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Note: This question is for an ice cream machine WITH a compressor

Pretty much all recipes for ice cream/gelato call for completely chilling the mixture before starting to churn.

I get that for "passively" cooled machines (compressorless) it's important, so that you don't loose any of the pre-cooling you've done to the hardware.

Does it actually matter for a compressor-based machine? The machine can certainly cool it down without a hitch, but would it impact the final texture?

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    Something to consider is that the primary reason for chilling the base is not to reduce temperature, but to “age” the base for better texture. At chilling temperatures, the fat globules partially crystallize, which improves the whipping properties of the mix. Read more about aging your mix here. – Josh Dec 18 '17 at 5:08
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Firstly, it will work and you will get ice cream. However, cooling the base (a) decreases the time it take to freeze, and (b) potentially improves the flavor of the base (as ingredients meld together). Let's say you are not concerned with "b". The more quickly you freeze ice cream, the smaller the ice crystals...the creamier the texture. So, in any ice cream making scenario, it is better to begin with cold base. How much better? How much creamier? It's probably a matter of preference in the end. It sounds like you probably have an ice cream maker with a compressor. Why not make a double batch of base, freeze one immediately, place the other in the fridge for 24 hours. Freeze that one the next day. Taste them at the same temp/consistency, and tell us here what you've learned.

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    The crystal size shouldn't really be changed here, assuming it can run constantly for arbitrarily long. It's churning/stirring the whole time, so nothing is going to freeze and form crystals until the base is cold, at which point it's just like putting it in properly chilled. The speed of freezing is about how fast it cools once it starts freezing, and I don't think you can really affect that with a compressor style machine, unless you're saying it gets "tired" somehow? – Cascabel Dec 17 '17 at 16:57
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    A/B testing worked. I was wondering about texture more than flavor, and the answer is, compressor machine doesn't care either way. Took a bit longer, but the end result was pretty much the same. Good to know for future emergency-ice-cream situations :) – Lenny Markus Dec 17 '17 at 22:39
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    @LennyMarkus post that as an answer! Your experimental results could help future readers. – Kat Apr 25 '18 at 16:55

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