694 of 700 people found the following review helpful
Great bread machine, bad manual
, March 14, 2010
This review is from: West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker (Kitchen)
I love this bread machine. It is the best I have ever owned. I would give it a 5 star rating if the manual was better and there wasn't such a long wait to add in fruit or nuts.
I have been using bread machines for over 20 years. This is my 4th bread machine. My last bread machine lasted the shortest time, only 2 years. It was a Breadman 875. I like to make a whole wheat cereal bread and the motor on the Breadman was not strong enough to handle the heavy dough. In addition the rise on my breads was inconsistent. Sometimes it would have a huge rise and others it would barely rise. I never had this problem with my other bread machines.
After reading all the reviews and considering my budget I decided to purchase the West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise. I liked the idea of 2 paddles and a horizontal loaf of bread. As soon as I got the bread machine I plugged it in and read the manual. The manual is a big disappointment. All the other bread machines I have owned have the amount of time for each part of the bread making process. The West Bend doesn't tell you how long it will be when you get the beep to add ingredients like fruit and nuts. The only thing you get it a count down time on the bread machines display.
Another thing the manual didn't tell you was to run the bake cycle (this is one of the menu items) before you try to make any bread. This is important. It burns off any residual oil and sealing material left from the manufacturing process. I recommend you do this in an area with lots of ventilation. Either open the windows in the kitchen, use the garage or do it outside. It will stink and you don't want to have that smell baked into your first loaf of bread.
Once I had burned off the gunk I was ready to make my first loaf of bread. I wait until the add ingredients beep to add in a cooked multigrain cereal to my whole wheat bread. Right away I discovered a big difference in the way the Hi-Rise makes bread. My 3 previous machines would run for 5 minutes to mix all the ingredients, rest for 5 minutes and then knead for 15 to 20 minutes. Usually 5 minutes before the end of the kneading cycle it would beep to add ingredients. The Hi-Rise mixes and kneads for about 15 minutes, lets the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour and then kneads for another 15 to 20 minutes. The add in beep occurs about 8 minutes before the end of the 2nd knead. This means you have to be around about an hour after you start the bread cycle to add ingredients. This is a negative for me because I like the start it and forget aspect of bread machines.
By this time you are probably wondering why I said in the beginning that I love this machine. It's because it makes the best bread I have ever had, it has no problem with my heavy cereal whole wheat bread and the rise is very consistent. In fact one thing I am still getting adjusted to is the rise. West bend is telling the truth when they call this machine Hi-Rise. With my previous machine I had to add extra yeast (active dry, not bread machine) and gluten to get a decent rise for my whole wheat bread. When I did this with the Hi-Rise the dough rose all the way to the top of the machine. I had to open it and push the dough down a little bit so it would cook evenly. For my most recent loaf of bread I carefully measured exactly the amount of yeast in the recipe and it still rose to the top. My next loaf will have less yeast than recommended for the recipe.
The quality of the finished bread is fantastic. Even the whole wheat bread is light and soft with the air pockets small and evenly distributed throughout the bread. It is similar in texture to commercial made bread.
There is another review that talks about having a problem getting the paddles out of the bread without tearing up the loaf. In my experience this is a problem with all bread machines. Since the 41300 has 2 paddles it can be twice the problem. Most single paddle machines have larger paddles that are bent and they can take out a big chunk of bread when they are removed. Since the paddles are straight they each seem to make less damage to the bread. If the paddle stays in the bread West Bend provides a tool for removing the paddle from the bread. I like to cut the crust of the bread to determine which direction the blade is and then pull it out and up from the opposite side of the blade to minimize the damage to the bread.
One other issue I have read is with getting the paddles out of the bread pan. The manual says put warm soapy water in the pan (but never imerse the pan in water) as soon as you remove the bread. I haven't had any problem removing the paddles after they soak for a few minutes. I use a small brush to clean the inside of the paddle after it is removed.
Makes the best bread I have ever had.
Consistent high rise.
Light and fluffy bread.
Manual does not tell you to burn in the machine before making bread
Manual does not have times for each step of the bread making process.
Long wait for add in beep.
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