If you’re an ice cream lover, you know what it’s like to sink your spoon into a cold dish of sweet, frozen delight on a hot summer’s day…
The resistance of the frozen dessert against the spoon, then the fragrance arrives, a slight pause of heady anticipation, and finally, the clear understanding of heaven on earth as your favorite flavor melts in your mouth.
If you can’t get enough ice cream, maybe it’s time to consider an at-home model designed to produce copious amounts of delicious, old fashioned frozen goodness.
The Elite Gourmet 6-Quart Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker by Maxi-Matic allows you to produce up to 1 1/2 gallons of churned bliss in the convenience of your home, easily enough to satisfy the biggest of appetites.
Simple and straightforward to use, the Maxi-Matic EIM506 is fully automatic, and will do all the heavy churning for you – unless you want to do it, of course. It also comes with a classic die-cast hand crank, making it the ideal model for the cabin or backyard cookout.
Ice and Rock Salt Models
Based on the tried and true method of using ice and rock salt to freeze cream while it churns, this style of machine is inherently simple in design and function, and therefore very easy to use.
A chilled mixture is poured into the metal canister, which is then immersed in layers of ice and rock salt in the larger bucket.
This combination reduces the freezing point to below 32°F, which is necessary for the liquid to freeze. A mixing paddle, or dasher, is then submerged into the mix and hooked up to the motor. When it’s turned on, this churns air into the freezing slurry.
Only a little vigilance is required to keep the ice and salt levels up while the mix processes, stirring and adding more every 10-15 minutes or so.
The EMI-506 has a lovely handcrafted solid pine exterior with a maple finish, smart chrome banding, and a quaint label that’s sure to add a handsome, retro charm to any kitchen.
The two-function design converts easily from a motor crank to hand crank, which is the ideal way to finish off a batch.
When on auto crank, the high torque motor effortlessly churns out your favorite recipes in 40-60 minutes, depending on the amount in the canister.
Simply add the chilled mix to the metal canister, layer in the ice and salt, then sit back and relax while you wait.
When finished processing, the texture will be that of soft serve, and it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy as is. However, if you prefer a harder texture, chill in the freezer for a couple of hours up to a couple of days to suit personal tastes.
Features and Benefits
The Maxi-Matic EMI-506 uses an aluminum mixing canister to keep your favorite blend at the optimal temperature during the churning process, and achieves the shortest freeze time possible, as aluminum quickly conducts the freeze to the mix.
It is equally adept at creating other frozen treats as well, and makes gelato, frozen yogurt, and sorbet with equal ease.
The rock salt and ice combination keeps the mixture at an ideal temperature of 10°F for superb texture, and a thick and smooth consistency.
Churn delicious ice cream in 40 minutes with the dual function cranks. Start with the motorized crank, and finish off with the hand crank for extra firm results.
The unit will shut off automatically when the batch has reached the proper consistency.
The powerful electric motor runs on 50 watts and 120 volts, and has a built-in overheating protection system that guarantees your safety, as well as the longevity of your equipment.
Dimensions and Capacity
This model measures 23 x 13 x 13” and weighs in at 16 pounds, so it does have a fair sized footprint for countertop and storage – but it’s important to keep in mind that this is capable of making 6 quarts at a time. The metal mixing canister is cylindrical with dimensions of approximately 13 x 6”.
Cleaning is easy – just remove the bowl and dasher and wash in warm, soapy water. Wipe the plastic motorized top clean with a damp cloth, and refer to the User’s Manual for care of the wooden bucket.
The following comments on performance are a compilation of the most common highlights and problems, as reported by verified customers at Amazon.
- A majority of satisfied customers repeatedly commented on the easy operation of this model. The strong motor provides plenty of power for smooth operation, churning for 35-40 minutes with ease until the proper consistency has been reached.
- The consistency and texture of the finished product is also recommended, as it produces a smooth, ice-free batch in 40 minutes or so.
- Another popular feature is finishing off the churning with the hand crank – kids, both young and old, have a lot of fun with this “hands on” component, as they crank out some family memories as well as your favorite frozen concoctions. It’s easy enough for all ages to enjoy.
- Despite the large capacity of this model, it’s easy to store. And many report keeping it on the counter to display the old-time charm and warm wooden exterior.
- The bucket is well-crafted, sturdy in performance, and it gives good value for the asking price.
Unfortunately, there are numerous complaints about the mechanical operation of this model.
- Too often, customers reported the plastic gears in the electric head and drive shaft slipping, jumping, and stripping, leaving the canister unable to turn.
- There are also a number of customers who reported the unit stopping and starting during operation, even with an empty canister.
- Hand cranking is still an option when the gears strip, but there are also a lot of complaints about the flimsy nature of the hand crank, with the screw holding the rod to the handle being flimsy and loose.
- There’s also a number of reports of receiving the Maximatic with missing parts – and customer service that is painful and challenging for the customer.
- Another common complaint is of a leaky bucket. The slats are glued together, and the hoops are decorative only – the bucket isn’t actually coopered, resulting in salt water leaking out.
- Follow the instructions in the well-written manual for best results.
- Finish your batch with a short hand cranking session for a firmer consistency.
- Get a good recipe book for more advanced dishes.
- If you’re not using the full 6-quart capacity, fill with ice and salt to just over the level of the liquid.
- Soak the bucket first, so the wood can expand – and check for leaks.
The Maximatic has a standout, classic appearance with its natural pine finish, and makes a nice quality of thick, fluffy desserts. And with its generous 6-quart capacity, it’s a natural for family gatherings and parties.
However, given the number of complaints about problems with the plastic gears, it seems the chances of getting a unit that will perform as expected are a bit iffy. And almost one-third of all reviewers on Amazon reported (at the time of this writing) relevant complaints regarding performance issues.
Add to that the poor response from customer service, and this model slips off of the recommended list – there’s better large-capacity ice cream makers on the market for the money.
If you have your heart set on an old-fashioned looking wooden model, you may want to check out this offering from Nostalgia Electrics.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.