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Cuisinart CBK-100 Review (Pros & Cons)

Cuisinart CBK-100 Bread MachineCuisinart is a name people turn to for quality kitchen appliances and accessories. Does the CBK-100 live up to the Cuisinart reputation? The Cuisinart CBK-100 looks great coming out of the box with its glistening brushed chrome appearance. The control panel looks impressive with all the options it offers for baking bread. Bread makers are not rated on appearance and buttons, though. They are rated on ease of use and quality of bread they produce. Let’s take a look at the features of this bread maker and see how it stacks up on the most critical elements.

 

Ease of Use

 

You do not buy a bread maker to complicate your life. You buy a bread maker to simplify making bread and Cuisinart has done a great job of making this possible. Cuisinart likes to promote the CBK-100 as a programmable bread maker, but that may be stretching the truth a little. What Cuisinart offers is a series of pre-programmed options you can select to make producing your bread or other items easy and straight forward. Here is there list of preprogrammed options, a few which may surprise you.

  • Basic White Bread – This is the most common setting for most users.
  • French Bread – Used for specialty breads which require slightly different rising and baking times.
  • Whole Grain/Whole Wheat Bread – These heavier breads require special attention and longer baking times.
  • Gluten Free Bread – Gluten free recipes completely change the baking rules and Cuisinart has setup a program specific for these needs.
  • Package Mixes – A quick easy way to get all the settings right for most pre-packaged bread mixes. (Assumes a white loaf.)
  • Cake – Yes, you can bake a cake right in your Cuisinart CBK-100.
  • Sweet Breads – Sweet breads usually use baking soda or baking power eliminating the need of long rising times.
  • Dough Only – Are you planning to bake multiple loaves of bread at one time in your kitchen oven? You can still take care of the mixing and kneading without getting your hands dirty.
  • Bake Only – This is great option to use with some prepared bread dough which you just need to bake.
  • Pasta – Use your bread maker to mix and prepare pasta and pizza doughs.
  • Jam – An interesting setting to have on a bread maker. This setting stirs and cooks a batch of jam to go with your loaf of fresh bread.
  • Rapid Bake – Are you in hurry for that loaf of bread? If you are going to use quick rising yeast to make a medium sized loaf with medium darkness this is the perfect setting for you to cut your preparation and baking time dramatically.

As you can see choosing the right settings is extremely easy on the Cuisinart. The bread maker reminds you at the proper times by giving you audible signals to add yeast, extra ingredients, and just prior to baking (in case you wish to remove the kneading blade.)

The dough only option may become one of your favorite settings. This allows you to prepare dough for cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, and specialty breads without all the intense hand mixing, kneading, and initial rising times. Imagine on Saturday morning throwing in the ingredients for your cinnamon roll dough before you go to shower. When you come out the dough is ready for you to add your sugar and cinnamon and start baking rolls. This is a real time-saving feature for your other baking projects.

In addition to the preprogrammed bread types, you have option to choose darkness levels and loaf size. You can choose to make a small 1 pound loaf, a 1 ½ pound loaf, or a massive 2 pound loaf of bread. You can select light, medium, or dark brown crust for your bread. Some of the preprogrammed settings above override the settings you select here.

We will cover two minor annoyances with this process in Pros and Cons section below.

 

Great Appearance and Easy Handling

 

This Cuisinart bread maker looks great. The brushed metal appearance and black highlights make the unit look great in any kitchen and simplify clean-up, too. The surface is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Cuisinart included carrying handles on the side of their bread maker which is a very nice touch. This allows you to move the bread maker easily and safely even when it is still warm. (Warm, not hot.)

 

Is Easy Clean-Up Included in the Package?

 

A common complaint on some bread makers is the time it takes to get them cleaned up after use. Luckily the Cuisinart CBK-100 avoids this complaint. The non-stick pan is easy to wash in your sink or dish washer. The rest of the unit is wipe clean with just a damp cloth. Remember, you cannot put water into the baking area of the oven. After it cools you simply wipe up any crumbs or ingredients which escaped around the pan.

One feature which simplifies clean-up is the alarm to remove the kneading blade before baking. Many times this becomes the hardest to clean item in a bread maker. The blade gets baked inside the crust and is filled with bread dough. Removing the blade makes it easy to clean and helps you avoid the hole in the bottom of your loaf. Taking the blade out before you bake the bread is optional. If you do not mind having the hole created by the blade you can skip this step and save yourself a few more minutes. Just remember, it will be a little harder to clean the kneading blade one the bread has baked to it.

 

The Cuisinart Warranty Adds to the Value

 

Most bread makers and small home appliances have a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer. Cuisinart offers a 3-year warranty on CBK-100 bread maker which is a great bonus. You should consider this factor as you compare the Cuisinart to other comparably priced bread makers.

