March 18 , 2021

© 2022 Biterkin

updated August 9, 2022

THE LIKE-A-PRO ICE CREAM

Vanilla Ice Cream | with xanthan gum
Vanilla
Ice Cream
· with xanthan gum ·

Sometimes all you need is a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

A good-quality vanilla extract brightens with its tropical, calming notes, even the plainest milk, cream and sugar ice cream. If you are looking for a terrific vanilla ice cream to devour on its own or accompany your dessert, this is it.

This is a classic vanilla ice cream made with vanilla extract. To use a vanilla bean instead, go here.

Xanthan gum makes for ice cream with a perfect, full-bodied mouthfeel, which churns beautifully, melts uniformly during serving, and keeps well in the freezer.

No xanthan gum? Here are 3 more ways to make this white chocolate ice cream:

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank us later. With milk, cream, sugar, white chocolate.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With milk, cream, sugar, white chocolate, corn starch.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. With milk, cream, sugar, white chocolate, egg yolks.

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank me later. With milk, cream, sugar, white chocolate.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With milk, cream, sugar, white chocolate, corn starch.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. With milk, cream, sugar, white chocolate, egg yolks.

or see:

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

• Vanilla Extract: for a perfect vanilla ice cream flavour, opt for •Pure Vanilla Extract•. Other options are •Vanilla Essence• and •Vanilla Paste•; see notes in the recipe you will find instructions on how to substitute in the Ingredient Notes section of the recipe. Avoid •Imitation Vanilla Flavouring• and •Vanillin•, if you want a natural vanilla flavour.​

• Cream (heavy cream – for double cream scroll to the right): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% to 40% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar). Another option is raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the ice cream’s flavours. Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in double cream – how to use” notes in the recipe.

• Xanthan gum can be found in speciality shops, health food stores and online. Read more about it here.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

• Vanilla Extract: for a perfect vanilla ice cream flavour, opt for •Pure Vanilla Extract•. Other options are •Vanilla Essence• and •Vanilla Paste•; see notes in the recipe you will find instructions on how to substitute in the Ingredient Notes section of the recipe. Avoid •Imitation Vanilla Flavouring• and •Vanillin•, if you want a natural vanilla flavour.​

• Xanthan gum can be found in speciality shops, health food stores and online. Read more about it here.

• Heavy cream (for double cream scroll right): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% – 40% fat. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content.

Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in Double cream: how to use” notes in the recipe.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar). Another option is raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the ice cream’s flavours. Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

This Vanilla Ice Cream is made with xanthan gum to create a lovely body which churns beautifully, melts uniformly and keeps well in the freezer. There are several types of gums used in commercial ice cream making which are combined to stabilise the ice cream mixture and improve its texture. Although we can use a combination of gums at home, I prefer to keep things simple and for this reason I only use xanthan gum, which is easy to find, easy to use; and gives lovely results. 

The secret for the perfect vanilla flavour of this ice cream lies in the vanilla you use; for a perfect vanilla flavour, use pure vanilla extract rather than vanilla essence. This, along with some more details -which you can read below- take  the vanilla flavour of this ice cream a step further.

Plain Ice Cream (it’s just milk, cream and sugar – MY FAVOURITE) 

Vanilla Ice Cream with vanilla extract

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with vanilla bean

Strawberry Ice Cream  with fresh strawberries

Chocolate & Cocoa Powder Ice Cream to make it really rich in chocolate

Cocoa Powder Ice Cream with cocoa powder only 

Chocolate Ice Cream with chocolate only 

The Biterkin tricks for a perfect Vanilla Ice Cream with xanthan gum:

When using xanthan gum for ice cream making, you need to bring the ice-cream mixture to the right temperature (approx. 52ºC/ 125ºF) before adding the gum. At this temperature, xanthan gum dissolves without clumping, fully hydrates during blending, and effectively stabilises the ice cream mixture.

