Top positive review
2,096 people found this helpful
As an avid bread baker, this is my top pick for replacing my own loaves better!
on July 27, 2010
I was fortunate to have my parents decide upon a bread maker as a gift to me and allow me to pick the model I wanted...knowing I'd spent the last year actually studying the art of bread making by hand from some pros and cookbooks.
I had my doubts, however, that a machine could replace all I was learning to do...
Here are some highlights of why I chose this machine initially then I'll get down to what I know about it now having used it non-stop:
I had no intention of pulling a bread machine in and out of the cabinet each week so I knew for sure, if it was going to sit countertop, it needed to be stainless.
I knew I wanted the shape of this loaf. Most turn out looking like an odd rocket with the top of the loaf on one of the small sides of the rectangle which screams "odd bread machine loaf" and every slice except the first few is all square edges. This machine actually bakes a loaf that makes it look like it came from a real bread pan. Not only do I prefer the soft top and crusty edges on each slice more, but it looks beautiful if you are entertaining and serve it or offer to bring bread at a potluck.
Now, here's what I know now:
It also has a setting to make meatloaf
It DOES have a homemade course in case you want to totally change the settings for a loaf. You can program every single thing it does longer or shorter if you have some recipe of your own that you want to knead longer or shorter, sise longer or shorter, etc etc.
It has a cycle to help you make sourdough starter...just the starter with the recipe!
It has a cake setting and cake recipes. We made a great chocolate cake...love this for entertaining. I can make it prepare a warm dessert while I am busy with guests and the house smells amazing!
It has a jam course to very easily make homemade jam for the bread for you!
It has a dough course so you can let it do the hard stuff then you can shape the dough into a pizza, rolls, chiabatta, cinnamon rolls, soft pretzels, etc.
It has a setting especially for wheat bread to make it perfectly
It has a quick loaf setting that makes bread in 2 hours 18 min or the regular basic bread setting that makes it and bakes it in 3 hours 45 min.
Now some other goodies:
TWO KNEADING ARMS:
I have had a bread machine before with one tiny kneading arm but, let's face it, it's like kneading bread with one arm. This, when you look through the window, truly looks like the motions you'd use on your own as it has two kneading paddles rather than one.
NO TEFLON, BUT STILL NON-STICK: Fortunately, with all the reports on Teflon, they did not use a Teflon coating for this pan. (Someone said in an older review that theirs did...either they have updated the machine and removed it or the reviewer just thought it was due to it being non-stick. My manual says it is not Teflon and as a chef who avoids it, it's obviously not. I know what Teflon looks like even if someone tried to sneak it in.
There is no dark Teflon coating.) However, it's extremely non-stick and I usually merely only need to brush away a few crumbs after use. I've never had to put it in the dishwasher.
SIZE OF LOAF:
This makes a 2 lb loaf...or less. If you need more bread, it has the capacity. But I often use recipes for smaller loaves too. It gives you option. If I make a 2 lb loaf I get a great size slice that fills me up for breakfast with one slice. Also, on my old bread maker I used to have years ago, sometimes the dough would rise too high, spill over the edge and burn, this extra capacity allows for lots of rising!
It beeps near the start of the loaf to tell you you can add in raisins, nuts, etc. At this time I often add in cheese chunks. That way they don't totally melt in the preheating stage and I get some amazong jalapeno cheese bread with some bigger pieces of cheese in it.
It allows you to choose if you want your crust to be light, dark, or medium.
So bottom line...we are a two chef household. Big bakers. I've reviewed a few bread making cookbooks on Amazon this past year when I was in my bread making phase doing everything by hand...
what a waste of time! I love this machine!
My favorite thing to do is use the timer cycle. I can put my ingredients in in the morning and have it set to greet me with a warm loaf as I walk in the door from work in the evening.
But what if I work late?
It automatically keeps the loaf warm for 30 minutes if you don't take it out when it's done!
This is also great for the best way to wake up in the morning...set it at night, go to sleep and wake up to homemade bread for breakfast. If I sleep in? It stays hot.
For dinner parties I can plop the ingredients in that morning and work on prep for the meal and when guests arrive a hot loaf is timed for dinner...always a hit.
PAYS FOR ITSELF OVER TIME:
We no longer buy hamburger and hotdog buns either. This MAKES a burger as the taste of homemade buns has no equal, even if it's a portobello burger it takes good! We used to buy a loaf or two a week of bread that was "blah". Baking a loaf is dirt cheap and makes for a very cheap breakfast or snack to when enjoying a slice. And if you never want to buy a bread machine cookbook or cookbooks like I did, search the internet...tons of recipes for bread machines free! Plus, we have friends who trade us stuff like eggplant or super sweet tomatoes they grew for a loaf of bread after I got them hooked.
This shocks me how perfect the loaf is each time.
ok, so I am a raving fan...if I had to choose again, I'd pick the same one. We cook bread of some kind 2 times per week and I haven't had a bad loaf yet.
The great thing is that there are so many bread machine cookbooks that you don't have to bake the same loaf twice. Honey wheat one day, beer bread the next, dill bread, jalapeno cheese bread, sour cream bread, cottage cheese bread, Anadama, roasted red pepper...any plain sandwich becomes new for us.
It all slides out, there isnt any. And it came with a measuring spoon and cup which pretty much covers all measurements so you don't have but two of those to wash afterwards either.
Like my old machine, you need to be sure to pull off the two kneading paddles if any remnants of the loaf remained under them after baking, also the paddle can come off in the loaf like any machine...same old negatives I had before which aren't a big deal, but just be sure you don't do what I did once and bake a loaf for someone who was sick and I delivered it to them with the paddle still protruding from the botoom. With a little twist it comes out.
Conclusion: I'm coming home to a Graham bread today...made with graham flour. As usual, it's a recipe I haven't had before. I have enough bread recipes to last a loaf a day if I wanted. Always baked perfect. Love the machine.
AND I've made loaves with very low fat margarine and they are great! YOu can actually lower the calories of your bread but still maintain that homemade yeasty taste I couldn't get with store bread.
Note: if your dough didn't rise or there were flour crumbs the following can cause that in any bread maker. It only happened once to me here when my yeast was old. Replaced the yeast and no problem:
1. Old yeast. Even if kept in the freezer eventually it will die.
3. Using regular flour rather than bread flour (you can use regular flour IF you add 3-4 tablespoons of gluten)
4. Not adding ingredients in the order told to (if water touches yeast it will kill it)
5. Cutting back on the amount of sugar or salt in the recipe so the yeast can't rise
6. Old flour
Any other old ingredients in recipes calling for something like baking powder or baking soda
Substituting type of yeast (quick rise and regular require measuring adjustments. They don't measure the same)
All these are explained in the directions.
Incidentally you can substitutJe many things. I use olive oil rather than butter for example in all my loaves. Measure the same amount.