haven’t yet tried making sorbet in this machine. I’ve found that both the gelato and the ice cream settings produce ice cream and gelato that is nice and dense, which I personally prefer to lighter ice creams with between 50% and 100% air.
Does it make gelato?
Yes, the Cuisinart ICE-70 does make gelato. Italian-style ice cream is referred to as gelato, the Italian word for ice cream. There are, however, significant differences between traditional gelato and regular ice cream: gelato is typically lower in milk fat (4-8% in gelato, 10-18% in ice cream), total solids (36-43% in gelato, 36->40% in ice cream), and air (20-40% in gelato, 25-120% in ice cream) but higher in sugar (up to 25% in gelato, 14-22% in ice cream) (Goff & Hartel, 2013). Gelato also tends to be softer, more pliable and stickier than ice cream, and is served at warmer temperatures. Because the gelato setting on ICE-70 incorporates about 11% air, well below the typical 20-40% range for gelato, as long as you use a gelato recipe, it will happily produce gelato.
2.3 The Freezer Barrel Wall Temperature
The temperature at the freezer barrel wall, or the bowl wall in the case of the ICE-70, has also been found to affect the rate of nucleation and recrystallisation. Drewett & Hartel (2007) found that decreasing the coolant temperature at the freezer barrel wall caused higher ice crystal nucleation rates and reduced recrystallisation in the warmer bulk mix, which helped the ice crystals remain small. Similarly, Russell et al. (1999) found that as the freezer barrel temperature was lowered, the nucleation rate increased accordingly. Cook & Hartel (2011) simulated ice cream freezing in an ice cream machine by freezing ice cream mix in a thin layer on a microscope cold stage. The temperature at which ice cream mix was frozen on the cold stage varied from -7, -10, -15, and -20°C (19, 14, 5, and -4°F). They found that warmer freezing temperatures gave more elongated and slightly larger crystals with a wider size distribution.
To promote rapid nucleation and minimise recrystallisation, the temperature of the refrigerant should fall within the range of -23°C to -29°C (-10°F to -20°F) (Goff & Hartel, 2013), with the freezer barrel wall temperature estimated to be a few degrees warmer.
Do you have to freeze the bowl?
Unlike the Cuisinart ICE-100, which has an in-built freezing system, the 1.89 litre (2 quart) removable bowl in the ICE-70 has to be pre-frozen for 12 to 24 hours before it can be used. During testing, I found that it produced ice cream that was significantly creamier when the bowl was frozen at -26°C (-14.8°F) than at -18°C (0.4°F). This makes sense because, as stated in section 2.3 above, lower bowl temperatures promote the formation of smaller ice crystals. I also found that it took 10 minutes longer to freeze a 900 ml (0.95 quart) batch of ice cream when the bowl was frozen at -18°C (0.4°F), which, as we will see in section 2.5 below, results in larger ice crystals.
I’ve noticed that in a question posted on amazon, which you can read here, a user has asked why her ice cream mix was still liquid after 20-30 minutes of churning. I’d bet my last litre of ice cream that this was because her freezer was somewhere around the -18°C (0.4°F) mark, if not warmer, when she froze her bowl.
TIP #2It’s a good idea to cover the top of the bowl with cling film when placing it in the freezer. This will prevent vapour from condensing and freezing to the bowl wall, which may reduce heat transfer if enough water freezes.
TIP #3The colder you can get the bowl, the smaller the ice crystals and the creamier your ice cream is likely to be. I’d recommend freezing your bowl at around -26°C (-14.8°F) for 24 hours. A tip to check whether the bowl is ready to use after it’s been frozen is to shake it. If you hear a gushing sound, the freezing gel inside the bowl needs longer to freeze. It’s also important that you start churning your ice cream as soon as the bowl is taken out of the freezer. This is because the freezing gel will start to warm as soon as the bowl is taken out of the freezer, resulting in warmer bowl wall temperatures.
What is the bowl made from?
The 1.89 litre (2 quart) bowl is made from aluminium coated with xylan (polypropylene). It’s important not to use sharp objects when scooping out the ice cream, gelato, or sorbet to avoid scratching the xylan coating. A wooden spoon does the job nicely.
2.4 Draw Temperature
The draw temperature is the temperature at which ice cream is removed from the barrel once dynamic freezing is complete. In commercial machines, this is usually -5°C to -6°C (23°F to 21.2°F) (Goff & Hartel, 2013). Draw temperature significantly influences mean ice crystal size because it determines how much water is frozen during dynamic freezing and, consequently, how many ice crystals are formed. Caillet et al. (2003) found that decreasing the draw temperature resulted in more water being frozen and increased ice crystal content. The more ice crystals that are formed during dynamic freezing, the more will be preserved during static freezing, resulting in a smaller average crystal size and smoother texture (Cook & Hartel, 2010). Drewett & Hartel (2007) showed that ice crystals were larger at draw temperatures from -3°C to -6°C (26.6°F to 21.2°F). When the draw temperatures were colder than -6°C (21.2°F), the mean ice crystal size decreased.
