Breville the Smart Scoop and ice creams

Breville the Smart Scoop ice cream maker review

Breville’s the Smart Scoop is an automatic benchtop ice cream maker that takes the stress out of whipping up your own iced desserts.

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If you’ve ever made homemade ice cream, you’ll know it can be a tedious experience. Many store-bought machines require you to first freeze the bowl for many hours, generally the day before, then mix. We trialled some of these machines in 2014 and were disappointed – we couldn’t even give them away once we were done. The Breville Smart Scoop promises to do away with all this hassle.

The Smart Scoop has a compressor (similar to your freezer), which means it chills while it churns. This also means you can make a litre of ice cream in less than an hour from scratch: just pour your ingredients into the bucket, press start and get a spoon ready.

I found the Smart Scoop easy to use – all I had to do was select my desired dessert, using the dial (each dessert type has three hardness options), insert the bucket I’d filled with my ice cream mix into the machine, close the lid and press start. The machine alerted me when it was time to add any mix-in ingredients, such as chocolate chips or fruit pieces, through a hinged section in the lid (which meant I didn’t have to pause churning). Then, it alerted me again when my dessert was ready.

It has 12 hardness settings, starting at sorbet and moving through frozen yoghurt and gelato up to ice cream. Breville claims the machine can automatically detect the hardness of the mixture, adjusting the churn time and temperature to achieve the desired consistency. I found it generally did this well and the progress indicator accurately showed the dessert’s current firmness. For expert ice cream makers, it also has a manual timer.

Sorbet – produced light and fluffy sorbets, but took a long time (about 45 to 60 minutes). I found recipes both with and without egg whites worked well in this machine, though I did need to churn mixtures without eggs for longer.

Frozen yoghurt – took a bit of trial and error, and results depended on how thick my yoghurt mixture was and which hardness setting I selected. My yoghurt without fruit pieces produced a consistently smooth frozen treat in about 40 minutes.

Gelato – slightly softer and smoother than ice cream, it’s best to use a mixture with a higher milk-than-cream ratio, as a true Italian gelato would. This treat took about 45 minutes to make.

Ice cream – best described as a soft-serve consistency, my ice creams took between 40 and 50 minutes to make. To achieve the perfect consistency for cones, I needed to put the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours to harden. I made the classics such as vanilla and mint chocolate chip before experimenting and making custom flavours, such as espresso. Consumer staff loved the texture of the ice creams, often comparing them to premium store-bought brands.

Flavour is subjective and depends on the recipe being used, therefore I didn’t factor in taste in my trial. That said, all the frozen treats I whipped up received a warm reception with Consumer staff. With the Smart Scoop, I simply couldn’t make a bad dessert.

While it’s easy to use, I had to be careful not to over- or under-fill the bucket. It can hold a litre of frozen dessert, but the manual recommends adding no more than 700ml of mixture, as churning can add up to 30 percent air. On the flipside the manual didn’t state a minimum, but I found mixtures below 500ml would become “stuck” on the paddle. This led to the machine sensing and displaying the hardness as lower than it actually was.

The manual has 20 recipes to get you started, but I quickly moved on to creating my own. Most ice cream recipes require a custard base (crème anglaise) which requires heating, mixing, reheating and then chilling a mixture of milk, cream, eggs and sugar – I quickly became a fan of recipes without this step. A word of caution: some recipes in the supplied book produced more than 700ml of ingredients, contradicting the instructed maximum volume. However, none spilled over the top of the bucket. I found the ideal mixture amount was about 650 to 750ml, which made 1L (after aeration).

It has other features such as pre-cool, which cools down the machine before churning, speeding up the dessert making. Its “keep cool” feature keeps the compressor running and periodically churns the mixture to keep your treat at the selected hardness for up to three hours.

Verdict

I’m a fan of the Smart Scoop ice cream maker – it’s easy to use and quickly made several types of frozen desserts. It could easily produce three or more batches in a single day – ideal if you’ve got a big family. If you love your iced desserts or dream of being the next Heston Blumenthal (and aren’t put off by its $450 price), this ice cream maker is a great choice.

Note: The machine I trialled made a grinding noise when nearing the desired hardness. I contacted Breville, which said the machine was faulty. I returned it to the retailer and got a replacement that made no such noise.

Specs and features

Model: BCI600
Dimensions: 41.2x18.2x27.3 cm
Sound alert (3 volume options): At pre-cool ready, add mix in ingredients stage and finished.
Manual timer: 5-180 minutes
Capacity: 1L bucket

Recipes used for trial

Raspberry sorbet
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
3/4 cup raspberry juice in syrup
Cost per litre: $2.51

Quick-mix vanilla ice cream
1 cup cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cost per litre: $4.66

Lemon sorbet
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Cost per litre: $3.61

Coconut vanilla ice cream
2 cups coconut cream
1/4 cup sugar or sweetener
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cost per litre: $2.76

Frozen yoghurt
500-700ml yoghurt flavour of your choice
Cost per litre: $3.80

Espresso gelato
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup espresso
Cost per litre: $5.42

Cookies and cream ice cream
1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Oreo cookies (crushed)
Cost per litre: $4.85

Mint chocolate chip ice cream
2 cups cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon peppermint essence
Cost per litre: $6.42

Mint Oreo gelato
8 Oreo cookies (crushed)
2 cups cream
2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint essence
Cost per litre: $6.70

Basic vanilla ice cream
2 cups cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Cost per litre: $7.93

Chocolate hazelnut gelato (don’t over churn or it will turn into a fudge-like consistency)
1 cup cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
Cost per litre: $5.05


By Erin Bennett
Technical Writer


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