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Making Ice Cream with new Cuisinart. I SUCK :( HELP PLZ!

Bought a Cuisinart Ice-30 and David Lebowitz's Perfect scoop last weekend. This is an ice cream maker where you have to pre-freeze the bowl hours in advance. Excited about the possibility of fresh decadent ice cream I got to work.

1rst try: Vietnamese coffe ice cream. Followed the recipe to a T. Pre-froze my bowl the recommended time(maybe started a little sooner). Churned for the maximum amount of time they suggested. RESULT = SOUPY LIQUID MUSH ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Threw it in the freezer, became solid but had so many ice crystals in it, it was mroe like granita sigh....

2nd try: Strawberry frozen yogurt. Followed recipe again. Froze the bowl even longer again even though I could still faintly hear water swish-swashing. Churned for like 15 minutes more than in the instructions. RESULT = SOUPY MESS ONCE AGAIN. Froze it, and it became hard granita(delicious but not what i wanted) WTF......

Patience isn't one of my many qualities so this is frustrating me so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I dont know what I'm doing wrong:

-Can it be I'm screwing up the recipe? I don't think so. I'm measuring everything quite precisely.
-Can it be the machine? I don't think so. It's suppost to spin the bowl which it's doing.
-Can it be the recipe book? NO WAY. Everyone is raving about Mr. Lebowitz's recipes and are having great results...

My guess: freezing the bowl or freezing the base. Maybe it isn't cold enough. Maybe my freezer isn't cold enough(I just checked it and it was at medium, I put it to extra cold).

I'm going to try it for a 3rd time later this week. A basic vanilla egg based ice cream. I've froze the bowl for more than 48 hours with my freezer at full blast. I'm going to chill the base for atleast 4 hours. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE IT WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone with any experience plz feel free to help :(. I am desperate and sooooo pissed off.

ps. A question: some recipes tell you to chill the base some to freeze it. If im suppost to freeze it for how long? won't it become a block of ice?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Well hard to say, but I have a feeling your bowl isn't cold enough. I keep mine wrapped in the plastic bag it came in, ( we have the same machine) and then I leave it in the freezer all the time. I noticed that mine starts looking like ice cream in about 20 minutes. I use the recipes that came with the ice cream maker... sometimes I use cream, or I have also used milk and even low fat with great results. Now I've never used a custard (egg based) recipe, so I am not familar with those.
    Maybe try the recipe for vanilla ice cream from Cuisnart, if you need it, I can get it for you.

    After you've made your ice cream, also a little trick I do is, I lay plastic wrap over the surface of the ice cream before I put the lid on. For whatever that's worth, I don't get ice crystals.For storage,I use a standard RubberMaid container with a snap air tight lid If that doesn't work, I'm at a loss.

    I've never chilled a mix overnight either..but that might be necessary for custards/

    This is a photo of when I first got the machine, it is Cuisnart's vanilla ice cream recipe with berry puree swirled in. Is so good!

    2 Replies
    1. re: chef chicklet

      Concur on temperature.

      I have the KitchenAid bowl and churn.

      The first time I used it, I froze the bowl in my fridge's freezer. Result was not good.

      Then, I threw the bowl in my chest deep-freezer (don't ask why I didn't do this in the first place!). MUCH better results.

      Seems these bowls are designed to get very cold.

      Hope this helps.

      1. re: Monch

        Well, this is really good advice only if one has a chest deep freezer. It seems a bit extravagant to purchase one just for ice cream-making purposes.

        I have a Donvier hand-cranker and keep the freezer container in the freezer all the time. I started do this when I wanted ice cream and realized that I'd washed and put away the canister in the cupboard.

        This has always worked for me, but, as I say, I have a Donvier not a Cuisinart.

        Good luck!

    2. If you have a suitable thermometer (probe thermometers work well for this), check the temperature of your freezer. It should be 0* f or below. If it is above that you should try cleaning out the heat exchanger with a vacuum or some compressed air. Older freezers may require a Freon charge if there has been some leakage over the years. I generally chill my base for at least six hours before using it in my similar style ice cream freezer. Other things that could cause the problem you are experiencing would be too much sugar or alcohol in the ice cream base.

      1. Definitely chill the ice cream mixture before you put it in the machine. Put it in the fridge, not the freezer, for several hours.

        I had the same experiences with my ice cream maker. I was sure it was busted ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/283035 ), but once I chilled the mixture overnight, it was fine ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/283171 ).

        Yeah, it's a pain to have to wait for ice cream, but that's life. Mix it up in the morning, then process at night. Or mix it up in the evening, and process the next day. As you get more experienced, you can experiment to see how many hours it really takes get the mixture cold enough.


