The West Bend 41300 Breadmaker is a good bread machine for basic loaves and dough making. It offers a bread-pan size that allows for a horizontal loaf that is more traditional, and its dual-blade paddles ensure a very good kneading cycle for proper rise and result. This double-paddle feature is why it’s referred to as “Hi-rise,” and many owners agree that it delivers.
The unit offers 11 pre-programmed settings, 3 crust shades, a digital control panel and a12-hour delay timer. It does not have settings for gluten-free or 100% whole wheat, although the instruction book has recipes for gluten free indicating a “basic-white” setting for gluten free. It bakes loaves in a 1 pound, 1.5, 2 pound and 2.5 size all in the horizontal configuration. The pans are non-stick, Teflon. It also has an optional, dual-loaf 1-pound insert that allows you to bake two 1-pound horizontal loaves, but you have to order that separately.
This is a basic bread machine and does a good job with it’s double paddle design, but the addition of ingredients such as nuts and fruits requires you to wait for a series of beeps as do many other bread makers. Owner reviews are typically very good with some of the usual complaints related to damaged models and the ever-present complaints about the instruction book.
“The manual is a big disappointment. All the other bread machines I have owned have the amount of time for each part of the bread making process. The West Bend doesn’t tell you how long it will be when you get the beep to add ingredients like fruit and nuts.”
Unique two-paddle design
The paddles in the West Bend 41300 are fixed paddles. A common lament from many home bread makers is that fixed paddles remain stuck in the based of the loaf and need to be removed and often leave a hole in the bottom of the loaf. Curiously, many efforts by other brands to use folding paddles and address this issue have not solved the problem and created new ones. If you don’t like little holes in the bottom of your loaf from a bread machine you might want to consider making the dough in the machine and baking in your oven, in a separate pan. To date, I’ve seen no manufacturer who has successfully and consistently resolved this fairly minor problem with a small hole in the bottom of any loaf. Most people don’t seem to care and simply appreciate the performance of the machine.
“Perfect. I love this bread machine: very versatile and easy to use, producing a fantastic loaf of bread. I love the double kneading blades because they do a great job mixing everything together.”
Horizontal Loaf Capability
A unique feature with the West Bend 41300 is a horizontal loaf capacity across loaf sizes. This as opposed to the vertical loaves that many machines produce. Some people complain about the smaller, horizontal loaf sizes such as the 1-pound horizontal loaf because it does not rise high enough to create a crown on the loaf, but most appreciate a horizontal loaf for slicing and sandwich making.
“This breadmaker makes horizontal loaves, similar to those you find in the store. Depending on the recipe you use, they will come out nice and fluffy.”
Easy to read control panel
Like many bread makers, the control panel is easy to operate although there are some complaints about the instruction book and the inability to understand settings and adjustments. There are 11 pre-programmed settings but you have to improvise if you’re looking for gluten free or whole-wheat settings.
What’s up with instruction books?
Once again, numerous complaints and laments emerged from owners of the West Bend 41300 related to the instruction book and recipes that accompany the machine. This is a curiously common lament with many bread machines. To put it bluntly, it makes no sense.
“Great bread machine, bad manual.”
“I love this bread machine. It is the best I have ever owned. I would give it a 5 star rating if the manual was better and there wasn’t such a long wait to add in fruit or nuts.”
The experience anyone has with a product or brand defines its success. The instruction book is there to help you have a great experience with the product. How come manufactures ignore the critical success factor defined by a clear, accurate and effective instruction book? In so many instances I have found the instruction book for most every brand to be a failure point. My advice is to find your own recipes online or your own bread machine books and experiment. Although I would start with the manufacturers book…. just in case they got something right.
Hi-Rise as a benefit
There’s a reason West Bend identifies the 41300 as “Hi-rise.” It’s essentially the ability of the two paddles to thoroughly knead the dough prior to the rising cycle. Zojirushi, Panasonic and others offer this two-paddle feature in addition to other features. The West Bend is a more modest machine with regards to features, but as a basic unit the ability to encourage a good rise prior to baking is a critical success factor. Some owners agree that it works, others don’t but there’s still that question about the instruction book.
“Makes the best bread I have ever had. Consistent high rise. Light and fluffy bread.”
The West Bend 41300 is a simple machine. That’s a good thing. The value of two paddles results in good kneading and a good rise and the machine promises nothing more. It’s not a hi-tech effort with complex folding-paddles, and the pre-programmed settings are basic. Any complaints about the unit fall into the usual category of mechanical problems with some units, owner inexperience and the lack of commitment across the category to dedicating sufficient time and attention to a good and proper instruction book. Owners once again have found and offered solutions to common problems.
“can anyone tell me if it makes a difference how the blades are aligned in the pan?”
It does make a difference. Make sure the paddles are not facing the same way when you start. I learned it from watching other celebs sell their dual-paddle breadmakers.
“Can anyone recommend the best bread machine cookbook for this model?”
I have used recipes I found online. I find that to be the best way. There are many cooking sites. You might want to type “best bread machine recipes” in the search bar and you will see what pops up.
“One of the blades seem to be stuck and I cannot pull it loose. Any suggestions?”
I soaked it in water for awhile and was able to pry it up.
“Does this machine have a gluten free setting”
Not specifically, but it has recipes for gluten free bread and explains that it should be set on “#1 Basic”. The bread maker also has setting “#10 Homemade” where you can make all the settings yourself if you are that familiar with bread making machines.
A good general choice for a basic bread machine
If you’re looking for a basic bread maker the West Bend 41300 appears to be a good choice. It’s simple, solid and the two fixed paddles get the job done. If you’re trying to make a lot of gluten free or whole wheat recipes you’ll have to experiment to see how it performs.