Making ice cream with a gadget like this White Mountain electric ice cream maker (model PMWMIME412) seems like it should be a piece of cake…er…right? Well, to a point it is, but you have to follow some pretty specific instructions.
Fortunately, White Mountain spells everything out for you quite clearly. If you can follow instructions, you’ll end up with awesome ice cream. If you don’t, it’s probably your own fault, not that of the ice cream maker.
In this review, I’ll take a look at the White Mountain PMWMIME412 ice cream maker with you, so you can see if this is the model you’d prefer over others like Breville Smart Scoop.
Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to check the pricing and availability of the White Mountain ice cream maker at Amazon, you can click (or tap) the link just below.
Main Features of the White Mountain Electric Ice Cream Maker
The basic features of the White Mountain ice cream maker are easy enough to spell out.
You can make (up to) 4 quarts of homemade ice cream in about 20 to 40 minutes. (A model that makes 6 quarts is also available.)
The cast iron, “triple action”, patented dasher (the part with the mixing blades) system spins fast via the 12,000 RPM motor – a three-gear, commercial-grade power source.
Materials used are stainless steel for the inner canister, New England white pine for the outer bucket, and beech wood for the dasher blades.
You get a 5-year limited warranty and a recipe booklet of ice cream maker recipes.
There is an “auto safety shutoff” that will interrupt mixing, should the electric motor become overheated. To restart the ice cream freezer, White Mountain says to follow these steps.
- Unplug the ice cream freezer.
- Wait at least 20 minutes for the motor to cool.
- Plug in and operate normally.
How to Make Old-Fashioned Ice Cream with the PMWMIME412
The video below shows the basic steps for using an ice cream machine with an older model (not the PMWMIME412). It will give you a good idea of all that is involved.
With the model we are looking at here, the “triple action” means that, while the outer canister is turning clockwise, the dasher blades inside are going both clockwise and counterclockwise. This continuously folds your mixture from the walls of the can back into the center. The intent is to give you the smoothe, creamy texture you’re likely looking for.
In general, you make ice cream…quoting White Mountain now…“by freezing (while stirring) a pasteurized, homogenized mixture of cream, milk, sugar, and other ingredients and flavorings”.
Preparation before First Use
Since the outer, wooden tub will be dry initially, you should put 3 to 4 inches of water into it to make the wood swell a bit, so the brine solution you’ll add later won’t leak out come freezing time.
While the tub is soaking up the water, you can wash the inner canister and lid with water and baking soda to get rid of any dust it may have collected from the packaging. Dry it thoroughly afterwards, especially to remove any traces of baking soda.
If there is a long time between uses of your ice cream maker, follow these procedures again, treating it as a first-time use.
Setting Up for Making Ice Cream
If the recipe you’re going to use requires cooking, do the cooking the day before you want to actually make the ice cream. This will give the mixture plenty of time to chill.
You’ll need a few ingredients besides the mixture and the maker itself.
Since you’ll be working with cold materials and with salt, you’ll want a decent pair of gloves. These can be either rubber gloves or work gloves that will protect your hands from the elements.
You can use your ice cream maker indoors or out. You’ll want to protect nearby surfaces with something like newspaper or towels or whatever seems appropriate for your situation.
You’ll also need plenty of ice and, preferably, rock salt. If you’re unable to get rock salt, White Mountain suggests using “Morton’s All Natural Solar Salt Crystals” instead. You can find this substitute at virtually all home improvement stores and many other outlets as well.
Do not use common table salt. You need a coarse material, and table salt is too fine for this purpose.
We add salt to the ice to lower its freezing point. Normally, since ice is just water, it would freeze / melt at 32 degrees. However, we need to get down past 27 degrees, which is where the ice cream will begin to freeze, to around 8 to 12 degrees. This rapid cooling is essential for making great ice cream. Without the salt, the coldest everything would get is 32.
The total amount of ice and rock salt you need will vary with the ambient (surrounding) air temperature. In all cases, you’ll be adding these two ingredients in a ratio of 5 units of ice to 1 unit of salt. In other words, you’ll need a lot more ice than salt – five times as much.
One more item you may need near the end of this process is a wooden spoon for stirring and repacking your ice cream.
