This review will cover:
1. the stainless steel construction
2. amazon’s ice cream machines best sellers list
3. the formation of ice crystals
4. the 2 quart bowl
5. the dasher
6. the in-built compressor
7. the extraction time
8. the burning rubber smell
9. the central pin issue
11. the noise level
12. the quality of the ice cream
13. final thoughts
1. The stainless steel construction
So my first reaction upon opening the box after the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker was delivered was “Hmm, looks like a quality machine”. The impressive all stainless steel finish does give the 5030 a professional look and is certainly pleasing to the eye.
The only bits of plastic on the exterior of the machine are the freezer bowl lid, the timer dial, and the freeze and churn buttons.
The second thing I noticed, after the excruciating pain, was just how heavy this machine is: it weighs an impressive 32kg, or 72 pounds. It is quite large for a counter-top machine and you will need to make sure that you have enough room in your kitchen to store it: the dimensions are 20 x 14 x 12.2 inches.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030’s appearance and weight both get a thumbs up from me. So far so good.
It doesn’t always follow that a best selling item is a good one but I think it’s useful having a look at what other ice cream enthusiasts are up to when deciding which ice cream machine to buy.
The Lello Musso Polla 5030 Desert Maker is currently 9th 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
3. The formation of ice crystals
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 mix is frozen in an ice cream machine to incorporate air and to limit the size of the ice crystals formed; and 2. static freezing where the ice cream 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 Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker are at promoting the formation of small ice crystals. These will include the freezer bowl, the dasher, the in-built compressor, and the emptying time.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker has a large 1.89 litre, or 2 quart, bowl. Although Lello claim this to be the maximum capacity, I did find churning a 1800g batch challenging as the ice cream brushed against the plastic lid and over the side of the bowl as it increased in volume.
I would therefore recommend churning no more than 1500g at a time. Most domestic ice cream machines, bar the Cuisinart ICE 30, only have the capacity to churn 1 quart of ice cream at a time so the 1500g capacity on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker is still impressive.
The freezer bowl is built into the stainless steel housing and cannot be removed. The theory is that having a bowl that is built into the machine enhances heat transfer from the bowl to the compressor, which means that the bowl should get colder faster. Lower freezer bowl temperatures should freeze the ice cream faster, reducing residence time and improving the ice crystal size distribution (Russell and others 1999).
Residence time, that is the time a mix spends in the machine, has a pronounced 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).
The built-in freezer bowl is a feature common in more expensive commercial machines and certainly gets a thumbs up from me.
Lello claim that the Musso Pola 5030 can make ‘up to 6 quarts of ice cream an hour’ but I find this a little misleading. Realistically, I think that it is possible to make about 3 quarts of ice cream per hour if you are making the same flavour; making different flavours usually means that you have to clean the machine in between flavours, thereby increasing 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 empty the machine once it had finished. Churning another 1500g took 25 minutes with another minute to empty the machine. It took me 1 hour and 7 minutes to make 3000g of ice cream, about 3 quarts.
5. The dasher
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 ice cream mix and to scrape off the layer of ice that freezes at the side of the bowl. This scraping of the freezer bowl contributes to a reduction in the residence time. This is because ice does not conduct heat as fast as steel. If ice is permitted to form a layer inside the bowl, it acts as an insulator slowing the release of heat from the mix to the refrigerant, thereby increasing residence time (Marshall and others 2003).
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 dasher on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker is made from stainless steel and has two scraper blades attached, one bigger than the other, and both also being made from stainless steel. The dasher is fixed onto the central pin in the bowl using a stainless steel bolt. The dasher, scraper blades, and bolt all look well-built and durable.
When you place the dasher onto the central pin, it leaves a bit of a gap between the main blade and the side of the bowl, which allows a layer of ice to build up. This is an issue that could certainly be improved to reduce residence. However, even with this issue, I have found that the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker still manages to make ice cream that is extremely smooth and creamy.
For the price of the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker, I would have liked to have seen a spring loaded dasher similar to that found in more expensive commercial machines. The strong spring on these commercial dashers pushers the blades firmly against the side of the bowl and ensures that no ice is allowed to build up there. A spring loaded dasher would certainly be a welcomed improvement to a future Lello model.
