Whether you’re a kid running barefoot to an ice cream truck or an adult looking to beat the heat with a bowl of strawberry custard, there’s something about ice cream that perfectly balances waves of nostalgia with showstopping flavor.
But when temperatures reach the high 90s, who wants to leave their home to pick up ice cream? Not us. When the heat becomes unbearable, knowing how to make ice cream from scratch is an invaluable skill.
We tracked down The Malek family, owners of the cult-favorite artisan ice cream company, Salt & Straw, and they’re spilling their coveted tips and tricks for nailing ice cream at home.
Cousins Kim and Tyler Malek launched their ice cream concept in 2011. For years, Kim dreamt of a place where her neighbors, friends and family could gather and spend time together. An ice cream shop — initially, a cart — was the obvious answer.
Tyler bought four used ice cream machines for $16 and spent hours coming up with flavor combinations. Some of his most out-there — and delicious — creations have included bone marrow and smoked berries, fish sauce caramel with palm sugar, mint and sea urchin meringues and dill pickle sorbet.
Today, Salt & Straw is an institution in Portland, Oregon, where its flagship shop is located. Currently, there are 26 locations across California, Washington, Oregon and Florida.
But if you’re not close to any Salt & Straw spots and you need ice cream ASAP, Tyler, the shop’s head ice cream maker, is here to help. You’ll be able to cross “make homemade ice cream” off your summer bucket list in no time with Tyler’s helpful tips:
You don’t need to run out to the store and buy the most expensive ice cream maker you see. According to Tyler, you can make deliciously smooth ice cream from home without a professional machine. For beginners, he suggests the Cuisinart ice cream maker, which you can find for under $70.
Storing ice cream at home is easy, but there are some rules. Tyler says to use plastic containers instead of glass ones when storing fresh ice cream.
"Glass containers don't allow the hardening to work properly,” he said. “Glass insulates the cold air and nothing can really penetrate it, beyond just the fact that it's dangerous since broken glass looks a lot like ice."
The ice cream master also recommends aging the base if you have time. Aging the ice cream base allows the fat to cool down and crystallize before churning, which improves the whipping quality of the ice cream and gives it a nice, creamy texture.
Although aging the base isn’t required, it’s “an extra step that really makes a big difference," according to Tyler.
There are ways you can prevent freezer burn on ice cream, like burying it in the back of the freezer or flipping it upside down so that the melted ice cream drips onto the lid instead of the actual ice cream.
While those are great options, Tyler recommends placing parchment paper on top of the ice cream and pressing it around the entire surface. He says it’s just like placing plastic wrap on top of pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
Now that you know how to make ice cream, it’s time to get to the good stuff: the recipes. These four recipes from the Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook use the Salt & Straw methods to bring their unique flavor-combinations to your kitchen. Once you get these down, you can start experimenting with your own creative combos.
All of these recipes have one thing in common: their ice cream base. It’s the same, no matter which ingredients you working with. This recipe keeps things simple with six ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. And don’t forget to let the base age, like Tyler recommends above!
Start your ice cream-making adventure off by taking a classic flavor, strawberry, and making it more exciting. This strawberry honey balsamic ice cream is churned with fine ground black pepper, which adds a welcome woodiness to the sweetness from the fresh fruit and honey balsamic.
Blue cheese in ice cream may seem like an odd choice but it’s a modern spin on the classic sweet-and-salty flavor combination when mixed with candied pears and pear puree. Salt & Straw recommends Oregon bartletts and Rogue Creamery blue cheese, but anything you can find at the store will do the trick.
Dried lavender buds are used in this honey lavender ice cream to bring floral notes to this decadent dessert. After forming a honey syrup to punch up the sweetness, the lavender is steeped in the syrup for four hours, allowing the flavors to meld together. After trying some of the Salt & Straw recipes, check out more frozen fruit desserts you can easily make at home.
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