Using the White Mountain Ice Cream Maker
To get the process started, first place the canister into the wooden tub, so that it rests easily on the metal guide at the bottom. Insert your dasher into the canister making sure that the stem on the bottom of the canister fits into the hole of the dasher.
Fill the tub with ice to the top of the canister, taking care not to plug the drain hole. The hole exists to remove excess brine, so you should keep it open at all times.
Add some of your ice cream mixture to the canister, but don’t fill it completely. Fill it only to about half of its capacity, since the ice cream will expand as it freezes.
Place the can’s cover on top. Then twist the dasher stem with your finger to make sure it can move freely and easily.
Place the gear frame into position on top of the dasher stem. Holding the motor unit with the label facing you and with the logo on the bucket also facing you, insert the “ears” into the bracket slots in the bucket. The left side should be marked “latch”. Push the latch down to secure the assembly.
Plug in and run the motor for about 2 minutes so the canister chills evenly. Then add 2 cups of rock salt on top of the ice. When the ice melts down to 2 to 3 inches, add more ice and 2 more cups of rock salt.
Don’t add any more salt until you’ve let it run for at least 10 minutes. Around that time, you should notice the cream becoming firmer.
How This All Works to Make Ice Cream
Here’s what’s going on.
As the ice and salt melts, it creates a brine solution that absorbs the heat from the ice cream inside the canister. That mixture begins to freeze, eventually getting down to those temperatures I mentioned earlier.
If you use too much salt, the brine extracts too much heat, creating a crust of frozen cream on the inside edge of the can and the center will still be liquid.
This is not what you want.
If you sense that happening, take some of the salt and ice out of the bucket. Then, when you need to add more ice, add less salt than you did before.
You don’t want the freezing time to happen too slowly or too quickly. This is a bit of an art. As White Mountain puts it, “Freezing too quickly will not allow for sufficient agitation and will produce a coarse texture. An extended period of freezing causes a spongy, buttery texture.”
If you check the contents of the can and find great ice cream inside, just stop. Extra churning won’t improve the quality of your ice cream.
If you want firmer ice cream, the kind that works well in cones, you can harden it the “old fashioned” way or pack it and put it in your freezer.
How Long Does Ice Cream Last?
The snarky answer is: It depends on how fast you eat it!
The real answer is: It depends on what you do with it after you’ve made it.
White Mountain suggests that this is the “Old-Fashioned Method to Harden the Ice Cream”.
- Leave ice cream in the canister.
- Place a sheet of waxed paper across the top of the can; place the canister cover over the waxed paper.
- Drain water and repack freezer with 5 parts of ice and 1 part of salt. Do this until entire canister and lid are covered with the ice and salt mixture.
- Cover with a burlap bag or some suitable materials for insulation. Let stand until frozen hard. Oftentimes 30 minutes are enough, but you can easily check by removing the canister lid and testing the hardness of the ice cream with a spoon.
If you choose instead to pack it away properly, you can store it safely for about a month. If you try to store it without packing, you’ll lose much of the delicious taste of your original recipe and the luscious texture that you worked so hard to get.
Cleaning Up for Your Next Ice Cream Making Session
Salt is corrosive, so you need to remove all traces of it from your maker before putting it away.
Drain the bucket of the brine. If you do this outside, keep away from anything you want to keep growing, like grass, flowers, and other plants. Diluting the solution is probably a good idea at this point.
Dry the bucket and double check that no salt got stuck in it anywhere.
Hand wash and dry the canister with soapy water. Do not put anything in your dishwasher.
Wipe the motor housing with a damp cloth, making sure the motor itself, the cord, and the plug don’t get wet.
When it’s all clean, store the entire assembly in a cool, dry location. This will increase the life of your ice cream maker.
Conclusions about the White Mountain PMWMIME412
The methods used to make ice cream in this White Mountain machine are based on decades-old procedures that are tried and true. This is largely what makes this model so popular.
The 10% of purchasers who are unhappy with the product probably didn’t follow one or more of the items we went through above.
If you are willing to do it right, you’ll have excellent ice cream to eat and share with your family and friends for years to come.
If the White Mountain electric isn’t what you want, check out these Cuisinart, Whynter, and Breville models instead.