Top critical review
74 people found this helpful
Disappointing exeprience overall
on February 20, 2010
We had this Black & Decker bread maker for about two years, baking a maximum of one or two loaves a week. Results initially were not good, (very few recipes came with the device), but tweaking the ingredients led to some very good results, although dough often rose right to the window, causing some cleaning challenges. Unfortunately the sealed bearings around the drive shafts of the two paddles have now both given up, one almost completely and one well on its way. The paddles became very hard to turn and the sound of the machine while kneading changed, so listen for a motor that seems to be working harder, or try and turn the paddles with the pan out of the machine. There should definitely not be too much resistance. A clue might also be that dough starts heaping up more to one side than the other, with very skew loaves as the result.
As these ruined bearings will just burn out the motor, I searched for parts on the Internet to replace them before this happens. Of course parts are not available, the closest I could get was a complete used non-stick pan from eBay, but who knows what those bearings look like. Price was almost what we paid for the bread maker too, so looks like this will go in the trash can. The lid also began to discolour very quickly, probably a different kind of plastic than the body.
If you have one of these, make very sure not to keep water in the non-stick pan for long to soften the hard bread crusts around the shafts, as this may accelerate deterioration of the bearings due to the poor quality seals.
I would not buy this at the regular price, although a sales price may be worth it.
Follow-up five months later: I took apart the non-stick pan by drilling out the four rivets and had a good look at the problem, as I was planning to junk it anyway. The seals are most likely the cause, as there seems to be some kind of grease inside that went almost completely dry, rough and grainy. There are, in fact, no bearings. I got rid of the hardened substance, repacked the core with high temperature grease, and used high-quality silicon to carefully reseal the area around the shafts. I then used four screws with small spring washers and nuts to reattach the pan to the base unit. I was a bit concerned that the dough would stick to the screws, but that has turned out not to be a problem at all. No grease in the first loaf after the repair either, or since, so the silicon seals are holding.
Seems as if the job was successful, as it's now five months later and still going, although I don't expect it to last forever. I have to add that my wife loves this machine, and was very disappointed when it broke down, so if only B&D could get something done about those seals - a two-cent part, it there ever was one. I now wash out the pan with water briefly when done, to soften the hard crusts that form on the shafts, and don't keep in the water, as I think that will speed up any deterioration if there is a leak. If I can get it to last three years, I'll be happy.