Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic Programmable Review
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Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic Programmable
$69.99 at Amazon
$149.96 at Amazon
|Check Price at Amazon||$130 List|
$129.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Great wheat bread, lightweight and easy to store, inexpensive||Excellent white and wheat bread, pleasant-looking breads, good crusts||Lightweight, easy cake baking||Decent gluten-free bread density, lightweight and small, inexpensive||Lightweight, small footprint|
|Cons||Poor cake recipe, uneven distribution, lacks recipe variety||Gluten free recipe doesn't work, cake recipe was undercooked, crowded interface||Off-tasting gluten-free bread, a bit bulky for its footprint, just average performance||Inconsistent density, too tall for sandwich bread, buttons difficult to press||Poor white bread, lacks gluten-free and other variety, poor performance across the board|
|Bottom Line||A smaller, more affordable option with solid performance making white and wheat breads||If you want excellent traditional sandwich breads, this is a solid choice — just don't expect good gluten-free or sweet bread||Though a convenient cake-maker, this average model left us wanting more in nearly every way||Though a tempting option with a smaller footprint and lower cost, this machine makes subpar bread and isn't the easiest to use||A lightweight model with minimal footprint, but makes well-below-average bread and lacks recipe variety|
|Rating Categories||Elite Gourmet Maxi-...||KBS Pro MBF-010||Hamilton Beach Home...||Cuisinart Compact A...||Oster ExpressBake 2...|
|White Bread (30%)|
|Wheat Bread (30%)|
|Gluten Free (15%)|
|Yeast Free (10%)|
|Specs||Elite Gourmet Maxi-...||KBS Pro MBF-010||Hamilton Beach Home...||Cuisinart Compact A...||Oster ExpressBake 2...|
|Measured Dimensions (HxWxL)||11.5" x 10" x 14"||13" x 13.5" x 8.5"||12" x 11.5" x 15.25"||11.5" x 8.5" x 12"||11" x 11" x 12.5"|
|Measured Weight||8.0 lbs||13.6 lbs||11.6 lbs||8.7 lbs||9.0 lbs|
|Number of Functions||19||17||12||12||12|
|Available Loaf Sizes||1, 1.5, 2 lb||1, 1.5, 2 lb||1.5, 2 lb||1, 1.5, 2 lb||1, 1.5, 2 lb|
|Automatic Fruit and Nut Dispenser||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Number of Recipes||18||17||30||43||32|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic Programmable stands out from the crowd for its impressive affordability and boasts above-average wheat bread and pretty good white bread to boot. It's one of the smallest and lightest models we tested and comes with 19 functions and 18 recipes.
Though it's not an outstanding contender in this category, the Maxi-Matic makes pretty decent white bread. We used the machine's recipe to test how well it does. Loaves consistently came out with a nice, medium-light-colored crust with rather even coloring on all sides. An even dome developed on top, adding to the overall appeal of the appearance of the bread. Most of the interior had consistent air pocket size and distribution, though the bottom inch or so at the base was a bit denser than the rest.
While the texture of the bread was above average in our testing, its flavor was just average. We enjoyed this white bread's sponginess and unique taste but thought the crust was a bit too dense. It is worth noting that a chunk was left unmixed in the final loaf. Interestingly, the Elite Gourmet white bread recipe is the only one we tested that calls for oil rather than butter. However, it doesn't specify what kind of oil, leaving you to make an educated guess (we used vegetable oil) and experiment. It also included no instructions on how to modify the amount of yeast based on your altitude, so if you live at a high elevation, there's another point of experimentation to get this recipe right.
Making wheat bread is where the Maxi-Matic really excels. It's one of our favorites of the bunch, earning good scores across all aspects of the resulting loaf made in our testing. While the crust isn't perfectly even all the way around, it's nearly so, achieving a nice medium brown color that was slightly darker in the centers of each side than the corners. It attained a nice crunchy crust, especially compared to the other bread machines we tested.
