As an ice cream maker and cookbook writer, I am frequently asked questions about ice cream. Obvious statement. Questions range from how to make ice cream, such as what ingredients to use, and questions about flavor and texture. The second most popular question often asks about what type of ice cream maker I use. My response is often two fold – first I always make the point that simpler is better for the typical home cook. Any frozen canister version of an ice cream maker, whether stand alone or attached to a mixer, if just fine. These styles of ice cream makers work great and only take a little bit of planning ahead to ensure that the canister is completely frozen before use. The second part of my answer to the ice cream maker question is about my own ice cream maker. For the past five years I have been using a countertop ice cream maker with a built in compressor (Cuisinart ICE-50BC Supreme Ice Cream Maker) which allows me to make ice cream whenever I want without planning ahead for freezing. This type of ice cream maker also works really well for multiple batches in one day, which is not possible if you only have one freezing canister. If you read my review in the FAQ section of the Scoop Adventures site, you will notice that I have overall liked my experience with this machine.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a public relations consultant working for Breville and was asked if I would like to try out their new countertop ice cream maker – The Smart Scoop. I am not always quick to accept free stuff, but I could not pass up the offer. As I said, I have been using the same ice cream maker for five years and it is starting to wear out. I was really interested in trying out another brand and newer ice cream maker so I accepted the offer and decided to give the machine a try.
My first batch of the ice cream in the new ice cream maker was my Peppermint Patty Ice Cream. The Smart Scoop possesses several functions that I really like. It has a Pre-Cool function which allows me to pre-cool the machine and get it to temperature before adding the ice cream; this helps shorten freezing time and improve texture. There are several temperature settings available on the machine, which allow the maker to adjust freezing temperature for the type of product you are making – warmer for sorbet and coldest for ice cream. I chose the gelato setting (about -27 degrees C), which is slightly warmer than the ice cream setting, and it worked really well. The only downside is that the instruction manual does not provide any guidance to help you decide what temperature to use. Another temperature function worth mentioning is the Keep Cool function which allows you to churn the ice cream and keep the ice cream at temperature until you are ready to remove it from the machine. The machine will move the dasher periodically to maintain texture. I have not used this function but I think it will come in handy if I am busy with other things around the house.
Another big plus about the Smart Scoop is that it is quiet! My Cuisinart machine became extremely loud over time as the plastic gears wore down. Granted, I have not used the new Cuisinart machine which is self-contained and may also be quiet, however I know that I really like the low noise level of the Breville Smart Scoop. It makes enough noise that you can still hear when the ice cream is getting harder, but I no longer need to turn up my TV so it is louder than the machine.
A fun feature of the Breville Smart Scoop is that it signals to you when it is time to add mix-ins. Apparently some of the new technology used in this machine allows the machine to sense the denseness of the ice cream and know when it is done, so I guess it can also sense when it is getting close to completing churning and signal to you to add mix-ins. Pretty cool.
Churning time for my 1 quart of ice cream (on the gelato temperature setting) took about 40 minutes from start to finish, plus an extra 20 minutes to pre-cool the machine. Another plus about the machine design is that it includes a removable lid that allows to easy access to the ice cream while churning to assess texture and add mix-ins. I did find that the design of the removable freezer bowl a bit awkward, with the dasher coming up through the center of the bowl which made it slightly difficult to remove all of the churned ice cream. It was also somewhat difficult to hold the dasher and remove the ice cream without making a mess.
In summary, I feel that the Breville Smart Scoop is a well-designed ice cream maker with user-friendly features. The ice cream I made had a great texture, in part because of my awesome recipe:) but definitely because of a great machine with good temperature control. I will continue using this ice cream machine to make my ice creams. If you make ice cream frequently and/or do not like messing with the frozen canisters, I recommended you purchase this ice cream maker.
Pre-cool and Keep Cool functions
Adjustable temperature control to modify texture
Signal for adding mix-ins
Removable lid for easy access to ice cream while churning
Great texture results
Freezer bowl design slightly awkward thus leading to challenges removing every bit of ice cream from the bowl
Dasher design makes for somewhat messy ice cream removal
Little instruction included about how to use temperature control settings
Disclosure: I was provided a Breville Smart Scoop ice cream maker for free. It was not expected that I write a review, I chose to do so due to my positive experience with the machine. All statements and opinions included in the review are solely my own.
Photos from Breville website