Ice Cream maker problem

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Washing Up
Oct 4, 2004
I have a homemade ice cream maker. It bought a few months ago at Wal Mart. One of the products I need to make it work is special rock salt specifically make for hardening ice cream. About a month or so after I bought the ice cream maker, Wal Mart discontinued all their ice cream making accessories; including the rock salt. The only other place I knew of where I could buy the rock salt was at a store in a local mall called "The Gourmet Chef". Now that store has also discontinued the rock salt. Now what do I do?! I bought a bunch of stuff for making homemade vanilla frozen yogurt, and I can now do nothing with it. I tried regular salt one time, but that just prematurely melts the ice, and it doesn't harden the ice cream at all. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Washing Up
Sep 23, 2004
LINK to purchase Rock Salt

Table vs Rock Salt for Ice Cream

name David E. G.
status educator
age 50s

Question - Rock salt is used for making ice cream. We have found table salt actually lowers the
temperature of ice water several degrees more. Why is table salt not used?

It works quite well because it is more soluble than rock salt. It is not used much because it costs quite
a lot more than rock salt.

ProfHoff 669
No reason. It "works" better because table salt is a much finer grain and so it comes to equilibrium with
the ice/water quicker. The only "ice cream maker's" reason might be that you do not want the temperature
to get too low. There is probably some differential in price, but both forms of salt are so inexpensive
for home-made ice cream compared to the other ingredients, that is not an important consideration.

Vince Calder
I am not by any means an expert on making ice cream, but I am willing to make a guess. If it is correct
that table salt lowers the temperature even more, the water might freeze faster and create ice crystals in
the ice cream. I doubt most people want gritty ice cream. You could try an experiment--try one batch with
table salt and one batch with rock salt and see what happens.

Pat Rowe
Rock salt is cheaper.

Some ice cream makers do recommend using table salt, so there is obviously no operational reason not to use
it. But if rock salt will suffice, using table salt in an ice cream freezer is like washing your floor
with distilled water - too much added cost for not much added benefit.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.


Head Chef
Sep 1, 2004
Good suggestion, mudbug. Also, check any large grocery stores in your area in the spice section with the other salts. My stores carry the stuff year round, and I've also seen rock salt in automotive stores for use in melting ice on driveways (remember folks, this is Texas, not Oregon).

However, sarah, there is nothing magical about rock salt. It is salt, albeit non-food-grade, and is in large solid rocks, instead of ground. If your ice cream is not firming with table salt, then you're not using enough (and it takes A LOT to substitute for the mass of rock salt).

Test the salinity by using a ten-minute rule: After ten minutes of churning, if the ice cream is beginning to firm, then you've got the salt ratio about right. If it is not beginning to thicken, then you need to add more salt and recheck in another ten minutes. If your ice cream is getting crusty around the edges of the churning bowl, then you have too much salt -- just remove about half of the water and add more ice to refill the bucket.

There are few things in this world more delicious than homemade ice creams and yogurts! Good luck!


Sous Chef
Aug 24, 2004
If you have a water softener, you can steal the salt from the regeneration tank. If the salt is the big kind, just crush it with a hammer.

What I'm saying is you can use any kind of salt. Rock salt would normally be the cheapest. In a pinch (punny), you can even use table salt.
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