While it is good to have a thermometer, it is only natural that you may not have one at home. For this reason, I have developed a simple method to bring the mixture to the right temperature without a thermometer before adding the gum. How does it work? Thanks to physics, you can calculate the temperature of a mix of liquids with different temperatures. But to do so, you need two temperatures that you do not need a thermometer to measure. Luckily, there are two temperatures in a modern home which are always the same:

  1. the one is the boiling temperature of the milk with the sugar, which is always approx. 95ºC/ 203ºF;
  2. the other is the temperature of a liquid, which is cold from the fridge; that can be anywhere between 4ºC-14ºC/ 39ºF-57ºF in normal conditions (abnormal conditions like extreme hot weather; or frequently opening and closing the fridge’s door can dissrupt the standard temperatures of your fridge).

What we do is divide in half the blended mixture (milk, cream, sugar) that we want to stabilise with the xanthan gum; half of the blend must be boiling hot and the other half fridge-cold.

  • The boiling hot is “all the sugar”+”enough milk to reach 50% of the total blended mixture” 
  • The fridge-cold is the remaining ingredients: cream and rest of milk (if any)

When you blend them together, the blended mixture instantly reaches approx. 52ºC/ 125ºF; you then sprinkle the xanthan gum and blend for two minutes to fully hydrate. That works every time, and it is an easy way to use xanthan gum without a thermometer. And fear not for minor differentiations in the above temperatures, as xanthan gum is quite forgiving. In fact 52ºC/ 125ºF is the temperature I prefer for convenience; actually xanthan gum works anywhere between 45ºC-62ºC/ 113ºF-143ºF.

Note: if you live at a high altitude, you can still use this method as xanthan gum is quite forgiving. A minor differentiation in the boiling mixture will not affect the outcome.

Your best option is vanilla extract labelled as “pure vanilla extract”. Always check the ingredients; it should contain water, alcohol and vanilla bean extract. If possible, avoid the ones containing sugar or any other ingredients; they may seem like a bargain as they are cheaper, but what you pay for is a diluted product, which gives a weak vanilla flavour.
If you don’t have pure vanilla extract, refer to the ingredients section below, where you can find information on other forms of vanilla and how to use them.

You can replace regular sugar with good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado, which are very aromatic, thanks to their natural content in molasses and have an earthy, slightly caramelised aroma.
By replacing regular sugar with raw cane sugar like the above, you boost the chocolate flavour of the ice cream, creating the ultimate chocolate ice cream experience.

Choose good-quality raw cane sugar, one which smells divine when you sniff it. The best Demerara sugar is known to originate from the island of Mauritius, so check the label for the origin.

It is common in all vanilla ice cream recipes to add the vanilla extract into the ice cream mixture when you make it (and usually before chilling it in the refrigerator). I prefer not to do so and add the vanilla extract during the last minutes of churning, as the colder temperatures bring out the vanilla’s flavours bold and shining.

Another reason for adding it then and not at the beginning is that the alcohol and sugar content of the vanilla you use may vary; this can disturb the balance of the recipe and get in the way of proper churning, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream. For this reason, I add it after the ice cream has fluffed up and turned creamy.

Every ingredient plays a key role in the recipe. Do not attempt to reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason. Look out for these:

The recipe at a glance:

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

Overview

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

In a medium saucepan bring to a rolling boil 2/3 of the milk & all the sugar.

Pour the boiling mil into a blender jug with the cold cream and the rest 1/3 of the cold milk.

With the blender on, sprinkle the xanthan gum.

Blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate it.

Strain the ice cream mixture and cool it down over an ice bath.

Put the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator overnight; or until completely cold.

Churn in your ice cream maker until fluffed up and creamy.

Add the vanilla extract and churn for 10 minutes more.

Put it in the freezer for a few hours to set. 

As soon as it sets, you can either serve it from the ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a container and store it in the freezer.

White Chocolate Ice Cream | with xanthan gum
White Chocolate Ice Cream | with xanthan gum

When making ice cream prefer to weigh all the ingredients by weight. I also recommend weighing the liquids directly into the bowl/pan as you proceed with the recipe instead of transferring them from one bowl to another because this transfer causes a small -but unwanted- loss of quantity.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:
• 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 Tbs. = 15 ml

• sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Use a 15 ml measuring tablespoon (not a regular one); this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure correctly, each time you scoop the sugar, level it with the flat side of a knife.

• liquid ingredients: thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula any residues left on the sides and bottom of the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

This recipe makes a 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers).

