My husband gave me a Breadman Pro Bread machine for Valentines Day this year. I was excited to be able to make fresh bread so easily and we both agree that it’s also healthier than the store bought versions which have preservatives and typically other ingredients that we would like to avoid (i.e. high fructose corn syrup).
Everything was great for a couple months. I made bread about once a week and found a whole wheat recipe that we loved. It also made fantastic fresh bread that we loved with our spaghetti dinners. And it was so easy – just measure everything, liquids on bottom, yeast last and boom, in a few hours you have a lovely loaf of bread. However it soon stopped kneading on one cycle, then another. Since it was still under warranty, I contacted the manufacturer and they sent a replacement.
So the replacement came, a BR2500, so I prepped it and was excited about the delayed timer function. That night, I decided to make fresh bread to have for lunches the next day, so I set the delay feature to start about 3:30am. At about that time, I am awakened by a very loud beating noise, like someone beating metal with a heavy object. I was scared to death someone was breaking in our house. My heart pounding, I headed towards the sound and found it was the bread machine. I closed all the doors between our bedrooms and the kitchen (which reside on opposite ends of the house anyway). Still heard it, so I had to move it behind one more door into the laundry room and stuff towels under the door. I could still hear it, but at least it was faint enough I could go to sleep with a pillow over my head. Hoping for a fluke, I tried again on a different cycle, hoping for a different result, yet it was the same loud beating/grinding sound.
Needless to say, Applica (who manufactures this piece of equipment) got another email requesting a replacement for my replacement. Now, let me back up a second and mention that even though the bread machine is not working properly, they expect you to pay for shipping of a new machine to you, as well as pay for the shipping of the cord to them (with tracking no less). Applica received an earful for this. I was not about to pay for them to ship me a new machine, but I did ship them the cord the first time and got them to waive the shipping of the new machine. The 2nd time however, I was not going to spend another dime, so I requested a prepaid label to ship them the cord of the “new” bread machie.
I am currently awaiting my 3rd breadman. I am reallyhoping it will work. If not, I will put the Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine on my wishlist. While the reviews of this machine on Amazon are not perfect, they are much better than the Breadman.
What do I want out of a bread machine? At this point, honestly, I would love one that just works. I will say the different size loaves, a delay setting, and the ability to customize are nice.
If I were to start from scratch and replace my bread machine today, I would consider these, in order of my preference:
Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine. Definitely more expensive at $227 on Amazon, but this brand is clearly the Cadillac of bread makers).
Panasonic’s Automatic Breadmaker also gets good reviews and is about as affordable as the Breadman at $105, and there is another version with a fruit and nut dispenser.
Sunbeam (reviews are only slightly better than the Breadman, but it’s currently about $55 from Amazon.)
West Bend 2lb Bread Machine gets fairly good reviews as well and is affordable at $60
Cuisinart has an OK one, though the reviews to be put it only slightly over the Breadman
Watch for any Black Friday deals and near-or after-Christmas sales.