6. The in-built compressor
So what you’re really paying all that money for on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert 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 5030 means that it is ready to churn a batch as soon as it is switched on.
It is, however, a good idea to switch on the compressor and leave it running for about 15 minutes before adding the mix. This ensures that the bowl is as cold as possible before the mix is added and contributes to a reduction in 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. So how does the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker compare to commercial freezing times you ask? Let’s have a look.
In my first test, I pre-chilled the freezer bowl for 15 minutes by leaving the machine running with the compressor switched on. It then took an impressive 13 minutes to freeze a 1000g batch of ice cream.
In my second test, and again after pre-chilling of the bowl for 15 minutes, it took 25 minutes to freeze a 1500g batch. Although the 1500g batch took longer, the consistency of the ice cream was exactly the same as the first 1000g batch: both were dense and extremely smooth and creamy.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker has the fastest freezing time of any domestic machine I’ve tried and is certainly the factor that has most impressed me about this machine. Below are the freezing times of other domestic machines I’ve 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 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 batch 30 minutes
DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with self-refrigerating compressor – 600g batch 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. Freezing time should only be one of the factors you consider when choosing your machine.
The quality of your 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 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 Recipe for an idea of the percentages of each constituent necessary to promote smooth and creamy texture.
7. The extraction time
The extraction time, that is the time it takes to empty the ice cream 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 ice cream 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 is held at elevated temperatures (Goff and Hartel 2013).
When you then get your ice cream in the freezer to harden, 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 ice cream at room temperature results in an increase in mean ice crystal size, which, in turn, contributes to coarse texture. It is therefore imperative that you empty the ice cream from the freezer bowl and get it into your freezer as quickly as possible to harden.
The large bowl on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker makes emptying relatively quick and easy. There is plenty of space to manoeuvre a large spoon and I would recommend removing the dasher to make emptying easier.
What is slightly trickier to remove is the layer that freezes to the bottom of the bowl. The powerful compressor will continue freezing the mix after you have switched it and the dasher off. Because the dasher isn’t rotating and agitating the mix, it freezes easily to the bottom of the bowl. This layer will take a bit more time and effort to scrape off and so I’d recommend putting the first lot of ice cream in the freezer so it isn’t kept at room temperature, and then coming back with a second plastic container for this frozen layer frozen to the bottom.
Ice cream is extracted from the freezer bowl at around -5°C. Once you place your ice cream in the freezer to harden, significant changes to the ice crystals 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 ice cream 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 ice cream gets down to -18°C as quickly as possible, it is important to ensure that your freezer is set to its coldest temperature. Try and place your ice cream 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 plastic from melting.
8. The burning rubber smell
So, we know that the best ice creams in the world have a smooth and creamy texture and that small ice crystals contribute significantly to the development of said texture.
We’ve looked at the effect that the freezer bowl, the dasher, the compressor, and the extraction time all have on ice crystal size and how the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker is very good in all four areas. However, the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert 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 have experienced this issue on two consecutive occasions. This is an issue because it indicates that there is too much stress on the motor when a 1500g batch is churned for longer than 25 minutes. What this means is that the motor may eventually fail if the machine is constantly run with a 1500g batch for longer than 25 minutes.
The instruction manual does say ‘To avoid breaking the drive gear, do not let the ice cream harden excessively’, which is understandable, but I didn’t think the ice cream at 26 minutes had ‘excessively hardened’.
This is a little disappointing because the maximum capacity is supposed to be 2 quarts and so the Lello Musso PolA 5030 Desert Maker should be able to cope with a 1500g batch that hasn’t been ‘excessively hardened’.
Although a little disappointing, I don’t think this is a major issue and is certainly one that can be avoided. My 1500g batches are ready at 25 minutes, and so there isn’t a need for me to continue churning for up to the dreaded 26 minute mark. I also didn’t encounter this problem when I churned a 1000g batch as it was ready after just 13 minutes.
This issue can be avoided by making sure that you don’t churn a large 1500g for longer than 25 minutes.
I also don’t want you to think the motor on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker is weak. All machines will struggle to churn a batch as it freezes and the dasher on some will simply get stuck and stop rotating completely.
