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Oct 24, 2006 09:55 PM

chalky ice cream---why?

Several posts about homemade ice cream have referred to a chalky texture in the end product, particularly with chocolate ice cream. I own the $50 Cuisinart ice cream maker and have probably used it 15 or so times now. I am finding that when I make French-style egg custard ice cream, I ALWAYS get a chalky texture, no matter what flavor I make. Most of my attempts have come out of the Williams-Sonoma "Ice Cream" book; the most recent attempt being pumpkin. My boyfriend raved that it was "outstanding" but to me the chalky taste was so offensive I had one spoonful and was done. It's as if I added a bottle of Kaopectate to the mixture---gross. I've ended up throwing out large portions of other batches for the same reason. It's so frustrating to read all the raves about how superb homemade ice cream is when I am using fresh, expensive organic ingredients and have been consistently disappointed! Frankly I like the way Dairy Queen and other commercial soft-serve tastes; that may be blasphemy but compared with my own nasty stuff, it feels like velvet! Is there ANY consensus out there as to why this chalky phenomenon sometimes occurs? Or are other people just not as offended by it?
Right now the only thing I'm making in this Cuisinart model that I truly enjoy is sorbet.

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  1. Are you using heavy cream, medium cream or light cream? Does it taste chalky right out of the machine, still soft....or only after freezing/hardening?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jackattack

      This thread reminded me of an ice cream that I didn't like but that was all the rage in LA in the 50's and 60's - Will Wright's. It was made with heavy cream and,immediately upon taking a bite, a film of butterfat (or congealed cream) formed on the roof of one's mouth. Everybody thought this was just great - proof of the richness of the stuff. Maybe that's what your "chalkiness" is.

    2. A few thoughts (I also own the $50 Cuisinart)

      -half and half works best. Too much heavy cream will make it chalky
      -freezing it overnight in the fridge will make it chalky, usually. Try eating it 5-10 hours after it goes in the freezer
      -try the burnt caramel ice cream I just posted about. Doesn't freeze solid, ever! Amazing, really. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
      -churning for too long will make it chalky. Depending on the recipe, 10-20 minutes is enough. It comes out of the canister looking like a milkshake, but ironically freezes softer than if you churn it longer.

      Maybe it's your book that's faulty, since you say most of the ones you've tried are from the W-S book.

      Frustratingly enough, homemade ice cream will never taste like commercial ice cream, and definitely never quite like Dairy Queen soft serve. You can refine your ice cream making skills so it's not chalky, but you either like homemade ice cream or you don't. I love the different flavors and the control over ingredients, and every once in awhile I find a new recipe that I find superior to commercial ice cream, but my friends tell me everything from "no, Haagen Daz is still creamier" to "Man, this is better than anything."

      1. Frankly, I think the William's Sonoma book is not that good. I'm a vetern ice cream maker, but the four recipes I've made from that book came out terrible. Many of those recipes use too much heavy cream. When this type of ice cream is overchurned (very easy to do when you are a beginner), the texture is awful--either chalky or greasy (because the heavy cream basically turns into butter).

        Here are some tips:

        Look over recipes carefully. Look for recipes that use mostly whole milk/half and half combos with no or very little heavy cream (not more than 10 percent of the whole mix). Recipes should also have not more than 2 whole eggs (and no more than 3 egg yolks total) for every pint of dairy specified in the recipe. Too many eggs can cause the custard to set up too thick--which can lead to a strange chaulk like texture when churned.

        Churn the ice cream just until it begins to set. It should be slightly softer than soft serve (does that make sense?) when it comes out of the machine.

        Make sure you pack the fresh ice cream immediately into appropriate freezer containers. The ice cream should sit in the freezer for at least 10-12 hours before consuming. This "aging" improves the texture of the ice cream.

        Hope this all helps!

        1. First, be aware that you will never get soft-serve style ice cream from the Cuisinart unit. Soft serve simply requires a different process.

          I find that the easiest way to ruin custard ice cream texture is to curdle the egg. Most custard style ice cream recipes I have seen call for heating the egg with milk on the stove. If I use too high heat, stop stirring for long, or even allow the mixture to sit once removed from heat, the egg curdles. Even if I strain the curdled egg out, the texture comes out wrong. So I try low heat, lots of stirring, and heat the mixture at a lower temperature for long enough to kill the bacteria.

          Some flavors make getting good texture even harder. I usually find this is true of fruit flavors though, and not chocolate. It's probably related to fruit water content.

          1. Try using rennet or junket for custard/soft serve style ice cream. My grandmother used this when we made hand-cranked vanilla. You should be able to find it at a large grocery store. It's used in cheese making as well.
            Sorry, I can't find her recipes right now but there should be one on the package. Or a little online research...