Size DOES matterNov 10, 2000 (Updated Apr 1, 2002) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Know what features are available, and which you feel you must have, talk to friends/acquaintances before you buy, and read lots of epinions.
I got my first bread machine on my husband's whim, and it was a second-hand machine called "Mister Loaf" made in Japan, with a poorly translated user's guide that had pictures of "anime" bread loaves, strained facial expressions and all. I kept the manual after the machine's demise, because it was such a hoot.
I loved the bread machine, but it wasn't powerful enough to handle the whole wheat bread I was making, so it gave up the ghost after several months and just quit mixing. Well, what to look for in a new one, now that I got to choose?
I knew it had to be able to handle whole grain breads, since we're not white bread people, so I at the top of my wish list I put "Whole Wheat Cycle"
Next item: my dead-and-buried Japanese Anime Bread Machine made bread that was not convenient for sandwiches. It made a vertical loaf that, when sliced crosswise, did not make sandwiches that fit neatly into a sandwich bag for lunchboxes.
I was told "wrap them in plastic wrap or foil" but I was willing to put in some extra effort up front to save myself tons of hassle in lunch packing. After all, if we were meant to wrap sandwiches in plastic wrap or foil, would God have given us sandwich bags?]
SO, the next item on my wish list was "must make sandwich bag sized slices" I actually measured sandwich bags to determine the size for the cross section of the bread.
After talking with my sister-in-law about their bread machine, I determined that I wanted one that had the post that turns the mixing/kneading blade mounted in the pan, rather than in the machine. That is the kind they had and she told me that sometimes if the blade won't come loose, you ruin the loaf of bread trying to get it out. So, "pan mounted blade" was the next item.
The other items I was looking for are pretty much standard now on bread machines (I bought this one in 1997) such as dough, sweet, french cycles.
I also did research on internet, though being 1997, there was considerably less of this info available, and I was not too adept yet at finding things online. I also went to the library to check the back issues of Consumer reports to see if I could find models with the features I wanted.
I did find some information on bread machines but nothing to tell me the pan size. I called phone numbers that I found online, but still nothing. One bread machine company told me to cut the bread slices in half. Again, they missed my point.
I figured my only recourse was hands-on research, actually measuring the pans. So, armed with my list and my resolve, a-shopping I did go.
I hit all the stores in Lansing, Michigan, with a tape measure to check the pan size as that was one of the "must have" items. It took a while to do this, as most stores had only two or three models available, and quite often, the display model did not have the bread pan in it.
I measured bread pans anyways. I am not advising that you open boxes willy-nilly. For some odd reason they seem to frown on that practice (note sarcasm)
Instead, do your best to find someone to assist you, and inform them you need to see the bread pan before you buy. If they refuse to let you open the box, you can ask at customer service, or take your money elsewhere.
For those bold individuals who open boxes whenever they wish, please pay attention to how it is packed, so that you can return the contents to their pristine unopened condition. No one likes to buy a box with that special "Garage Sale" look.
The only machine I found that even came close to the right size pan was a model under the brand name Betty Crocker. It was about $20 more than I had wanted to pay, but since it was my only real choice, I paid it.
I'm glad I did. It has served me well, and for the last year, I've been using it several times a week, sometimes every day. I don't even see that brand on the list here, so maybe it's not available anymore.
At any rate, you have to know what is important to you before you shop, but be flexible when you come across features you didn't know existed.
And read lots of Epinions of course!!
If you email and ask me real nice, I'll send you my Honey Wheat Oatmeal Bread recipe!
And if you're not sure you're the Bread Machine type, check out my Epinion entitled "Are You Really a Bread Machine Person?" under the category "What Should You Know About Using Bread Machines?"
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