Automatic Panasonic Breadmaker Review – Ideal for regular use to make homemade bread
Baking bread can be therapeutic – kneading out your frustrations on the dough is a cliché for a reason. But while there can be something very satisfying about starting with flour and ending with a loaf it’s not a process that can be rushed, and it does require you to be available for between a few hours to all day or longer if you’re making sourdough.
If you want a more hands-off solution, a bread machine can be the answer. You still know the provenance of your loaf, but the time needed is massively reduced. A couple of minutes to measure the ingredients into a tin, into the breadmaker with it, set the program and start it off. A few hours later, a cheerful “bing” tells you that you have a fresh loaf ready and waiting to be turned out.
We tried the automatic Panasonic breadmaker (SD-ZB2505). This is a large bread machine, of 38cm high by 26cm wide by 39cm deep, and weighs just under 9 kg, so it either occupies a fairly sizeable footprint on the countertop, or has to be lifted out of a cupboard for use. It is a sleek looking machine, with a stay cool brushed stainless steel exterior, so if you do have the space it doesn’t look out of placing living on the countertop. It’s also a versatile and capable machine, with 25 different programs including gluten free, whole wheat, rye, French and Italian breads, sandwich bread, pizza dough and a speciality mode for various grain and flour types such as spelt flour, as well as one for compote and one for jam.
Loaves can be made in three different sizes, and there are also three choices for the crust (light, medium and dark). As well as a seed and nut dispenser, there is separate dispenser for the yeast. I thought this was a particularly good feature; it means that when the time delay function is used, the yeast is still dry and fresh. The time delay can be set for up to 13 hours, so that you can wake to the delicious aromas of a fresh loaf baked in your automatic breadmaker.
We found it an intuitive bread machine. If you have experience of breadmakers, it’s straightforward to get to grips with it. If you haven’t it’s always best to follow the instructions closely while you learn how to get the best results. Like all bread machines, the resulting loaf is ideal for everyday use, but in terms of looks, lacks any wow factor for a special occasion.
The Breadmaker (SD-ZB2502) is currently £134.99 from John Lewis.
We served our freshly baked bread in our new solid oak toast rack from Getting Personal. It is simply gorgeous, solid and carved from a single piece of oak, with four spaced slots to hold your toast upright, to allow the steam to escape to prevent the dreaded soggy toast. The slots are wide enough to hold the thickest (or maybe the wonkiest) slices of bread, and the carving is cleanly done. The other side says “TOAST” but of course you can choose your own personalisation up to 6 characters on each side. At £54.99 it is not cheap but it is simply lovely and is an investment piece that you will have for many decades to come.
We were sent the Automatic Panasonic breadmaker and the toast rack for review. All opinions our own