The DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with Self-Refrigerating Compressor is a domestic gelato machine that allows you to churn a 600g batch of gelato at a time. Although it makes smooth and creamy, albeit airy, gelato, it is sadly not a machine that I would recommend. Let’s have a look why.
This review will cover:
1. 600g maximum capacity bowl
2. amazon’s ice cream machines best sellers list
3. the formation of ice crystals
4. I should use alcohol?
5. the dasher
6. the in-built compressor
7. the noise level
8. extraction time
9. the static freezing stage
10. can I make ice cream in the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker?
11. quality of the gelato
12. final thoughts
1. 600g maximum capacity bowl
The DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker comes with a removable bowl, which has a 600g capacity. The 600g maximum capacity is the smallest of any ice cream or gelato machine I have tried and smaller than the Cuisinart ICE-100 or Breville BCI600XL, both of which have in-built compressors, a 1000g maximum capacity bowl, and are comparable in price to the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker.
I would have liked to have seen a bigger bowl on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker.
The first time I used this machine, I tried churning an 879g batch. Although the gelato brushed against the plastic lid as it increased in volume, the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker was still able to freeze it. I wouldn’t recommend making more than the stated 600g maximum capacity to avoid putting excess strain on the motor, which may cause it to eventually fail.
2. A best seller?
It doesn’t always follow that a best selling item is a good one but I think it’s useful to have a look at what other ice cream enthusiasts are up to when deciding which ice cream machine to invest in.
At the time of writing, the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker is 8th on amazon’s ice cream machines best sellers list.
Here is a list of the top 10 best selling ice cream machines on amazon.com:
- Cuisinart ICE 30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, & Sorbet Maker
- Nostalgia Electrics ICMP400BLUE 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, Whitev
- Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker, White
- MaxiMatic EIM-506 Elite Gourmet 6-Quart Old-Fashioned Pine-Bucket Electric/Manual Ice-Cream Maker
- DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with Self-Refrigerating Compressor
- Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker
- Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
When making ice cream, the two salient points to consider are flavour and texture; the best ice creams in the world are bursting with flavour and have a smooth and creamy texture. Smooth and creamy texture is determined to a large extent by the size of the ice crystals that develop during the freezing stage.
Freezing is done in two stages : 1. dynamic freezing, where the ice cream or gelato mix is frozen in a machine to incorporate air and to limit the size of the ice crystals formed; and 2. static freezing where the ice cream or gelato is hardened in a freezer.
Both the dynamic and static freezing stages have a significant effect on ice crystal size: small ice crystals contribute significantly to smooth and creamy texture, whilst large ice crystals produce ice cream that is coarse (Goff and Hartel 2013).
We will be looking at how effective the features on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker are at promoting the formation of small ice crystals. These will include the freezer bowl, the dasher, the in-built compressor, and the extraction time.
4. I should use alcohol?
After flicking through the instruction manual, I was surprised to notice the recommended use of alcohol in the aluminium bottom of the machine where the bowl sits.
The instruction manual states ‘You are recommended to moisten the aluminium bottom of the appliance evenly with cotton wool dipped in alcohol… such as vodka… This prevents the formation of ice between the bowl and aluminium bottom of the appliance, making it easier to extract the bowl when preparation is complete’.
The theory behind this recommended use of alcohol is that the alcohol will prevent ice from forming between the bowl and the machine, which will not only make it easier to remove the bowl, but should also enhance heat conduction from the bowl to the compressor, thereby contributing to a reductio in the residence time.
Residence time is the time a mix spends in the machine and has a significant effect on ice crystal size. To obtain the smallest ice crystals it is necessary to have the shortest residence time possible (Goff and Hartel 2013). Anything that promotes faster freezing of the ice cream will reduce residence time and promote smaller ice crystals (Cook and Hartel 2010).
One factor that leads to an increase in residence time is the build up of ice in or around the bowl. This is because ice does not conduct heat as fast as steel, and so any ice that is permitted to build up either in or around the freezer bowl will act as an insulator, slowing the release of heat from the mix to the refrigerant. The slower the release of heat, the longer the residence time and the larger the ice crystals are likely to be (Marshall and others 2003).
So the use of alcohol should help prevent a build up of ice around the outside of the bowl, which enhances heat conduction and contributes to a reduction in the residence time.
For the first batch of gelato I made in the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker, I followed the recommended instructions and moistened the bottom of the machine with alcohol. This did indeed prevent ice from forming around the outside of the bowl. For the second batch I made, however, I didn’t use any alcohol and again didn’t find a build up of ice around the outside of the bowl.
I therefore don’t think it is necessary to use alcohol as long as you make sure that your bowl is completely dry before you place it in the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker.
Another factor that contributes to the formation of small ice crystals is the dasher. The dasher sits inside the freezer bowl and is rotated by the motor. It has scraper blades attached that sit close to the side of the freezer bowl.
The dasher has two functions: to whip air into the gelato mix and to scrape off the layer of ice that freezes at the side of the bowl. This scraping of the freezer bowl prevents a layer of ice from forming, thus increasing the releasee of heat from the mix to the compressor.
