Bread Maker Review – Oster 5838 Expressbake

September 22, 2009

Oster Expressbake bread makerThe Oster 5838 ExpressBake Breadmaker is the newest member of our kitchen appliance family. To be honest, my wife picked it up in at a thrift store for about a third of what it goes for online, or I might not have tried it out. We've had both good and bad results so far.

The Oster 5838 makes horizontal loaves between one and one half or two pounds. Recipes for both sizes are included in the manual. Horizontal loaves are valued by most bread maker owners as being closer to a “regular” bread shape than the vertical loaves of many other bread machines. It uses a single central paddle which works well enough most of the time, but does not provide the superior mixing and kneading of a two paddle system. The large window makes checking on the bread very easy, and the controls are quite clear and easy to use.

This bread maker has an array of cycles including two ExpressBake cycles, one of which is reported to make bread in less than one hour. In order to make this cycle work you must use fast rising yeast and hot (but not too hot) water. The ExpressBake cycles make bread that has a thicker crust, and much denser crumb than the other cycles. There is also a Bake setting for making jams.

The Oster 5838 bread maker gets good overall reviews with an average rating of 3 1/ 2 stars at Amazon. Most of the complaints point to a lack of consistency in the loaves, bread either falling or not rising at all, or burning the loaves. Of those who did like it there were some complaints of having to modify the provided recipes to make them work. Some people (like myself) don't mind this, others do. One review mentioned there was no hard copy manual included. Mine didn't have one but I suspect that's because we got it used.

Even a few of those who were happy with the Oster ExpressBake bread maker, mentioned ways to check up on the machine, or modify the recipes to make them work better. This was my experience as well. I couldn't get a consistently good loaf of bread unless I add my “secret bread maker ingredients.” For this breadmaker one teaspoon each of vital wheat gluten and dough conditioner helped me get superior results, even better at times than from my old bread maker. I find I get much better results with the 1.5 pound recipes than the 2 pound ones, as well.

If you're willing to play around with the recipes, and don't want to spend a lot of money on a bread maker, you would do well to check out the Oster 5838 ExpressBake. Even with the problems of consistency, readily fixed with the “secret ingredients,” I'm going to recommend this one. It's replacing the Sunbeam 5891 as my pick for “Best Low-Priced Breadmaker.”