Troubleshooting Homemade Ice Cream – Dream Scoops

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On most machines this just means turning it on 15 minutes early. In this case, the paddle will be spinning in an empty bowl. But Musso ice cream makers let you run the compressor independently of the paddle. And the Breville Smart Scoop has an automatic pre-cool function which will take care of everything!

However you do it, the important thing is that you’re not adding the mixture to a bowl that’s at room temperature.

Is it a faulty ice cream maker?

But what if you’re using a good recipe and you’re preparing it properly? And it’s completely chilled before you add to an ice cream maker that’s also been pre-cooled? If you do all this and it still looks like soup after 40 minutes, then maybe your machine is faulty!

Troubleshooting freezer bowl ice cream makers

If you’re using a freezer bowl machine and you’re sure it’s fully frozen to around 0 °F (-18 °C) or less when it comes out of the freezer, then perhaps it’s warming up too quickly.

My Cuisinart bowl comes out of the freezer at around -9 °F (-23 °C) and after 20 or 30 minutes churning it’s still at a respectable 12 °F (-11 °C). If yours is much warmer, that could be the problem.

Troubleshooting compressor ice cream makers

If you’re using a compressor machine, then maybe the freezer isn’t working properly. Compressor machines should be able to pre-cool their bowls to at least -15 °F (-26 °C).

Some machines will show you the current temperature on their LCD displays and these are more or less accurate in my experience. If you doubt them or you don’t have a machine that displays the temperature, you can always test them with a cheap infrared thermometer.

Once the mixture is added to the bowl the temperature will rise and it will always take some time for the compressor to lower it again.

In my experience, they never get back down to -15 °F (-26 °C). Instead they’ll hover around -2 °F (-19 °C). But this should be enough to get the job done adequately. If your machine is displaying a significantly higher temperature, then this is probably the issue.

Of course, if your machine doesn’t display the temperature, it’s hard to know what’s going on! But again, you can always measure the temperature with an infrared thermometer. You may need to stop the machine in the middle of churning and this may ruin your batch but at least you’ll get some idea of what’s happening.

Was it mistreated in transit?

If your compressor doesn’t freeze properly from the day you take delivery of the ice cream maker, then there’s a good chance that the problem occurred in transit.

Usually it’s the result of the box having been tipped onto it’s side or upside down. For sure, the boxes usually say “^ THIS WAY UP ^”, but busy or careless delivery guys don’t always see or heed the instructions!If the ice cream maker is rests on it’s side or upside down, the coolant liquid will drain from the compressor to another part of the machine and it wont be able to freeze properly.

But if this has happened, all is not lost! You just need to leave the ice cream maker standing upright for around 24 hours so that the coolant liquid drains back into the compressor.Now, even if the ice cream maker is delivered to you the right way up, you have no idea if it’s been the right way up for the entire duration of it’s journey. So it’s a good idea to unpack it, place it where you’re going to use it and and then leave it for 24 hours before you turn it on to make sure the coolant is in the compressor.Because if you turn it on while the coolant isn’t in the compressor, not only will it not freeze properly but it could also damage the compressor, so that even when the liquid has drained back, it won’t work properly.

So my advice is to definitely leave your new compressor ice cream maker upright and in position for 24 hours before trying it out, just in case!

If in the end you decide that your machine is faulty, get in touch with the manufacturer immediately.

Wrapping up

There’s loads of things that can go wrong with homemade ice cream. And it can be quite frustrating when we’re first starting out. Because it’s not always clear why things are not working!

But it’s important to remember that while (unless we spend a fortune) we’ll always be battling with under powered ice cream makers, all domestic machines are capable of making amazing ice cream.

All we need to do is help them along a bit. This means using well balanced and well prepared recipes, getting our mixtures as cold as possible before we add them to the machine, and ensuring the machine has been thoroughly pre-cooled.

If we do all this, then in many cases our problems will disappear! However, if the solutions I suggest here are not working for you or you’re having any problems that I don’t cover on this page, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help you sort them out!

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