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Home Baking with Breadmakers or Bread-Machines

Updated on April 25, 2014

Home Baking with a Breadmaker

Wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread.

There are many advantages to making you own bread: fresh bread always available; no need to go shopping regularly; you know what is in the food you are eating, e.g. no preservatives; you can adjust the recipe to suit your taste and make a loaf of the size you require. In addition to that, if you use a breadmaker, you don't actually have to do anything apart from pour in the ingredients... Oh, yes. And it tasted really good too.

This article includes a review of a good breadmaker (or Bread Machine): The Panasonic SD-255WXC

Breadmakers

A year ago I would never have expected to be the proud owner of a breadmaker let alone be writing a review of one. Rather than being a master-baker, I am more of a mad chemist who likes to eat his experiments, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive this machine for Christmas, to aid my research. Breadmaking has never been my forte, with the exception, perhaps of pizza.

Panasonic Breadmakers

My kitchen, using estate agent language, is of modest proportions (i.e. Little more than a cupboard with a hotplate) so superfluous gadgetry is bannished, but this robotic wonder permanently occupies some very valuable work-top real estate. It too is of modest proportions, with a footprint of less than one foot (30cm) square, although fairly tall at about 40cm. It is extremely easy to operate, simply put the ingredients into the metal bread-pan, first making sure the rotating kneading paddle/blade is in place at the bottom, lift open the lid of the bread-maker drop the baking pan in, twisting slightly to engage the motor, close the lid then choose the loaf size and baking options specified in the recipe and set the timer if you want the bread later e.g. for breakfast. The controls are simple buttons on the top panel which allow you to cycle through each option. The bread needs to be removed fairly quickly on completion to prevent overcooking.

Instructions and Recipes

The instruction manual/recipe book is a thin A4 paper booklet, with just 35 pages, but has good operating instructions, trouble-shooting for when it doesn't quite go as planned and a very good range of recipes. The machine does all the work for you, so knowing how it is doing it is irrelevant. All you need to know is the ingredients and quantities and the options to set. There are also many books on the subject for further recipes. The main problem I found was in determining quantities. The bread-maker comes with a measuring jug and spoons, but the recipes use weights for all dry ingredients, and I have no scales so I had to convert the recipes to volumes.

Baking Options

The Panasonic has three loaf-size options for many recipes M, L and XL (varying in height only, and approximately corresponding to the range of sizes found in a supermarket) and many baking options including whole wheat (5 hours), rye (3.5 hours) basic white and brown loaves (4 hours), sandwich (crustless, 5 hours), French (6 hours) and Italian (4.5 hours) gluten-free (2 hours) and also a dough only setting so you can cook rolls or loaves in the oven or the fantastic 45 minute pizza mode. There are quick loaf modes too, which can be finished in under 2 hour buts require slightly different recipes and are perhaps less consistent in quality.

The Results

The results are good. Not perhaps the best bread I have ever eaten, but certainly very good and the freshest. It really doesn't cut easily straight from the machine unless you give it a chance to cool down a little, which can be frustrating. The basic white or brown loaves are the easiest, but you can automatically add dry ingredients such as nuts and seeds and dried-fruit after the kneading stage with the nut-dispenser, a little trap-door in the lid, that opens if you set the correct option. You can also do some complex recipes that require extra wet ingredients by listening out for the beeping noise at the appropriate time. There are so many permutations that I have only tried a small fraction and of course it can also be used for a huge variety of your own cake recipes. The bread only stays fresh for a very short time so it really is worth making small loaves regularly.

Maintenance/Cleaning

The machine is also very easy to keep clean. The only small complaint is that it is a bit noisy. Loud enough to be heard in another room, but not enough to keep you awake, so it is certainly not a problem.

Conclusion

Its a very good machine, well worth the money, and it it good to know what is actually in the food you are eating. It is worth buying just for the pleasure of waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread. Apparently, if you're trying to sell your house the smell of freshly baked bread and coffee will help, so buy one of these.

Advantages: small footprint, easy to clean, wide range of bread and cake recipes

Disadvantages: slightly noisy

Summary:

Wake up to smell of freshly baked bread

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      fenellashorty 4 years ago

      I love pizza made with a bread maker. Dough takes about 40 minutes, then it can be assembled into whatever you want.

    • profile image

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Fresh bread is best.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Fresh bread is best.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Ah, there ain't nothing better than a guy who not only brings home the bread, but also bakes the bread!!! You know?

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      I used to own one while I was working on my Master's degree and it was great. Now that I am a stay at home mom, I love baking bread in the oven and my daughter loves to help.