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 that is coarse.
I haven’t had any issues with the motor on the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker stoping before a batch has been sufficiently frozen.
9. The central pin issue
The second issue I’ve had with this machine is getting ice cream on the central pin as I empty the bowl. This is an issue because there is a gap between the central pin and the solid plastic that surrounds it. If ice cream gets into this gap and hardens, it will add stress to the motor.
The instruction manual does say ‘not to get the central pin wet’ but I found this tricky when I first started off. I am now more careful when emptying the bowl but still manage occasionally to get ice cream on the central pin,
I’ve read a review on amazon where the user has stated that the hardened ice cream in the gap between the central pin and plastic caused the drive gear to fail; this was, however, after 10+ years of use.
To help prevent ice cream getting on the central pin, it is a good idea to keep the bolt that holds the dasher onto the central pin screwed on. You can remove the dasher to make emptying easier, but then do screw the bolt back on before you start emptying the ice cream. The bolt will help but won’t guarantee that you won’t get any ice cream on the central pin. You still need to be very careful not to get any ice cream on the pin when emptying the bowl.
If some ice cream does get into the gap, it’s important to clean it off as quickly as possible. I have found, however, that even after extensive cleaning, it is impossible to clean off all the ice cream.
I have read several reviews on amazon where users have complained that cleaning the bowl is tricky, 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.
After you finish churning a batch, it is 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 machine, I waited 10 minutes after I had emptied the ice cream and then started wiping it down with a wet sponge. 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 for the freezer bowl to warm up and had no further issues with freezing water.
All in all, I have found emptying and cleaning the machine very easy.
11. Noise level
The machine is incredibly quiet when churning a batch of ice cream. I have noticed that it starts to make a slight noise at about 25 but I haven’t found this to be an issue.
Although an issue for some, I don’t think the noise a machine makes should be an important factor to consider when investing in an ice cream maker. I am more than happy to have a loud ice cream machine so long as it makes smooth and creamy ice cream.
12. The quality of the ice cream
So this brings me to the last and I think most important point to consider when investing in an ice cream machine: the quality of the ice cream it makes. So does the Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker make good quality ice cream? Yes, absolutely.
I found that the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker makes excellent quality ice cream that is extremely smooth and creamy. The dasher’s Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) is low, meaning that it doesn’t incorporate a lot of air into the mix and makes ice cream that is nice and dense.
The Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker is a machine that I would certainly recommend. At 13 minutes for a 1000g batch, the powerful in-built compressor means that the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker has the shortest residence time of any machine I’ve tried and makes the smoothest and creamiest ice cream. The large 1500g capacity is very impressive, along with the stainless steel finish. One reviewer’s comment on amazon that their machine lasted for 10+ years is another plus.
It is, however, by no means perfect. The dasher could certainly be improved to get closer to the freezer bowl, and you need to be extremely careful not to get any ice cream on the central pin when emptying the bowl. You also need to make sure that you don’t churn a large 1500g batch for longer than 25 minutes.
At £907.00, or $1,200, it certainly isn’t cheap. For the home cooks that don’t want to spend this amount on an ice cream maker, have a look at the more affordable Cuisinart ICE-30, the Cuisinart ICE-100, or the Breville BCI600XL, all of which make excellent ice cream that is comparable in texture to that made in the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker.
Do remember that a good ice cream machine will help but won’t guarantee smooth and creamy texture; I can’t stress enough the importance of a good recipe. Have a look at my Pistachio Ice Cream Recipe for an idea of the percentages of each constituent necessary for the promotion of smooth and creamy texture. This recipe does take time but the results are definitely worth it.
If you found this review helpful and would like to support the blog, you can use the link below to get your machine from the chaps at amazon
Hope that review helps.
All the best,
- Powerful in-built compressor that can churn a 1000g batch in an impressive13 minutes.
- Large 1500g capacity.
- All stainless steel finish.
- Stainless steel dasher.Very quiet.
- Extremely smooth, creamy, and dense ice cream.
- Ridiculously expensive.
- The central pin issue.
- A burning rubber smell after about 26 minutes when you churn a large 1500g batch.
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