If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down, use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only):

milk 47.9% | heavy cream 33.7% | sugar 16.18% | vanilla extract 2.1% | xanthan gum 0.12%

in desired total weight of ice cream mixture.

The fat content from the milk and cream in this recipe make for ice cream with approx. 14% fat, which is the lowest in fat we can go in ice cream with xanthan gum before the ice cream texture and mouthfeel start to suffer.

Other than that, we prefer our ice cream richer in butterfat; if you like it this way too, use 425 gr milk (15 oz ) & 575 g cream (20.3 oz); this makes ice cream with approx. 18% fat, with a creamier body and mouthfeel.

For a perfect vanilla ice cream flavour, prefer “Pure Vanilla Extract” over “Vanilla Essence”.

“Vanilla Paste” gives a nice vanilla flavour; you will need the equivalent to 2 vanilla pods as written on the product’s label. If using Vanilla Paste, add it in step 2 (instead of step 3 as you would do with the vanilla extract), after the ice cream mixture has cooled down and before you chill it. Whisk well to dissolve.

If you want a natural vanilla flavour, avoid “Imitation Vanilla Flavouring” and “Vanillin” in this recipe. If this is what you want to use, refer to the instructions on the package for the quantity equivalent to 2 vanilla pods. Add this in step 3.

You can also make this ice cream with a vanilla bean 

or no vanilla at all (Fior di Latte style)

You can adjust the quantity of the xanthan gum in the recipe to your liking, depending on the texture you want to achieve:

  • To slightly stabilise the ice cream without affecting its texture and mouthfeel much, use 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum and decrease the sugar by 10 g (0.35 oz)
  • To create a firmer texture, which has a fuller body and mouthfeel, use 1/2 teaspoon as per the recipe (this is 0.12%)
  • For a stretchy texture similar to Booza/salep ice cream, use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum and increase the sugar in the recipe by 15 g (0.5 oz)

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe. To make 415 gr (14.6 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 290 gr double cream (10.2 oz.) (with approx. 50% fat)
  • 125 gr/ml whole milk (4.4 oz.) (with approx. 3.5% fat) *

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a medium bowl and pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring smoothly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Avoid whisking, as it may turn into whipped cream.

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 415 gr (14.6 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

*this 125 gr (4.4 oz.) milk is extra to the 590 gr milk (20.8 oz) asked in the recipe. So, if using double cream, you will need in total 715 gr milk (25.2 oz.), from which:

  • 590 (20.8 oz.) are for the recipe; and
  • 125 gr (4.4 oz.) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

This vanilla ice cream is perfect just how it is. However, if you want to boost its flavour you can substitute regular sugar with good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado. These sugars have a natural caramel flavour which pairs well with white chocolate and brings out its flavours. 

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when you cook dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, we strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one. 

Instructions

Plan ahead:

Make the ice cream mixture (steps 1-3) the day before you are planning to churn it; (or up to 3 days before).

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Make the ice cream mixture

If you have an instant-read/infrared thermometer, you can skip the instructions in this step and  do this instead: warm the milk, cream and sugar to 60°C/ 140°F, stirring to dissolve the sugar. With the blender on, sprinkle the xanthan gum over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to hydrate the gum.

If you do not have a thermometer, following the instructions in step 1 is a foolproof way to bring the ingredients to 52°C/ 125°F before sprinkling the xanthan gum. To sum it up, all we do is combine half of the blend at fridge-cold temperature and the other half at boiling-hot temperature. And that’s it. The blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C/ 125°F  (minor fluctuations in temperature are perfectly fine).

Combine the cream with 1/3 of the milk: pour the cold heavy cream (415 g; 14.6 oz) and 1/3 of the cold milk (200 g; 7 oz; 200 ml) into the blender jug (or a large bow, if using an immersion blender). If you do not proceed with the recipe immediately, put it in the refrigerator to keep cold.

Bring the rest of the milk and the sugar to a boil: pour the rest of the milk (390 g; 13.8 oz) and all the sugar (200 g; 7 oz) into a medium saucepan.

Warm over medium-high heat, often stirring; when it comes to a rolling boil (95°C; 203°F; or when large bubbles which pop vigorously appear on the surface; or if it starts to overflow), immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the blender jug with the cold cream & milk.

