October 14, 2007
Making ice cream in a plastic bag

A while I ago I saw a Howtoon in Make Magazine about making ice cream in a plastic bag by Saul Griffith. I met Saul at Foo Camp a few years ago and had heard of about Howtoons then.

Yesterday, the girls had some friends over and I wanted something for them to do that didn't involve watching a screen. So I decided to make ice cream in a bag.

The ingredients are fairly simple, and I picked them up at the supermarket. (Full recipe at the bottom)

In it's simplest from, ice cream is just basically milk/cream, sugar, and vanilla flavor. For the first run, I tried using half & half. The trick is freezing it while all mixed up.

After mixing the ingredients, I poured them into a quart sized bag. Once the mixture was sealed, I put it in yet another quart bag for security. Then I put a bunch of ice into a gallon sized bag, added about a cup of rock salt, and placed the ice cream mixture bag inside.

Next, I had the girls go outside and make the ice cream. I have to admit, they enjoyed it for a few minutes, but shortly lost their enthusiasm and I ended up doing the majority of the shaking.

After about 15 minutes, we gave it a try. The consistency was like soft serve ice cream. I was able to simply pour it out of the bag and into small bowls for testing.

The ice cream met with great enthusiasm and was quickly devoured by the four girls. It was not as creamy as traditional ice cream. Tasty, but not exactly what I think of as ice cream.

Of course, Cruft Labs didn't stop there. The next attempt was with making chocolate ice cream. I used Ovaltine as the flavoring, hoping to get a little more creamy mouthfeel.

After a good deal more shaking of a plastic bag, out came chocolate! It looked better than that previous vanilla, but stuff had a slightly watery feel. The girls didn't care, they ate every bit.

Not satisfied with the previous attempts, I ran out and picked up the real deal, Heavy Whipping Cream. If this didn't taste creamy, nothing would.

Sure enough, the whipping cream made all the difference in flavor. The texture was smooth and the girls ate most of the bag immediately, commenting that it was an improvement. Success at last.

I took the remaining ice cream and froze it overnight. The result was amazingly good. Everything was perfect after a full freeze. The flavor, the texture, and the mouthfeel were all outstanding.

Here is the final recipe:

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Large bag of ice
Box of rack salt
Several Quart sized plastic bags
Several Gallon sized plastic bags

Combine Cream, Sugar, and Vanilla. Put mixture in quart sized bag. Partially fill gallon sized bag with ice. Add about 1 cup of rock salt. Place bag of ice cream mixture in ice bag. Shake vigorously for 15 minutes. Enjoy.

For extra goodness, freeze over night.

Of course, this is just the beginning of my ice cream experimentation. I see possibilites in both making an automatic shaker and different flavor combinations.

Good luck in your own dessert making!

Posted by michael at October 14, 2007 10:56 AM


"Ripening" homemade ice cream in the freezer is an often overlooked step. After you churn/toss/roll/whatever it, freezing it for a few hours will help it set up.

It makes the difference between ice cream and sweet milk soup.

Posted by: Brad [http://www.flyingw.org] on October 14, 2007 12:34 PM

Before you toss the ice cream, wrap the ziploc bags in layers of newspaper (for insulation) and tape it all up. I do this when camping and the ice cream comes out rather firm.

Posted by: Laura [http://journeyoflife.goof.com] on October 19, 2007 12:46 PM
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