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4.8 out of 5 stars590
4.8 out of 5 stars
Price:£139.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on 17 September 2011
PROS:

- Makes excellent and most importantly tasty! bread

- Good selection of recipes

- Can do jam as well which i why i upgraded from my SD255, i always wanted to make jam

- Easy to use interface, all english words no symbols, see most washing machines to understand what i mean about symbols

- Reasonably quiet

- Actually is touchable when baking, the cooltouch housing does a good job, its not cool to the touch obviously its warm but not anything that could burn you. Its not like i would stand there and hug the thing while it bakes... but i saw another reviewer mention this and wanted to affirm its not boiling hot or anything

- Now says what its doing, resting, baking, kneading etc, nice addition from the older models

- Yeast dispenser! I dont know exactly what kind of an advantage this is but i think i had a few loaves turn out badly before because i forgot to put the yeast in and put it in last in my SD255, dont remember as it was so long ago

CONS:

- Weak fruit/nut dispenser door, this really irritated me i dont know if this is also the case with the SD2501 which also has the fruit/nut dispenser but i put some nuts on the door and it opened up right away causing them to fall right into the mix... I was not impressed. I took out the dispenser for a closer examination, i compared directly with the one from my SD255 and found the SD255s was much stronger, it was very difficult to open accidentally whereas the SD2502's opened with only a slight tap on the door. I did fix this however, read below to see how.

- Not much is new, this is only really a con if you are coming from another reasonably modern panasonic, its difficult to improve on perfection they say and the older SD255/257 models were very good indeed.

Overall i give this 4 stars... I am a bit ticked to have paid £144 for the "ultimate breadmaking machine" then i have to modify it on first use. I only saw 1 other reviewer mention the weak door so far and that was on the SD2501 page so it may be an isolated case. I fixed this by taking out the dispenser (just pull it out, designed this way for cleaning) and unscrewing the 2 screws that hold in the plastic lever. There is a small spring attached to the lever which is not strong enough to keep the door open when force is exerted on the door so replace the spring with one from a pen or something, i used one from a pen and the door is now as difficult to open as the SD255's i can push on it, put any amount of seeds/nuts/raisins on it and it will not open on its own. The machine can still open it by itself even with the stronger spring as i tested this earlier with a seeded loaf.

I would love to hear from others on the door issue, can you tap the dispenser door when its closed? What happens, does it stay shut or swing open?
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on 7 November 2013
This is my first bread maker experience. A fair amount of research and a reduced price lead me to choose this Panasonic model.

I've produced only two loaves so far - but I'm astonished at how easy it is and how pretty good the results are.
The machine does it all for you. You weigh in the ingredients, put the bucket into the machine and press the button and that's it. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare it all.
I found that a good trick is to put the bucket directly onto a scales, set them to zero - and then pour the ingredients directly in. No intermediate bowls or transfers of ingredients.
The machine is extremely quiet except for a bit of a racket when the yeast dispenser operates - about 30 seconds.

Criticisms of the machine:-
It is encased in a very smart looking brushed aluminium shell which deforms very easily. Such a shame and I would have rathered a more sturdy plastic casing. This is clearly a problem because I have seen several of these machines advertised on eBay and even on Amazon with a dent in the side. In fact my one arrived with a dent because it was inadequately packaged by the seller.
If you dent your Panasonic bread maker - then don't worry. It is only cosmetic. It is a good basis for getting one cheap. You can easily straighten out the dent - completely or mostly by undoing the four screws at the bottom which go through the rubber feet. This will allow you to lift the bottom of the machine away and you can fit your hand inside and gently push the dent out. The, get used to lifting the machine by it's hand-hold recesses on either side.

The warning beeps are very low volume. It would be useful to have louder ones - or adjustable volume.

It would be useful to have some guidance in the manual as to when it is possible to remove the paddle in order to avoid damage to the loaf. It is not clear at all if the machine does a final little knead - or if it goes directly into baking. If someone knows, maybe they can write a comment about it at the end of this review.

ON the two loaves I have done so far, the loaves were not very browned on top.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Update - but here are some tips.

The flour you use is very important. If you didn't know that flours are rated on a numbering system, then check it out. I only found out after getting the machine.
You should only use flour with a minimum of 65 rating. 55 is risky - and 45 is a non-starter - only good for cakes. The Panasonic manual talks about "strong flour" but they don't tell you what that means. Well it means 65 or maybe more.

Don't use more yeast or sugar than in the recipe - if the dough rises too much, the structure won't be strong enough to carry the top heavy load and your loaf will collapse. This is especially true if you use weaker flours.

Make sure that you cool the loaf completely on a rack - or else it will become moist or wet as water vapour will not be able to escape during the cooling process. This means - on a rack or grid - not on a plate of other surface. It means - completely cool - at least 6 hours.

If there is a power cut - the machine will pick up where it left off. This is a great feature - I don't know if it was intended or just accidental - but it is great.

To avoid a loaf which has a moist crust, get it out of the machine and on to a rack immediately it has finished baking. Don't hang around. The Panasonic alarm is very quiet. Best to set a stop watch on your phone.

People tell me that these home-made loaves don't keep. Well that simply isn't true. I keep my loaves in a thin plastic bag to stop them drying out. They last 5 days or so without any problem - if they aren't eaten before then.

I find that these loaves toast very well. I often use oil instead of butter. Toasted sesame oil and some toasted sesame seeds make a very distinctively tasting loaf. I use rye up to 50% rye flour in most of the loaves I make. This has a very high rating of 130 and gives a highly structured bread which toasts very well - especially with the grilled sesame.

Pumpkin seeds etc are all very well - but a bit bland to my taste.

