A few years back we had a look at the ageing Oster 5838 Expressbake, which was one of the most popular bread makers in the early 2000s. The 5838 was already quite dated at the time of that article, but now we are going to look at one of the newer and improved models in the Oster product range – the Oster CKSTBRTW20 Expressbake bread maker. This is one of the current best sellers on the market today, so is it worth your hard earned cash? Let’s see if we can answer that below.
We’ll start things off by talking about the design of this model. It comes in a creamy white color, and is a standard vertical style dome shape. Aside from the rounded corners it is almost square in shape, with dimensions of 13″ x 13.5″ x 14″. The main controls are on the top front section, and the recipes are listed next to the lcd for easy reference. The lcd is surrounded by a silver trim, which adds a little bit of flair to the otherwise ordinary design. Above this is the familiar Oster logo, and the rather generously sized viewing window which allows you to keep an eye on the progress. It’s not going to win any design awards, but neither would we expect it to at the current retail price.
Now let’s talk about some of the features this model has. It comes with 12 recipe settings, the bulk of which are for different bread varieties. This includes the standard ones such as Basic, French, Whole Wheat, Sweet and Quick. There are also two recipe settings for Dough or Jam. One of the main touted features of this model is the Expressbake setting, which creates a loaf of bread in 58 minutes! This is one of the fastest bread recipe modes we have seen, and we will talk about that more below.
The CKSTBRTW20 is quite versatile, as it can make three different loaf sizes including the smaller 1lbs, the medium 1.5lbs and the larger 2lbs. It has the standard three crust shades to pick from include light, medium and dark. There is also a fourth option here which is the Rapid setting. This setting is available on the Basic, French and Whole Wheat recipe modes, and cuts down the overall time by about an hour as it skips the final rise phase. Each phase of the cooking process is shown on the lcd in real time, which is handy if you like to keep an eye on the progress.
Also included is a 13 hour delay timer, which is a standard feature on virtually every bread maker now. The bread pan is your average sized vertical style model, and has a nonstick coating. It only has a single paddle, which is common in cheaper models. If you intend to make any kind of bread that contains seeds or fruit and nuts, then you will be pleased to know that this model comes with an audible alert when it is time to add the ingredients. You also get a double side measuring spoon,a measuring cup, and a instructional booklet with recipes, all of which are handy extras.
We now move onto the all important performance section. First up let’s talk about the Expressbake feature. In order to use this mode you need to use fast rise yeast, and warm water between the temperatures of 115F and 125F. This sounds quick specific, but it must be done this way if you want to end up with a quality loaf. This will give you a loaf of bread in just under an hour, which is actually pretty decent. As expected, it will be a little denser than a normal loaf, and have a thicker crust due to the higher cooking temperatures. Aside from that it is perfectly edible, and the taste is fairly good. If you are often in a rush then this mode will come in very handy. If you stick to the conventional cooking modes, then you can expect to get a completed loaf in about 3 1/2 hours. The finished loaves we made were very well done overall, with a fairly uniform crust and soft fluffy texture. The top of the loaves were a little less cooked compared to the rest, but this is not unusual with cheaper bread machines that don’t have a heating element built into the lid. The taste was very good as expected, and you should get a great tasting loaf as long as you follow the instructions. Since this is vertical style machine, the loaf sizes aren’t the traditional size, and you are left with a taller and shorter loaf. This is more evident when cooking the larger 2lbs loaf, and less so with the smaller 1bs loaf.
There is a bit of “counter hopping” during the kneading phase, and it is more obvious with the larger 2lbs loaves. The machine doesn’t move too much, and the likelihood of it falling off the counter is quite slim, unless it is already very close to the edge. It is fairly quiet when operating, and the kneading phase is where you will hear the bulk of the noise. If you are looking at cooking loaves overnight then you don’t have too much to worry about in terms of noise. Once it has finished cooking the bread loaves come out quite easy thanks to the non-stick coating, and we didn’t have too much trouble getting it clean with a little bit of soapy water. The paddle doesn’t leave a big hole in the bottom or get stuck in the bread thankfully, so we don’t have any complaints in that department.
So that is a brief look at the Oster CKSTBRTW20 Expressbake bread machine. It has a very enticing retail price of around $60, and has a number of different recipes to experiment with. It makes great tasting bread, and is quite easy to clean afterwards. It may not have the fanciest design, but this is easy to forgive considering the good performance it offers. If you are looking for an affordable bread machine, then this one is certainly worth a look.
User Manual: You can find a copy of the users manual in pdf format at this link.
- Great price
- Makes bread in 58 minutes
- Number of different recipes
- Easy to clean
- Great tasting bread
- Bland design
- Bit of “counter hopping” during kneading phase
The CKSTBRTW20 bread maker from Oster is a decent, affordable choice. It has one or two very minor drawbacks, but the performance and price certainly makes up for that. It is one of the top selling bread makers at the moment, and you can find out more about it and read some of the many happy user reviews over on the Amazon product page.