The Lello Musso Pola 5030, available from amazon, is a domestic batch ice cream maker with a powerful in-built compressor. It has an impressive 2 quart freezer bowl, the shortest residence times of any domestic machine I’ve tried, and makes exceptional ice cream that is dense, smooth, and creamy. It is, however, by no means perfect. This will be a comprehensive and impartial review of my experience with the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker.
THIS POST WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON 14TH July 2014 AND UPDATED ON 9th MARCH 2016
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The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker comes in an impressive all stainless steel finish. The only bits of plastic on the exterior of the machine are the freezer bowl lid, the timer dial, and the two freeze and churn buttons. It weighs an impressive 32kg, or 72 pounds, and is relatively large for a counter-top machine: the dimensions are 20 x 14 x 12.2 inches. Overall, I’m impressed with the commercial appearance of the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker.
2. ICE CRYSTALS IN ICE CREAM
Ice crystal size is a critical factor in the development of smooth texture (Donhowe et al., 1991) with smooth and creamy ice cream requiring the majority of ice crystals to be small, around 10 to 20 µm in size. If many crystals are larger than this, the ice cream will be perceived as being coarse or icy (Drewett & Hartel, 2007; Goff & Hartel, 2013). Ice crystal size is affected by the composition of the ice cream mix and by freezing, with the latter done in two stages: dynamic freezing, where the ice cream mix is frozen in an ice cream machine whilst being agitated to incorporate air, and static freezing, where the partially frozen ice cream is hardened without agitation in a freezer. Ice crystals form only during dynamic freezing and grow during static freezing stage.
Cook & Hartel (2010) argue that dynamic freezing is arguably the most important step in creating ice cream because of the salient changes that take place. These are the formation of ice crystals, incorporation of air, formation of small air cells, and destabilisation (or partial coalescence) of the fat emulsion (Goff & Hartel, 2013). In this post, we will be looking at how effective the features on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker are at promoting the formation of these small ice crystals during dynamic freezing. These will include the dasher, the in-built compressor, and the extraction time.
2.1 THE DASHER
As the aqueous ice cream mix is added to the machine during the dynamic freezing stage, a layer of ice immediately freezes to the wall of the cold freezer bowl causing rapid nucleation, or the birth of small ice crystals (Hartel, 2001). For smooth and creamy ice cream, it’s important to have a high rate of nucleation so as to create as many small ice crystals as possible (Hartel, 1996). Nucleation is affected by the rate of heat transfer from the mix to the cold freezer bowl, with a high rate of heat transfer promoting a high rate of nucleation (Hartel, 1996; Goff & Hartel, 2013).
A high rate of heat transfer also helps to reduce residence time, or the length of time a mix spends in the freezer bowl during dynamic freezing. Residence time has a significant effect on the final ice crystal size distribution (Russell et al., 1999; Goff & Hartel, 2013; Drewett & Hartel, 2007; Cook & Hartel, 2010), with longer residence times resulting in larger ice crystals (Russell et al., 1999; Drewett & Hartel, 2007).
Because heat travels more slowly through ice than stainless steel or aluminium, ice building up on the freezer bowl wall acts as an insulator and lowers the rate of heat transfer. Goff & Hartel (2013) note that even a very thin layer of ice remaining on the bowl wall can cause a dramatic reduction in heat transfer. The rotating dasher and scraper blades help promote high heat transfer by scraping off the ice crystals that form at the side of the cold bowl wall and mixing them with the warmer mix in the centre of the bowl. Keeping the scraper blades as close to the bowl wall as possible prevents ice build up, thereby ensuring efficient heat transfer (Goff & Hartel, 2013).
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker comes with a stainless steel dasher that has two stainless steel scraper blades attached, one being bigger than the other. The dasher is fixed onto a central pin in the freezer bowl using a stainless steel bolt. I’ve found the dasher, scraper blades, and bolt to be well-built and durable. When you fix the dasher onto the central pin, it does leave a slight gap between the main blade and the side of the bowl, which results in a build up of ice and therefore inefficient heat transfer during dynamic freezing. This is a fundamental flaw common to all domestic ice cream makers I’ve tried and it’s only when you get up to commercial machines that you find dashers with spring-loaded blades pushed firmly against the side of the bowl for efficient scraping and heat transfer. I’d love to see a spring loaded dasher that is pushed firmly against the side of the freezer bowl on a future Lello model.