💡Do not let the milk come to a boil before all the sugar has dissolved, or the milk may curdle. Stirring often helps the sugar dissolve efficiently.

Turn the blender on (medium speed). Note: by blending that much boiling hot milk with that much fridge-cold cream, the blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C; 131°F; this is a good temperature for the xanthan gum to dissolve efficiently. 

Sprinkle in the xanthan gum: with the blender on, slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum (½ tsp.) over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate the xanthan gum. Do not expect the blend to thicken; it will thicken as it cools.

Step 2: Chill the ice cream mixture

Strain the ice cream mixture over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream mixture, taking care that no water slips into it. Let it cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Xanthan gum needs 6-8 hours in the refrigerator to fully develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

The ice cream mixture will get colder if you store it in a glass container (vs storing it in a plastic one).

If you don’t have a glass container, store the ice cream mixture in the back of the fridge where things are colder.

You want the ice cream mixture to be as cold as possible before you churn it so that it fluffs us to its fullest potential. If you have a thermometer, the perfect temperature of the ice cream mixture to start churning it is at 8°C / 46°F (and anywhere between 4°C-12°C / 39°F-53°F it is ok too!)

Step 3: Churn the ice cream

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it.

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Stir: the ice cream will have slightly thickened after chilling (consistency of heavy cream); give it a nice and thorough stir with a rubber spatula.

This ice cream mixture thickens slightly as it cools, but should still be of pourable consistency. If the ice cream mixture is too thick (like yoghurt), blend it briefly with an immersion/regular blender to loosen it before churning it.

This extra step is well worth the effort because a thick ice cream mixture makes it harder for air pockets to create into it. Not enough air pockets mean the ice cream will be sloppy instead of fluffy after churning; and hard to scoop after freezing.
So if you are after fluffy ice cream, take the time to bring the ice cream mixture to a pourable consistency before churning it.

If you feel unsure about how thick the ice cream mixture should be, prefer to err on the side of fluid and give the ice cream mixture a blend anyway before churning it.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker

Leave to churn until it is almost done – you have to add the vanilla extract before it becomes too thick.

Add the vanilla extract when the ice cream has fluffed up and is creamy and wavy. Leave to churn for 8-10 minutes more or until no vanilla streaks are visible.

This ice cream is ready when it is creamy and wavy. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when the ice cream is smooth and pliable. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 4: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set
Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 
· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 
Setting time depends on many factors; see notes below for indicative times.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storage.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 1-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

Storing and serving

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -10°C / 14°F.

Make the ice cream mixture (steps 1-3) the day before you are planning to churn it; (or up to 3 days before).

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

If you have an instant-read thermometer, read how to shortcut this step.

Combine the cream with 1/3 of the milk: pour the cold heavy cream (415 g; 14.6 oz) and 1/3 of the cold milk (200 g; 7 oz; 200 ml) into the blender jug (or a large bow, if using an immersion blender). If you do not proceed with the recipe immediately, put it in the refrigerator to keep cold.

Bring the rest of the milk and the sugar to a boil: pour the rest of the milk (390 g; 13.8 oz) and all the sugar (200 g; 7 oz) into a medium saucepan.

Warm over medium-high heat, often stirring; when it comes to a rolling boil (95°C; 203°F; or when large bubbles which pop vigorously appear on the surface; or if it starts to overflow), immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the blender jug with the cold cream & milk.

💡Do not let the milk come to a boil before all the sugar has dissolved, or the milk may curdle. Stirring often helps the sugar dissolve efficiently.

Turn the blender on (medium speed). Note: by blending that much boiling hot milk with that much fridge-cold cream, the blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C; 131°F; this is a good temperature for the xanthan gum to dissolve efficiently. 

Sprinkle in the xanthan gum: with the blender on, slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum (½ tsp.) over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate the xanthan gum. Do not expect the blend to thicken; it will thicken as it cools.

Strain the ice cream mixture over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream mixture, taking care that no water slips into it. Let it cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Xanthan gum needs 6-8 hours in the refrigerator to fully develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it.

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Stir: the ice cream may thicken slightly after chilling; give it a vigorous and thorough stirring to loosen it (or a quick blitz with an immersion blender if it is too thick); this will allow it to churn for longer and fluff up.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes; read more in How do I know when the ice cream is ready in questions & troubleshooting below.

