The Cuisinart CBK-110P1 is a simple, compact machine comparable to the Oster Expressbake in many ways, but with a stainless steel exterior and a significantly higher price. Depending on what you’re looking for in a bread maker, this may be money well spent: this Cuisinart has a 3-year warranty compared to the Oster’s 12 months, the seemingly minor but convenient feature of an interior light and rubberized feet for stability. Both share similar controls – neither should give even a total beginner any trouble to operate.
Either lets you make dough and jam, though the Oster lacks programs designed specifically for cake and gluten-free baking. The Cuisinart takes around two hours on its fastest setting, whereas the Oster can manage to bake a loaf in only one. Both have a timer to delay the start of most programs overnight, though only this CBK-110P1 has a memory backup to pick up where it left off after a power failure, and both use a beeper to remind you to add in solid ingredients and remove the mixing blade.
Not Perfect, But Certainly Worthwhile
The high, narrow bread pan means that ingredients sometimes don’t get mixed thoroughly. You may want to help things along with a plastic spatula or even take the dough out, knead it by hand a few times and shape it into an even loaf. At the same time, the kneading paddle leaves a fairly large hole in the bottom of your loaf unless you remove it just after the last kneading phase. To allow you to do so, the machine emits an audio tone and pauses for about 15 minutes before starting to bake. It’s probably a good idea to plug it out before fiddling around near moving parts, since opening the lid does not stop the cycle.
This bread maker is relatively simple to keep clean, especially since you can remove the lid to get to any crumbs or spills inside the machine. Its recipe booklet offers decent variety and mostly works okay: it’s easy to get good results as long as you follow the instructions closely. Don’t, however, expect it to teach you everything there is to know about fine baking.
As for the build quality in general, it’s satisfactory but not heavily over-engineered. In other words, it may last you for five years, but it could also crash and burn within a few months of use.
Pipe Down, R2D2!
The quality of the bread you get from a baking machine is probably the single most important factor. The CBK-110P1 does pretty well in this regard, though it makes the crust somewhat darker than you’d expect. The heating element may be a little weak to handle a two-pound loaf adequately, especially considering the cubic shape of the loaf. On the other hand, if this turns out to be a problem, you can always let the machine do most of the hard work of preparing the dough and bake your bread in the oven.
The edible result isn’t all that counts, however. What is annoying about the CBK-110P1 is that, unlike almost all bread makers, it doesn’t show a countdown clock to the end of the current cycle. You have to keep track of what it’s doing on your phone or by listening to the shrill beeps it emits from time to time: twenty to tell you when it’s time to add in any additional ingredients, ten that you should take out the stirring paddle, and another ten to say that it’s done and the bread maker has entered it’s 1-hour keep-warm phase.
This beeping can’t be muted, it’s loud enough to be annoying and the whole effect is a lot like trying to have a conversation with a robot. Mixing itself is fairly quiet for such a compact machine, but the fact that it yells at you is extremely off-putting. It seems like the designers didn’t spend enough time thinking about how people actually want to use their bread makers.
- Stainless steel casing and pan
- Slim in shape
- Can make specialty Italian-style dough
- Easy to clean
- Best to remove paddle before baking, but no notification to do so
- No custom programs
- "Walks" on some surfaces