Breville BCI600XL Ice Cream Maker – Full Review
If you love the taste of homemade ice cream but have no time for an old-fashioned machine that uses loads of messy ice and salt to cool recipes, you’ll find that the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker is the ideal solution. An innovative appliance that freezes ice cream and other treats just like expensive Italian ice cream makers do, the Breville Smart Scoop makes about 1.5 quarts of frozen dessert per cycle. Unlike ice cream makers that use freezer bowls that need to be put in the freezer to re-freeze between batches, the Smart Scoop features a built-in compressor that works on its own to chill your recipes, allowing you to make one batch after another if you like.
Like so many other appliances from Breville, the Smart Scoop ice cream maker offers exceptional quality in an attractive yet super functional package. Quieter than most other automatic ice cream makers, it features well-thought out controls built to Breville’s exacting standards.
Simple to set up, the Smart Scoop lets you enjoy homemade taste with almost zero effort. Add ingredients – even warm ones – and select a setting. Push the power button and walk away. A song plays to tell you that your dessert is ready, and an automatic cooling feature keeps your dessert at the right temperature for up to three hours. Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container for storage in the freezer and make another batch immediately, if you like, or just enjoy your dessert straight from the ice cream maker.
These are just a few highlights. Read on for more details about the pros and cons that come with owning and operating the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker.
Fully Automatic and Easy to Use
With other types of ice cream makers such as the old-fashioned ones that use ice and salt to chill ingredients and transform them into frozen desserts, you play quite an active role in the ice cream making process. While this can be enjoyable, it’s also time consuming and it can get messy. Ice cream makers that use insulated freezer bowls are ,definitely a step up, but again, you have to do some serious prepping to get ready to make ice cream. The Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop is a fully automatic ice cream maker. You don’t need to make or buy lots of ice to get ready to make dessert, and you don’t have to remind yourself to put a canister into the freezer. Instead, you quickly assemble a few components, add ingredients, and walk away. Depending on the temperature of the ingredients you added, your ice cream or other dessert will be ready to eat in about 40 minutes.
While the instruction manual is a bit repetitive and slightly unclear in some places, it is adequate. Luckily, the machine itself is super easy to use and the digital display provides some prompting so you end up with a finished product that’s just heavenly.
If you want to make ice cream at a moment’s notice, and you like using traditional cooked custard ice cream recipes, you’ll find the pre-cooling feature makes a huge difference in the amount of time it takes to make your ice cream. This function chills the inner bowl to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, so warm ingredients are rapidly chilled and the ice cream making process can get underway.
I don’t recommend that you use this feature unless your ingredients are warm. I’ve read some negative reviews in which the writers complain that their ice cream recipes just start sticking to the side of the freezer bowl as soon as they add ingredients, and I am willing to wager that at least some of these review writers used the pre-cooling feature with ingredients that were already cold.
With other types of ice cream makers, your ice cream gets to a certain hardness and that’s it. You either eat it right away or get it into the freezer quickly so that it doesn’t start melting. The Breville Smart Scoop lets you decide what texture you want your dessert to have, and it chills it to perfection.
Automatic Keep Cold Feature
Once your ice cream is finished, the Smart Scoop, in typical Breville fashion, goes the extra mile by keeping your dessert cold for up to three hours. This is fantastic for busy people, adding even more convenience and making this ice cream maker stand head and shoulders above many others.
Some reviewers have complained that the canister is too cold to hold during scooping. Instead of freezing your fingers, you can get a kitchen towel, wrap it around the canister, and enjoy the superior chill without giving yourself numb fingers!
Exceptional Finished Desserts
Gourmet ice cream, gelato, and other desserts made in boutique creameries have a certain appeal that comes from having a bit of air whipped into the blend, plus they rarely have ice crystals. Even if you opt to transfer the ice cream you make with this machine into the freezer, you’ll find its texture is a lot like expensive gourmet brands – super rich and ultra creamy, with no crystals to interfere with the sheer pleasure of consuming it. If you store your ice cream in the freezer, it doesn’t turn into a brick like ice cream from some other home machines does. Instead, it’s light enough to scoop without much of a wait for softening.
This is a good place to point out that it is absolutely vital that you don’t overload the machine. I’ve read some negative reviews in which the writers complained that the Breville Smart Scoop overflowed and made a mess, and I’m willing to bet that those users didn’t follow instructions. In the operations manual, you’re advised to add no more than 3 ½ cups of ingredients. The machine whips in some air and the product expands as it freezes, filling the 1 ½ quart chamber effortlessly. If you put in too much mix, you will make a mess.
Optional Gelato Blade and Extra Bowls
If your goal is to make more gelato than ice cream or you like a finished product with a little less air, you can purchase a special gelato blade separately. This makes a less fluffy product than the standard blade that comes with the machine.
For those who want the option of making different flavors without pausing to clean up between batches, Breville sells extra bowls separately.
