Sunday, May 19, 2013

Salted Caramel Ice Cream! The Bi-Rite Way!

It's finally happening! We are nearing the edge of spring and into summer and you know what that means, ice cream! I'm not a ice cream craze but I do like to enjoy a scoop here and there from time to time. I rarely buy ice cream for home, usually I buy 1 or 2 scoops from shops when I'm out with friends.  

The last time I was in San Francisco, my friends and I had stopped by Bi-Rite Creamery to get some of their infamous ice creams. While we were "patiently" waiting in line at 6pm in the middle of February because it's just that popular that there's still a line during winter (imagine summer!) we started browsing through their shelves of goodies/displays and found they had published a cookbook, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, so naturally I started to thumb through it while we waited. 

After what seemed like centuries out in the cold air, it was finally our turn! I ordered a scoop of the salted caramel and a scoop of the coffee toffee. I was hooked! The salted caramel was by far the best I've ever tasted! Ever since then I've been silently craving. So I decided on a few things:
  1. I was going to buy their cookbook (worth the investment!)
  2. Their salted caramel ice cream would be the first recipe I try 
  3. Throw nutrition out the window (because otherwise I'd have to be hiking up 10 miles while eating it) and....
  4. sadly I have to wait a few months because logically speaking... it was still winter.
So in the months that came and went I kept my eyes peeled for who had the most affordable version of the cookbook. Top two places, Barnes & Nobles (online only) and Amazon (of course) both at about $15-$16. I missed my chance at $13 when I sat on it too long, so I ended up buying it at around $16, still a really good  price considering the retail price is $24.95. In the spirit of everything, I also bought small ice cream containers to put the ice cream in to give away to friends, can't bare all the calories! Rich, decadent, sweet, savory, its all too dangerous!

Now, time to make me some creamy frozen treats! I never made ice cream that involved cooking but yes, this involves cooking. I hope this recipe is the most difficult out of the bunch because it was a bit labor intensive. We all know I like my lazy ways but the things I do for good food! Let's just say making caramel is definitely not one of my favorite tasks, and making caramel next to a fire alarm is the cherry on top. At the end of it all, I've managed to reproduce a nice replica of Bi-Rite's Salt Caramel ice cream but not without some hiccups along the way... so let's walk through the process: recipe with commentary! This is my paraphrased version because typing all those long procedures is just too much effort (HA) but there are a few blogs out there that has the full word for word recipe from the cookbook (i.e. Serious Eats).

Salted Caramel Ice Cream by Bi-Rite Creamery, recipe has been paraphrased
Makes approx 1 quart 
**requires ice cream maker   
***commentary/tips given in orange
Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup of heavy cream @ room temp (I used 2 cups because it got a bit too sweet for me)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I may cut this back next time)
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks 
Procedures:
Caramel:
  1. Scoop out 1/2 cup of sugar from 3/4 cup stock, and in 2 tbsp intervals over med-high heat in a medium saucepan, stir in sugar until it becomes completely melted and reaches a mahogany color. Remove from heat if necessary: my caramel started smoking because it melted faster than I can put in...you can always continue the melting process by turning up the heat again later but don't burn the sugar!
  2. Once the color consistency is reached, remove from heat and slowly pour in cream and stir concurrently until its completely mixed. Be careful of hot steam or splashes. Neither hot steam or splashes occurred for me, I guess when the recipe calls for room temperature cream there's a reason. My caramel turned almost rock hard the instant I added the cream. Almost anticlimactic considering I was all geared up for HOT steam that never happened. If you've manage to pull off what I did, no fear, just turn the stove back on to a low-med and stir until the caramel is melted and incorporated back into solution. Don't let it boil, just heat until its warm enough to melt the caramel.
Base:
  1. Once the caramel is smooth, stir in milk along with salt over med-high heat. Reduce to medium once it begins to shimmer. Since I had to remelt my caramel, starting at medium heat will already bring the milk/caramel mix into a shimmer.
  2. In a heat proof bowl, whisk yolk to break them up and then whisk in remain sugar (1/4 cup), set aside. I suggest doing this step at the very beginning. I don't know why this was placed so late in the steps of things. 
  3. While the milk/caramel mixture is still hot, scoop out 1/2 cup of the cream mix and while whisking the eggs constantly, add cream to bowl with yolks. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of cream.
  4. Back to the saucepan with the cream mix, while stirring the cream mix, slowly pour the egg-cream mix back into the saucepan.
  5. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly, until thickens. Approx 1-2 more minutes. Once it begins to thicken a little, it happens very fast before its completely done. Make sure you keep stirring, the mixture is prone to burning. I saw little flakes of black and immediately remove from heat. Once burnt, you can never go back.
  6. Take the thick cream and strain it through a fine mesh into a clean container. Then place container in an ice water bath to help cool it down, stirring occassionally. Once completely cooled, remove from bath, cover and refrigerated for 2 hours or overnight. I used a regular strainer to strain the mixture and I also didn't use an ice water bath but just ended up cooling it using the freezer. Once it was warm rather than hot, I stuck it in the freezer for 5-10 minute intervals stirring in between. Once it became cool, I put in the fridge for 2 hours
Freezing:
  1. Finish by pouring into ice cream maker and freeze via instructions given by your ice cream maker. In the original recipe, it just says to follow the ice cream makers instructions on the freezing process but seeing how I misplaced the instructions for my machine, I churned it for about 25-30 minutes.

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