on June 19, 2012
I've had the Oster Expressbake Breadmaker for almost 7 months and have used it too many times to count. If it died tomorrow, I feel like I have had my money's worth out of it and would buy another. I have used the Basic, Quick, Whole Wheat, Dough, and Sweet cycles, and they all work perfectly and produce a wonderful loaf of bread. If you're new to bread making, I highly recommend the book 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt. This book gives a lot of good hints and tips besides outstanding recipes. There are also good recipes on allrecipes.com. An electric knife to slice the loaf is also extremely helpful.
I want to address some points brought out in other reviews. First of all, many bread recipe books recommend helping the beginning 5-minute mix (knead) by scraping down the sides with a silicone spatula. All you have to do is leave the lid up and as the blade is turning, scrape down the sides and help the ingredients mix. This will also help you to see if you need to add more flour or more water. Dough should circle the pan nicely and not get stuck on one side for too long. Dough with nuts or fruit in it needs to be a bit stickier than regular bread dough in order to help the nuts or fruit stay incorporated in the bread.
Secondly, there IS an "add ingredient" tone (for fruits and nuts) that sounds on most of the bread cycles...even the Basic cycle.
The instruction book that comes with the manual does not explain this, but the Quick cycle (sometimes called the Cake cycle) is not to make bread bake quicker. It is for breads without yeast...quick breads like banana bread. There is only one mix (knead) and no rising time in this cycle.
To fasten the bread pan in the machine securely, you must push down on the bread pan until it clicks into place under the brackets.
Lastly, the times for kneading, resting, rising, and baking are perfect in this machine! Loaves turn out perfectly every time. Just follow the instructions given in the recipes and the instruction book for perfect loaves, don't substitute ingredients, measure ingredients carefully, and use actual bread flour. There is a certain order that you are to add the ingredients to the machine, and the 300 Best Bread Machine cookbook gives further instructions for ingredients that have to stay dry before the mixing starts. The paddle comes out in the loaf of bread, but a tool is included that helps you pull it out with minimal tearing of the loaf. I have to say that if someone is not experiencing great loaves of bread, it's a strong possibility that it's because of user error.
I highly recommend this bread machine and wish you happy baking!
on December 23, 2011
Update 10/20/2012 - STILL works phenomenally well, and way better than the price might indicate!
I am a father with four young children, and I bake bread 2-3x a week. I bought this in the summer of 2011 (albeit not from Amazon) and have used it at least 100x or so. I bought it for $60, and I can hardly believe the consistently excellent quality that this machine turns out. I mean...seriously, for $60? You'd expect the thing to be sub-par and not up to the task. The key with this machine (as with any other, I'd imagine) is to work hard on getting the dough ball correct. That's the only part that the machine cannot monitor. Almost invariably, I have to add an extra tbsp or so of water, although very occasionally extra flour is needed. Once you figure out the right additions, you're ready for the REAL convenience of owning one of these - the timer function! Get yourself perfected on 5-10 recipes, and all you've gotta do is measure out the ingredients into the bread pan, set the timer, and presto! Wake up the next morning to fresh bread! The recipe for frozen berry jam is also excellent, although I HIGHLY recommend that you allow the berries to soften a bit before starting because the edges of hard frozen strawberries scratched the non-stick coating a bit. Cleanup is a breeze too.
A small tip (which would apply to all brands of bread machine): Make sure to take the kneading paddle out of the bread immediately after you drop the loaf onto your table. It almost always comes out into the loaf, and a tool is included to make removing it a simple task. Once removed, place it into the bread pan but do NOT put it back onto the kneading cylinder. The bread around the paddle will be moist, and if it dries onto the cylinder, it can be nigh impossible to remove. I ruined an old machine because NOTHING would allow me to get the paddle off, not even soaking it in hot water repeatedly. Again, this applies to ALL bread machines, not just this one.
For the price, there is simply nothing out there to compare with this machine. It outperforms more expensive units that I've used before as well.
on May 10, 2013
Making bread is now sooooo much easier - take a lot less of my time / effort. This unit is easy to clean and easy to use.
Despite the long list of CONs below, I do use this machine 4-5 times a week and it makes good bread.
The mixing arm being left in the bottom of the bread is a real pain! Removing it after the bread is baked / removed leaves a big hole in the bottom of the loaf and messes up about 5-6 slices of bread once cut. (See my notes below for a hint here).
If you use warm water in the mix, the glass viewing window steams up rendering it useless until the bread gets into the bake cycle and the whole machine gets hot.
The machine does wobble significantly when making a 2lb loaf. (lesser so with a 1.5Lb loaf). You do need to be careful not to pace the unit near the edge of your counter / workspace when in use as it does tend to `walk' while in use!
The majority of the recipes in the included booklet simply did not work for me - dense bread, with a poor rise.
