102 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2012
I am an old man unable to shop, my groceries are delivered fortnightly, and I have been so fed up with eating stale supermarket bread. But I am rubbish at cookery and it was not until I saw the almost unanimous 5 star reviews for this product that I even considered baking my own. I live alone so the small size loaf is just what I wanted - it would last me 3-4 days. Even so, it was not until I saw that I could use a proprietary bread mix that I went ahead and placed an order. At the same time I ordered some Carr`s bread mix, white and wholemeal, from Lakeland.
The item was delivered very promptly, well packaged and in good order and has worked perfectly for me right from the start. I take care to accurately weigh the ingredients, water first (1mlitre of water weighs 1 gm) and my Boots scales are accurate to ~ 2 gm I have tried white mix, wholemeal mix and 3/4 white 1/4 wholemeal. All have been delicious but the white especially so.
The kneading blade almost always remains in the loaf and has to be fished out with the tool provided. I do this carefully, after the loaf has cooled, and it is not a problem.
As others have said, it is important to note the time of startup since there is no indication of completion on the machine. I set an external timer for the completion time.
I have since ordered some Hovis bread mixes from Tesco but have not yet tried them out.
I rate this as one of my most sucessful purchases.
85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2011
Let's start with the most important aspect, what is the bread like? Personally I like it. Following the standard recipe included, it produces a nicer loaf than the big name loafs in the supermarket. The texture is a bit heavier and has more flavour. The loaf is on the small side as expected, but it is a generous quantity for two people as the basis of a meal. The bread keeps well, and is still in good shape the next day if you haven't already finished it by then. I have tried two brands of bread flour in it so far. The results they give are slightly different, so you may want to experiment a little if you want to get it to your exact preferences.
How is the machine in operation? The measuring items are included so all you need to do is use them to put in the right amount of each ingredient. Place it in the machine and press start. On the default setting, it is done in about two and a half hours. But it isn't ready to eat yet, as you need to remove it for cooling in two steps.
From pressing the start button to having ready to eat bread, you're looking at around 3 hours. So you do need to plan in advance. Here is a weakness of the machine. There is no timer operation so this isn't one you're going to wake up to. If you don't look at the clock when you start, you're also left guessing when it will be ready. There is also a fast bake setting but I haven't tried that yet.
If you think additional features are useful then you will have to look at higher end models, but this machine can certainly deliver what it claims and give nice fresh bread.
72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2011
i bought this breadmaker just to see what it was like...well it is amazing...it makes perfect little loaves,just enough for my hubby and me.we were wasting so much bread,but not now!we even make fruit loaves and sultana bread,basically....ITS SAVED US A FORTUNE!....very good.
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2011
My wife and I have been converted to making our own bread by this machine. It is very easy to use and makes a small loaf ideal for two people. We just followed the recipes with the instructions and have produced delicious loaves every time. The machine is fascinating and you can watch through the window on the top as it kneads the dough, allows the bread to rise and then bakes it - better than watching the TV! The smell of baking bread is very pleasant. It takes some hours to make each loaf but the machine gives a set of beeps to let you know once the process is finished and then the loaf can be removed or left in the machine to keep warm for up to a further hour. All the ingredients are readily available in the supermarket and the cost of each loaf is much cheaper than buying bread. Also we used to end up throwing out the remains of supermarket bought loaves as they were too big for the two of us and went mouldy. Very little waste with our home-made bread
The small agitator which kneads the mixture can remain in the loaf and there is a hook provided to hoik it out if this occurs - not a problem.
The machine is great value for money and there are recipes for all different sorts of specialty loaves to make if you wish.
We will not return to shop bought loaves - highly recommended!
110 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2011
Very easy to use and the loaf size is good for one or two people, but what lets it down is not having a delay timer, so no getting up in the morning to the smell of fresh bread. Also don't forget to check the time you start it as there no countdown timer so you don't know how long it has to go to the finish. The price is low but I would be prepared to pay more to have those features.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2011
i'm knocked out by my new bread making machine! it arrived this morning, and - truly not expecting great results - i measured out the ingredients very carefully, for a basic white loaf (leaving out the milk powder) and nervously waited for my first ever loaf of bread to bake... watching it knead the dough, and then watching the dough rise, and the loaf baking, was great fun. it's good that it's quite small, too, compared to most machines: barely bigger than a large toaster.
at last the beeper beeped (i'd noted the time, at the start) and i removed the loaf tin, waited 20 minutes for it to cool, then tapped a perfect, compact little loaf out onto the cooling rack. even then i wondered if, despite its obviously well-risen appearance and lightly browned top, it might still turn out to be brick-like... but - nothing of the sort! after waiting a further half hour for it to cool properly, i sliced it and was delighted by its soft, even, springy texture. i buttered the first slice (the crust - which i usually don't bother to eat, with shop bought bread) and took the first mouthful... oh wow... utterly great: soft but not squishy, completely cooked but not hard or crunchy, and with that almost-forgotten taste of *proper* bread, the way it used to be when i was a kid.
so i'm truly delighted with my machine - wish i'd bought one years ago. yes, the little dough paddle did stick in the bottom of the loaf when i tapped it out - but it only took a moment to hook it out with the provided hook. yes, the loaf is small - but perfect for one person on their own. yes, it's necessary to measure out the ingredients exactly as the recipe says - but the measuring cup and spoons are all provided. i shall do one or two more 'basic' loaves, then get experimenting with adding seeds, raisins etc; and doing a wholemeal one, once i feel confident.
so: i wholeheartedly recommend this little beauty. it's ridiculously cheap for what it is, and if a non-cook like me can produce a great loaf (well, ok, me and my machine) then *anyone* can!
postscript: several months on, i can still say i'm delighted with this machine. i've only had one loaf that didn't rise as much as it should have - and that was because the yeast was getting old. love it, love it, love it! (and i'm never going to buy supermarket bread again!)
second postscript: many more months on - i still LOVE my bread machine - i've made well over three dozen loaves in it, and they've all turned out wonderfully edible. (the paddle, for some reason, no longer sticks in the loaf after baking: a mystery!)
i really don't understand those reviewers who've said they don't get good loaves: i can only assume they're not using the right flour, or not measuring it out properly. use really good ingredients - organic flour, good olive oil, honey, NO milk powder (ever!) and good yeast, and you really won't go wrong. here's my recipe for a fail-safe, and delicious, loaf:
warm the baking tin with hot water, then empty and dry, and very lightly oil the inside of the tin with a little olive oil on a piece of kitchen towel. put the paddle in place. then, in the following order, add the following ingredients to the baking tin:
(note: i usually mix the flours together in a separate bowl, before adding them to the baking tin. you don't have to do this, but i think it helps. also, if the kitchen is cold, in the winter, you can warm up the bowl of mixed flour before using it - it gives the yeast a bit of a head start.)
6 and a quarter oz (170 ml) warm-ish water (slightly more than two-thirds of the measuring cup)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
quarter to half a tsp salt
8 oz organic wholemeal spelt flour (1 cup)
4 oz organic white flour (half a cup)
4 oz organic wholemeal flour (half a cup)
3 quarter-tsps yeast
~ 2 hrs 25 mins on regular 'white' setting.
leave to 'rest' for 15 minutes after baking is finished - then... enjoy! :-) bon appetit!
UPDATE - OCTOBER 2012
we're still deeply in love. what more can i say?