We thought our bread making machine was a wish fulfilled
I’ve always been interested in bread machines. My wife and I eat a lot of bread and thought that if we purchased a bread machine, we could enjoy the time-saving luxury of mixing ingredients the night before and setting loose bread making magic so could wake up to a freshly baked loaf. Unfortunately the Wolfgang Puck programmable bread mchine failed to perform.
We’ve tried making bread by hand but never quite got the hang of it. We thought that a 2 lb bread machine would be a great benefit, yielding freshly baked bread without a major time investment. Even making bread using our Kitchen aide mixer required too much time to do.
So when we were given a Wolfgang Puck Programmable bread machine as a gift, we were happy campers. Finally, our wish was fulfilled. We unpacked it, set it up and I grabbed the manual.
That’s when our troubles began
As a business writer, I was struck by how poorly written the manual was. Practical information was lacking, other than commands to “add the ingredients in order.” We added the special yeast, flour and other break making supplies required, mixing everything as instructed and sat back, eagerly anticipating out first loaf that would be ready in an hour.
I thought it a little strange that rising time would take just 30 minutes, since bread making rising time always took 2-3 hours. Because the entire process was controlled by a built-in computer, we chalked this up to technology ans left the machine alone to work.
Well, it worked and mixed and gurgled and baked. Out popped an oval shaped loaf with the consistency of a hockey puck.
Back to the manual
We tried several more times with no success.
I wondered about the bread maker’s recipes. Nearly every one was a fast 60 minutes. Was this the problem?
Searching online, I discovered that there’s a sharp difference in quality breads made by cheap models and the best bread machines. The main difference is that the best machines never claimed to produce a loaf in an hour.
History of bread machines
Bread making with a machine began in 1895 when American inventor Joseph Lee patented his bread crumblier invention.
In those days, bread lacked preservatives and lasted just one day. Leftovers were tossed in the trash. This waste bothered Lee, whose bread crumblier allowed cooks to use bread crumbs in cooking. He sold the patent to the Royal Worcester Bread Crumb Company of Boston.
Later he developed a bread machine which sped up the mixing and kneading process, increasing productivity by 500 percent, allowing just one person to do the work of five or six bakers. Lee also sold this patent.
In 1986 the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (later became Panasonic) invented the first fully automatic bread making machines. These machines combined the kneading, rising and baking in a process without human interaction.
But the machines didn’t catch on in the US until 1996, mainly because the breads they produced weren’t as good as store-bought I figured that for an appliance that had been around since the early 1900s and marketed in the US since 1987 would have all the bugs worked out by 2013. But not so.
A good rule of thumb for your bread machine purchase is the longer the bread making cycle, the better the bread produced
There is a vast ability gulf between the best and worst bread making machines.
The best create a quality edible loaf that competes with your local Mega Mart, but require 3-4 hours to produce an edible loaf.
The fast bake machines are a relatively recent innovation claiming to produce edible loaves in less than 60 minutes.
“Edible” is open to interpretation.
Puck’s bread maker is the speedier type, claiming to make other stuff like jam. But I wouldn’t try anything made by this machine ever again.
Another problem was a lack of customer service
After several unsuccessful attempts to make bread, I was puzzled. All of the online bread maker recipes designed for the better machines, recommended adding ingredients in the exact opposite order that the Puck machine manual instructed..
I called to inquire about the accuracy of the recipes. A disinterested and bored “customer service” rep admitted that “Some of the recipes are wrong,” but never apologized or offered to send any that were tested and workable. She was very uncooperative, reflecting a “tough luck” attitude.
Check out the reviews other dissatisfied customers wrote
“This machine stopped working after its first loaf. I called Wolfgang Puck customer service who flat refused to replace it without a receipt. The item was a gift. They wouldn’t hear it even though the Serial Number was provided. I wound up throwing it out. Reading other reviews, it’s where it belongs- in the garbage along with their customer service.”
“I have owned a Welbilt bread machine for over 20 years and love it… The bread/dough it creates is wonderful. I get rave reviews about my bread and rolls.
I saw this machine (Puck’s) in my local Kohls. It had been bought online and returned to the store. They said it worked fine and I can bring back if it doesn’t work. I am bringing it back!!!!!!!!!!!
Made the first loaf from the enclosed recipe book…It looked great until the first rest – the dough just melted in the pan and looked like soup. Came to the rise cycle and the bread rose and rose and rose then fell flat. The longer the cook cycle ran the flatter it got. I finally pulled the plug.”
“This machine stopped working after its first loaf. I called Wolfgang Puck customer service who flat refused to replace it without a receipt. The item was a gift. They wouldn’t hear it even though the Serial Number was provided. I wound up throwing it out. Reading other reviews, it’s where it belongs-in the garbage along with their customer service.”
And that’s exactly where my Puck bread maker is going. The Wolfgang Puck Programmable Bread Maker #BBME025 failed to live up to its promises and I won’t get another one again.