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What's causing the chalkiness in my Ice Cream

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a question about ice cream texture.

I’m making a fair bit of Ice Cream lately.

Usually the Ice cream  come out delicious and smooth, however on 2 or 3 occasions I have found the ice cream to have ended up with a chalky texture.

I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.


The base recipe I am using is from the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Book (Jeni Britton Bauer) – See bottom of this email for recipe, and I add fruits to it (e.g. strawberry puree or blackcurrant puree – both of which I make myself with just fruit and sugar)


Initially I thought it was because I hadn’t cooked out the cornflour enough (because that chalky mouth feel is the same kind that I am experiencing in the finished product. But I have been making sure I bring the mix back up to boil and cook it out for at least a minute once the cornflour is in.

The other thing I thought was that maybe the fruit is reacting with the cream cheese//… But honestly I’m just guessing there. But I’ve never really had a problem with the chocolate recipe which is essentially the same thing but with a tin of evaporated milk and cocoa powder and chopped chocolate


I should point out I can taste the chalkiness before I churn the mix too, so I know it’s not due to over churning


In terms of the ingredients I use

The milk and cream is use is from a local farm which has a herd of Guernsey cows (I am using whole milk and whipping cream 38%)

The cream cheese I use is a full fat big brand (Philadelphia)


Jeni Britton Bauer’s Ice Cream Base



  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. of cornstarch
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Golden Syrup
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. (1.5 ounces) cream cheese,
  • 1 Heavy duty 1 gallon ziploc freezer bag. Or a flat heatproof tupperware or rubbermaid style container that seals tightly and can hold a quart of liquid. The freezer bag works the fastest but can be a little messy when emptying.
  • A large bowl with a tray or two worth of ice and water in it.


  1. In a small bowl, stir together a few tablespoons of milk and the cornstarch to make a slurry. Set aside.
  2. Place the cream cheese and salt in heat proof bowl or pitcher big enough to handle the full quart of mixture.
  3. In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, syrup,  bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Boil for 4 minutes; give the corn starch slurry a remix and stir it into the pot.
  5. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about a minute. Coat the back of a spoon with the mixture and run a finger through it. If the track left by your finger doesn’t immediately fill back with the mixture it is thick enough.
  6. Pour in ¼ cup hot milk mixture into your cream cheese bowl whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk mixture.
  7. Pour mixture into the ziploc bag or container. Seal, and submerge it in a bowl of ice and water until chilled. This takes about 30 minutes.
  8. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker. It is a little less messy if you cut off one of the bottom corners of the bag and pour the mix out through that.
  9. Process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  10. Transfer ice cream to a storage container and freeze until set. At least a few hours. This step is essential to fully lock in the perfect texture Jeni as conjured into this recipe.
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Still needing an answer for this if anyone can shed any light??

post #3 of 10

My hunch is that the problem lies in freezing cream cheese. It always breaks into grainy curds after freezing.

I've never seen an ice cream recipe that uses cream cheese before. 

Have you ever tried skipping the cream cheese?

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

post #4 of 10

the cornstarch is replacing egg yolks as a thickener (why? rhetorical question) 


Try the same recipe, 86 the cornstarch altogether, and use 6 egg yolks instead. Combine all ingredients except the cream cheese, and bring to 180 degrees, stirring to prevent yolks from scrambling. Pour mix into ice bath and chill to 80 degrees. Add the room temperature cream cheese with an immersion blender and age the base overnight. Proceed with freezing in ice cream maker. Have made creole cream cheese ice cream before as well as numerous "curd" type ice creams i.e. high fat. Never have I seen cornstarch used or have I encountered chalky tasting ice cream. 

Edited by Dobzre - 9/4/13 at 4:05pm
post #5 of 10

I pretty much only use Jeni's recipes and have never had a chalky texture.  My initial thought is that the fruit puree could be the culprit by adding too much water to the recipe.  What is your process for making the fruit puree and how are you adding it to the ice cream base?  Similarly, are you getting the chalk texture when you make plain vanilla?

post #6 of 10

I make a blueberry cream cheese ice cream which has a healthy amount of cream cheese  and it is smooth and silky, not at all chalky. My recipe uses eggs, though. 


Still, my guess would be the cornstarch. I make a lot of ice creams and sorbets and have never seen cornstarch added to a recipe.


I'd also let the base chill for a few hours at least before putting it in the ice cream maker.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks all, your responses are all very much appreciated.


I use the cream cheese in lots of other ice cream recipes and it works fine so my hunch is that it is something to do with the acidity of the fruit puree reacting with the cornflour custard. I might try the egg yolks for this recipe next time.



post #8 of 10

Have to disagree with the acidity hypothesis.  Sorry, but I add strawberry puree and raspberry to that exact recipe with absolutely no problems.  I still think it is an issue of the water content of your puree.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

mmm... I don't think that is the case. I didn't mention this before but there was a very low water content because I was using up a load of blackcurrant pulp after having used the best of the puree for sorbets.


Maybe the cream was a little on the old side??? - could that be it perhaps?

post #10 of 10

Okay, just realized the recipe when adding fruit is supposed to bump the cornstarch up to 2 tablespoons... if you really think it is the acidity, you can always swap out the cornstarch with tapioca starch, it will react less to acid and holds up better texturally when freezing (Jeni doesn't come out and say this, but she does admit to using the tapioca starch in her commercial production).  Time to fess up, I switched to tapioca starch last year for my ice creams, although I had good success with the cornstarch prior to that I was curious if it would offer a better final texture.  Didn't seem much different, but then again, i never really did a side-by-side comparison. Time for experimentation! (good thing I bought that extra freezer bowl)

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