Attractive Design and Easy Cleanup
The Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop features a rectangular footprint and a beautiful silver exterior. It’s pretty enough to leave out on the counter if you like! Clean up is easy. Just remove the bowl and scoop out the ice cream, then give the inner parts a quick wash in hot, soapy water. Dry them completely before reassembling the ice cream maker. Wipe up any spills with a paper towel and some all purpose cleaner, and voila, you’re ready to make another batch of ice cream now or later. Because the Smart Scoop uses no salt or ice, it offers exceptionally short cleanup time in comparison with old-fashioned ice cream makers.
Makes A Variety of Frozen Desserts and More
When shopping for an ice cream maker, most people have one thing in mind – maybe it’s traditional ice cream made with rich dairy products, maybe it’s gelato, or maybe it’s vegan, lactose-free ice cream made with coconut or cashew milk. Most automatic ice cream makers let you make a variety of desserts, and all of them keep you in complete control of what goes into the finished product, but the Breville Smart Scoop takes it a step further by offering different settings for different types of desserts. This optimized process provides you with a marvelous finished product, whether you opt for frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, or good old fashioned ice cream made with or without dairy products.
You can even make frozen drinks with this machine. If you’re having a party and want to serve up fabulous margaritas, pina coladas, or daiquiris, you’ll certainly appreciate the Breville Smart Scoop for its ability to keep on delivering chilly drinks all night long. Worried that your beverages will freeze into a brick? Don’t be. The alcohol they contain will prevent everything from freezing solid!
You might blanch at the cost of the Breville Smart Scoop in comparison with other types of ice cream makers. It’s true that this appliance costs much more than one with an insulated freezer bowl or an old-fashioned model that calls for ice and salt, but it’s also true that this machine offers all the functionality of an Italian ice cream maker with a price tag of more than $1000 USD, at a much lower cost. If you eat ice cream or other frozen desserts frequently, you’ll find that this machine delivers a gourmet-quality finished product and pays for itself pretty quickly. While it’s true that you need to spend some money on ingredients, you ultimately end up paying pennies on the dollar for ice cream and other goodies that taste a million times better than anything you’ll find in the supermarket freezer.
“Can I use this ice cream maker as soon as I unbox it?”
No! You need to let the ice cream maker sit upright for 12 hours before the first use, and then you can make as many recipes as you want to. Be sure that you read all the instructions before you use the machine, so that you don’t damage it by mistake.
“Do you have to refrigerate the ingredients before putting them in the ice cream maker?”
You don’t have to refrigerate your ingredients before making ice cream with the Breville Smart Scoop, but doing so will shorten the amount of time it takes to run through the ice cream making process. If you like old-fashioned cooked custard types of ice cream and you’re craving some right away, you can use the pre-chill feature and put the ingredients into the ice cream maker while they’re still warm.
“Is this ice cream maker suitable for commercial use?”
I’ve heard of some users making ice cream for their restaurants with the Breville Smart Scoop, but this machine really is intended for home use. It makes 1 ½ quarts of ice cream per cycle, which is fantastic for people at home, but which I don’t think would go terribly far in a commercial setting. Maybe good for a small restaurant, and nice for adding homemade ice cream to the dessert menu without making too large an investment in equipment!
“Can you eat the ice cream right away or does it have to go into the freezer after the cycle finishes?”
Yes, you can eat it immediately. If you like really hard ice cream, you can transfer the finished product to the freezer to ripen.
“Is the bowl dishwasher safe?”
No, the bowl has to be washed by hand. The paddle, lid and accessories can go into the dishwasher if you like.
“Are recipes included?”
Yes, there are a few recipes included to help you get started. You can find lots of ice cream recipes online and in recipe books.
“How firm is the ice cream that’s made with the machine on the highest setting?”
It’s firmer than soft serve, but not so hard that you can’t get the paddle out of the bowl. If you like firm ice cream, you can put it in the freezer for an hour or so before serving. Freezing also helps the flavors meld together, so if you can resist the temptation to eat the ice cream immediately, you’ll find it improves with a little time spent chilling.
“Can I make soft-serve style ice cream?”
Yes, this machine makes fantastic soft-serve ice cream. If you want fancy presentation, you can scoop it into a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag with one corner cut off, and then squeeze it out to dispense it the way a soft serve machine with a nozzle does.
The Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker is a fantastic product that delivers all the quality I’ve come to expect from this particular manufacturer. It delivers exceptional finished products, and getting those frozen treats takes minimal effort on the user’s part. While this ice cream maker provides a relatively small amount of finished product (about 6 cups, maximum) it’s ideal for small families and it can be run through several cycles one after another to make a larger amount of frozen goodness for large groups. While it represents a higher financial investment than some other types of ice cream makers, it offers true convenience, with no messy salt water all over the kitchen and no container to keep in the freezer except the one you store your ice cream in! You can even get some fun add-ons like a gelato blade and extra mixing bowls, maximizing your ability to make wonderful desserts at home while staying in complete control of the ingredients and ultimately saving money while getting a product that’s superior to what’s available in grocery stores.
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