Bread Machine Buying Tips

What you need to know Before buying a pre-owned Bread Machine.

There are probably thousands of bread machines,over a few years old, that have never been out of the box. They sit in someones basement or closet, the result of a gift not wanted or understood.
Others have been used, but because the owner didn't like the first results (and decided not to try again) they too are sitting in the garage or attic. UnUsed, UnNoticed, and UnLoved.

Eventually they end up at yard sales, thrift stores or online auctions at pennies on the dollar of their original cost.

Then there's you. You want a bread machine. You think it would be amazing to make your own Bread and Dough and Jam (Yes, most even make Jam) You can spend a lot of money on a new machine, or you can spend a fraction of that on a machine that has never been used or used only a couple of times. Online auctions have the most to offer in both New and Used or Pre-Owned Machines.

If you are thinking about a not so new machine, there are some things you need to know.

The first bread maker I bought at a yard sale was beautiful. It looked like something out of Star Wars with a great high glass dome and digital display. It was a Welbilt ABM 100
The owner still had the box and all of the instructions. So for about twenty dollars I took it home. It was then I realized that a bread maker needs a paddle and this one was missing.
So before you buy check to make sure all of the parts are present. That means a pan (usually removable), a paddle (also usually removable) and some machines will have a gasket around the bottom outside of the pan.

Check the outside of the machine. A tiny ding or scratch might be okay, but if there are dents, it may have taken a fall.

The next thing to look for is paddle action. Plug it in at the yard sale or thrift store and if buying online, make this one of the questions you ask the seller. If the paddle rotates that's a good sign. A few bread machines like certain Panasonics warm the ingredients first ( takes about an hour) and then mix them. If this is the case just make sure the display light is on.

How does the pan look. A few very minor scratches aren't bad, but if it looks like it's been gouged with a knife or rubbed with a Brillo pad....you might want to pass. For an online auction don't just rely on photos. Ask the seller the extent of any blemishes or scratches on the machine pan and paddle.

Next you want to check for leaks. Remove the pan, fill it with water and check the bottom for drips. Pretty simple. Of course this is another question you want to ask the seller on an online auction.

Are the Instructions included? This would be nice, but most instructions to most machines can be found at the manufacturers website, online auctions, or other helpful bread machine websites.

I never could find the house again where I bought that first bread machine. Always thought the paddle must have been there. I just didn't take it. I did find a replacement even though Welbilts haven't been manufactured in some time. It has been a great machine and I have since bought about 25 more Bread Makers of various brands. ( Yes I am a hoarder) Every Christmas season my sisters and I get together and bake all different types of bread for the shelters. We have about 15 machines mixing and baking. You can imagine the aroma in the house that day.

Bread Machine History

Very few people know who indeed invented the first bread machine, or even who came up with the concept. Before the bread machines that make mass food, or even your convenient one that you keep in your kitchen, bread used to be made by hand. Specifically it was made through the process that began with dough, which is flour and water with other ingredients added as needed. Before the machines that helped modern bread making today it was very profitable to be a baker, however very laborious at the same time. Hours of work would go into making bread - usually at a maximum of a hundred a day with multiple workers. At home, bread would be made by hand, and would often take much time to do.

Then along came a man with an idea for automation. Although the Romans had come up with massive milling factories and industrialization two millennia ago, their automation was limited to that of the material preparation. Born in 1848, a man by the name of Joseph Lee would come to prominence in the culinary industry by first building a machine that would take day old bread and crumble it - as back in the day any bread older than a day had to be thrown out and wasted. After he sold this design, he invented the first automated bread machine. He improved the design so that instead of taking six men, it took one or two. The machine was able to mix the dough, and kneed the bread - eliminating the human element from this part of baking, essentially creating a standardized bread mixture for each batch. The bread produced from this was not only more hygienic, but revolutionary in production and quality.

After this design became the standard, it overtook bakeries and many did indeed suffer from not having automation. By the 50’s nearly all major bread manufacturers had these machines - however people at home were still unable to make bread with an efficient bread machine that did not take up an entire room. It would not be until 1986 that a Japanese company manufactured the first one-loaf bread machine. It was with this first machine that the idea and designs would eventually become popular, and more manufacturers would take up on the popularity. Modern bread machines are made by many manufacturers for home use now, and all can trace their history back to Joseph Lee in the late 1800’s, as they all incorporate a miniaturized design of his automation machines. The machines themselves only need the ingredients, and can do the rest from beginning to end, producing a fully cooked and read to eat loaf of bread.

By 1996 the bread machine was becoming a household appliance that many owned, and a decade later the numbers have doubled. Sales of bread machines continue to be strong as more advanced machines become available. Machines which are able to make pizza dough or other dough for anything from cinnamon rolls to pancake mix are popular now as well, as they can do this and also their traditional role as a bread machine. Nearly any flavor of bread can now be made at home because of these little wonderful machines.