Monday, February 12, 2024

Ice Cream Recipe Review: Bi-Rite Creamery's Vanilla Ice Cream

“Vanilla Ice Cream” on page 35 of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough. 

  • The online recipe can be found here
  • My other vanilla ice cream reviews can be found here.

This is the first ice cream recipe I've made in many years that has neither a sweet syrup (which helps keep the ice cream a little softer when fully frozen), nor a texture agent such as corn starch (which grabs free water molecules and helps prevents the ice cream from getting icy).  But ice cream never used to include those things, so I suspect it will be fine. I might have to let it sit longer at room temp before serving, and it may have a slightly shorter shelf-life in the freezer.  

It also has more vanilla than most - it calls for both a vanilla bean and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  I suspect that I will like the more intense flavor.  I used a Madagascar Vanilla bean (my last one from Vanilla Bean Kings which are by far my favorites. I'll order more from VBK when I use up some other beans I have on hand). Because my own homemade vanilla extracts are months away from being ready, I researched vanilla extracts, and splurged on two fancy ones reviewed by SaveurOrganic Pure Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush” by Sonoma Syrup Company (which I used in this recipe) and a Mexican vanilla bean extract Pure Vanilla Extract Elixir by Villa Vainilla, that I purchased for a ice cream recipe that calls for extract made with Mexican vanilla. 

Substitutions and Techniques:

  • Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar (always) as I prefer the flavor.
  • I brought the dairy/sugar/vanilla bean combination to boil, then turned off the heat, and immediately tempered the eggs.  Once I added the egg mixture and it thickened, I let it steep for 30 minutes before transferring the custard to my mini milk can for chilling prior to churning. In retrospect, I probably should have done it the way the recipe called for because I suspect the hot dairy is a more effective solvent for the bean than the thickened custard is. 
  • The recipe doesn't say when to remove the vanilla bean. I fished it out just before churning.
  • I used my tedious egg-tempering method (which is basically like theirs but in smaller amounts, and pouring from high up)
  • I didn't churn right away - I chilled the custard in my mini milk can in a sink of cold water, then transferred the can to the fridge to chill all day. I churned in the evening.
  • I layered in some caramel sauce (see uses section below) when I was packing the ice cream away, to make a ripple.


  • Same day: I made a rookie mistake - I stopped the churn in the middle of churning, and then the paddle froze to the sides, and I could NOT get it going again. I am annoyed with myself- I KNEW this would happen (because it's happened before). So I hand mixed the harder sheets of ice cream frozen onto the sides of the bowl into the softer custard as well as I could but I fear the texture won't be representative of the recipe. The soft-serve stage seems OK, but it's hard to say what the end result will be once fully frozen.
  • Next day: The flavor is good, but the texture is definitely lacking, and that is probably my fault. I think I'm going to have to make this one again to give it a fair churn.  
  • One week later: I tried again, and that's when I discovered that I'd actually broken the hub assembly on my ice cream maker (a part that is well-known for breaking, though mine lasted for 7 years). I ordered an after-market replacement. In the meantime I froze the unchurned custard. 
  • 10 days later: When the part arrived, I thawed the custard, and finally churned it. It seems fine, but I don't think it's a fair representation of the recipe, so I will try one more time.
  • The recipe is small - it barely makes a quart.  


  • I made a new caramel sauce from the Salt and Straw ice cream book though I substituted glucose for the light corn syrup. I failed (again!) to get it dark enough during the cooking, so it's not as richly flavored as it should be, but it was much better than last time. I amended it with a little bourbon, a little black strap rum (very dark) and some orange extract, and it's quite good. And it stayed much softer when frozen, so it made a much better ripple to fold into the ice cream after churning. My last batch was hard like stiff taffy when frozen.

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