Low Temperature Extrusion
Bolliger (1996) and Windhab et al. (2001) investigated the influence of Low Temperature Extrusion (LTE) freezing of ice cream, where ice cream exiting the SSF at -5°C to -6°C (23°F to 21.2°F) is frozen further to about -13°C to -15°C (8.6°F to 5°F) in an extruder with slowly rotating screws, on the ice crystal size in comparison to conventional draw temperatures. It was shown that the mean ice crystal size was reduced by a factor of 2 by means of the LTE process compared to conventional freezing. Sensorial properties like consistency, melting behaviour, coldness, and scoopability also showed clearly improved values (Windhab, 2001).
Besides the ice crystal size, the size and distribution of air cells and fat globules are of primary importance, especially on the sensorial aspect of creaminess. To obtain creamier ice cream, it’s important to generate ice crystals, air cells, and fat globule aggregates as small as possible (Wildmoser et al., 2004). LTE helps to prevent air bubbles from coming together, thereby retaining the smallest size distribution (Eisner et al., 2005). Air Bubbles in the 10-15 μm range have been reported in LTE frozen ice cream, compared to conventionally frozen ice cream samples with bubbles in the 40-70 μm range (Bolliger et al., 2000b). LTE also helps to reduce the size of agglomerated fat globules compared to conventionally frozen ice cream (Windhab & Bolliger, 1998a, b). Furthermore, LTE generally promotes enhanced fat destabilisation, which is partially responsible for slow melting and good shape retention (Bolliger et al., 2000b). The percentage of the fat droplets destabilisation in the LTE treated ice cream can be twice that achieved during the conventional freezing process (Soukoulis & Fisk, 2016).
Because of smaller air bubble and fat globule aggregates sizes, as well as a higher degree of foam stability (fat globule destabilisation), LTE ice cream is evaluated creamier than conventionally produced ice cream (Wildmoser et al., 2004). What I’ve found during testing is that ice cream extracted at draw temperatures of between -11.4 and -12.9°C (11.48°F and 8.78°F) is indeed perceived as being slightly creamier than that extracted at conventional draw temperatures of around -6°C (21.2°F).
How do you know when the ice cream is ready?
I’ve found that the gear under the bowl is strong enough to continue rotating the bowl until the ice cream freezes to a low draw temperature of between -11.4 and -12.9°C (11.48°F and 8.78°F). This is very good because on some machines I’ve tried, the drive mechanism isn’t strong enough to continue rotating the dasher as the ice cream hardens, resulting in relatively warm draw temperatures. I use a cheap infra-red thermometer to check when my ice cream is ready.
During extraction, it’s important to balance trying to minimise wastage with minimising the extraction time. The longer it takes to extract ice cream from the bowl and get it into a freezer for static hardening, the longer it spends at relatively warm room temperatures where recrystallisation and growth occur very rapidly. The greater the extent of recrystallisation and growth, the larger the ice crystals are likely to be. It takes me about 1 minute to extract my ice cream from the ICE-70. I’ve found that removing the dasher before extracting the ice cream makes things easier.
2.5 Residence Time
Residence time, which refers to the length of time ice cream spends in the barrel and takes to reach its draw temperature, has a significant effect on the final ice crystal size distribution, with shorter residence times producing ice creams with smaller ice crystals due to a decline in recrystallisation (Russell et al., 1999; Koxholt et al., 2000; Goff & Hartel, 2013; Drewett & Hartel, 2007; Cook & Hartel, 2010). Longer residence times mean that ice cream spends more time in the bulk zone of the barrel where warmer temperatures cause rapid recrystallisation. Donhowe & Hartel (1996) measured a recrystallisation rate at -5°C (23°F) of 42 μm/day. At this rate, a size increase of around 8 μm would be expected over a 10 minute period. This matches almost exactly the increase in crystal size observed by Russell et al. (1999) at a slightly different temperature of -4°C (24.8°F). Clearly, the longer ice cream remains in the barrel at temperatures where recrystallisation occurs very rapidly, the greater the extent of recrystallisation and the larger the ice crystals.
What are the dimensions, Weight, and Voltage?
The Cuisinart ICE-70 measures 21 cm (8.25″) in width, 24.1 cm (9.5″) in length, and 34.9 cm (13.75″) in height with the lid on, and weighs 6.12 kg (13.5 lbs). The freezer bowl measures 19.7 cm (7.75″) in diameter and 16.5 cm (6.5″) in height. It runs on 120v 60Hz electricity.
What is the Warranty?
It comes with a 3 year warranty, which is available for consumers only. This warranty will most probably be void if you use this machine for commercial purposes.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes I’ve found it very easy to clean. The dasher and lid are dishwasher safe but the bowl isn’t. The brushed chrome finish does attract a lot of finger marks and so needs to be regularly wiped with a damp cloth.
Does it make good ice cream?