    • grandma deal profile image

      grandma deal 6 years ago

      Absolutely love my bread machine. I always make the 2-lb size. No use wasting time with a smaller size. With just Steve and me living here, I quarter the loaves, put each quarter in a ziplock freezer baggie and freeze. Then I can make different kinds and not have to worry about any of it going bad. I like this lens and intend to lensroll it and favorite it.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      Like the one pounder. Because there are no preservatives it doesn't last long, which means that small loaves are better

    • profile image

      MindMapper1 7 years ago

      We use our two panasonic machines all the time for all dough and bread making, they are generally used everyday for one thing or another. They are different models but they are both great. The best advice we can give is get some nomex oven gloves to remove the pan from the baker and to assist when handling the hot bread and pan. Don't buy any other make this is simply the best machine make round

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Hi Brenda,

      Thanks very much for the suggestions. I did forget to mention that the bread actually tastes good, didn't I. I shall change the wording and add "bread machine" to the key-words and title so people can find the lens.

      I shall also give your recipes a try too. They sound wonderful.

      Thanks,

      Andy

      [in reply to Treasures-By-Brenda]

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Andy, you forgot to say in the first paragraph how yummy homemade bread is. And I disagree with you in the results section -- our country seed bread recipe is amongst the best bread I have ever eaten. I'm going to lensroll your lens to my Best-Ever Country Seed Bread one.

      By the way, in Canada we call them Bread Machines. It might be useful to use that on your lens to. I'll have to add breadmaker to mine.

      Blessed.

      Brenda

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Yummy. Fresh baked bread smells so good. I have never used a bread maker but might have to try this. Sounds wonderful.

    • profile image

      Tarra99 8 years ago

      I'm an occasional user of my machine too....but when I do make a loaf they all go nuts for it...so handy! I'd have never made a good housewife in the early 1900's. Thanks Andy for popping in to visit my "reuse toothbrushes" lens...I appreciate your comments.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      We use our bread maker to make bread occassionally. What we use it all the time for is pizza dough. It works great.

      Great lens

      LizzyJean

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I can almost smell fresh bread baking! I think I'm hungry now! :)

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      [in reply to Lynx92]

      I haven't actually tried any of the pre-prepared mixes yet - I always use variations on recipes from books or from the Panasonic instructions, but I shall give it a try. Thanks.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 8 years ago

      As a gourmet cook, I have to give this lens 5 gold ones! I don't bake my own bread, however I may start now.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I love the smell of fresh bread in the house. I own two old breadmakes, now about 15 years old. They go and go, probably averaging about 20 loaves a year.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 8 years ago

      Nice lens. I was in the grocery store the other day and I am not sure how it came up but we were talking and when I mentioned that I have never used a dishwasher-I thought the people were going to drop to the ground (hehe, it was almost funny) I also do not own a microwave (although, I did when I was single because it was a gift) But this is something else I have never had; a bread machine. I have always made my bread the ole fashion way by hand.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I bake all our bread, muffins, biscuits, cookies, pies, cakes, etc. :-)

      No breadmaker -- just my two hands and an oven.

      Great lens.

    • Lynx92 profile image

      Lynx92 8 years ago

      Have you tried the ciabatta mix? I can recommend it.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      We make homemade bread but we don't use a breadmaker.

    • profile image

      Mayflowerblood 8 years ago

      yum! nothing better then whole made bread. =]

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 9 years ago from Minnesota

      A very nice lens, Andy. There's nothing like the aroma of freshly baked bread, that's for sure. I had a wonderful breadmaker and used it faithfully until I accidentally tossed out the little mixing paddle. I tried to order a new one but the company apparently went out of business. What I most liked was being able to program it for a later baking time. Think I'll have to check out your Panasonic model!

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 9 years ago from London, England

      I haven't tried the ready mixes yet. When I do I shall add my results here.

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 9 years ago from England

      I have the same model! I was thinking of making some bread and you've inspired me to go and do it now and set the timer so I wake to that wonderful aroma...mmmmmmmmm. Have you tried the ready mixes? They're quite good too. Might be worth a module on those :) Great lens! 5 fresh baked stars for you!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I used to have a breadmaker and apart from the bread being really fresh, the smell of fresh bread when you wake up at the weekend, followed by a pot of fresh coffee makes for a wonderful start to the day. Baking your own bread you don't need much to go with it - just some butter... Very nice lens, 5*****

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      I still have one of the first breadmakers ever released, back when they cost $300. I've made hundreds of loaves with it. Very nice lens!

    • StevenCousley profile image

      Steven Cousley 9 years ago from Young, NSW, Australia

      Nice job on the lens Andy I especially like tips on extra things that can be done with a bread maker.

    • profile image

      KathleenH 9 years ago

      Hey Andy - welcome the the Bread Group! Keep up the great work with the bread machine lenses, and we'll look forward to seeing some more!