The plastic hinges on the lid gets quite 'soft' after baking the bread and I can't image they last a year.
The delayed bake feature sounds like a good idea but is not really that practical. - This is not really a CON for this particular bread maker, but in general. IE you can't make bread containing egg (or milk) when using the delay/timer feature unless you like extra salmonella with your bread! Also, even without egg/milk, when using the delay timer the water will be cold by the time the machine starts - effecting the yeast / rise of the bread.
If you want to avoid the ghastly hole in the bottom of the bread (due to the mixing blade), then as the machine changes from Kneed to Rise cycle, lift out the dough, remove the mixing blade then replace the dough - voila!
The fast bake recipe in the booklet (for 1.5Lb white bread) actually make an excellent light, fluffy loaf in under 1h 15mis, if you add an extra 10mins to the rise cycle. To do this you need to wait till the middle of the rise cycle then pull the power plug out for 5mins, insert it for 5 seconds, pull power plug out for another 5mins then re-insert. The machine continues its cycle where it left off as long as the power is not out for more than 6mins!
Here's my favorite bread recipe for this machine: (ingredients should be added to the bowl in the listed order)
2Tbsp packed brown sugar
1Cup & 2Tbsp of 130F water (Mix with a wooden spoon till the sugar is dissolved. The metal mixing bowl cools the water enough not to damage the yeast).
2Tbsp vegetable oil
3Cups unbleached bread flour
5tsp dried active yeast (rapid rise / bread machine yeast)
1Tbsp milk powder
Use the above on Menu 5 (Fast bake 1.5Lb loaf) and follow my note above for adding the extra 10mins of rise time.
on February 22, 2013
I love to cook, and I especially love to work with pastries, crusts, desserts, and various breads. Several years ago my Zorjurshi bread machine stopped working and my friends pooled their funds together to try and replace it. I love my friends dearly, and the thought is so much more important than owning a Zo, but after gathering funds, they lacked significant cash to purchase the highest priced Zo bread machine. This was not a serious problem for me. My friends asked me if I would use a lower priced, bread machine, since they were extremely short on cash. Since I really needed some help with my baking, I of course said yes (thinking that soon I would simply replace the Oster with a Zo... Really, how well and how long would this machine hold up under everyday use?)
What a wonderful birthday it was! I am aging, not so gracefully, but I am surrounded with love. I am loved by my friends, family and after 50+ years of living, I finally have a better understanding of God, His love, my purpose, the 'secret', and am so enjoying my 'mature' and more 'God-focused, Spiritual' self (less).
Back to the Oster... I use the Oster every day! I use it for doughs, mixers, bread baking, dough rising, everything (and MORE) than the former machine I operated. Some days, I even back 2-3 loaves of bread. I love sharing a loaf with my neighbors... There is not better way to share the love than through a hot loaf of bread, butter, jams, jellies, marmalade, hazelnut spread, honey butter.. etc.
The pros of the Oster? It has so many variations, selections for bread, pastries and dough. The instructions are easy to use, and there are few controls to confuse you. You simply set the desired 'output', add the ingredients, press start and, as per the selection you entered, you will have the most beautiful loaf of bread in either 58 minutes (YES under and hour) or several hours. I love the quick loaf setting! It does bake a perfect loaf in 58 minutes with no mixing, rising, baking or burning problems whatsoever!
I have never baked an ugly loaf of bread in my Oster; they all bake perfectly, each loaf bakes to a beautiful light brown top crust, with few air pockets or ill-formations. The bread dough mixes and bakes perfectly and evenly. I have used all types of flour (bread, rye, wheat, nuts, and have added so many fun ingredients such as nuts, cheese, fruits, etc.).
The Oster bread machine is so simple to use. I love the size(s) and shape of the loaf pan; the shape is a standard 'horizontal', store bakery shape (not vertical), and the machine uses only one paddle to mix ingredients. It mixes perfectly, evenly and I love having ONLY ONE Paddle. When your loaf is finished, you simply turn it upside down, the loaf slides out, and the ONE paddle comes out easily, quickly and with very little mess. (I do not like the damage done by the 2 paddles, used on many bread machines. Burnt and stuck paddles can really mess up the bottom of the bread loaf... But I am a bit of a perfectionist.)
You have the option to bake various size loaves of bread (1.5 -2.0.lbs). I love the ability to adjust the size of the loaf depending on what I am baking. I like larger, everyday loaves used for general nutrition, versus baking a smaller loaf, served for special occasion, or given as a gift.