There are a couple things about the warranty you should be aware of. It is a send-in warranty. If customer service determines your unit needs to have in-shop repairs completed you will need to ship it an authorized service center and wait for it to come back. You must include a payment of $10 to cover return shipping and handling when you send in the unit, too. In some situations, customers have received a replacement unit in advance. They are still required to pay the $10 fee plus return shipping of their broken bread maker.

The good news is Cuisinart bread makers rarely require repairs but it is good to know you have 3 years of warranty coverage in case something does happen.

 

Fresh Bread First Thing in the Morning

 

How often do you wish you could wake up to the smell of fresh bread baking in your home to go along with your morning coffee or tea? Cuisinart added a 13 hour delay time to this bread maker to make that possible. You can put your ingredient in the bread maker, set the time, and then go to sleep or go to work. When the time arrives the bread maker turns on, starts mixing, kneading, and baking the bread. You will find that fresh loaf of bread waiting when you wake up or get home.

Cuisinart went a step further in their instruction guide concerning timed baking than most other manufacturers. They took the trouble to explain how important it is to avoid perishable free ingredients like eggs and fresh milk when doing time baking. These ingredients can begin to spoil before the baking process begins producing a bad tasting loaf of bread which could be unhealthy. They provide you with guidelines for using dry alternatives which allow you to bake your breads with greater safety using the timed function. It is just another indicator of Cuisinart’s attention to details in the production of this low-cost bread maker.

 

Dimensions, Weight, and Appearance

 

No bread maker is tiny but the Cuisinart does manage to remain reasonably sized while producing large 2-pound loaves of bread. Here are the physical attributes of the bread maker.

  • Height – 15 inches
  • Width – 18 inches
  • Depth – 12 ¼ inches
  • Weight – 17.9 pounds

The weight is slightly higher than a few other bread makers in the class. The added handles on the sides make the unit easy to handle and move.

The bread maker is available in only one color combination, the brushed metal with black trim. This is a great color combination for most kitchens.

One other physical feature you should pay attention to is the viewing window on the top. This lets you keep an eye on what is going on inside the bread maker. You can see if the bread is rising properly and how brown it is becoming.

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Included Accessories

 

Cuisinart has bundled three accessories with the bread maker you will find very handy.

  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoon
  • Cook Book

Your favorite item will be the cookbook. You get 38 pages of recipes you can try in your new bread maker. This includes traditional breads, dessert items, and even pasta. The instructions may be even more valuable. They discuss the importance of fresh ingredients, exact measurements, and proper temperatures of liquids to make sure the rising processes happen properly.

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Pros and Cons of the Cuisinart CBK-100

 

We need to start off this section by saying the positive points far outweigh the negative aspects of this bread maker. As you are about to see the negative points are primarily annoyances.

 

Pros

 

  • Produces 3 sizes of loaves.
  • Variety of darkness settings.
  • 3 year warranty.
  • Viewing window on top.
  • Removable cover for easy cleaning
  • 12 different pre-programmed cooking modes.

 

Cons

 

  • Very noisy alarm.
  • Short power cord.
  • Fees for warranty replacement.

 

One of the most common complaints about this bread maker is the volume level of the reminder alarms. If you are in the kitchen the first time they sound you will jump. This volume may be a good thing if you will usually be far away from the kitchen while your bread is mixing and baking.

The short power cord is a bit confusing. Cuisinart states their reason for including the short cord is to avoid cords dangling down and becoming a tripping hazard then goes on to explain you can use a high-grade extension cord or order a different length electrical cord. Adding a longer cord would change their cost very little. This is a small issue but may leave you a little frustrated if you planned on using the bread maker a little further away from an outlet.

The small fees for exchanging a defective bread maker may seem like a small issue until you realize you could pay 1/3 the cost of a new unit to receive your replacement bread maker and ship back the old one. Keep in mind you will pay a $10 fee to cover their shipping costs plus you pay for your own shipping back to them.

 

Consumer Ratings

 

The Cuisinart CBK-100 seems to have a love hate relationship with buyers. The majority of them love their new bread maker giving it outstanding ratings on all major shopping sites. On the negative side, the people who give the bread maker a negative mark are highly vocal about their issues. Some of them report failed control panels, bad motors during the first few months of use, and irritation about warranty exchange costs.

Overall the percentage of positive votes for this bread maker far exceeds the complaints.

 

Conclusion and Recommendation

 

The Cuisinart CBK-100 is a good bread maker for most people. The ease of use with the 12 pre-programmed settings is a great benefit. The bread machine does an excellent job of producing high-quality loaves on a consistent basis. If you are planning to use your bread maker for a variety of different tasks the CBK-100 is a great choice. You will have no worries about getting things programmed properly since Cuisinart already did the hard work. This is a very good bread machine for most homes but definitely not robust enough for commercial use.

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