Hitachi Bread Machines
In this article we will take a look at some of the more popular Hitachi bread makers that were made in past years. These were very popular with consumers, and are still very well desired on the second hand market. Unfortunately Hitachi no longer make bread makers as part of their product range, so we are left with a few very hardy and durable bread makers. These machines are still very robust and comparable to current models, so we feel that this article might help to provide some info on them. We decided to do this writeup it as there weren’t really many resources available that talked about these great bread machines. Hopefully we can provide a bit of assistance if you are thinking of buying one of these bread makers, or even if you want to find out what all the fuss was about them.
Now when it comes to modern day bread machines, there are hundreds of different ones to pick from. Most of them come with a big variety of options and settings you can choose from, and this can get quite confusing and be rather cumbersome for someone who wants a simple bread maker. Hitachi bread makers were never designed to be ultra high technology machines – they were designed purely with making bread in mind. And for this purpose they do the job very well. I mean at the end of the day, if you only want to make bread then why should you have to pay extra for a machine that also makes jam and pizza dough?
But lets get back on topic here. The Hitachi range of bread machines were first manufactured in the late 90′s. This continued up until the mid 2000’s when the entire range was discontinued, presumably due to the market being flooded with a variety of cheaper Chinese imports. These imports were an inferior build quality, but offered a cheaper alternative to consumers, which soon drove the Hitachi range of machines into extinction.
A look at the HB-B101 model
One such popular model amongst consumers was the Hitachi HB-B101 bread maker. This was a well known mid range bread cooker, and formed part of Hitachi’s “Automatic Home Bakery” line of products. This particular model allowed you to make three different sizes of loaves, ranging from small (200g) to medium (395g) and large (590g). This is a vertical style bread machine, and was designed for the average American home user. There are four different recipes to choose from with this particular model. The first is the very basic “Bread” recipe, which is designed for the straightforward making of different bread types, including fruit and raisin varieties. There is a built in delay timer in this Hitachi model, which can delay the cooking time up to 13 hours. It is important to note that this timer can only be used when you are using the basic “Bread” recipe setting. Next up we have the “Bread Rapid” setting. As the name implies, this recipe setting will speed things up a bit if you want your freshly cooked bread in a hurry. With this setting activated, the total cooking time is reduced by roughly a third bringing the time to around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The third recipe option is the “Mix Bread” setting. This option is for the preparation of less common types of bread, such as raisin or nut loaf. The built in mixer will work its magic when this mode is activated, and will mix the bread effectively before it is cooked. Lastly you have the “Dough” setting, which is used to make a variety of doughs. French bread or dinner rolls are the type of dough that this mode is designed to mix, so keep that in mind if you want to make any of these types of bread.
Aside from those four recipe settings is the ability to choose what kind of crust you prefer. There are three options to choose from, which include light, medium and dark. These are fairly self explanatory, so no real need to explain them. The only other option you might use on the control panel is the “Lock” setting. This simple button allows you to lock all the settings in place once you have started cooking, in case any of the buttons accidentally get pressed during the cooking procedure.
Controls and options aside, there is a handy viewing window on top of the machine. This allows you to keep an eye on the bread as it is cooking. There are a couple of accessories included with this bread maker, including a combination measuring spoon and cup, a bread knife and a recipe book. Once the bread is finished cooking, the machine will make a series of audible beeps to let you know the bread is ready. Overall this was a very decent bread maker for the time, and still holds up well today compared to competing products.
An updated version of this particular model was released a few years later, which was know as the Hitachi HB-B201. This model was fairly similar to its predecessor the HB-B101, but it did come with a few minor tweaks and additions. For starters, it came with a “Cycle” button. If for any reason the power got cut when the bread was busy baking, this button allows you to select the current cooking cycle the bread was currently in and resume it. This machine also included two new recipe modes – Rice and Jam. This we believe was to help it compete against all the new kinds of bread makers flooding the market. These modes were a nice little addition, and the jam mode was a somewhat new feature which not many other competing products had at the time. The “Rice” mode was also very simple to use, and the built in water level indicator made it fairly quick and easy to make an accurate quantity of rice. Those two differences aside, the two machines were fairly similar to each other. Both came in a standard glossy finish, which suited most households.
So there you have two of the most popular Hitachi bread machines that were sold. It is a shame Hitachi stopped making them, but they can still be found on the second hand market. These often show up on ebay for a reasonable price, and if you aren’t looking for a space age style bread maker then these will be a good investment. They should still provide you with a good few years of service, so keep this in mind if you are thinking of buying a quality bread maker.