I have no problems with the machine at all. Yes, the baking pan does have a non-stick surface, but as with all my Bakeware, if hand washed and properly cared for, Bakeware will last for years. Since I use the Oster daily, I have NO problems, no scratches or flaking whatsoever of the non-stick interior pan. The overall machine construction is a combination of hard, heat resistant plastic, and a metal, stainless interior heating cabinet. The unit has all of its control settings on the top, front, for easy use. The lid is on top, has a top, glass window for viewing (which is wonderful to check your bread while baking), and the back of the lid has vents to allow heat-air exchange during baking.
The Oster is so easy to clean up, I just hand wash the bread baking pan, the paddle, and wipe out the interior and exterior of the unit. When the Oster is operating, there is very little jumping. If placed on a level, stable counter top, the rubber feet will keep the bread machine in position while mixing, kneading dough and baking.
There is one other feature, which I personally do not use, but many others will love. The Oster has a timer control which allows the user to add all the bread ingredients into the pan, before going to bed, and when the family awakes your bread will be baking and ready to eat. What a wonderful breakfast addition!
The only con that I can think of is that the Oster's completed baking 'chime' is too quiet. (Again, I am getting older so it just might be my hearing... But), I always remember to set my oven buzzer to correspond to the Oster bread loaf baking completion timer (easy to read and on the front, top of the control panel). When my loaves are finished baking, I always unplug the unit and lift the lid. Any bread machine will continue to cook as long as the lid remains closed. With the Oster, there is no need for additional baking time as the machine bakes each loaf perfectly, every time!
I can't believe I am even writing this review. Typically, it does take an excellent experience for me to comment on any product or service. I do want consumers to know just how well I like the Oster bread machine, and I would proudly give the Oster bread machine as a gift to any of my bread baking friends. I hope that if purchased, you have the same wonderful experiences that I have had. (Pastries, Cookies, Pies and Bread help create memories and make it a bit easier to share love.) Again, being a hard core 'Zo' user, I was leery of using a lower priced, everyday big box store brand, especially since it did not come off of the shelf of a fancy kitchen 'gadget' store, but I must say I love my Oster!
Keep sharing the memories and giving love!
on November 12, 2015
Bought: March 3, 2013 @ 59.99
Date of this Review: November 12, 2015
Status of this breadmaker: Showing its age but still chugging!
I have been relocated by my company (together with my family) here in the US from Singapore. We moved to New Jersey around Nov, 2012 and we have been buying loaves of bread from our nearby supermarket daily @ $2.50 a pop 5 times a week. Over the couple of months we noticed that we are feeling a bit "down" thinking it was just us adjusting to the weather but we were also gaining weight every month. So, trying to be "healthy" we started reading the labels of each food we buy and noticed a LOOOOT of ingredients that looked like from a science fiction/medical drama series (see attached photo). So we thought of making our own bread from scratch but didn't want to spend a lot of time kneading and rising the dough everyday.
Enter this bread machine and some research enabled us to save money and in turn saved our health. For the money saving part, we sourced the following ingredients:
Great Value Flour 25-Pound - $8 (37 servings)
Great Value Powdered Milk 4-lbs - $16 (64 servings)
Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar, 8 lbs - $5 (128 servings)
Great Value: Vegetable Oil, 1 Gal - $5 (64 servings)
Augason Farms Iodized Salt, 104 oz - $5 (623 servings)
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Flour Pack of 4 of 22-ounce each - $23 (83 servings)
The Ready Store:
SAF Premium Yeast 16oz - $7 (48 servings)
Note: Per 1 serving denotes 1 loaf of 1.5 lb bread. So per serving of all combined ingredients above costs me $1.012! (Savings: $1.488). So in less than 2 months, I already made back the cost of the bread machine. So after that and 28 months later today - this breadmaker is still baking strong even after roughly 500 loaves of bread (20+/- loaves a month) with a total saving of around $700+.
That said, we felt better after a couple of months and lost some weight. Even our dog likes our freshly baked bread - note that she NEVER EVER touched the ones we bought from the store. Not to mention the great sensation of smelling the loaves you bake - it's freshness! And a dab of butter on a freshly cut loaf lifts up your morale even more!
The other best thing about making your bread at home - you can go beyond that simple loaf of bread! Add nuts, add eggs, add spices. Turn it into pumpernickel. Turn it into hoagies. Into fresh baguette. Into basically...anything! I bought the "The Artisan Bread Machine" here in Amazon and delved into more creations. We can now make anything the fancy bakeries out there can make WITHOUT the unspeakable ingredients.
* Can make a variety of loaves with your desired setting
* It takes only around 5 minutes to dump in the ingredients then it mixes and bakes
* Never failed to make the perfect loaf (only if you put in the correct ingredients in the correct order)
* As it ages (more than 2 years old now), the non-stick coating is fading but that's to be expected
* It doesn't do laundry
If this breaks - I'm buying it again and hopefully the same quality as before. Worth the money and ROI pays off quickly. Better health knowing you know what goes in your bread > Priceless!