Everything I put in my freezer eventually becomes rock solid, yet no matter how low the dial is set and how long I leave it in there, I’m always able to scoop out ice cream with nothing more than a spoon?
Ice cream is full of air and it consists of cream bits individually frozen. Unless you let it melt, there will always be space between the frozen bit for a spoon to slide into.
Also, there are things in it, like sugar, and emulsified fat (fat that is blended with water and doesn’t separate), that keep it from freezing rock solid at household freezer temperatures.
If you make ice cream without sugar or emulsified fat, and without the benefit of commercial grade agitation to add LOTS of air, it will freeze almost rock solid.
Well, yes. If you put milk in the freezer you get frozen milk. I was referring to using a home ice cream maker, using nonfat milk, with artifical sweeteners, flavorings, and/or eggs. It will look like ice cream (and have the texture of softserve) when you make it, but if you attempt to store it in the freezer, it will become rock hard.
My first real job (mid-70’s) was at a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream place and I remember having to set out the unopened containers (three-gallon size?) to thaw/warm a bit before we could put ‘em into the ‘display coolers’ up front where the scoopin’ was done. IIRC, the storage freezer was around 20-25F below zero or colder…VERY cold in that thing! The front coolers were nowhere near that cold barely below 30F or so (iirc).
It was near-impossible to even put a tiny scratch in ice-cream taken/used straight from the storage freezer as the stuff was literally hard as rock. At first, it was odd to set ice-cream tubs out on floor to thaw but sure made it easier to scoop for the customers after sitting out awhile. A co-worker once dropped a tub on the concrete floor from top shelf and chipped some concrete without even denting the cardboard tub.
I don’t think many typical home refrig/freezer units get quite cold enough to have the average-type ice-cream turn rock-hard like that. I am sure they exist, but most folks are not gonna go that extreme with the home appliances (ymmv, of course).
I have to let the ice cream thaw before I can scoop it. I have your average freezer compartment in a refrigerator/freezer combination, and this happens with every brand of ice cream. Granted, I have little upper body strength, but it’s like bricks.
In my restaurant, the wait staff starts to complain about the ice cream being hard to scoop at around 4 or 5˚ F. Right now, I have it set at around -8˚ and they bitch about it. I tried to keep the freezer warmer, around 8-10˚ to shut them up, but my onion rings were melting. They thaw out crazy fast, an I care more about my onion rings then I do about the waitstaff. [/anecdotal evidence]
use a metal scooper heated in warm water.