Pros: Easy to use, comes with great instruction booklet
Cons: machine gets hot, heavy, bulky
My Mother-in-Law gave me the West Bend Automatic Bread & Dough Maker for Christmas two years ago, and I still use it every week.
I love my West Bend Automatic Bread & Dough Maker!!! You can make so many different types of breads, rolls, and doughs in this machine, I consider it a must have.
The bottom half of the machine is white metal, with blue and green lettering on the control panel. It is a heavy machine, my scale say's this machine weighs 12 pounds. Approximately 13 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 12 1/2 inches tall, this machine takes up a bit of space. I think it is worth more than the loss of space. I store mine under the cabinet when I am not using it.
There is an air vent and a lift up door with a peek in window on the top of the machine. This is where you add in all of your ingredients. Unlike the bottom of the machine this part is made of plastic. One issue I have with this machine is that this door has no latch, no way to secure it from little inquiring hands. You can open the door at any time, even when the bread is baking. So you definitely want to keep this machine out of reach during use.
Looking inside your bread maker you will see a metal pan, that is the shape of a loaf of bread. The pan has a handle on it for easy removal from the larger metal oven chamber. Be sure to use a hot pad, the handle will be HOT!! There is a locking mechanism on the bottom of the pan that keeps the pan held securely in the oven chamber. Your machine will not start if you have not placed the pan in the chamber properly.
If you bake your bread in this machine, the outside surface of the maker gets quite hot. There is a warning on the top of the door that says, "Caution Hot Surfaces Do Not Touch While Baking. Window, Vent, & Side Walls Can Cause Burns " This is another reason to keep the machine out of reach. You have the option of baking your bread in the machine or removing your dough and baking it in your oven.
This is how long each setting takes from start, adding your ingredients, to finish, removing your loaf of bread.
There are four bread type settings:
Basic takes 3 hours and 40 minutes
Rapid takes 3 hours and 10 minutes
Whole Wheat takes 3 hours 50 minutes
Dough takes 1 hour 20 minutes
There are three bread crust settings:
Light: My favorite, the crust is so soft, yum
Medium: Makes the crust crisper
Dark: I have never used this setting
There are three time delay settings The time delay option is there so that you can have your bread ready for which ever time you choose. For instance you can place the ingredients, (non-perishable only) in your bread machine set your time delay, go to work and come home to fresh baked bread for supper!
There are three time delay settings :
There are four cycle settings :
Knead: mixes the ingredients together
Rise: when the yeast activates and your dough rises
Bake: when your house smells wonderful, and your bread bakes
Keep Warm:The keep warm cycle will do just what it say's, it will keep your bread warm for up to 3 hours after baking is finished.
Some tips when using your bread maker:
measure all ingredients accurately
do not use all-purpose, cake, or self-rising flour
do not use compressed cake yeast, use active dry yeast
if you use liquid sweetener (honey, corn syrup, molasses) make sure you reduce the amount of other liquid (milk, water) ingredient by that same amount
always warm refrigerated milk,(between 80 to 90 degrees is recommended), but not too hot or it will kill your yeast, this also applies to water never heat over 110 degrees
When making your bread or dough make sure you have all the correct ingredients and the right amounts of each. You can easily make a big mess by not adding enough of one item and to much of another.
The book that comes with the machine has a lot of tips, it tells you how to adjust for high altitude baking, conversion chart for cups, fluid ounces, tablespoons, teaspoons, recipes, lots of do's and don'ts. Reading your instruction book will definitely increase your chances of making an excellent loaf of home-made bread, and much more.
I always add all of my ingredients in the order that they are listed on the recipe, unless the directions tell you to do otherwise. This seems to work out the best for me. Also, read the entire recipe, and all the instructions before you start baking. That way if one of the ingredients needs to be room temperature or something, you are not caught in the middle of a recipe before you realize it.
To program your bread maker for use, you start by plugging it in, the machine is already pre-set on basic bead, medium crust. A little red light will mark each setting so you know what you have programmed. To change the settings you simply push the touch pad button until the red light shows by which setting you prefer. You then press the start/stop button, the machine will start. When finished the machine automatically goes to the keep warm setting. To stop the machine and remove your bread, you press and hold the start/stop button until the light turns off. And tada you should have a beautiful, tasty loaf of home-made bread that is ready to eat, immediately.
Cleaning the West Bend Automatic Bread & Dough Maker is very easy. After your bread is finished baking remove the loaf from the pan, and wipe the pan out. If it needs washing do not use anything abrasive, the pan has a no-
stick surface. The bread maker can not be immersed in water, just wipe off the surface with a damp cloth. Do not wipe over the control pad with anything but a dry cloth.
If your bread maker is defective or needs parts you can call The West Bend Company (414) 334-6949 make sure you know your makers catalog number. Or you can return the bread maker prepaid and insured with a description of the problem to:
The West Bend Company
Attn: Customer Service Department
400 Washington Street
West Bend, WI 53095
I hope you found my review helpful. Thank you for reading ~Cyndi~