Cutting into this bread, we were further impressed. The density and distribution of air pockets were nearly perfect throughout the loaf. It transitioned from crust to fluffy crumb about a third of an inch from each edge. A pleasant dome shape helps make this wheat bread a great choice for making sandwiches. Our entire testing team loved the flavor and texture of the Maxi-Matic wheat bread, rating it one of their favorites. Once again, this recipe swaps out butter for oil. It also has less salt than most other recipes but doesn't lack the flavor you want from your bread. And though it's a wheat bread recipe, the actual ingredient list calls for half wheat flour and half white flour, which we happily obliged.
Gluten Free Bread
Only some of the bread machines we tested make a good gluten-free loaf, and the Elite Gourmet is no exception. The recipe is essentially cornbread — not gluten-free bread. It wasn't mixed very well and looked like a square brick rather than a delicious loaf of bread. Despite including the amount of yeast called for in the recipe, the resulting bread hardly rose while baking. Inside, the density of the bread proved to be very uneven, with an extremely thick base and several larger holes at the top.
Its crust, however, turned out beautifully medium-dark, with a satisfying crunch on the bottom and sides. Most gluten-free loaves have soft crusts, but this one came out exactly as we hoped for every loaf of bread. While our team enjoyed the flavor of the Maxi-Matic gluten-free bread, its texture and density once again worked against it, creating a different type of bread with each bite. Rather than holding together in a way necessary for sandwich bread, this loaf was dry and easily crumbled while we were eating it.
Right off the bat, the Maxi-Matic is more convenient than most others we tested due to its small footprint and low weight. It takes up a 10-inch by 14-inch space on your counter and is 11.5 inches tall — 20 inches with the lid open. At 8 pounds, this model is one of the lightest we tested. It comes with a comprehensive trouble-shooting guide in its included user manual and recipe book and has one of the clearest layouts we've seen. Though it doesn't offer many suggestions for recipe altering, it does discuss the role of various ingredients in bread making, helping you to puzzle through the experimentation process on your own if you so desire.
The interface is easy to read, though it lacks a backlight. A few of the buttons are harder to push than others. The Elite Gourmet comes with 19 different functions available and can make 1 lb, 1.5 lb, and 2 lb loaves of bread. Though our testing stuck strictly to bread, this model is one of the few we tested that offers a yogurt-making function. It lacks an automatic fruit/nut dispenser and comes with just 18 recipes — roughly one for each available function. While we found ourselves wishing it offered more recipes (18 is one of the fewest of any we tested), we appreciate that the recipes it provides use mostly simple ingredients, saving us from tracking odd additives and unusual flours in specialty shops and online.
Yeast Free Bread
The Maxi-Matic dropped the ball in making yeast-free bread in our testing. Despite using the recipe recommended by Elite Gourmet, this loaf came out very poorly. It didn't rise, resulting in a dense brick, and didn't cook all the way through. We had difficulty getting the bread out of the pan, and when we did, it felt all wrong — like a rubbery pad rather than a loaf of bread.
We found the taste and texture grainy and generally unpleasant. When we tried adding mini chocolate chips to the mixture, they all ended up at the bottom of the loaf. This is partly because of the amount of liquid in the bread mixture and partly because of its lack of an automatic fruit/nut dispenser. However, other models with similar loaves and lack of features faired better here than the Maxi-Matic.
Should You Buy the Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic Programmable?
The Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic is one of the least expensive bread machines we tested. But for anyone hoping to make some delicious wheat sandwich bread and solid white bread, the Maxi-Matic is our top, budget-friendly recommendation.
What Other Bread Machines Should You Consider?
The Maxi-Matic is a great choice for basic sandwich bread on a budget. If you're after excellent sandwich bread and have more money to spend, we love the wheat and white breads made by the KBS Pro MBF-010. For anyone after a delicious gluten-free bread, as well as top-tier white, wheat, and yeast-free breads, the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is the best bread machine we tested — and comes with a matching high price tag. But if you're after bread on a budget, there's no better choice for you than the Elite Gourmet Max-Matic Programmable.
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