KBS Bread Machine Review
At a glance
A bread machine designed to fit squarely in the middle of the price and capability spectrums of the category. It is a bit more expensive than the entry level offerings from Oster and Cusinart but more affordable than the venerable Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus. And, best of all, it has some of the same features previously found only in the more expensive Zojirushi – and at least one that the Zojirushi lacks.
15 hour delay timer
Adjustable crust color
3 loaf sizes
60 minute keep warm function
Ceramic non-stick bread pan
Fruit and nut dispenser
Top cover window
Touch panel control
Weight: 14.7 lbs
Dimensions: 13.7 x 11.8 x 8.6 inches
Capacity: Up to 2 lbs
Power: 710 watt high-torque motor
I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like. And, judging by the close relationship my family has with all types of bread, it appears my carb-loving gene hasn’t skipped a generation.
So purchasing a bread machine seemed like a no brainer. We started out doing some research to familiarize ourselves with the range of models available on the market. Although we had never owned a bread maker before we wanted one capable enough to last if bread making became part of our normal routine.
The entry level Sunbeam, Cusinart and Oster bread maker each have attractive prices but fewer features and settings. Reviews mention some instances of uneven baking due to relying on one heating element at the base of the units. But, generally speaking, most reviews indicate that these lower priced options perform pretty well for the dollars spent.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Zojirushi bread maker. This is one of the best bread machines on the market and is priced accordingly. In addition to having heating elements at the bottom and top of the unit to ensure even baking, this machine has 2 paddles for kneading dough providing an even mix with no patches of dry flour. Every other machine we found had only 1.
KBS is a relative newcomer on the bread maker scene and is priced in between the entry level models and the high-end Zojirushi. But, surprisingly, the KBS has many of the same capabilities of the Zojirushi – and at least one it does not have: An automatic, removable fruit and nut dispenser that releases fruit or nuts into your bread at exactly the right time.
Here is how the features match up
Being a newcomer has its advantages and, for KBS, one of them is having a sleek, modern design. The brushed metal cladding, bright LCD screen and simple touch panel controls gives it a more modern look than most competitors. It will, however, require a decent amount of counter space as it is larger than most entry level models – but more compact than the Zojirushi.
Lower priced bread makers generally have about 12 pre-programmed settings but are still quite capable. One setting that is often skipped is a gluten free option. But most include a good variety with quick-bake options for when you are in a bit of a hurry.
The high-end Zojirushi actually has only 10 settings but includes gluten free as well as a custom setting which adds quite a bit of versatility. We have seen recipes for pasta, cheesecake and even meatloaf for the Zojirushi so, with the custom setting, it seems like the sky’s the limit.
The KBS has an amazing 17 preprogrammed settings, beating out all the models we researched. It can even make yogurt! For a model priced so reasonably it has wide ranging versatility that is sure to keep you from getting bored.
Delay timer function
Most bread makers at all price points have a delay timer function so you can add your ingredients and set it to start baking later. This allows you to have fresh bread waiting for you in the morning or when you come home from work. They are generally around 13 hours but the KBS has a timer that can delay up to 15 hours. For most people that is probably not a big advantage but it does give delay function bragging rights to KBS.
Adjustable loaf size and crust color
All the bread makers we looked at included the ability to adjust the size of the loaf from 1 to 1 1/2 to 2 lbs (or a similar metric equivalent) as well as to adjust the crust color from light to medium to dark so there is no clear advantage here.
Keep warm function
All bread makers we researched also had a keep warm function so this won’t impact your purchase decision.
Non-stick ceramic baking pan
Most bread makers come with steel or stainless steel baking pans. The KBS goes the extra mile with their non-stick ceramic offering. This allows the finished loaf to come out easier and simplifies clean up as well. And by going with a ceramic material you don’t have to worry about any health concerns you may have regarding non-stick Teflon coatings. They also claim that the ceramic pan distributes heat more evenly, resulting in a more uniformly baked loaf of bread.
Most machines have some form of battery back up so the unit can resume baking with the correct settings should power be lost and then restored. KBS is no exception with a 15 minute battery backup that retains the memory if your power supply is interrupted.
The inner workings
Lower priced bread makers tend to have 4 traits in common. A single heating element, one kneading paddle, a steel pan, and no automatic fruit/nut dispenser. Here are the drawbacks to these limitations.
• A single heating element can lead to the top of your bread coming out pale while the bottom is golden brown.
• A single kneading paddle sometimes results in dough that is not uniformly mixed. Some reviews of single paddle machines have mentioned finding spots of dry flour which can require you to take the dough out for some additional hand kneading. This is especially true when combined with a machine that has a less powerful motor.
• A steel pan can tend to be tougher to remove bread from and a little harder to clean.
• The lack of an automated fruit and nut dispenser means that you will need to monitor the process and listen for an alert when it is time to add those ingredients manually. (The upgraded 2020 Cusinart now comes with a dispenser.)
At the other end of the spectrum, the top-of-the-line Zojirushi bread maker has heating elements at both the bottom and top of the unit ensuring bread with an even level of crustiness all around. It’s a small difference but certainly one that will satisfy the perfectionists in the crowd. And when it comes to kneading paddles, the Zojirushi also goes the extra mile by having 2. This means every batch of dough should be evenly mixed with no patches of dry flour. It should also more thoroughly mix any added ingredients like fruit or nuts. But this brings us to one odd fact: Despite being one of the most expensive options, the Zojirushi does not come with an automated fruit and nut dispenser.
So how does KBS stack up when it come to these internal features? While it is priced much lower than the Zojirushi, the KBS comes closer in quality to it than the lower priced models. True, it lacks the second kneading paddle and heating element, but the ceramic baking pan and removable, automated fruit and nut dispenser seem to make up for those omissions. Especially given the KBS’s lower price tag.
We have put our KBS Bread Machine through its paces and each loaf baked has been delicious and fluffy. And the experience has been almost effortless. We did notice the tops of the loaves were slightly paler than the bottoms but the interiors were evenly baked and tasted great without any patches of dry flour – so we found it to be a cosmetic difference more than anything.
We did not try recipes that required adding fruit or nuts so we don’t know if the single kneading paddle does an adequate job of mixing those ingredients evenly.
The KBS has created an affordable bread machine that steals a lot of the thunder from category leader, Zojirushi. If we had money to burn we would go for the Zojirushi simply because of the additional kneading paddle and top heating element. But if you would rather save some money the KBS performs very well, has great design and build quality, and delivers tremendous bang for the buck.