There are few things that warm the house on a winter afternoon like the smell of homemade bread. It takes you back to a time when Mom was in the kitchen kneading dough by hand and carefully baking it to a golden, delicious brown. With modern technology comes modern convenience, allowing us to enjoy that fresh-baked bread with very little effort. My most recent machine is the West Bend Hi-Rise 41300, which is fairly inexpensive by comparison and does a solid job.
Recommend this product?
When it comes to bread machines, this is not my first foray. I have used bread machines for several years, even using one machine to the point that it quit. This machine was the replacement, and I have been quite pleased with the selection. Available at your local discount store, you will find that it is not one of the most expensive models. That is not an indication of its' quality, however.
Compared to other machines, the 41300 is very deep. The footprint of the machine takes up a good bit more space on my counter than my previous model. You are able to select from four different loaf sizes (1 lb, 1.5 lb, 2 lb, and 2.5 lb loaves), and the shape of the loaf is very appealing. There are also three different crust settings that allow you to experiment with different thickness and color of crust. With a push-button digital display panel the machine is pretty self-explanatory, allowing you to learn to use it with little difficulty.
One of the best features of the machine is the double kneading blades. They work very well when working with large wheat loaves. Even with thick dough the paddles do not stick in the dough. Even with difficult dough the machine is surpisingly quiet. You will also find that the unit is very easy to clean. The inside can be easily wiped clean and the paddles are quickly removed and cleaned with little effort. The machine is very easy to use, and the included manual is very helpful. If you happen to unplug the machine while it is working, you can plug it back in and the unit will continue the process - something that all machines do not do. You can even set the machine on a timer to bake later in the day, a nice feature for those that work outside the home. The timer allows you nearly 13 hours of time to set before baking. Like some machines, this one does get a little hot when baking, something that you will have to keep in mind.
Of course, if you are talking about a bread machine, the main factor is...the bread! There are eleven pre-programmed settings, including Basic, Quick, French, Super Rapid, Whole Wheat, Sweet, Dough, Bake, Jam, Sandwich, and Home Made. We have tried several of the included recipes, and had success all the way around. The french bread recipe was very good, producing a loaf that was the perfect texture - not too hard and not too soft. Next I tried the raisin bread, which we really enjoyed. The crusts were perfect on the sides, and we were delighted at how a larger loaf was baked perfectly through the middle. Of course, the wheat recipes require a little more work for the machine, and they also came out very nicely.
Fresh baked bread is one of those luxuries of life that everyone should experience. I am happy to report that with the West Bend Hi-Rise 41300 everyone can enjoy the pleasure of homemade bread at their leisure with much less effort than Mom used to put in. With a competitive price, you will also find that it fits your budget as well.
Amount Paid (US$): 69