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine

· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 

· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 

Setting time depends on many factors; read How long does it take for the ice cream to set in questions & troubleshooting below.

Serve or store: as soon as it sets, you can either serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing. 

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -10° / 14°F.

If you have an instant-read thermometer, you can skip the instructions in step 1 and do this instead: warm the milk, cream and sugar to 60°C/ 140°F, stirring to dissolve the sugar. With the blender on, sprinkle the xanthan gum over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to hydrate the gum.

If you do not have a thermometer, following the instructions in step 1 is a foolproof way which brings the ingredients to a good temperature (here 52°C/ 125°F) before sprinkling the xanthan gum. To sum it up, all we do is combine half of the blend at fridge-cold temperature and the other half at boiling-hot temperature. And that’s it. The blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C/ 125°F  (minor fluctuations in temperature are perfectly fine).

This ice cream is ready when it is creamy and wavy. The total churning atime depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when the ice cream is smooth and pliable. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 1-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -10°C / 14°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

Ingredients:

This recipe makes 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers). If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down , use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only):  milk 47.9%, cream 33.7%, sugar 16.18%, vanilla extract 2.1%, xanthan gum 0.12%,  in desired total weight of ice cream mixture.

This recipe makes 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers). If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down , use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only):  milk 47.9%, cream 33.7%, sugar 16.18%, vanilla extract 2.1%, xanthan gum 0.12%,  in desired total weight of ice cream mixture.

For best results, use a digital kitchen scale and measure the ingredients directly into the utensils, as you proceed with the recipe. Avoid weighing in one utensil and transferring to another, as this causes a small, but important loss of quantity, especially in liquids.

If you have a kitchen scale, weigh the ingredients instead of measuring them by cup; it provides accurate results, very much needed in ice cream making.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:

1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 Tbs. = 15 ml

– Sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Do not use a regular tablespoon: you need a 15 ml measuring tablespoon; this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure, scoop the sugar to fill the tablespoon, then level it with the flat side of a knife. Repeat scooping and levelling.
Do not convert the sugar into cups with the usual “1 cup=200 grams” conversion; this is too much sugar, which results in sloppy ice cream.

– Milk & cream: make sure that you thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

You can find xanthan gum in speciality shops, health food stores and online. It should contain only xanthan gum and no additional ingredients. 

You can adjust the quantity of the xanthan gum in the recipe to your liking, depending on the texture you want to achieve:

  • To slightly stabilise the ice cream without affecting its texture and mouthfeel much, use 1/4 teaspoon (0.7 gr; 0.025 oz; this is 0.06% in total weight of ice cream mixture) xanthan gum and decrease the sugar by 10 gr; 0.35 oz.
  • To create a firmer texture, which has a fuller body and mouthfeel, use 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 gr; 0.05 oz; this is 0.12% in total weight of ice cream mixture) as per the recipe.
  • For a stretchy texture similar to Booza/salep ice cream, use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (2.7 gr; 0.1 oz; this is 0.22% in total weight of ice cream mixture) and increase the sugar in the recipe by 15 gr (0.5 oz.)

The milk and cream in this recipe make for ice cream with approx. 14% fat, which is the lowest in fat we can go here before the ice cream texture and mouthfeel start to suffer. I have kept the fat in all the ice cream recipes made with xanthan gum this low because xanthan gum can give the ice cream a lovely texture without using more fat (as opposed to e.g., Philadelphia-style ice cream where you need more cream/fat to make it work). Other than that, I prefer my ice cream richer in cream; if you like it this way too, you can use 425 gr; 15 oz milk & 575 gr; 20.3 oz. of cream -instead of the 590 gr milk and 415 gr cream used in the recipe. This makes ice cream with 18% fat, with a fuller body and mouthfeel.

Milk: it should be whole (which is approx. 3.5% fat). Do not substitute with skimmed milk or plant-based milk.

Heavy cream: 35-40% fat content is ok. It should be of pourable consistency. “Ultra-pasteurised cream” and “cream suitable for whipping” with 35-40% fat are ok, too. Avoid any cream which contains sugar or other sweeteners. Do not substitute with low-fat cream or plant-based cream.

