Bread has been, and still remains, an important part of many people’s diets. It was considered so important that, in some of probably the very earliest consumer protection laws, the weight of bread sold was specified. If bakers were found to be selling bread that was underweight they were subject to pretty strict sanctions – they were executed. This law was brought in being in England in 1266. Bakers made an effort to make sure that their bread was within the specified weight, to the extent that they made an extra loaf for every dozen loaves that they baked. Which is where the number 13 being called a Baker’s Dozen comes from.
Incidentally this law was finally repealed in the UK in 2008. While some people have always made their own bread many people have traditionally used a baker to supply them. In the 1960s with the introduction of the Chorleywood method of bread production the time taken to mass produce bread was dramatically shortened plus the length of time for which the bread would stay fresh was increased. This led to a huge reduction in costs which meant that many traditional bakers went out of business. Unfortunately with the Chorleywood method the taste of the bread became bland and the varieties of bread available reduced. Eventually this encouraged people to start making their own bread.
Home bread making really took off with the introduction of home bread makers in 1986. Since then home bread making has grown hugely and with it the availability and sophistication of the bread makers. The Oster CKSTBRTW20 (see today's price) is a prime example of what the latest bread makers can do. Among the various programs there is the option to make a variety of breads, doughs and even jams. The bread can be baked in as little as 1 hour or set on a delayed cycle so that you can have freshly baked bread when you want it, for example, when you wake up in the morning.
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 is a reasonably compact bread maker measuring only 13 ¾ inches x 13 inches x 14 1/8 inches and weighs only 8 lbs. It has the capacity to make loaves of bread between 1 lb. and 2 lbs. There are pre-programmed options to allow you to make up to 12 different types of bread or dough and even jams, with a choice of 3 different crust colors, light, medium or dark. In addition there is a delay start feature which allows you to add all the ingredients and set the timer with a 13 hour delay. This allows you to wake up to the smell and taste of freshly baked bread or to preset the cooking time so that the bread is done when you arrive home from work.
The different settings for baking bread include a basic loaf setting, French bread, whole wheat bread, sweet bread, express bake setting for 1 ½ lb. loaf, an express bake setting for a 2 lb. loaf, quick bake (which takes longer than the express bake setting but the loaf has a finer texture to it. A European setting for breads such as raisin pumpernickel or sourdough. A dough setting for breads that need to be shaped by hands such as rolls or pizza. A setting specifically for bagel dough. A jam making setting for jams and marmalades and bake setting for previously made dough. In addition when you are baking the bread you can choose whether to have a light, medium or dark crust to your bread. If you want to add fruit or nuts to your bread there is an audible warning sound to let you know when to add them.
As many people who cook are aware measuring ingredients such as flour by volume can be a little haphazard. It the flour is compact you will have a greater quantity than if it is aerated. Oster say in their instruction manual that the most important secret to making bread is exact measurements. It is a pity then that Oster supply a measuring cup, give all their ingredients by volume (which can vary) and not weight (which is constant). They do provide a conversion chart in the manual but it converts volume to volumes, i.e. cups to table or tea spoons. That being said it does include a very useful hint about varying the amount of water or yeast if you are making your bread at over 3,000 feet altitude.
For those of you who are new to making bread in an automatic bread maker the Oster CKSTBRTW20, in common with other bread makers, has a small blade that both mixes and kneads the dough. This paddle ends up getting baked into the finished loaf. There is a blade removal tool that removes the blade from the baked loaf. It will leave a small hole in the base, but this is perfectly normal for bread make this way.
After your bread is made all the parts should be wiped down with a damp cloth. Using the dishwasher can cause damage to the coatings on the bread pan and mixing blade.
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 is a very versatile bread maker that can bake a wide variety of breads including many specialty breads all the touch of a button. If you need to make some bread in a hurry the Express bake function will make your loaf in about 1 hour from start to finish. There is also a quick bake option which takes less time than a normally made loaf but has a lighter texture than an Express Bake loaf. It also allows you to make just the dough for when you want to hand finish, such as when you are making rolls or pizza bases.
There is also a Bake setting to allow you to bake premade dough. All of the breads that are made can have a choice of a light, medium or dark crust, simply by pressing the selection button. The Oster CKSTBRTW20 is a highly regarded and very popular bread maker.
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Hey there, my name is Abby and I am the creator and editor of this website. I have always loved cooking and kitchen gadgets. I hope my website helps you pick out the right products for your kitchen. Thanks for reading!