Although the dasher could certainly be improved to ensure efficient scraping of the freezer bowl, thereby improving heat transfer, I’ve found that the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker still produces exceptional ice cream that is extremely smooth, dense, and creamy.
The freezer bowl temperature is another factor that influences the rate of nucleation, with lower freezer bowl temperatures promoting higher rates of nucleation. Drewett & Hartel (2007) found that decreasing the coolant temperatures at the freezer bowl wall caused higher ice crystal nucleation rates. Similarly, Russell et al. (1999) note that the rate of nucleation is determined by the degree of heat removal from the ice cream mix, which is dependent on the freezer bowl temperature. They found that as the freezer bowl temperature was lowered, the nucleation rate increased accordingly. To promote rapid nucleation, it’s important that the ice cream freezer bowl falls in the range of -23 to -29°C (-10 to -20°F) (Goff & Hartel, 2013).
The compressor on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker freezes the bowl down to around -26°C (-13°F), which falls within the range necessary to promote rapid nucleation.
A machine’s compressor also has a significant effect on residence time, with more powerful compressors contributing to shorter residence times. This is because the freezer bowl wall temperature has a direct effect on the cooling rate, and therefore the residence time, of the mix (Cook & Hartel, 2010). Lower freezer bowl wall temperatures can lower the bulk temperature of the ice cream faster, reducing residence time and improving the ice crystal size distribution (Russell et al., 1999; Drewett & Hartel, 2007).
TIP #1 – COOLING RATE
To help promote a high cooling rate and rapid nucleation, it’s a good idea to leave the compressor running for about 15 minutes before you add the ice cream mix. This will ensure that the bowl is as cold as possible when the mix is added.
Commercial machines usually take between 8-10 minutes to freeze a large batch, ranging from 3 to 44 quarts, of ice cream. In my first test, the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker took an impressive 13 minutes to freeze a 1000g batch of ice cream. This was achieved after first leaving the compressor running for 15 minutes before I added the mix. In my second test, it took 25 minutes to churn a 1500g batch, again after leaving the compressor running for 15 minutes. Although the 1500g batch took longer, the consistency of the ice cream was exactly the same as the smaller 1000g batch: both were dense and extremely smooth and creamy.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker has the shortest residence times of any domestic machine I’ve tried, this being the factor that I’ve found most impressive. Below are the residence times of all the domestic machines I’ve tried. Do bear in mind that the bigger the batch size, the longer the freezing time will be.
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino: 693g – 16 minutes
Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream and Gelato Maker: 800g batch – 32 minutes
Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker: 732g batch – 30 minutes
Cuisinart ICE 30BC: 1000g batch – 35 minutes
KitchenAid K45SS: 1000g batch – 30 minutes
DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker: 600g batch 30 minutes
Although residence time has a significant effect on the final ice crystal size distribution, I can’t stress enough that a short residence time will not guarantee smooth and creamy texture. The quality of homemade ice cream is, in my experience, more dependent on the recipe than on the machine you use. Have a look through my Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe for the ingredients and quantities that I’ve found are need to make smooth and creamy ice cream at home.
2.3. EXTRACTION TIME
Another factor that has a significant effect on ice crystal size is the extraction time, or the time it takes to empty the ice cream from the machine and get it into your freezer. When you finish churning a batch, it will be extracted from your machine at around -6°C (21.2°F) and will have a consistency very similar to that of soft serve ice cream. Ice cream is usually served in its scoopbable state at around -12°C (10.4°F) and so requires further freezing, or hardening. This is known as the static freezing stage and its aim is to preserve the small ice crystals and air cells formed during dynamic freezing.
The extraction time has a considerable effect on ice crystal size . This is because as you extract your ice cream from the bowl, it spends time at relatively warm room temperatures, during which some of the ice melts from the large ice crystals and the crystals that were initially small melt completely. This is known as ripening and occurs when ice cream is held at elevated temperatures (Goff & Hartel, 2013). When you then get your ice cream into your freezer for hardening, 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, resulting in coarse or sandy texture. Just holding your ice cream at room temperature, therefore, results in an increase in mean ice crystal size.
It’s important that you extract your ice cream from the freezer bowl and get it into your freezer as quickly as possible. This is to minimise the time it spends at relatively warm room temperatures, thereby limiting ice crystal growth.
Factors that I’ve found influence the extraction time include the size of the bowl and efficient removal of the dasher and scraper blades.