Therefore, the closer the dasher gets to the side of the bowl, the shorter the residence time and the smaller the ice crystals are likely to be.
The DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker comes with a plastic dasher that has 2 plastic blades attached: one large and one small blade. When placed onto the central pin, both blades sit close to the side of the bowl and actually do a good job of scraping off the ice that forms there.
I haven’t had any issues with a build up of ice at the side of the bowl.
The small blade, however, does look quite flimsy and I did wonder whether it would be strong enough to cope with the stress as the mix started to harden. I have read several reviews on amazon where the common theme seems to be the small blade breaking after only a few uses. In one review, the user found that their blade broke after only 5 uses.
I haven’t had any problems with the small blade so far but will certainly be keeping an eye on it.
So what you’re really paying for on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker is the in-built compressor. Unlike the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker where you have to freeze the bowl overnight before you can churn a batch of ice cream, the compressor on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker means that it is ready to churn a batch as soon as it is switched on.
It is, however, a good idea to switch the machine on and leave the compressor running for about 15 minutes before adding the mix. This ensures that the bowl is as cold as possible and contributes to a reduction in the residence time.
The more powerful the compressor, the colder it will get the freezer bowl and the quicker it will freeze the ice cream mix. The quicker a machine can freeze a mix, the shorter the residence time and the smaller the ice crystals are likely to be (Russell and others 1999).
Commercial machines usually take between 8-10 minutes to freeze a batch of ice cream or gelato. So how does the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker compare to commercial freezing times? Let’s have a look.
An 879g batch took me 35 minutes to churn on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker whilst a 600g batch took 30 minutes. For both these bathes, I switched the compressor on and left it running for 15 minutes before I added the mix.
Let’s see how these times compare to other machines I have tried. Remember that the greater the batch size, the longer the freezing time will be.
Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker: 800g batch – 20 minutes
Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker: 800g batch – 40 minutes
Lello Musso Pola 5030 Commercial Ice Cream Maker: 1000g batch – 13 minutes
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker: 738g batch – 20 minutes
Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker : 886g batch – 42 minutes
KitchenAid KAICA Ice Cream Maker Attachment – 1000g 30 minutes
Although residence time has a pronounced effect on ice crystal size, I can’t stress enough that a short residence time will not guarantee smooth and creamy texture and should only be one of the factors you consider when investing in a machine.
The quality of your gelato or ice cream is, in my view, 70% dependent on the recipe you use and only 30% dependent on the machine. You can make excellent ice cream or gelato with a good recipe and a mediocre machine, but you will not get smooth and creamy texture with a $10,000 commercial machine and a bad recipe.
Check out my Roasted Pistachio Ice Cream Recipe for an idea of what is needed to promote smooth and creamy texture. The recipe does take a bit of time but believe me the smooth and creamy texture is worth the work.
All machines will struggle to churn a batch as it freezes during the dynamic freezing stage and the dasher on some will simply stop rotating.
On some machines I’ve tried, the motor simply isn’t powerful enough and the dasher stops rotating way before a batch has been sufficiently frozen. This is a fundamental flaw because a machine that doesn’t have a motor powerful enough to continue rotating the dasher and ensure that sufficient air is incorporated and enough water frozen will likely make ice cream or gelato that is coarse.
Despite the flimsy plastic dasher, I haven’t had any issues on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Make with the dasher stopping before a batch is ready.
7. Noise level
The DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker does make a terrible squeaking sound that only gets worse as the gelato hardens. The squeaking noise sounds out of place, like there is something wrong or loose in the machine, and does unfortunately give me the impression of a cheap machine that is ready to break at any time.
Although important to some, I don’t think noise level should be an important factor you consider when buying an ice cream or gelato machine. I am happy to have a loud machine as long as it makes excellent ice cream or gelato.
Sadly, the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato doesn’t make the smoothest gelato I have tried and sounds like it is in serious need of a service.
8. Extraction time
So we know that ice crystal size is critical to the development of smooth and creamy texture: ice cream or gelato with many small ice crystals will likely have a smooth and creamy texture, whilst large ice crystals will impart a coarse texture.
The extraction time, that is the time it takes to empty the gelato from the freezer bowl and get into into your freezer to harden, is another factor that has a considerable effect on ice crystal size.
This is because as you empty your gelato from the bowl and into a plastic container, it spends time at room temperature. During this time at relatively warm room temperatures, some of the ice melts from the large ice crystals and those crystals that were initially small melt completely. This is known as ripening and occurs when ice cream or gelato is held at elevated temperatures (Goff and Hartel 2013).
When you then get your gelato into your freezer for the static freezing stage, the melted ice re-freezes onto the large ice crystals that survived. The result is that the total number of ice crystals is reduced and their size increases, the perfect formula for coarse texture.
So, just holding your gelato at room temperature results in an increase in mean ice crystal size, which, in turn, contributes to coarse texture (Goff and Hartel 2013). It is therefore imperative that you empty the gelato from the freezer bowl and get it into your freezer as quickly as humanly possible.
I found emptying the freezer bowl on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker slightly tricky. Because of the small bowl, I found it difficult to manoeuvre my spoon to extract the gelato, which meant that it took a bit more time to empty.
