Although I love the stuff, I have absolutely no knowledge of how to make ice cream. I know rock salt is involved for some reason.
What I'm really curious is to hopefully have some fellow 'hound ice cream experts both
a) educate me on the process and
b) offer opinions and tips on how to make the best ice cream. (Also, I'd be curious to hear how to make sorbets).
Questions foremost on my mind:
What ice cream maker machines do you use?
Is there a significant difference in texture/flavor/quality of the expensive $200+ machines and the $30 models? (I'm on a budget, and so would be partial to the $30 models, but would not want to sacrifice quality if a much better machine is just an extra $20 or so)
Do you have to use a machine? If so, why is it necessary?
What, exactly, do the ice cream maker machines do? (Mixing? Why can't I mix it by hand?)
How does the rock salt fit in to the equation?
Also, what is the step-by-step procedure like, from mixing to freezing, etc.? I would want to use only whole food ingredients-- no fillers or "flavor packets"-- I'm only interested in using cream, sugar, strawberries/cocoa/vanilla beans, etc.