Last summer, I stumbled upon a vintage hand-crank ice cream maker on sale for just $30 at a yard sale. I was thrilled with the amazing deal, though I was unsure if the machine was still functional. Despite its age, the parts seemed intact, and the handle turned smoothly.
Although we already owned an electric ice cream maker, I wanted a non-electric backup for situations when we were off the grid. So, I decided to go for it!
When the time came to test the new machine, the kids eagerly joined in. Making homemade ice cream is a delightful summer activity to relish with loved ones.
How To Use a Hand Crank Ice Cream Maker (Non-Electric)
If you’ve already found an ice cream recipe that you’d like to try and have pre-cooked and cooled it, you’re ready to start using your old-fashioned hand crank ice cream maker. Ensure that your bucket is clean since using ice and salt will create a briny residue.
Here are the steps to follow:
Step One: Pre-Chill (Optional)
Although technically optional, pre-chilling the canister makes a noticeable difference in the final product. Ideally, refrigerate or freeze the canister for at least 24 hours beforehand.
Starting with a super-chilled canister ensures a firm yet velvety texture in your ice cream. However, if you prefer not to go through with this step, don’t worry! The machine will still work perfectly fine with just ice and salt, though the texture will resemble soft-serve ice cream.
Step Two: Assemble Canister
Securely lock your pre-chilled canister in place within the bucket.
Step Three: Add Ice and Rock Salt to Bucket
Now, it’s time to layer the bucket with ice and rock salt, ensuring that none of it enters the canister. Begin by creating a solid layer of densely packed ice cubes. Then, generously sprinkle salt over the layer before adding another round of ice cubes. Repeat this process until the ice reaches near the top of the canister without overflowing.
Step Four: Pour in Ice Cream Mix
Pour your pre-cooked and cooled ice cream mix into the canister. Take care not to let any mix touch the ice and avoid letting any ice, salt, or briny water enter the canister if the ice has started to melt. Be mindful not to overfill the canister, leaving enough space for displacement when you insert the dasher.
Step Five: Attach Dasher
The dasher is the paddle or stirrer assembly responsible for mixing, smoothing, and aerating the ice cream mixture. Depending on your machine, fix the dasher to the crank assembly or put the entire mechanism in place.
If your machine has a separate crank handle, attach it after securing the dasher. Once everything is in place and securely latched, you’re ready to start making ice cream!
Step Six: Turn, Turn, Turn!
Now comes the fun part – cranking! Prepare to spend at least half an hour continuously cranking the handle. The ice cream will be ready when it becomes too hard to crank.
For truly premium ice cream, gradually increase the cranking speed over time. Think of it as gradually increasing the speed of a mixer. While it may become challenging as the ice cream firms up, keep going until the end. To achieve the best results, periodically reverse the cranking direction for a few revolutions. This helps remove any firm ice cream stuck to the walls of the canister, exposing the softer cream to the colder metal and ensuring proper aeration.
These two techniques are the secrets to achieving delicious homemade ice cream!
Step Seven: Finished!
Once you’re satisfied with the consistency of the ice cream, detach the dasher and remove the canister. Serve immediately while it’s very cold, or transfer it to the freezer for storage.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully made ice cream the old-fashioned way, ensuring that you and your family can always enjoy this delightful treat.
How Much Ice Cream Can You Make with an Old-Fashioned Maker?
The capacity of your ice cream maker will determine the quantity it produces. Generally, old-fashioned makers can make between 4 and 6 quarts of ice cream.
Depending on your recipe, the temperature of the canister, and how diligently you crank the handle, the process can take around 30 to 45 minutes of continuous cranking. Although it may feel longer, the delectable results make the effort worthwhile.
Smaller quantities can be made in less time. Producing one or two quarts might take as little as 15 minutes of quick cranking, resulting in softer ice cream.
When my kids took turns cranking the handle, it took us about 25 minutes until the ice cream reached the desired frozen consistency. If the ice melts while you’re cranking, you may need to add more ice and salt.
As a side note, it’s advisable to perform this activity outdoors. We experienced some water leakage from the ice cream maker as the ice melted. This may be due to the age of our unit, causing the wooden slats to loosen slightly. Just something to consider.
It’s reassuring to know that our off-grid ice cream maker works like a charm, providing us with delightful homemade soft-serve ice cream.