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Bread Machines: Are They Worth The Money?

Reviewing: Sunbeam 5891 2 Pound Bread Machine  |  Rating:
Candida Eittreim By Candida Eittreim on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 13 | Furniture & Appliances Expertise:
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Bread machines advertise that they save labor and produce perfectly shaped and browned breads. In fact, those statements fall short of the reality. You can get much better, consistent results using a good stand mixer or food processor.

I bought the Sunbeam because it was inexpensive, and I wanted to trial it for my readers. This big white appliance takes up alot of room on the counter. No matter how good your lighting is in your work areas, the LED screen is difficult to read. This machine offers 12 cooking functions, 3 shade selections and the usual 13 hour delayed start feature. Programming the Sunbeam will be a problem for novice bread bakers. The instruction manual isn't all that helpful as it presumes a certain level of experience that might not exist.

Basically you end up using either the Quick Start or Basic loaf functions the most often. Clean up isn't easy either. The non-stick pan should be sprayed lightly with Pam, as most breads stick in the container. There is a small nub at the base of the baking container that leaves an unsightly mark on your loaves, and often takes a chunk of bread. Also, reaching into the base of the machine to clean out crumbs is very difficult. Since it is so heavy, I need help turning it over to get the residue out.

This is a fairly noisy machine as it goes through its cycles, which can take up to 2-3 hours from start to finish. The breads come out fairly evenly browned with an even crust. Breads tend to be much softer and spongier, particularly the crust. I now only use it when I want a quick bread for dinner, and use a mix. Even the low price doesn't justify its purchase.

Before buying any bread machine, think about appliances you may already own. If you do have a large processor or stand mixer, just give the bread machines a pass, and use these appliances instead.