Hello, you’re probably here because you want to know the nitty-gritty about the Cuisinart cbk-100. Well, we tried it, and we have a lot to say. It’s mostly good stuff, but you should be aware of a few points of contention.
There are many bread machines out there, but the Cuisinart cbk-100 is almost always at the top of the heap when it comes to consumer feedback and expert opinions. So, after trying out this bread maker with lots of recipes, I highly recommend it.
But, that doesn’t mean that this machine is perfect or that it is the right choice for everyone. We hope that the information below helps you decide.
Cuisinart CBK-100 Review: The Best Affordable Bread Maker?
Design and Size
Silver and black, rectangular in shape, and large. The cbk-100 measures 15-inches wide by about 12-inches tall and 9.5-inches deep. On the back and sides of the machine, you will see indents. These openings are vents that help the machine cool off.
I didn’t place it on a scale, but I’d say that it weighs about 10 pounds or so. Not too heavy. And with the side handles, it can be moved from one place to another fairly easily.
Note: Not all bread makers come with side handles.
For us, this unit won’t be calling our countertop home. It’s just too large for our current available space. Also, we don’t want things to look too crowded and cluttered.
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Plus, we already have much other stuff that can’t be moved from our counter, like our toaster oven and blender.
I’m also not too thrilled about adding another black and stainless steel appliance to our permanent kitchen décor. All of our major appliances (stovetop, oven, microwave) are the same color scheme. So this unit will have to go to our storage room until we are ready to use it again, which will often be. However, your space and current setup might work with a kitchen appliance that’s this size and color.
Best Practices for Handling Baked Bread
Once your bread finishes baking, it will stay warm for a while. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing, in my opinion. Once when I baked a loaf, I forgot about it, and l left the bread in the machine for about an hour after it finished baking. When I came back to it, I found condensation along the bottom and sides of the pan. For best results, I’d suggest that you remove the bread from the baking pan once it’s finished baking. Then, sit it on an oven rack so that it cools down a little. You also want to wait at least 30 minutes before you cut into it.
With the cbk-100, you have three loaf sizes to choose from 1 pound, 1.5 pounds, and 2 pounds. This is very convenient and certainly not something unique to the cbk-100. For example, sometimes we want to try a new recipe, but we don’t want to try a whole 2-pound loaf. A 1 pound loaf allows us to try a new recipe without wasting too many ingredients if we end up not liking it. Also, if your household is small like ours, then you might not go through a whole 2-pound loaf before the bread gets stale.
The lid has a small viewing window that allows you to view the progress of your bread at any time. Although, I’ve noticed that it’s still hard to see what’s going on inside at times as the viewing window gets foggy. Because of that, I like to open the lid to get a better peek. However, please don’t do this too often, as it can negatively impact the outcome of your bread.
The lid has a small tab that allows you easily open and closes it. It detaches from the base of the machine for easy cleaning. The hinge is made out of plastic, and to be honest with you, it seems a little flimsy. With normal, non-abusive use, you shouldn’t have any issues. But, I noticed that the hinge bends a bit when we put a little pressure on the lid. So, if you buy this machine, heed my advice: open and close the lid slowly.
A handle attached to the lid makes lifting the pan out of the bread machine very easy. But be careful. This handle is metal, and it will be hot to the touch. Use an oven glove or dish towel to remove it.
There are 12 different menu options; Basic/White, French/Italian, Whole Wheat, Sweet, Gluten Free, Packaged Mix, Cake/Quick, Dough, Pasta Dough, Jam, Bake-only, and Rapid bake. Most of these settings are pretty straightforward. But you might be wondering, like I did, about a few of these options.
For example, the “Sweet Bread” option is for bread-like “Challah Loaf” with higher sugar content. The “Cake/Quick” option isn’t just for baking a cake. It’s also for bread zucchini bread, and banana bread, and pumpkin bread.
Selecting the right function is easy. First, some numbers coincide with the bread options. Then, you press the big “Menu” button until you reach the right selection.
Conveniently there are measuring utensils included with the unit. You get a 1.5 cup (12 ounces) measuring cup and a plastic tablespoon/teaspoon. Use either these utensils or graduated measuring utensils. You want to be as accurate as possible when it comes to baking.
There are a couple of things that you want to keep in mind when adding the ingredients to your baking pan. First, you want to make sure that you measure accurately. Then, equally as important, make sure that you add the ingredients in the order as instructed by the recipe.
For example, recipes usually call for you to add the yeast last. And you should add the yeast to the flour so that it can rest on the floor before the baking starts. Yeast is dormant while dry. Liquids activate it. This is a vital step and prevents the yeast from coming in contact with sugar and water. Yeast, a living thing, eats sugar. The gas that it produces is what causes the bread to rise.
The control panel is pretty straightforward if a little monotone (the Zojirushi bb-pac20 has a color-coded control panel). After you’ve added your ingredients and set your pan back in place, you only have to follow a few simple steps to start the machine. First, you need to press the “Loaf Size” button.
There will be an arrow for you to select 1, 1.5, and 2 pounds. Next is the crust color. You can select light, medium, and dark crust. We prefer a medium crust. The next step, and most likely the last step unless you’re using the delay timer, is to select the bread type. You do so by pressing the “Menu” button until you reach your desired bread type.
There are 12 bread types to choose from (detailed in the “Menu” section). A number accompanies each. The small display screen shows you all of your selections, time left, as well as the current bread-making stage you’re on. In addition, there will be arrows pointing to your selections.
The amount of time it takes to make your bread will depend on the kind of bread you’re making, the recipe, and the loaf size you choose. If you choose rapid bake, then it will get your bread done much faster. However, you will be limited to a smaller loaf size.
Some people could be bothered by the small print. But, other than that, there’s not much to complain about for the control panel.
