This has always been an issue with this machine but I don't think it is the machine. I somehow feel like it something to do with the ice/salt ratio or something of that nature.
A couple of things come to mind.1) The ratio for ice to ice cream salt is 8:1 and should be layered, starting at the bottom. It may be that you've gone "top heavy" by adding salt closer to the top of the canister & 2) If you are adding fruit (e.g. peach ice cream), let your base mixture churn until it is at least halfway frozen before adding the fruit. Hope this helps.
Your base might not be cold enough and/or your cylinder may not be frozen enough. First, be sure to freeze the cylinder upside down for at least 12 hours before spinning your custard. When I prepare ice cream custard, I refrigerate it overnight after chilling it down to 40 degrees over an ice bath. Chilling overnight permits the protein molecules to fully expand, creating a creamier ice cream. Persevere!
Thanks Chef Lisa and Boulangere. Both of these answers are super helpful and I think they cover some crucial points I have not perfected which are impeding the freezing. The layering of salt etc ant top heavy aspect definitely rings true. When I removed the canister the frozen clumps of ice were all at the top not down at the bottom where the custard is in the canister. And too, chilling is another issue; terribly impatient here and trying to fit all this into a busy schedule...deep breath coming and hopefully perfectly frozen ice cream. Thanks again!
It may be a question of expectations. Ice cream fresh out of an old fashioned ice cream machine has a 'soft serve' texture. The hard freeze ice cream that we expect is what you get after it has a bit of time in a freezer.