cuisinart ice cream maker doesn't thicken
I have just bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker and tried it for the first time. I followed all the instructions carefully including making sure the bowl was completely frozen before using. (I had it in my freezer for 24 hours - it was frozen solid).
I tried to make strawberry ice cream using the recipe in the book - carefully measuring my ingredients and following directions exactly. After mixing for 30 minutes in the frozen bowl I had nothing but very cool liquid with strawberries in it - the mixture had not thickened at all.
Has anyone else had this experience?
Any ideas on what could have gone wrong?
My thanks to anyone who replies.
You must get a freezer thermometer and check your freezer. If your freezer isn't cold enough, then it's not the ice cream maker's fault.
From the very beginning of the Cuisinart's manual:
"Reminder: Your freezer should be set to 0°F to ensure
proper freezing of all foods."
This is true for all freezer-core ice-cream makers.
I did lower my freezer temp just in case before the second attempt - but I actually checked the freezer temp after the first failure - and my freezer temp had been appropriate for the first try.
I had thoroughly read the manual and was aware of the required freezer temperature.
I strongly suspect my problem was that I had not allowed my milk mixture to cool enough.
Yes, I have had exactly this problem with a recently purchased Cuisinart machine. I've had enough experience to know my prep isn't a problem (very cold base, etc.). I've used both a Donvier and a Krups in previous kitchens with no issues. It may be my freezer; I do have a thermometer, and the temp fluctuates more than I'd like, though the bowl appears to be frozen solid (and I've left it in for a few days). I've used a friend's Donvier in the same freezer to rescue my still-liquid, not-at-all-frozen custards post-Cuisinart try, and it has worked out okay, so perhaps the Cuisinart just needs a colder environment. I'm going to see about giving the coils a thorough cleaning and trying the Cuisinart again before I return it.
I have a new one of these too. I generally have had the bowl in the freezer a bit longer than the minimum 24 hours, so it's possible that this is the culprit. Also if you are cooking then yes you need that to have that cool down a lot, down to your fridge temp at least, or pretty close. I made a maple walnut recipe for my dad which involved heating the syrup; that I made sure got significantly cool before I put it all in the machine. Oddly, that one came out a lot more dense than the typical recipe (maybe difference between dark maple syrup and regular sugar?)
I've been starting with the very first basic vanilla generally, with no cooking at all. I like this enough to not bother yet with cooking. I don't do plain vanilla though, I put in Heath bits and/or chocolate, or do mint chocolate. All comes out really good. In fact, the real problem I have is with the 2 cups cream, 1 cup milk and eventual toppings, I usually have it overflowing before I reach the 30 minute mark. Most of the bowl at that point is at a soft serve-ish consistency, with the bits that are sticking to the side and bottom being somewhat firmer because they are closest to the chilling effect. Still, except for the time I made it with more milk and less cream, putting this result into the freezer for a couple hours has turned out a decent IMO end product.
Get a thermometer for your freezer (and fridge for that matter) to check it, just in case. Should only cost a couple bucks and worth it. You'd like the freezer to get close to zero generally. Fridge you want somewhere 35-40.
Thanks everyone for taking and making the effort to reply.
I just completed my second try and it was much more successful than the first. It may have been a combination of things - I put the bowl in the freezer for a full 24 hours (at a lower temp than before) AND I cooled the mixture overnight in the fridge.
Still not sure I'd recommend this ice cream maker to others - but it's early days yet so we'll see.
Thanks again to all of you who replied.
I agree with chilling the bowl for at least two days and making sure the ingredients are chilled for at least two hours. I usually have to scoop everything out of the bowl and then place in a serving dish and freeze a few hours longer. My first few batches were certainly a learning experience. The mint chocolate chip is a good recipe too. My kids love it.
I find the dasher of the Cuisinarts very unsatisfying. It doesn't have enough of an angle to work air into the mixture. But it sounds like you had a very different problem with the actual freezing.
How about trying again. You could probably use the same ice cream base if you've still got it. Anyway, try freezing it again when the bowl from the ice cream maker has had at least 24 hours in your freezer and the ice cream base has had enough time in your fridge to already be very cold. If that doesn't do the deed, then you need to return the ice cream maker as defective.
It's also possible the freezer you froze the core in wasn't cold enough. Typical household freezers only get down to about 20 degrees or so, and the core for an ice-cream freezer must get down to zero, which you can usually only achieve in a chest freezer. Turn your freezer down to as cold as it can go and allow it about 24 hours to stabilize.
As noted above, your base should be at about 33 degrees when it goes into the ice cream maker. Usually they want you to chill it for four hours or overnight before giving it a spin. Sort of kills any chance of spur-of-the-moment frozen desserts.
was your base thoroughly chilled before you put it into the machine?
I have had so-so results with the cuisinart, meaning the base never really freezes enough that I would call it stiff or even decent soft-serve consistency. OTOH, I have one of the original Donvier hand crank makers that has the same type of chill bowl, and that thing will get the same amount of base too stiff to turn the crank. I can easily scoop and serve the just churned ice cream from the Donvier without it needing to go into the freezer first, but not the Cuisinart.
If I had to guess, I'd say Cuisinart tweaks the contents of the chill bowl in some way so that it doesn't let the base get too stiff because that could burn out the motor...?
I dunno. Fortunately someone gave me the Cuisinart so it was free, otherwise I would have returned it.