I’ve found that the Cuisinart ICE-70 produces excellent ice cream that is very smooth and creamy when it’s extracted from the freezer bowl and served at a temperature of around -13.9°C (6.98°F) after about 30 minutes of static hardening in the freezer. I’ve noticed, however, that when hardened in the freezer overnight and served the next day, the texture, although remaining smooth and creamy, deteriorates slightly as a result of the formation of just a few grainy or icy bits, which are detectable in the mouth.
How does the Cuisinart ICE-70 compare to the Cuisinart ICE-100?
To compare the ICE-70 to the more expensive Cuisinart ICE-100*, which has an in-built freezing system, I used two identical 800 ml (0.86 quart) batches of ice cream. I found that immediately after dynamic freezing, both machines produced ice cream that was really smooth and creamy with no discernible difference. When I tasted both batches the next day, however, I found that the ice cream produced in the ICE-100 remained very smooth and creamy, whereas that produced in the ICE-70 developed just a few bits of grainy texture that were detectable in the mouth. The overall impression I got was that the ICE-70 produced ice cream that was just very slightly sandier than that produced by the ICE-100, although I would say this difference is minimal.
I found that the ICE-70 took slightly shorter (28 minutes and 30 seconds, compared to 32 minutes in the ICE-100) to freeze the ice cream to a draw temperature of between -12.3°C and -12.8° (9.9°F and 9°F), and whipped less air into the mix (about 13% with the ice cream setting, compared to 25% air in the ICE-100 using the ice cream dasher).
Is the Cuisinart ICE-70 better than the older Cuisinart ICE-30?
I really wanted to be able to say that the ICE-70 makes exactly the same ice cream as the older, but cheaper, Cuisinart ICE-30*. After all, both use the same 1.89 litre (2 quart) aluminium bowl. Alas it was not to be. After churning two identical 900 ml (0.95 quart) batches of ice cream, I found that the ICE-70 made ice cream that was slightly creamier, with the ICE-30 having more pronounced sandy bits that were detectable in the mouth. The ICE-30 took slightly longer to freeze the mix to a draw temperature of between -12°C and -12.8°C (10.4°F and 8.96°F) (36 minutes for the ICE-30, compared to 31 minutes for the ICE-70). Interestingly, I found that although both bowls were frozen in the same freezer for 24 hours, the ICE-30 bowl was just very slightly warmer (-25°C (-13°F), compared to -26.8°C (-16.24°F) for the ICE-70 bowl). My guess is that this may have been because I have had my ICE-30 bowl for nearly 5 years and perhaps the freezing gel isn’t as efficient at freezing as it used to be.
4. My only complaint
My only complaint is the amount of noise this machine makes. It produces 78db of noise after 2 minutes of use, increasing to 88db after 12 minutes, and I’ve found that sitting in the same room with this machine on isn’t the most comfortable way to spend an afternoon. During testing, one of the carpenters that shares the building where I have my commercial kitchen came in and politely asked if she could shut the door because of the noise! Although uncomfortable, I don’t think the noise is a game changer, nor do I think that it should detract from the good-quality ice cream this machine makes. I also think that the dasher could be better designed so that ice cream doesn’t clump in the centre of the bowl during freezing, where warmer temperatures cause rapid ice crystal growth and recrystallisation.
Some users have complained that the lid doesn’t seem to attach tightly and comes off. I’ve found that when it’s switched on, the rotating bowl locks the lid in place and I haven’t had any problems with it coming off during use.
After a month of testing, I’ve found that the Cuisinart ICE-70* produces good ice cream that is dense, smooth, and creamy with very few icy or coarse bits. It doesn’t quite match the quality of the ice cream produced in the more expensive Cuisinart ICE-100*, although it’s not far off, but does make ice cream that is creamier than that made in the older Cuisinart ICE-30*. It has an optimum capacity of 900ml (0.95 quart) of ice cream mix, producing about 1090 ml (1.15 quart) of ice cream with about 22% air in 28 minutes and 30 seconds. I tested batch sizes up to 1200ml (1.27 quart) of ice cream mix and found that although it is able to freeze these larger batch sizes, texture deteriorates. To get the best out of this machine, I’d recommend freezing the large 1.89 litre (2 quart) removable bowl for 24 hours at around -26°C (-14.8°F). I’ve found that freezing the bowl at -18°C (0.4°F) produces ice cream with larger ice crystals and coarser texture.
My only complaint is the noise this machine makes. The dasher could also be better designed so that ice cream doesn’t clump to the horizontal arm in the centre of the bowl, where warmer temperatures cause rapid ice crystal growth and recrystallisation.
I hope this review helps. I’d be happy to answer questions and would love some BRUTALLY HONEST feedback on this review so please do feel free to get in touch and say hi. All the best, Ruben.
6. What The * Means
Transparency is key. On that note, I haven’t been paid to write this review, nor was I given this machine for free. I paid for this bad boy with my own money and have written this review in my own time. If there is a * after a link, it means that I will earn a payment if you go through it and make a purchase on amazon. This doesn’t increase the cost of what you purchase, nor do these links influence what I write, ever.
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