2.3.1. THE FREEZER BOWL
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker comes with a large 1.89 litre, or 2 quart, stainless steel freezer bowl that is built in to the stainless steel housing and cannot be removed. I’ve found that the large bowl allows you to easily manoeuvre a large wooden spoon, making extraction very quick and easy.
What I’ve found slightly tricky and a little more time consuming was extracting the layer of ice cream that freezes to the bottom of the bowl. The chilled freezer bowl continues freezing the mix after the compressor and dasher have been switched off. Without the dasher agitating the mix, a thick layer of ice cream quickly freezes to the bottom of the bowl, which takes slightly longer to scrape out.
Because the frozen layer of ice cream at the bottom of the freezer bowl takes slightly longer to extract, it’s a good idea to place the first lot of extracted ice cream in your freezer to harden so it doesn’t spend time at relatively warm room temperatures whilst you spend a bit more time extracting the frozen layer into a second container.
2.3.2. REMOVING THE DASHER
My preference is to first remove the dasher and scrape off the ice cream that sticks to it, before I start extracting the ice cream. This, I find, leaves more room in the freezer bowl to manoeuvre my spoon, which makes extraction quicker. On some machines I’ve tried, namely the DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker, removing the dasher before extracting the ice cream is near impossible because of its poor design.
I’ve found unscrewing the bolt, removing the dasher, and scraping off the ice cream that sticks to it extremely quick and easy on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker, which I find contributes to a reduction in the extraction time.
3. THE STATIC FREEZING STAGE
When you extract your ice cream at around -6°C (21.2°F), significant changes to the ice crystals continue to take place until the temperature decreases to -18°C (-0.4°F), preferably -25°C to -30°C (-13 to -22°F) (Goff & Hartel, 2013) to halt these changes. Marshall and others (2003) note that during static freezing, ice crystals grow by about 30% to 40%. Donhowe (1993) showed that faster cooling of ice cream during hardening resulted in smaller mean ice crystal size.
TIP #4 – FAST COOLING
To promote faster cooling of your ice cream during static freezing, it’s important to ensure that your freezer is set to its coldest temperature. If you have a super chill button, or something similar, it’s a good idea to switch this on. Also try and place your ice cream in the back of your freezer where the temperature is coldest.
It’s also a good idea to place your empty plastic container in the freezer 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.
4. PRODUCTION CAPACITY
Lello state that the Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker can make ‘up to 6 quarts of ice cream an hour’ but I’ve found about 4 quarts per hour to be more realistic if you’re making the same flavour; making different flavours usually means that you have to clean the machine in between flavours, which increases production time. During testing, it took me 15 minutes to pre-chill the freezer bowl before I added the mix. A 1500g mix then took 25 minutes to churn and it took about a minute to extract the ice cream. Churning another 1500g took 25 minutes with another minute to empty the machine. Even without pre-chilling the freezer bowl for 15 minutes, it still took about 55 minutes to churn 4 quarts of ice cream.
I’ve read a review on amazon where a user have complained that the non-removable bowl makes cleaning the Lello Musso Pola 5030 a little difficult but I really haven’t found this to be the case. It takes me about 5 minutes to clean the bowl using a wet sponge and washing up liquid. It’s a good idea to wait about 20 minutes for the bowl to warm up before you start cleaning. This is to prevent any of the water on your sponge from freezing to the bowl. The first time I cleaned the bowl, I waited 10 minutes for it to warm up before cleaning with a wet sponge. I found that this wasn’t quite long enough for the freezer bowl to warm up sufficiently and the water on my sponge froze to the bowl. I then waited a further 10 minutes and had no further issues with freezing water.
Overall, I haven’t found cleaning the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker particularly difficult or time consuming.
6. THE NOISE LEVEL
I’ve found both the compressor and the motor extremely quiet during dynamic freezing. I have noticed a very slight creaking after around 25 minutes of churning, but haven’t found this an issue. I’ve found the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker one of the quietest domestic ice cream machines I’ve tried and I haven’t had any issues with noise.
7. THE BURNING RUBBER SMELL
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker is by no means perfect and there are two issues that I think need to be considered. The first is the burning rubber smell that develops at around 26 minutes of churning a 1500g batch; I’ve experienced this issue on two consecutive occasions. This is an issue because it indicates that there is too much stress on the motor, which may eventually cause it to fail. Although a little disappointing, I don’t think this is a major issue because I haven’t found a need to churn a large 1500g batch of ice cream for longer than 25 minutes: during testing, 1500g batches were ready for extraction at 25 minutes. Where this may be an issue is if you want to leave a large 1500g batch churning for longer than 25 minutes to incorporate more air, or increase the overrun, into the mix. I haven’t encountered the burning rubber smell when I’ve churned a 1000g batch.