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe. To make 415 gr (14.6 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 290 gr double cream (10.2 oz.) (with approx. 50% fat)
  • 125 gr/ml whole milk (4.4 oz.) (with approx. 3.5% fat) *

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a medium bowl and pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring smoothly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Avoid whisking, as it may turn into whipped cream.

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 415 gr (14.6 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

*this 125 gr (4.4 oz.) milk is extra to the 590 gr milk (20.8 oz) asked in the recipe. So, if using double cream, you will need in total 715 gr milk (25.2 oz.), from which:

  • 590 (20.8 oz.) are for the recipe; and
  • 125 gr (4.4 oz.) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

Only use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or raw cane sugar such as Turbinado or Demerara.

Do not try to reduce the calories of the ice cream by cutting down the sugar or replacing it with low-calories or “healthy” sweeteners. Do not use:

  • sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia, liquid or granulated. Sweeteners mixed with sugar are not suitable either.
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • honey or other liquid sweeteners, natural or artificial

For a perfect vanilla ice cream flavour, prefer “Pure Vanilla Extract” over “Vanilla Essence”.
“Vanilla Paste” gives a nice vanilla flavour; you will need the equivalent to 2 vanilla pods as written on the product’s label. If using Vanilla Paste, add it in step 2 (instead of step 3 as you would do with the vanilla extract), after the ice cream mixture has cooled down and before you chill it. Whisk well to dissolve.

If you want a natural vanilla flavour, avoid “Imitation Vanilla Flavouring” and “Vanillin” in this recipe. If this is what you want to use, refer to the instructions on the package for the quantity equivalent to 2 vanilla pods. Add this in step 3.

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop.

-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.
If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Instructions
Plan ahead:

Make the ice cream mixture (steps 1-2) one day before churning it.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Make the ice cream mixture

If you have an instant-read/infrared thermometer, you can skip the instructions in this step and  do this instead: warm the milk, cream and sugar to 60°C/ 140°F, stirring to dissolve the sugar. With the blender on, sprinkle the xanthan gum over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to hydrate the gum.

If you do not have a thermometer, following the instructions in step 1 is a foolproof way to bring the ingredients to 52°C/ 125°F before sprinkling the xanthan gum. To sum it up, all we do is combine half of the blend at fridge-cold temperature and the other half at boiling-hot temperature. And that’s it. The blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C/ 125°F  (minor fluctuations in temperature are perfectly fine).

Pour the cold heavy cream (415 gr; 14.6 oz.) and 1/3 of the cold milk (200 gr; 7 oz.; 200 ml) into the blender jar. If you do not proceed with the recipe immediately, place it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

Warm the rest of the milk with all the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the rest 2/3 of the milk (390 gr; 13.8 oz.) and all the sugar (200 gr; 7 oz.). Warm over medium heat, often stirring with the rubber spatula, until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and steamy.

The most common mistake is when the milk and sugar are quickly heated to a boil before the sugar has dissolved. You cannot boil milk alone because it curdles when it comes to a boil. The sugar in the milk creates “nets” that allow the milk to boil without curdling. But if the milk comes to a boil before all the sugar dissolves, it will curdle; and you will have to throw it away and start all over again.

So, first, we have to warm the milk gently; stirring is also essential because it helps the sugar dissolve faster. After the sugar dissolves, you can raise the heat and safely bring the milk to a boil.

Bring to a boil: when all the sugar dissolves, increase the heat to medium-high and when it comes to a boil (95°C; 203°F; or when large bubbles which pop vigorously appear on the surface; or if it starts to overflow) immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the blender jar with the cold cream & milk.

When you boil the milk with the sugar, keep an eye on it to avoid overboiling. Boiling causes water to evaporate, and if the milk boils for too long, this loss of water will ruin your ice cream. The result? You may end up with a sloppy liquid vs. a fluffy ice cream after churning because of the excess sugar’s proportion in the final ice cream mixture.

Do not stress over it too much, through; all you have to do is being mindful while you cook the milk: if in doubt about the boiling stage thing, as soon as you see the first bubbles appearing on the surface, count to 10 (as for 10 seconds) and remove it from the heat.