        1. How long do you have to churn before you actually see a change in texture? I churn it for like 40 minutes and it changes from liquid to a slurpy like thing. It must be the bowl isn't cold enough. What is it suppost to look like when it's done? haagendaz hard? Breyers medium consistency? Or Soft serve Ice cream?

          10 Replies
          1. re: Evilbanana11

            You're churning too long.

            freeze the bowl at least 24 hours. Like others I leave mine in the freezer all the time so it's always ready to go. But if I'm making more than one batch in a week I always make sure it's frozen at least 24 hours.

            Make sure everythign is cold cold cold. I usually let my base chill in the fridge over ngiht. But at least a few hours. If I'm really in a hurry I'll cool it in an ice bath in the freezer. Always make sure's it's very cold. Even if I make a non-custard base I chill stuff until it's very cold(for instance the cheesecake ice cream in the Perfect Scoop. make it in the food processor but I chill it overnight before churning).

            Churn 15-20 minutes. You'll see it change texture. It should be like soft serve when you take it out of the machine. Then put it in a container to harden/ripen in the freezer if you wish.

            Letting it go 40 minutes, you've gotten past the prime poitn and your bowl is probably starting to warm and melt.

            1. re: Evilbanana11

              It's going to look more like soft serve consistency. If you are hearing liquid in the bowl, it isn't frozen enough to get the job done. I don't chill my base overnite, just until it's uniformly cold, and I've had no problems. You should see a change in the texture after 15-20 minutes, it starts as slush around the edges.

              1. re: Evilbanana11

                You will get a thick milk shake like consistency.I think your ice cream is fine, you just need to freeze it and store it properly. If you looked at the photo I provided, that's after I put it back in the freezer to firm up, then its scoopable...About 4 hours. And I keep the plastic always on top to prevent ice crystals. Usually the ice cream only last at the most 3-4 days.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  No mine looks nothing like that, even after being frozen. I will try again and post the results by this weekend. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

                  Wish me luck.

                  1. re: Evilbanana11

                    Have you tried a recipe yet without using a custard base?
                    If that fails, then I might question the machine...
                    How disappointing!

                    Well good luck to you, keeping my fingers crossed!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      I've tried to make both a vietnamese coffee ice cream and a strawberry frozen yogurt. They both came out of the machine in a slurpy like state. After some time in the freezer they solidify and are completely fine taste-wise but the texture is more like a granita/sorbet. I'm looking for something a lot more smooth tasting like the ice cream we buy.

                      I've decided on Lebowitz's normal Coffee ice cream(egg yolk and cream based) for my next experiment. My churning bowl has been in the freezer since Sunday, I will make the ice cream base thursday, chill it overnight and finish the whole thing friday.

                      Hope it works this time. :)

                      1. re: Evilbanana11

                        Your ice cream could be freezing too solidly because it's not getting enough air churned into it while freezing. A properly frozen bowl will freeze the ice cream mixture with air churned into it - it'll still be like soft serve when done, but after being the freezer it should stay creamy and not get icy.

                        The coffee ice cream was one of my favorites, but I make it without the eggs. Also, I have to use decaf coffee beans or I can't eat the ice cream at night!

                        1. re: leanneabe

                          If I want to reduce the number of eggs or eliminate them completely, should I modify anything else in the recipe?

                          1. re: Evilbanana11

                            There are a few recipes that I prefer w/o eggs. I basically just eliminate the eggs entirely and follow the basic no-egg vanilla recipe + flavor add-ins. I think I steeped the coffee beans as directed in the coffee recipe but used the ratio of milk/cream/sugar from the vanilla.

                2. re: Evilbanana11

                  It's supposed to look somewhere from soft-serve ice cream to quite firm soft serve. Definitely not hard. I churn mine in the same machine you have (a couple years older, though) about 20 minutes.

                  It makes a world of difference if my freezer bowl is in the freezer a full 24 hours, in the back of the freezer. I only have a crappy fridge (thanks, landlord!) and I'm sure my dud batches early on were due to a bowl that wasn't cold enough.

                  And make your custard the day ahead and chill it ALL THE WAY COLD.

                3. Refrigerate the ice cream base until it's cold (even if you start with cold ingredients). I start with a couple of hours, then "test" it by sampling with a spoon (you know, temperature and taste test).

                  If you can hear sloshing in the ice cream bowl, it's not frozen enough. We leave the bowl in the freezer during ice cream season, but if it's been out for a while, I leave it in for 2 days before I try to use it. But, even if the bowl is cold enough, if you don't start with a cold base, you'll end up with slushy ice cream.

                  Also, don't try to make 2 batches of ice cream one after the other. You'll think the bowl is still cold enough, but it's not. Wash the bowl, put it back in the freezer, and start the second batch the next night.

