Pros / The Oster 4 Quart FRSTIC-WDB-001 ice cream maker looks like an old-fashioned hand cranking machine, but it is completely electric.
Cons / You need to soak the wooden bucket for an hour and a half before the first use.
Verdict / While its appearance is nostalgic and it makes good ice cream, the Oster 4 Quart FRSTIC-WDB-001 requires more effort and time than some other machines we reviewed.
The Oster FRSTIC-WDB-001's wooden bucket design makes it look like an old-fashioned ice cream maker, but it uses electricity. That way, you can enjoy the nostalgia without muscle strain from turning a hand crank. Thanks to its 4-quart capacity, this ice cream maker is perfect for large families or social gatherings. The consistency of the Oster's ice cream made it a favorite among our panel of taste testers, who all said it was creamy and decently thick.
To use this ice cream maker, you need rock salt and lots of ice. You layer them in the bucket to create a cold environment that can solidify your ice cream. A freezer bowl machine, such as the Hamilton Beach 1.5 Quart 68320, is a little less hassle.
The manual states that before you use the machine for the first time, you need to "swell" the bucket – you fill the bucket 2/3 full of water and let it soak 90 minutes so the wood expands to fill any cracks. If you forget this step or choose not to do it, the bucket will leak as the ice melts, which will make extra cleanup work. Some people bypass the swelling step by making a custom plastic bucket liner. However, we don’t recommend it, as it might hinder the ice cream making process and has the potential to ruin your machine.
When we first pulled the ice cream maker out of the box, we noticed there was a small knothole in one of the panels. We didn't think much of it because it appeared to be filled with a hardened paste. However, after soaking the bucket for 90 minutes, we discovered the paste in the knothole had turned to mush and water had leaked through it. Later, while the ice cream maker ran, the ice melted and a small amount of water leaked through the hole and onto the countertop. It wasn't a huge mess, but it did make cleanup take longer. We aren't sure if it is common for these ice cream makers to have knotholes, but the water-soluble paste Oster used to patch ours wasn’t a good solution.
As per the instructions, we made layers of 2 inches of ice followed by 1/4 cup of rock salt in the bucket until they reached the top of the canister. Nowhere in the instructions did it say more ice or salt needed to be added during the 40-minute process, so we only filled it at the beginning. The ice and salt mixture melted as the machine churned and was a good 2 inches below the canister lid when the time was up. We made our ice cream in an air-conditioned building. Had we been outside or in a warmer environment, the ice would have melted even more.
Straight from the canister, the ice cream was a decent consistency. However, we needed to place it in the freezer to harden it to a more store-bought consistency.
You should read the manual carefully to understand care and maintenance suggestions. It comes with a standard one-year warranty and the manual lists a number to call for warranty services.
This machine has a big enough capacity to make ice cream for large gatherings. However, you must be willing to do the swelling process before you create your first batch.
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