An affordable bread machine with good performance, but some complaints.
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 is one of the lowest priced bread machines we have reviewed to date. As of this writing it is listed on Amazon.com at $59.99 and close to 1700 previous owners have given it high marks, although there are some patterns of complaint.
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 has 9 pre-programmed setting including jams and jellies but it does not have a dedicated gluten free setting. Some people have reported success with gluten free bread, but others have had problems.
I don’t like that I can’t use special flour like gluten free with this machine, the bread comes out nasty.
It also has 3 crust settings ranging from light to medium to dark but there are some comments about problems with these settings.
We have to set crust color to dark, in order for bread to come out medium color
It also has an “Expressbake” setting that will bake a loaf of bread in an hour and many owners were pleased with the result. It addition, it has a delay cycle that can be set up to 13 hours in advance. Just make sure you don’t add any dairy ingredients like milk, eggs or butter if you are going to use a delayed cycle. Find a recipe that uses non-dairy ingredients.
The Loud Beep Problem
Like all bread machines the Oster presents a series of beeps as it runs through the cycles from kneading to rising to baking. The beeps on the Oster are very loud and created some problems for people using the delayed cycle while they slept.
The beeps during the kneading and then final baking process are so loud they wake me up through closed doors a few rooms away.
Circular Viewing Window
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 has a circular viewing window in the lid. While this viewing window helps to observe progress through the cycles there were complaints about the lid failing to close tightly on some machines.
The product I received had a lid that didn’t close properly
Any gaps or leaks as a result of an ill-fitting lid can cause significant problems during the rising and baking cycles. The result is a sunken or fallen loaf and it seems that many people have had this problem with the Oster.
I had hopes, and went through 10 pounds of bread dough. Lumpy, damp, top collapses, bottoms wet. Tried all suggested tricks.
If you order this machine inspect it immediately. Test the lid and bake a loaf or two. If you have any problems you’ll want to return it.
Two Pound Horizontal Loaf Pan?
I question the loaf pan description for a couple of reasons. For one, some owners describe this as a horizontal loaf pan although Oster makes no mention of it in their product description.
I love the size(s) and shape of the loaf pan; the shape is a standard ‘horizontal’, store bakery shape (not vertical), and the machine uses only one paddle to mix ingredients.
I looked at a top view photo of the machine and the pan appears to be a vertical configuration. It might be a hybrid of horizontal and vertical, but here again Oster makes no mention of that idea. It’s also curious to note that there is only one kneading paddle. All of the bread machines that we have reviewed with horizontal configurations have two paddles to ensure the dough is well mixed and kneaded. On that note there we some comments on improper mixing and kneading.
This is not an uncommon problem with any bread machine. It could also be the result of a certain type of recipe or improper measurement of ingredients. In fact, the standard advice is to add a teaspoon of water at a time if the dough is too dry, or a teaspoon of flour at a time if the dough is too wet or loose.
Another question has to do with loaf sizes. Oster simply says it will bake up to a 2 pound loaf. It was a few comments from customers that seemed to clarify the loaf sizes as 1.5 and 2 pounds. However, many people said that the two pound recipes presented some problems.
I had a real mess when I followed the recipe on pg. 27. It called for 2 Tablespoons of yeast for the 4 cups of flour. It pushed the lid up and went down some over the sides of the pan. A mess to clean up.
The bread pan has a non-stick coating but there is no mention of the type of coating. Most bread pans have a Teflon coating or a Teflon derivative like PFTE or diamond-flourine. The Oster CKSTBRTW20 is manufactured in China and all previous machines we’ve reviewed from that point of manufacture have Teflon coatings.
A Very Lightweight Machine
At 8 pounds the Oster CKSTBRTW20 is the lightest bread machine we have seen. As a contrast, many of he Zojirushi machines weigh up to 20 pounds and more. A lightweight bread machine has advantages and disadvantages. The lighter weight makes it easier to lift and store if you don’t want it cluttering a countertop, but less weight makes it subject to vibration and “walking” on the countertop.
I noticed a lot of people have mentioned that this machine dances around.. They’re right, it does. In fact, the first time I used it, it danced right off the cabinet onto the floor. I’m shocked it didn’t break
The Instruction Book Problem
It’s amazing how often we hear complaints about instruction books and user’s manuals for bread machines. While the complaints about the Oster instruction book weren’t as frequent as we’ve seen for other machines, there were enough to raise some level of concern.
The manual is a disaster — it’s not clearly written, leaves out important information.
The first thing you might experience reading through the manual is a sense of anxiety. The manual stresses using ‘exact’ measurements and vehemently recommends ‘bread machine flour’.
Control Panel and LCD Display
The control panel is easy to use and the Oster CKSTBRTW20 features an LCD display. There were few complains about controls although some owners mentioned that the LCD was not backlit and sometimes hard to see. There were also some concerns about the raised buttons on the panel.
A Good Value for The Money
While many owners had various levels of problems with the machine, 66% of them gave the machine 5 stars. However, I found some of the 5 star reviews to be a bit suspicious. They were very lengthy and covered every feature and benefit of the machine with a writing style you would expect to see from a professional copywriter. I omitted some of those quotes but many seemed authentic including this one.
For the price, there is simply nothing out there to compare with this machine.
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 measures 13.8 x 13 x 14.1 inches and as previously noted weighs 8 pounds. It is available in white only and has a 1-year limited warranty. It’s a good machine for the money but inspect the lid, be careful where you place it on the counter in case it walks, and see how you feel about the crust color.