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I've found this bread machine to be great and would certainly recommend it. Every loaf I've made so far has turned out great- I expected to have at least one disaster but haven't yet!
Drop down paddle Delay timer Makes a variety of loaves, including bread and jam Fantastic bread everytime (so far!)
EASE OF USE
The bread is very easy to make. The instruction book comes with several recipies, you just measure out the ingredients and put them in the baking pan. The yeast has to be kept away from the other liquids, especially if using the delay timer, this is easily done by putting ingredients in in the given order.
The usual ingredients are water, milk powder, sunflower oil, sugar, salt, bread flour, yeast.
A measuring cup and spoon are provided which makes it really easy to get the right amounts, there's also a conversion guide in the instruction book if you prefer to weigh the flour. It's very quick to get everything in and then you can just leave the machine going.
A normal white loaf takes about 3 hours. The machine has a fast bake function but I've not used this yet, it takes 1:15 for a large loaf. The machine beeps during the cycle on several programmes, for if you want to add fruit or nuts to the bread.
The programmes and recipies are as follows: 1. Basic- Basic white, softgrain, brown, italian herb bread, cheese and onion bread, raisin bread, sun dried tomato loaf. 2. French bread- French loaf. 3. Wholewheat bread- Wholewheat bread, granary loaf. 4. Cake Setting- Maderia, fruit cake, banana and nut bread, porridge oats bread. 5. Sweet- Mixed fruit loaf, chocolate bread. 6. Fastbake I- Fastbake small white. 7. Fastbake II- Fastbake large white. 8. Dough recipies- White bread rolls, wholewheat bread rolls, hot cross buns, pizza base. 9. James- Marmalade, Raspberry and apple. 10. Speciality- Malk loaf. 11. Sandwich- Sandwich loaf, softgrain sandwich loaf.
The loaf sizes are 1.5lb and 2lb, there are 1lb recipies for some of the loaves as well. There is an option for crust colour- light, medium or dark. I prefer the light setting, which I've found gives a similar colour to what you would get on a shop bought loaf.
The thing that set this apart from other breadmakers for me is the drop down paddle. The baking chamber is vertical (so the smaller loafs aren't flatter, but just not as long). The paddle folds down before the bread starts baking. It does still leave a hole in the bread but it's only small and it's in the end- so you can just cut one slice off the end and the rest is fine. Sometimes the paddle comes out with the bread but is easy to get out once it's cooled down a bit. You have to make sure that the paddle stays in it's 'stood up' position when the ingredients go in, I just use a wooden spoon to hold it in place, just to be sure.
The bread I've made so far has smelt and tasted great. Raisin bread has been my favourite so far, it's great toasted with a cup of tea!
FUNCTIONALITY & LOOKS
Firstly, this breadmaker looks good due to it's silver design. It is quite big, but I think it's probably a bit smaller than other breadmakers.
It's really straightforward to program and select the options you want. A timer on the control panel lets you know how long it will be until the bread is ready.
The bread pan locks in and out of place by twisting it. The pan and the paddle don't take much cleaning at all when the bread is finished, it's really just a case of wiping it out. The instruction manual says that it can't go in the dishwasher, I don't know if that's due to the non stick coating, but to be honest I don't see that you'd need to put it in one anyway as it's so quick to wipe out. The non stick pan works well and the finished bread is eay to get out.
There is also a one hour keep warm function if you can't get to the bread straight away.
The sides get slightly hot in the last hour or so when the loaf is baking, but not dangerously so- it just feels hot to the touch- and the rest of the time they stay cool.
The viewing window on the top allows you to keep peeking at the bread without opening the lid and ruining it...
I bought mine for £46.99 from Argos, and I've seen it at similar prices elsewhere.
All the ingredients are readily available to buy in supermarkets, and are pretty cheap. I've used Sainsbury's own flour and wheat and they've been fine.
This product has good features (the paddle design setting it apart) and is really easy to use- I think it's probably quicker to get a loaf on than it is to pop to the shop round the corner! I've enjoyed having it so far and am loving being able to eat fresh homemade bread with such little fuss!