Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine Review
Oster is a United States based manufacturer of affordable home appliances, owned by the powerhouse parent company Newell Brands (Rubbermaid, Crock-Pot, and many, many more). For the most part, Oster has a pretty reliable reputation while also being incredibly affordable. I personally have been using the same Oster toaster for about 10 years – but just because they make a pretty good toaster doesn’t mean their bread machine is of the same quality. Let’s take a deep dive into this Oster 2 Pound Expressbake review and see how it pairs up with our top rated bread machine, Zojirushi Virtuoso.
I ordered the Oster Expressbake bread maker on Amazon and it arrived in a pretty heavy duty, albeit a bit banged up, brown box (unlike the Zojirushi we reviewed, which came in a brightly colored retail box). Luckily, everything was very well protected inside with thick layers of styrofoam and the bread machine was in perfect shape. A layer of plastic also enveloped the entire machine and cord to protect it from scrapes.
After unwrapping everything, you should find yourself with the bread machine itself, measuring cup and spoon, and a pretty lackluster user guide and recipe book.
Overall, the design matches the term “affordable” – that is, the white plastic shell of the bread machine definitely doesn’t give off the same high-end feeling as the Breville bread machine. However, the inside of the machine is at least stainless steel, which is ultimately more important.
Another design feature we really love is the peek-through window located on the lid of the machine. This lets you see the progress of the bread from start to finish as it makes its way through the kneading, resting, and baking periods. Also located on the top is the control panel, which is very straight forward to use – in fact, this is one of the few you really don’t have to break out the user guide to know how to use first.
The Oster Expressbake bread machine actually comes with quite a few great features. This is surprising considering just how cheap this bread maker is in comparison to a few others. For a quick comparison, this Oster usually retails between $50-$60, while the top of the line Zojirushi can be between $150 – $200. But let’s wait until we talk performance before making your decision!
- 2lb Bread Pan: The Oster comes with a 2lb bread pan (although many of their recipes make 1.5lb loafs oddly enough) with a nonstick coating and a single paddle for kneading. We personally really like machines that have 2 paddles – we’ll talk more about this in the performance section as well.
- Programmable Baking Timer: Another great feature is the 13-hour baking timer, so you can add all of your ingredients into the machine and set the timer to whenever you want it to start (fresh morning loaf, anyone?).
- Bread Settings: Oster comes equipped with 12 bread settings (such as basic, whole wheat, sweet, bagels, etc) and 3 different crust settings to make the perfect loaf.
- Expressbake: This setting is for baking smaller loafs in under an hour. This is great for a quick Sunday morning breakfast.
During my test, I discovered a few hiccups when trying out a recipe straight from the included Oster recipe book. The recipe I tried first was the 1.5lb Apple Walnut Bread. After following the basic instructions (which are the same across all lines of bread machines – place wet ingredients in first, followed by dry, and finally adding the yeast into a hole/well within the flour), I clicked start. And to my surprise, the machine started kneading. I know what you’re probably thinking – if you click start the machine should start! Well, most machines begin a resting period when you click start so the yeast can begin activating in the flour. The Oster instructions specifically mentions to NOT let the yeast come in contact with the water in the bottom of your bread pan. But when you click start, and the kneading begins, guess what happens to the yeast?
So, that was my first red flag that the yeast wouldn’t develop this bread as much as I would hope, but I let it continue. After about 30 minutes of kneading, the initial beeps went off alerting me to add the walnuts. And let me tell you, these beeps are LOUD. I had this thing going around 8pm just after I put my daughter to sleep, and I thought it was going to wake her up. The machine’s kneading blades also continue moving while the lid is open and pour the nuts in – some other machines pause the kneading until the lid closes.
And now for my biggest negative of this machine: the single kneading blade. One blade simply did not get the job done. Take a look at the photo below of the baking loaf – 75% of it was on the left side, and part of the right side of the pan was empty.
Not only that, but the kneading process actually tossed a few chunks of dough out of the bread pan and onto the heating elements below. I didn’t know this until the baking process started and my kitchen started filling up with smoke. I paused the machine, removed the dough that was burning, and let it continue. The surprising part here is that this is a 2lb bread pan and I was only using a 1.5lb loaf recipe.
My end result was an ok piece of breakfast toast. It was way too dense, which I believe is partly due to the yeast not resting long enough and also due to me trying to re-position the final dough so it wasn’t all on one side of the pan.
Overall, for being within the $50 price range, Oster is one of the cheapest bread machines available; however, you get what you pay for. If you’re unsure if you’ll use the machine regularly and just want to try one of these out, you don’t have much to lose with going with the Oster Expressbake. It will bake a decent loaf and has a few ideal features to make things easier on you. However, I personally recommend spending a bit more and going with the Breville 2lb or Zojirushi Virtuoso.