After our 30 year old Rival 6 qt ice cream maker bit the proverbial dust last year (2008) and right in the middle of making a batch of ice cream no less, I rushed out to my local Target to buy a replacement. I picked the Hamilton Beach 68330 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker because I have had other HB products before and liked them. It wasn't too expensive, either, so I bought it and took it home.
Recommend this product?
This is the 'ice and salt' version ice cream maker, which we prefer. I know there are other types out there, which require freezing the canister in your refrigerator's freezer section, but they usually don't make a firm textured treat.
Anyway, the machine worked great, saving the batch of the aforementioned ice cream in time for company. It took under 30 minutes and the ice cream was firm and dense, which is how we like our homemade frozen treat. We used it one other time after that with the same success. It cleaned up nicely, too. We kept it stored it in its box, in our sevice porch, perched atop a free-standing pantry cabinet, until we had need of it again. All total, we had used it two times.
Well, this year a friend asked me to make some ice cream for her father's 80th birthday party, which they held at a local park. I decided to make the ice cream ahead of time, just in case the park's pavilion didn't have any working outlets, with the idea of keeping the container of ice cream in a cooler filled with ice and, thereby, maintaining its frozen, yummy state.
After I combined all the ingredients of my favorite recipe, I poured it into the container and plugged the electrical cord into my kitchen outlet. However, the machine refused to work! It stalled right away. I tried everything to get it to operate, but it wouldn't. After several fruitless minutes of trying to get the stupid thing to start, I had my husband help me. He had the same results. Eventually, he took the machine apart. He's an electrical engineer and very skilled with all things electrical. Goes without saying that I had high hopes he would find the problem and fix it.
There are four gears of varying sizes that work together to operate the paddle. What he discovered totally shocked us. The teeth in the two largest gears had either broken off or were crushed! In our previous two experiences with making ice cream with this unit, we did not have any problems at all, nothing to indicate that the machine was struggling. It had worked flawlessly.
What made this worse, was my husband found that the gears were made out of potmetal! Potmetal is the cheapest and least stable metal. Even gears made out of nylon would have been better!
Well, I didn't have time to go out and buy another replacement, the party was starting in an hour, so I kept the still-liquid ice cream recipe refrigerated until the next day.
Unfortunately, there is not a high demand for ice cream makers, at least not in the stores I went to, and the ones I found either had either bad reviews (I called my husband to google each one!) or they required that the container be frozen first (a 22 hour process!).
Ultimately, I came home empty handed and because we had a wedding to go to that afternoon, I didn't have time to make the ice cream the old fashioned way, that is by freezing and stirring it every so often.
In the end, because I my recipe was a non-cook version, I had to toss out the equivilent of 4 eggs, 4 cups cream, 5 cups milk, 2.25 cups sugar, 1.5 TBLS expensive vanilla, not to mention 40# of ice (for making the ice cream and keeping it frozen while at the park). All totaled, I lost something close to $15.00! Certainly not pocket-change by my reckoning!
The Hamilton Beach 68330 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker works great for the first couple of tries, but after that you're playing a game of Russian Roulette with your ice cream recipe. If you insist on buying this brand for whatever reason, I highly recommend that you test it each time you want to use it, AND preferably BEFORE you mix up your favorite recipe! Otherwise, I do not recommend this unit. I would rather make my ice cream the old fashioned way by freezing and stirring it, or buy a couple half-gallons of Bryers Vanilla Bean ice cream; it tastes just as good as homemade and it costs a whole lot less, too!
Product: Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Ice Cream Maker
Comments on Box: Makes Ice Cream, FrozenYogurt, Custard, Sherbert, and Gelato. Fully Automatic. Easy-Lock Lid. Over 20 Recipes Included.
Recommendation? A gigantic NO WAY!
Amount Paid (US$): 25