West Bend 41300 Review
Bread makers are an under-looked piece of kitchen technology these days. They’re wonderfully capable, allowing you to produce a wide variety of custom breads with great convenience and relatively low cost, but, for some reason, haven’t caught on as major tools for homeowners to adopt. This is probably due to the fact that bread is easy to acquire at the local supermarket, and is, all things considered, pretty cheap. There are a number of reasons to grab a bread maker, though, and the West Bend 41300 really underlines those reasons.
No matter what supermarket you prefer, chances are good you won’t be able to afford the premium breads regularly, and chances are just as good you don’t have easy access to a well-stocked bakery that consistently has everything you want. If you do, you’re probably paying a lot more than you should be. A lot of bread makers can only produce rudimentary breads, like a loaf of white or wheat. The 41300, on the other hand, can make just about anything you’d be looking for at the baker’s. French bread? You got it. Wheats? Of course. Gluten-free? Yep. Customizable crust settings make your loaves even better (light, medium, and dark are all options), and a wide variety of other customization options, such as the capacity to make dried-fruit breads, make the 41300 more or less the equivalent of a live-in baker.
The 41300 wins on most accounts, but usability is one area where it absolutely takes the cake. It’s as easy as adding ingredients and pressing a few buttons to select your preferred settings. Once you’ve taken care of the first round of necessities – adding the ingredients – you can forget about the machine and go about your day. You’ll come back to a warm, freshly baked loaf of bread not too long after you set it up, making for a wonderful experience as well as meal.
The 41300 is a heavy-duty machine. This means you can expect it to last a lot longer than most other machines you’d buy, and it won’t fuss when you want to make heavier breads, such as whole-grain cereal-based breads that sometimes give bread maker motors trouble. The West Bend 41300 is made to handle this and other rough bread types, so you’re truly free to make whatever you want without having to abide by any unpleasant constraints that will keep you from doing what you want to do.
There are a lot of bread making machines out there, and a lot of them are good, even great. But very few of them offer the kind of versatility, usability, and durability the West Bend 41300 does. There are only a handful of things that can be construed as negatives. It takes a little longer to rise than some machines, and requires that you add ingredients around 15 minutes after starting it. This isn’t that big a deal, but some people do have issues with waiting around the machine for more than 5. Overall, however, the 41300 earns a 4/5 stars for its wonderful design and usability.