The 2LB Bread Maker from West Bend is a very intriguing bread machine. West Bend has targeted this machine as a low budget option for families. Usually, when a manufacturer creates a product aimed at the low-priced market they strip it of features and quality, but is this the case with this bread maker? Let us take a few minutes to go through some of the key features of this product, give you our pros and cons, and how consumers are reacting to the machine so you can form your own opinion. You will probably be pleasantly surprised.
- Solid Warranty Coverage from West Bend
- A Different Approach to Kitchen Countertop Use
- Power Interruption Restart
- Surprising Flexibility for a Low-Cost Bread Maker
- Easy Preparation and Clean-Up
- Dimensions, Weight, and Physical Traits
- Additional Features and Accessories
- Pros and Cons
- Consumer Ratings
- Conclusion and Recommendations
Solid Warranty Coverage from West Bend
This is usually an issue we discuss late in our reviews but this product almost demands we talk about it right away. It is very common for lower cost small appliances to get very short warranties sometimes as low as 90 days. Even though West Bend has targeted their 2-pound bread maker at the lower end of the market they still provide you with a full 1-year warranty.
This takes on more significance since it is a West Bend warranty. The company has a good reputation of standing behind their products and there is no exception with their bread maker. If your initial worry is you might be buying a machine which is going to fail rapidly you can lay the worry aside.
A Different Approach to Kitchen Countertop Use
All of the other bread makers we reviewed are wide. When you use them on your kitchen countertop they take a substantial amount of width on the counter. West Bend has flipped their design to be deep instead of wide. You will have to decide if this is ideal for your kitchen or not. Your West Bend bread maker will extend almost 1 1/2 feet onto the counter which is much further than most small appliances. You may choose to turn the unit sideways when not in use to keep it a little further out of the way.
The 2 LB bread maker has all of the controls mounted on the front edge of the bread maker at an angle which makes them very easy to reach and read. The large LCD and menu printed on the control panel give you quick reminders of the instructions you will read in the user manual. The nice thing about the long design is your controls will be close at hand while you are baking.
Power Interruption Restart
This is a feature you would have probably never thought about needing but comes in very handy. Imagine you are stuck inside during a big snow storm during the winter. The wind is howling outside and every once in a while the lights flicker for a second. A homemade loaf of bread sounds wonderful on a cold day like this but if the light flickers while it the bread is baking it could be destroyed. The West Bend bread maker has a built-in power interruption circuit. It watches for a power flicker and then restarts the cycle right where it left off.
This feature is only good for power outages of five minutes or less but that allows you to go ahead and back when there are snow storms, thunderstorms, or on windy days where the lights may flicker. Make sure you do not forget to try make the pot of coffee or hot chocolate to go along with that loaf of fresh bread.
Surprising Flexibility for a Low-Cost Bread Maker
You were probably expecting you were going to lose a lot of flexibility and possibilities by considering a low-cost bread maker. You are about to see a nice surprise. West Bend’s 2-pound bread maker offers all of these baking options:
- Basic White Bread
- Super Rapid Basic Bread (To be used with rapid rise yeast.)
- French Bread
- Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Breads
- Quick Breads
- Sweet Bread
- Dough Only (Perfect for mixing up dinner or cinnamon roll dough.)
- Jam (You can make fresh fruit jams to accompany your bread.)
- Bake Only (Ideal for baking frozen bread loaves or other prepackaged doughs.)
Along with all of those options you can choose whether you want to make a 1 pound, 1 ½ pound, or 2 pound loaf of bread. Additionally, you are able to select the brownness level you desire. West Bend includes settings for light, medium, and dark. The brownness level is one area we will be discussing further in the consumer rating section of this review.
Easy Preparation and Clean-Up
Ease of use and fast clean-up are always big items of interest in a bread machine. The large lid on the West Bend bread maker is the first feature which helps with ease of preparation and clean-up. You can access everything easily. One thing you will notice quickly is since the bread maker is designed deep instead of wide you will have an easier time pouring in ingredients. That might surprise you at first, but your natural motion makes pouring from a side easier than from the front. This means you are adding ingredients across the long edge of the baking pan instead of the short edge. It is a minor difference but one you will enjoy.
The baking pan and mixing blade are made with a non-stick surface to make cleanup easy. Make sure you avoid the temptation to use any kind of scouring cleaner or sponges. The abrasive will scratch the surface making bread stick.
There is one small extra West Bend includes which was not found in any of our other bread maker reviews. They bundle a small pulling hook to aid in the removal of the mixing blade after the baking process is complete. Once again, it is a small but helpful item you will appreciate.