                  1. As many other posters already said, if you are hearing sloshing, the bowl isn't cold enough. It absolutely will not make ice cream properly if it is sloshing when you use it. Don't even waste your time and ingredients. And if you are still hearing sloshing after, say, 48 hrs in the freezer, than either your freezer isn't getting cold enough or there is something wrong with the bowl.

                    Once you have figured out the problem with the bowl, the only other variables are following a good recipe correctly and making sure your base is cold enough. I usually chill mine over night, as others have suggested. The other thing I do sometimes is chill the base in the freezer for about 10-20 minutes before I put it into the ice cream maker. But really, if the bowl and the base have been chilled properly, you shouldn't have any trouble.

                    I have a 2 quart Cuisinart and the ice cream I have been getting straight out of the machine is a very respectable soft serve consistency. And every time I've used my machine, the ice cream has reached a visible soft serve consistency within about 10 minutes at the most.

                    1. I have this same ice cream maker and I wouldn't consider it the best, by any stretch. I leave my bowl in the upright freezer (wrapped in plastic). I think I don't let it spin long enough, but my ice cream is just, okay.

                      1. I have tried my Cuisinart icecream maker a dozen times and never have had good results a soupy mess, never came close to being icecream. I bought a lelli gelato machine used the same recipes with great results. I did everything froze the bowl made the mix 12 hours in advance nothing worked.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mombaker247

                          I have the same problem. I can never get my Cuisinart to make ice cream. I always have soup. I have my bowl freezing in my mom's freezer right now to see if it gives better results. Only after I bought it did I find out my aunt uses a Krup's maker. she always makes great ice cream.

                          1. re: Rizza

                            I have a Krup's and have had no trouble with it. I, also, keep it in freezer in a plastic ziplock bag. I love to make blackberry ice cream with creme de cassis. Tonight I'm going to try making it with blueberries, instead. Next I'm going to try pear. Calls for Poire William, too expensive. I bought a miniature bottle at BevMo for $7 something, maybe enough for 2 batches.

                        2. Can I hijack this post for a second? I'm also having Cuisinart ice cream maker problems and it seems a shame to start up ANOTHER thread for it...

                          I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker, but not the bowl-freezing kind, the compressor kind (you know, the crazy-loud one) I cannot, I absolutely cannot make dairy-based ice cream. For some reason, tofu works fine. Whenever I try to make dairy-based ice cream, the maker seems to kick out halfway through. I've determined that this is because stuff sinks to the bottom (the fats, I'm guessing, not flavouring- I don't add chunky/heavy stuff until later), freezes, and then pushes the paddle up until it disconnects the arm. A heavy book on top helps sometimes, but not always.

                          My other issue is with freezing the ice cream. That never seems to work. I can chill it in the freezer for a few minutes afterwards, but any longer than that and it freezes hard as a rock. if I try leave it out for a few minutes to soften, the texture gets all weird (this has been the case for both dairy and non-dairy based ice creams)

                          1. In my apartment fridge it takes like 3 days to freeze the bowl properly in the summer. In the winter it takes less than 24 hours. I don't have much AC in the kitchen, because its a wall unit so that room is hot. The freezer still keeps the frozen food solid and keeps ice cream fine it just seems to have trouble freezing stuff that is not already frozen. If the bowl is sloshing at all it is not done, leave it in the freezer until it doesn't slosh at all. If you are freezing anything else that is not already frozen at the time it will take even longer.

                            1. Maybe I had beginners luck but the first recipe I made out of Leibowitz's book was the Vietnamese Coffee in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. My freezer (full size, not the top of a refrigerator) is at about 0 or minus 10 degrees. I keep the bowl in the plastic bag in the freezer at all times so it will be ready when I want it.

                              The recipe and ice cream freezer worked like a charm - when it had churned enough to be like stiff soft serve, I put it into a Rubbermaid type bowl and stashed it for several hours. Couldn't wait any longer, but luckily it was just right. It took some self control but we didn't eat it all that night. The next evening it was still delicious and had a great texture.

                              Like I said, beginners luck???

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: RWCFoodie

                                Hey RWCF, I noticed you keep yours in a plastic bag and store your bowl in the freezer all the time like I do. My original thought was to keep food or freezer smell from getting on the bowl. I'm wondering,maybe the plastic helps in other ways, because mine makes ice cream a lot faster than what the instructions say it will take. I love the ice cream made with milk, like gelato. Congratulations!!! I love that machine!

                              2. I stepped up to a compressor type machine after using a freezer bowl model for a couple of years and my advice to all (which echoes several other's recommendations) is make sure your freezer is actually freezing the bowl, and chill the mix well before churning. If you don't have a low temperature thermometer, invest in one right away. If your freezer temp is barely below 32 F you will never make decent ice cream, no matter how long you leave the bowl in the freezer, and if you can hear the liquid coolant sloshing around, don't even try. Notice RWCF's success story? Not beginner's luck, just a really cold freezer (0 F is about -10 C). Also, make sure the mix is cold (not tepid) before churning. Depends on your fridge, but I always tried to get it well below 40 F (basically within a couple of degrees of the fridge temperature). The less heat the bowl needs to remove getting the mix to the freezing point, the better.

