It must've been a couple of years ago that my mom first told me about how it's possible to make ice cream in a ziplock bag. I'm not sure why I haven't tried to make it up until now, considering that I've been experimenting with sorbet, but it was probably because I didn't know where to get rock salt.
If I'd ever bothered to look, I'd have noticed that coarse sea salt is available in my local supermarket for pennies.
So last weekend, I assembled a carton of milk, a bag of ice, some sugar, some vanilla flavouring, and some coarse salt.
At first, I tried the ziplock bag method. That's where you put the milk with flavourings inside a small sealed ziplock bag, which is in turn placed inside a larger bag full of ice and salt. And then you shake it. And shake it some more. And shake it until your hands freeze. And then you put on some oven mitts, and shake it again. Until, supposedly, it turns into ice cream. Unfortunately, my arms got tired first. I decided that the ziplock bag method is a novelty stunt good only for entertaining small masochistic children.
So then I dumped the partially frozen milk out into my rice cooker's pot (not having any other metal containers of the right size), and sat it in a mixing bowl full of salted ice. I stirred it first with a whisk, and then with a spatula, which was much less tiring.
It's remarkable how cold the salt makes the ice - frost condensed from the air started forming on the surface of the outer bowl.
Eventually, the mixture stiffened into something resembling a lumpy soft serve, and when it stopped getting any stiffer I tipped it into a container and put it in the freezer.
And there I stopped. And the ice cream got very hard. It probably would've been a better idea to take it out and give it a stir every hour or so, like I do with sorbet. But it was still good. It tasted like those milk popsicles, and was even better with chocolate syrup. I used 2% fat milk, but whole milk or even heavy cream would have made a much richer ice cream. I think I might try making frozen yoghurt next. If I can make that much yoghurt.