On some domestic machines I’ve tried, the motor simply isn’t powerful enough and the dasher stops rotating long before a batch has had sufficient time in the freezer bowl, which results in ice cream that is coarse and suffers from rapid meltdown. I haven’t had any issues with the motor or dasher stopping prematurely on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker.
TIP #5 – AVOID PUTTING EXCESSIVE STRAIN ON THE MOTOR
To avoid putting excessive strain on the motor, which may eventually lead to the drive gears failing, try to avoid churning a large 1500g batch for longer than 25 minutes.
8. THE CENTRAL PIN ISSUE
The second issue I’ve had with the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker is the small gap between the central pin and the surrounding plastic. If ice cream gets into this gap and hardens, over time it will add stress to the motor. I’ve read a review on amazon where the user has stated that the hardened ice cream in this small gap caused the drive gear to fail, although this was after 10+ years of use.
When I first used the 5030, I found that as I rushed during the extraction stage, I managed to drip frozen ice cream onto the top of the central pin, which then melted into the gap. I also found that because the gap is so small, it’s impossible to clean off all the ice cream that gets in there. With a bit of practice and care, however, I’ve managed to largely avoid getting frozen ice cream on the central pin during the extraction stage, although I still have the occasional mishaps . I do find the central pin issue a little disappointing but one that can be carefully mitigated, if not avoided.
This brings me to the last and I think most important point to consider when buying an ice cream maker: the quality of the ice cream it produces. Throughout my testing, I’ve found that the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker consistently produces ice cream that is the smoothest and creamiest of any domestic machine I’ve tried. The dasher rotates at a relatively low Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) and so doesn’t incorporate a lot of air, resulting in a nice dense ice cream with low overrun. Overrun, or the amount of air that is whipped into the mix by the rotating dasher and scraper blades during dynamic freezing, ranges from 20-100% in ice cream, with low overrun generally associated with premium ice creams.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker is a domestic ice cream machine that I’d happily recommend. At 13 minutes for a 1000g batch, it has the shortest residence time of any domestic machine I’ve tried and makes exceptional ice cream that is extremely smooth, dense, and creamy. The large 2 quart freezer bowl is capable of producing around 4 quarts of ice cream per hour and it’s extremely quiet during dynamic freezing. I’ve found both cleaning and extraction to be quick and easy and one reviewer’s comment on amazon that their machine lasted for 10+ years is great to see when you’re spending this much money.
It is, however, by no means perfect. The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker suffers from inefficient heat transfer, caused by a poorly designed dasher and scraper blades, which results in ice build up at the cold freezer bowl wall, an all too familiar problem common to all domestic machines I’ve tried. You also need to be careful not to get any ice cream in the gap between the central pin and surrounding plastic to prevent a build up of hardened ice cream, which over time adds stress to the motor. You also need to be careful not to freeze a large 1500g batch for longer than 25 minutes to avoid placing excessive strain on the motor, which results in a burning rubber smell.
I hope this review helps. If you’re considering buying the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker and would like to support the blog, you can do so by clicking here to order your 5030 from the chaps at amazon.
11. COMPARABLE MACHINES
For the home cooks looking to spend less on an ice cream machine, I’d recommend having a look at the Cuisinart ICE 30-BC. It makes excellent ice cream that is smooth, dense, and creamy, and has a large 2 quart removable freezer bowl that needs to be frozen overnight. You’ll need a freezer capable of lowering the temperature down to around -25°C (-13°C) when you freeze the bowl. This is to ensure that the freezer bowl wall temperature falls between -23 to -29°C (-10 to -20°F), the temperature range necessary to promote rapid nucleation and shorter residence times during dynamic freezing. The Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker and Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream and Gelato Maker are two other ice cream machines with an in-built compressor. Both are significantly cheaper than the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker and also make excellent ice cream that is smooth, dense, and creamy. I’d also recommend looking at the 5030’s little sister, the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker. It makes excellent ice cream but has a considerably smaller freezer bowl.
I’d be happy to answer any questions so do get in touch and say hi! All the best, Ruben 🙂
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