Turn the blender on (medium speed). Note: by blending that much boiling hot milk with that much fridge-cold cream, the blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C; 131°F; this is a good temperature for the xanthan gum to dissolve efficiently. 

Add the xanthan gum and blend: with the blender on, slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum (½ tsp.) over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate the xanthan gum. At this point, do not expect the blend to thicken; it will thicken slightly as it cools.

Step 2Chill the ice cream mixture

Strain the ice cream mixture over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream mixture over it, taking care that no water slips into the ice cream mixture. Let it cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or until completely cold, and up to 3 days.

The ice cream mixture will get colder if you store it in a glass container (vs storing it in a plastic one).

If you don’t have a glass container, store the ice cream mixture in the back of the fridge where things are colder.

You want the ice cream mixture to be as cold as possible before you churn it so that it fluffs us to its fullest potential. If you have a thermometer, the perfect temperature of the ice cream mixture to start churning it is at 8°C / 46°F (and anywhere between 4°C-12°C / 39°F-53°F it is ok too!)

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, your ice cream mixture should always be fridge-cold. Otherwise, if the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

Step 3: Churn the ice cream

Check the ice cream mixture if it is cold before churning: it should feel fridge-cold to the touch (if you have a thermometer, this is approx. 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-53F ). 

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Stir: the ice cream will have slightly thickened after chilling (consistency of heavy cream); give it a nice and thorough stir with a rubber spatula.

If the ice cream mixture is too thick (say, like yoghurt), give it a blitz with an immersion/regular blender before churning it.

Why do we do that? If the ice cream mixture is too thick, the ice cream maker may stop before it incorporates enough air into the ice cream. In this case, the ice cream will be sloppy instead of fluffy.

So, if you are after fluffy ice cream, take the time to bring the ice cream mixture to a fluid (pourable) thickness before churning it.

If you feel unsure about the ice cream’s thickness, prefer to err on the side of fluid and give the ice cream mixture a blend nevertheless before churning it.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker

Leave to churn until it is almost done – you have to add the vanilla extract before it becomes too thick.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy. That could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will be still soft like soft-serve ice cream. If you lift ice cream with the spoon and a pool immediately starts forming on its edges, you will have to churn it for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave it to churn for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to automatically stop after a specific length of time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Add the vanilla extract when the ice cream has fluffed up and is creamy and wavy. Leave to churn for 8-10 minutes more or until no vanilla streaks are visible.

Step 4: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream machine and:

  • remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine,
  • remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl,
  • cover the ice cream bowl and put it in the freezer to set.

Setting time depends on the ice cream maker you use; see below for indicative times. Do not leave the freshly churned ice cream in a removable freezer bowl for more than 5-6 hours, or it will become too hard to scoop; if this happens, read the troubleshooting bulb below:

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can either serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing. 

Storing and serving

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term. To soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, put it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minutes.

If you have an instant-read (or infrared) thermometer, the perfect serving temperature of this ice cream is when midway through the ice cream the thermometer reads approx. -11ºC / 12ºF. At this the temperature, the ice cream has a lovely mouthfeel and is perfectly scoopable.

7 Responses

  1. Can I store the final base in freezer to use it later???
    I don’t have icecream machine,can I still make using beater and frozen base instead of churner ??

    1. You can store the final base in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but not in the freezer.
      You need an ice cream maker for this recipe to achieve the desirable texture. I am not sure if a beater and frozen base can work, so I cannot recommend it.
      If you do not have an ice cream maker, try this no-churn vanilla ice cream, it is the closest you can get to making perfect ice cream at home, without an ice cream maker 🙂

  2. You mentioned to not use a sugars substitute. I want to lower the cabs (which the gum does vs cornstarch – commonly used in ice cream). Were you referring to liquid replacements, or granular ones like Truvia + sugar blend?

    1. I refer to any sugar replacement; no artificial or natural sweetener is suitable for this recipe.
      The only sugar suitable for this recipe is regular sugar (white granulated) or raw cane sugar.

  3. Why do you wait to add the vanilla until the ice cream is almost churned, rather than in previous stages?

    1. Because when you add it at this stage, the vanilla flavours are kept to their fullest.
      The next best option is to add it just before churning when the ice cream mixture is cold.

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