If you’ve ever baked fresh bread before then, you know it is a pretty involved process. It takes a long time. First, you have to mix the ingredients thoroughly until the dough is no longer sticky. Then you knead the dough. Let it rise, knead, rise and finally bake. That’s a lot of work, and that’s why it’s not practical for most people to make fresh bread regularly.
The cbk-100 does all of the work for you. So, it’s actually practical that you’d use this appliance often to make bread.
The manual and recipe booklet aren’t the best. While it is certainly enough to get you started, I think that it could be a little clearer.
For example, we made a delicious cinnamon swirl bread (you can use the recipe in the booklet, it is delicious). Everything is pretty straightforward until you get to the last steps. In the late stages of the bread-making process, you need to remove the dough, roll it out, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar. Simple enough, right?
Well, how do you know when it’s time to do these final steps? First, you have to wait for a series of beeps. The confusion begins when you hear the first series of beeps. Unfortunately, these aren’t the right beeps. You’ll need to wait for the second series of beeps called the paddle signal. After that, there will be six beeps in succession. This doesn’t occur until close to the end of the bread-making cycle.
If you only glance over the manual, then you would miss this vital detail. If this is your first time using a recipe that requires these steps, then you’ll be anxiously awaiting these beeps. Who wants to wait around for beeps? It would be nice if the instructions gave you an estimate of how much time would be left on the timer. It would be even better if the recipe told you to ignore the first set of beeps. That way, you could have a time reference to set the alarm on your phone.
The delay start is a widespread bread machine function. On the cbk-100, you can delay the start of the baking process by up to 13 hours. On the control panel, you need to use the “+, -” buttons to select the amount of time you want to delay the start of the baking process. If you use this function to make your bread, you must keep the yeast separate from the liquids and sugars. I recommend that you make a little indent in the flour to place the yeast in. That way, you are certain that the yeast stays dry until the mixing process begins.
The bread pan is nonstick. In general, I don’t really care for nonstick pans. But in certain appliances, like rice cookers and bread machines, they are vital. Just be sure never to use a metal utensil to remove the bread from the pan. Besides, you shouldn’t have to. Whenever I’ve used this bread machine, I turn the pan upside down, and the bread slides right out.
The bread pan inserts at an angle. To attach the bread pan, you will need to angle it right, push down, and twist it. You will know when it’s incorrect. It reads as though it’s more complicated than it really is. Once you do it, you’ll see how easy it really is.
As long as you remove the paddle shortly after you remove the bread from the pan, then it will come out smoothly. However, if you forget to remove it like I once did, the bread residue will be like glue, and you will have difficulty removing the paddle. If you find yourself in this predicament, simply add enough water to the pan to cover the paddle and let it soak for a while. It’ll eventually loosen up, and you will be able to remove the paddle.
The cbk100 comes with just a few items. You get the bread machine itself, a manual/recipe booklet, a measuring cup, and a measuring utensil (teaspoon/tablespoon).
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- Predictable results
- Lots of bread programs
- Delay start allows you to have fresh bread ready when you wake up or get home from work
- Gluten-free program
- Make up to a 2-pound loaf
- Moderately priced
- Nonstick will probably wear off after awhile
- Bread pan may warp after a while
- It’s big and bulky and might take up lots of space on your counter
- The manual could be clearer
- The lid hinge seems a bit flimsy
Our review wouldn’t be a complete Cuisinart CBK-100 review without discussing the customers. You should never take just one person’s perspective on a product before you make a decision. I certainly don’t. To ensure that you get a grounded perspective on this machine, I’ve included some information about what other customers think about this bread maker.
Before we purchased this bread machine, I actually read a ton of reviews. Overall, most folks were delighted with their purchase. A minority of folks, however, had some serious complaints. And although the complainants are relatively few in number, those complaints are worrisome.
One of the most serious and frequent complaints came from people who claimed that their bread machine produced dense and uneven bread. I looked into these complaints, and I concluded that made me more comfortable in my purchase decision. If you read through some of these reviews yourself, you may notice similarities between many of these complaints.
While these reviewers might disagree, it’s possible that these poor results were due to user error. More specifically, it’s possibly due to using the wrong type of flour. I think this is the case because I used generic all-purpose flour for the very first loaf that I made. As a result, I had the same results that many of these customers had; not fully risen, dense and lopsided bread. However, after switching to bread flour, my bread came out just fine.
The manual states that you should use bread flour because of its high gluten and protein content. This is certainly a good way to go but not the only way. For example, I now use King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, which has a high gluten and protein content, and the bread comes out perfect.
Other users complain about the nonstick bread pan. They point out that the nonstick coating starts to wear off after a while. This is typical of most nonstick-coated pans. Due to my own experience with nonstick, I tend to believe this complaint. Over time nonstick tends to wear out. Therefore, you will probably have to replace the bread pan eventually.
Several users said that their bread pan became warped from the heat after some time. I haven’t experienced this yet, but it certainly seems like a possibility.
Cuisinart CBK-100 Review Summary
So far, we are satisfied with the Cuisinart cbk-100. Over and over again, we’ve been able to make some very delicious homemade bread in it. The results are predictable, and this machine didn’t break the bank. This bread maker might not be for everyone, though. For starters, it is rather large.
If your countertop space is limited, then you might not want it there. That means you’ll have to store it in a different location. Luckily it has side handles that make transporting it easier. Other than the somewhat flimsy lid hinge, the build quality is pretty good. And there is definitely room for improvement where the manual/recipe booklet is concerned.
Some customers reported issues with the quality of the bread, but I’d bet that many of those users didn’t use the right flour. I experienced the same. Although I certainly wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of some defective units – that does happen. However, chances are, in my opinion, if you read the manual and follow the recipe directions, you’ll be just fine.