The exterior of the unit is smooth white plastic which can be cleaned easily with a damp cloth. You cannot immerse the baking pan or oven in water.
Dimensions, Weight, and Physical Traits
It is time for us to put the tape measure to the West Bend Bread Maker so you can see how much space it will really take on your kitchen counter. Here are the facts:
- Height – 12.5 inches
- Width – 11.5 inches
- Depth – 17.3 inches
- Weight – 15.6 pounds
Overall the size of the bread maker is very reasonable. The only real issue is the depth when compared to other units. Of course, the other brands are much wider which offsets the total countertop area required. For many kitchens, this narrower footprint is ideal since it leaves you more wall space. Only you can determine what works best in your kitchen.
The West Bend bread maker is only available in standard white. There are a couple of great advantages to white. It works in any décor and it does not show those little traces of flour which are bound to be left behind on occasion.
Additional Features and Accessories
West Bend follows the lead of most other bread maker manufacturer and includes the following accessories in their box:
- Baking Pan
- Mixing Blade
- Measuring Cup
- Measuring Spoon
- Instruction Manual/Recipe Book
- Blade Removal Hook (This item was only included in the West Bend bread maker.)
The instruction manual included with the West Bend covers all the basics you need to start baking bread immediately including dozens of recipes. One section of the manual which really stands out is their troubleshooting guides. This includes both guides to understanding physical problems with your bread machine and diagnosing problems with your baking. Many times the problems with baking perfect bread is not the fault of the machine but is simple mistakes you are making. West Bend covers all of those small details to make sure you can start making perfect loaves quickly.
They even took the time to cover simple issues concerning the temperature of the water you add your yeast to, humidity, and freshness of ingredients. Their advice will help you enjoy baking without the frustration of failures.
Pros and Cons
Now it is time to get into the real day to day issues you may run into with the bread maker, both the good items and the negative points. Let us jump right into looking at the pros and cons of the West Bend 2 pound bread maker.
- Allows you to select between 1, 1 ½, and 2-pound loaves.
- Unique narrow design allows easy access to controls.
- 3 brownness settings including light, medium, and dark.
- Multiple pre-programmed baking cycles.
- Easy clean-up with non-stick pan and kneading blade.
- Lightweight for easy moving.
- Good quality documentation.
- Includes many excellent bread recipes
- 1-year warranty
- May move slightly on counter during kneading cycles.
- Alarms are quieter than many other bread makers.
- Tends to bake bread browner than expected.
- Can make slight oily smoke during first few baking sessions.
We are going to delve a little deeper into the cons in our next section consumer ratings.
The consumer ratings for the West Bend 2 Pound Bread Maker may surprise you. It is rated just a highly as bread makers costing two to three times as much. That does not mean it is equal to them in performance. It does mean people believe they are receiving great value for their money with a few issues we are going to cover now.
A very common complaint found among reviews by owners is the tendency of the bread maker to overcook the crust. You may select the option for a light crust but you continue to get a dark crust. A few owners mention the only way they solved this problem was to set a timer and unplug the bread maker 10 minutes early. This problem is not present in every unit but is reported often enough you should consider it as a possibility.
The next issue which is mentioned in several reviews is the fact the first two or three loaves acquired a “funny taste” from oil being burned off in the bread maker. West Bend notes this as a possibility in the user guide. This issue can be reduced by wiping out the inside of the over and making sure you thoroughly washes the pan and kneading blade prior to your first use.
The last item which is reported less frequently is some units tend to walk slightly on the countertop during the kneading phase. This issue is not commonly reported so is not likely to affect you.
Keep in mind all of those issues are not frequent problems for most users. The overwhelming number of users report great success using their bread maker and would buy the same unit again. These comments are just intended to inform you of issues which are known to occur.
Conclusion and Recommendations
What is our final conclusion? The West Bend 2 pound bread maker may not measure up to a Zojirushi bread maker on options, quality, and flexibility but it only costs a fraction of the price. It produces high quality bread especially if you like your bread with a medium to dark crust. If you have been putting off buying a bread maker due to price then this unit should immediately jump to the top of your list. It allows beginners to try their hand at making bread without spending a lot of money.
The best point about this bread maker is the fact even though you are cutting the cost significantly you are not being left with a stripped down bread maker. It has numerous baking options, multiple brownness cycles, and a reliable company standing behind it.
We suggest you take a few minutes and compare the bread makers we have reviewed and then come back and take a closer look at the West Bend. You will be amazed at the options you are being offered for the price.