Everyone loves ice cream, and making it at home with your own ice cream maker can help you enjoy this treat as often as you want in all the different varieties. But what happens when the ice cream maker is not freezing?
When your ice cream maker is not freezing, it is important to check the type of ingredients you add to the ice cream, see if you are filling the bowl too much, consider freezing the machine bowl ahead of time, add more ice and salt in to encourage freezing, and check the thermostat on the machine.
Often it is the little things that will help make the ice cream machine work better and get to the proper temperature. In this article, we will explore some of the basic steps that you can take to help your ice cream maker get to the right temperature so you can enjoy a tasty treat.
Check to See if There Is Too Much Ice Cream
When you bring out the ice cream maker, everyone is excited to get a tasty treat. You put all the ingredients together and begin the process of adding it to your ice cream maker. In a hurry, you decide to make a big batch and add it all in at once.
Even if all the mixture will fit into the bowl of your ice cream maker, that doesn’t mean you should fill it up. Most ice cream makers have a limit on how much should be inside the bowl to ensure proper freezing. Check your manual to see exactly how much this should be. If you are putting too much in, this is likely the reason why the ice cream isn’t freezing.
It is better to do two batches of ice cream, and get them really done well than to overstuff the machine and end up with a big mess. In fact, even if you are only putting the amount in that is recommended, and the ice cream still isn’t frozen, consider cutting the batch down a little more and see if that fixes the problem.
Look at What Ingredients You Use
The ingredients you add to your ice cream can make a difference. If any ingredient is warm, it may cause the ice cream maker to struggle with freezing.
Ingredients that are room temperature or stored out of the fridge are easier to chill in the ice cream maker. Some fruits, nuts, and flaked coconut fit into this. Some fresh fruit may take longer too.
If your ice cream maker seems to struggle with freezing with the ingredients you use, consider combining everything together and leaving the base in the fridge for a bit. An hour is often enough to help with this and can give the ice cream maker a chance at freezing your ice cream.
A few ingredients to consider when making your ice cream include:
- More fat, usually in the form of cream, can make the ice cream richer. However, adding in too much will cause the ice cream to harden into a rock in the freezer when done. It is also thick, making it harder for the ice cream maker to get it cold.
- Adding in a little sugar helps to soften your ice cream when it is done. Too much sugar will make it impossible for the ice cream maker to freeze anything.
- Milk helps to make the ice cream harder. Milk is mostly water, and that water turns into ice crystals. Adding more milk can help freeze the ice cream more.
- Eggs; these make the ice cream more dense and smooth. The hotter the eggs are cooked, the more of that flavoring you get in the final product. However, really hot eggs will require the ice cream maker to work longer before your dessert is cooked through.
How Much Water Is in the Bucket
Depending on which ice cream recipe you use, water may collect in the ice cream maker bucket. The water is often created when the ice melts along with the salt. This water will absorb the heat from the ice cream inside, which in small amounts will help to freeze the dessert better.
However, if you have too much water sitting in the bowl, this causes the whole machine to get warmer, and your ice cream will never freeze completely.
There are a few ways to check for this. If you notice the top of your ice cream is frothy, and the bottom is a liquid, this is a sign that too much water is allowed to stay in the bucket.
It is possible to fix this issue. Wait until the maker is running and see how high the water is under your ice. If there is water found four inches below the bucket rim, it is time to remove some. A baster is a good way to remove some water.
Remember, you don’t need to take out all the water because a little will help with the freezing. But remove enough, so the ice cream maker doesn’t need to work so hard.
Cool Down the Ice Cream Base
Many times cooling down the ice cream base ahead of time will help the machine work better. You should not get tempted to churn your ice cream if the base is warm at all. This prevents the ice cream from having time to cool down, even in a cold ice cream maker, and it won’t freeze.
Often leaving the base in the fridge for a bit is enough. Placing it in an ice bath for four hours can help as well. Metal bases may get cold faster, so check on the base to see when it is done. If you plan ahead, consider adding the base into the freezer the night before, so it is ready when you want to make ice cream.
Add More Ice and Salt
Sometimes your ice cream needs a bit of ice and salt to keep it frozen. The ice helps to lower the temperature better, especially with large amounts of ice cream. The salt helps the ice melt and release some of the cooling you need.
Most ice cream recipes will require you to use ice and salt. In this fruit ice cream recipe, it is recommended that you use 2 cups or 500 ml of table salt and 8 trays of ice cubes for a 2-quart ice cream maker. Keep a little extra on hand, too, in case you need more cooling during the machine run time.
Check the Thermostat on Your Ice Cream Machine
If you have tried all the options above, then it is time to check the ice cream machine itself. And the quickest way to do this is to check the thermostat and see what temperature it gets down to.
When running the machine on empty, see what temperature the thermostat gets down too. If the thermostat can get down to the recommended temperatures based on your user manual, then the problem is most likely the type and temperature of the ingredients you put inside.
On the other hand, if the machine struggles to get to the right temperature, this is a sign that your ice cream maker is broken. You can look for a certified repair shop to fix it or consider purchasing a new one, like this Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker.
To make the best homemade ice cream, it is important for the machine to get down to the proper temperature. If the machine doesn’t get cold enough, your ice cream will be runny and not freeze all the way. Being careful with the ingredients you use and checking the thermostat on the machine can help you get your ice cream to the perfect temperature.