I always find it easier to empty the bowl when I first remove the dasher. This gives me more room in the bowl and also means that I don’t constantly hit the blades when trying to scrape out the gelato. The dasher on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker is, however, near impossible to remove once the gelato has frozen: there is simply nothing to grip to pull the dasher out of the bowl.
The small bowl together with not being able to remove the dasher does make emptying the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker tricky, meaning that emptying the bowl takes a bit longer than it should.
Ice cream and gelato are extracted from the freezer bowl at around -5°C. Once you place your gelato in the freezer to harden, significant changes to the ice crystals continue to take place until the temperature decreases to -18°C (Goff and Hartel 2013). Marshall and others (2003) noted that during hardening, ice crystals grow by about 30% to 40%.
The longer it takes for your gelato to reach -18°C, the larger the ice crystals will grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be. Donhowe (1993) showed that faster cooling of ice cream during hardening resulted in smaller mean ice crystal size.
So, to make sure that your gelato gets down to -18°C as quickly as possible, it is important to ensure that your freezer is set to its coldest temperature. If you have a super chill button, or something similar, on your freezer, it is a good idea to switch this on. Also, try and place your gelato in the back of your freezer where the temperature is coldest.
It is also a good idea to place your empty plastic container in the freezer for a couple of hours before you start churning a batch. This will remove any heat stored in the container and will help prevent ice crystals that come in contact with the relatively warm plastic from melting.
10. Can I make ice cream in the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato maker?
The title ‘Gelato maker’ is I think slightly misleading and more of a marketing ploy because you can indeed make ice cream using the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker.
Ice cream and gelato are made from the same base mix which usually consists of milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Where the two differ is in the fat and protein contents and the overrun.
Overrun is the amount of air that is whipped into the mix by the dasher during the dynamic freezing stage. Overrun ranges from 20-100% in ice cream and 25-40% in gelato. Gelato also has a far lower fat content and a higher milk solids non-fat content (predominantly protein) than ice cream. Both these factors tend to make gelato denser, more gummy, and less airy.
So you can opt either for a gelato or an ice cream recipe and churn either in the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker. Overrun is a bit trickier to control on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker and so will be roughly the same for both an ice cream and gelato recipe.
Commercial ice cream manufacturers control overrun by altering the revolutions per minute (RPM) on their machines; higher RPMs will incorporate more air than lower. You don’t have the option to change the RPMs on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker. I’ve found that the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker incorporates quite a bit of air, producing gelato or ice cream that is light and airy.
So yes you can make both ice cream and gelato on the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker by using different recipes. You can’t easily control how much air is incorporated and so both will have a similar overrun.
So this brings me to the last and I think most important point to consider when investing in a gelato or ice cream machine: the quality of the ice cream or gelato it produces. So does the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker make good-quality gelato? The surprising answer is yes. It did make gelato that was smooth and creamy but was also quite airy and light.
Because of the high air content, the DeLonghi GM6000 makes gelato that is comparable in texture to economy ice cream and I would have liked a denser gelato with less air. It certainly wasn’t the smoothest gelato I have tried but it wasn’t bad.
I do think the smooth and creamy texture, however, had more to do with the quality of the recipe I used than the quality of the machine.
So would I recommend the DeLonghi GM6000? Sadly no. The flimsy plastic blade that breaks all too easily, the squeaking noise that sounds like the machine is in serious need of a service, and, most importantly of all in my view, the small freezer bowl, mean that this sadly isn’t a machine I would recommend.
Although the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker made gelato that was smooth and creamy, it was too airy and light and I would have preferred a denser gelato with less air. I also suspect that the smooth and creamy texture was more a result of the recipe I used than the quality of the machine.
If you are looking for a machine with an in-built compressor in the same price range, I would recommend either the Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream and Gelato Maker, the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker. You could also have a look at the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker or the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker, although both are considerably more expensive.
Although this isn’t a machine I would recommend, if you’re considering investing in the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker and would like to support the blog, you can use the link below to get your machine from the chaps at amazon.
Hope the review helps.
All the best,
- Built-in compressor.
- Smooth and creamy texture.
- Small 600g capacity.
- Screeching noise.
- Flimsy plastic scraper blade that is prone to breaking.
- Makes airy gelato.
- Difficult to quickly empty the bowl.
Cook, K. L. K & Hartel, R. W. (2010). Mechanisms of Ice Crystallization in Ice Cream Production. Comprehensive Reviews of in Food Science and Food Safety.
Donhowe, D. P. (1993) Ice Recrystallization in Ice Cream and Ice Milk. PhD thesis, University of Wisconsm-Madison.
Goff, H. D. & Hartel R. W. (2013). Ice Cream, Seventh Edition. New York: Springer.
Marshall, R. T., Goff H. D. & Hartel R.W. (2003). Ice cream, Sixth Edition. New York: Kluwer Aca-demic/Plenum Publishers.
Russell A. B., Cheney P.E., Wantling S.D., (1999). Influence of Freezing Conditions on Ice Crystallsation in Ice Cream. J Food Eng 39(2):179–9