                                1. You probably shouldn't even be able to hear liquid sloshing around when you are *done* churning. I had the same problem as you the first time, but figured out I have to freeze the canister longer, in the very back of the freezer, and I do chill my ingredients - I have a can of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge right now (ideally I'd blend and then chill, but I am hoping to get away with a little cheating tonight). When the ice cream is done, the canister is so cold I can't even wash it because bits of the drying cloth will freeze to it! I have to let it sit out on the counter for a while.

                                  1. Thank you everyone that posted in this thread. My attempt at coffee ice cream this weekend was finally successful. I lowered the temperature in my freezer to the absolute coldest and put my churning bowl in it for 5 days(LOL I wanted to make sure). I made my ice cream base and chilled it for 24 hours in the fridge. When I turned on the machine and started the process it barely took 25 mins. An extra 30 mins in the freezer and I had perfect icecream. If I have any advice for people having problems with your machine it's plan ahead and be patient. Make sure everything is as cold as possible.
                                    I am going to make Lebowitz's Lemon Sorbet today.Hoping it'll be as successful as my last attempt.

                                    Thanks again to all!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Evilbanana11

                                      Yay! Very glad to hear that you found success. Hope you have lots of fun going forward.

                                      1. re: Evilbanana11

                                        So glad to hear that you've been successful with the advice everyone passed along on this thread! You've made me want to whip up a batch of something... need to look at Perfect Scoop and make something yummy!! Let us know how the Lemon Sorbet comes out...

                                        1. re: Evilbanana11

                                          Isn't making your own ice cream fun?! I get requests to make ice cream all the time, it tastes so much better than store bought (well the regular stuff anyway).
                                          I'm going to go hunt down some Whoppers, for some reason Whoppers with a fudge swirl is call me..... Have fun!

                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            This was a verrrry interesting thread and I read all of it even though I have a non-electric, hand-powered Donvier machine. I've had it for at least 10 years and love it very much.

                                            I keep the freezing container in the freeze all the time. The weird part is that I've come to believe that the ice cream/froyo that I make is just perfect from the freezer container after churning for the required time. The instructions all say to put it in the freezer for a while so that it can firm up. I don't do that anymore because I love the soft-serve texture of the stuff right after churning.

                                            I have made ice cream after dinner while guests wait for dessert. It just takes a short time if the container is frozen and the ice cream properly chilled. What a treat to be able to do this.

                                        2. Good to hear that you finally got results. For those who are reading this thread in the future, though, one more word of caution...

                                          Even if the bowl is arctic cold, and even if the mixture is well-chilled, you can't use these machines to make ice cream if the ambient temperature is very high. I mixed up a batch of 'scream the other day, and because the machine is kind of noisy I put it out on the (105+ degree) patio. Needless to say, the ice cream didn't set up.

                                          But all was not lost. Let the base melt again, re-freeze the bowl, and give it another spin (this time in the air-conditioned house). No worries.

                                          1. Hey,

                                            I'ts me again. I made The Perfect Scoop's Lemon sorbet yesterday. It tasted delicious but the texture is different from the sorbets i'm used to( it was more like a stiff smooth slush). I'm guessing it's the lack of a stabilizer. I've read some recipes suggesting the use of egg whites and others gelatin. Does anyone have any experience with this? What would you recommend?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Evilbanana11

                                              I know this is 2 years old, but for anyone with the same question;
                                              Your freezer needs to be at 0 degrees F. The cannister needs to be so cold, you can't hear sloshing when you shake it. If it still sloshes, it isn't frozen. Turn you freezer to its lowest setting 24 hours before you plan to freeze the cannister.
                                              My kitchen is warm -- 86 deg. F. I put a heavy towel over the top part of the machine to help hold the cold in.
                                              I use a Cuisinart and love it. Ice cream takes a max of 25 minutes to set.

                                            2. Make sure your freezer is turned down as cold as it will go. This will get your ice cream freezer bowl a lot colder, which means it will churn the mix faster.

                                              Once you finish heating your mix, you do need to leave it in the fridge overnight to age. This will help incorporate air during the churning process.

                                              If your mix is coming out slushy, this sounds like the water content in your mix is too high. You could try increasing the milk fat, sugar, or egg yolk content.

                                              Hope that helps.

                                              1. Mine didn't come out right the first time I made the vanilla ice cream, then I tried to make the sorbet and it didn't come out right either. I'm going to try again Sunday for desert using the information I just learned hopefully it comes out right this time.