If you are making a pannetone brioche - try using sultanas which you have soaked in rum for a week or two. Also add some vanilla essence.
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on 26 May 2013
We were unhappy about what was being used in the bread we bought from supermarkets & bakers; we have also been having problems getting a good crusty loaf, that's not all doughy inside.or full of holes & one that has the right flavour, I was encouraged by other members of a website I am on to get one & have a go. So I did & haven't bought any bread from a supermarket or bakers since.
I have experimented with different flours & they do make a difference, the extra strong Canadian makes the best loaf we have made so far, we have also mixed 2 types of flour & that worked well too.
I note what many users have said about the kneading blade that it comes out in the bread, we have had that happen to us a couple of times, but it does say in the instructions about puting it on, I clean the pan & kneading blade by wiping out, then put the pan back into the breadmaker, if you then put the kneading blade on & turn anti clockwise, I then try & it shouldn't come off, if it does it's not on right, if you turn anti clockwise it will just lift off when you try it, it needs to be in the breadmaker to do this, or it will just keep turning around.
If you are genuinely unhappy about the bread you are buying or need a new breadmaker I recommend this to anyone.
I use 400gms of flour 1 teaspoon of sugar 15gms butter (I use Flora Buttery, you can also use oil) 1 teaspoon of salt (I use the low sodium salt) 280 mls of water & 3/4 of a teaspoon of dried yeast, which makes a bigger than a small loaf but not quite a large loaf on the smallest loaf setting, it has 3 loaf size settings for most recipes.
The spicy fruit loaf is wonderful & I recommend this to all.
The timer is handy, set the breadmaker up the night before & you have fresh bread ready when you want it in the morning, but note it's easier to cut when it has cooled for a couple of hours, it also has a crust setting & we find the the crustiest suits us just fine, once started we put in our bread crock, cut end down in the cupboard without the lid & it stays crusty, but put the lid on & it & the crust goes soft.
We were told that this bread makes wonderful toast, but I am afraid it doesn't last that long in our house.
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on 6 February 2012
We had a Breville (fan assist) breadmaker that was about 10years old, but still going strong. However, it hardly got used because the bread, in truth, was much denser than we would have liked, and often had a bit of a doughy flavour.

We were given the Panasonic as a Christmas gift, and haven't looked back. We're now buying flour in 16Kg bags (try Balchedre stoneground wholemeal here, and Marriages canadian white at Costco). As well as seeds, honey, oats.. you name it..

This is a little treat - something new, tasty and wonderful every day. My personal fave is the 5 seeded wholemeal, but also love making baguettes (with a baguette pan), rolls, olive bread, rustic french bread, maple and pecan....and right now I'm just trying an oat and honey loaf from an internet recipe.

I've always known it's much cheaper to make bread than buy it. We're eating real luxury for about 40p/loaf or a decent white loaf for under 20p, but I hadn't realised that it's possible to make bread better than shop bought for this amount.

I've tasted bread from a few other breadmakers, but this is the Daddy. Don't get a breadmaker if it's not Panasonic!
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on 11 September 2015
One day I promised myself that when the cat died I’d buy a bread maker and it could live in the utility room in place of the mountain of cat food boxes etc. 20 years later….

I ordered a Panasonic SD-ZB2502BXC Bread Maker on Wednesday, it arrived at 4pm on Thursday (not eligible for Prime but Lakeland delivered it next day anyway). I switched it on at 5pm and was eating bread (after it had cooled on a wire rack) by 8pm.
I had also separately ordered a box of 10 of Bacheldre Watermill Bakers White Bread Mix from Amazon which arrived earlier that afternoon. I have made my own bread the hard way for years but this was my first time using either a bread maker or a bread mix.

If anyone is interested the settings I used were: Menu 02 (rapid white loaf 1hr 55min) and I decided to start off with Medium Crust. I added 340ml warm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil (because I’d stupidly forgotten the butter). After about 2-3 mins there was a series of ‘clacks’ as the yeast dispenser vainly tried to dispense non-existent yeast (there was no way of telling it that yeast is already including in the bread mix). After that it rumbled away for a while as it went through the kneading phase. I didn’t time it but it can’t have been more than 15-20 mins. It wasn’t as loud as I’d expected (hoping to use it on a timer overnight and my bedroom is right on top of it) certainly not as loud as the tumble dryer or the dishwasher. I can’t see it waking me up in the middle of the night. It then went quiet for a bit as it let the dough prove and at some point the house started to smell fantastic. Once it starts cooking the sides do get hot but not hot enough to burn your arm if you brushed against it, like I did. It beeps 8 times when it’s ready and you have to switch it off and whip the bread out otherwise (the instructions warn) it will continue to cook/steam if you don’t.

Everyone says this but I’ll just reiterate, the alarm beeps are too quiet. If I’d been upstairs in the office I wouldn’t have heard it. But having read the previous reviews I set my watch and made sure I was standing next to it when it was ready.
The bread pan came out easily (was worried about a gout of steam hitting me in the face like every time I open the dishwasher but this was fine, no steam). The bread slid out of the pan easily and the kneading blade stayed put in the pan .

I have previously been put off buying a bread maker because I assumed they all had huge dents and holes in them due to the blade getting in the way. However as you can see from the attached photos this isn’t really an issue. There is a groove made on either side of the loaf that is quite shallow and a hole in the bottom where the blade was. As far as I can tell this just makes one slice of bread slightly holey at the bottom and doesn’t affect the rest of the loaf.

The crust was fine, not really crisp but not rubbery either. The colour was a little lighter than I would’ve expected from a medium setting, I would call that light. I suspect I’ll use the Dark setting next time. The rise was very good (I sieved the flour mix into the pan just in case that might help and tapped it level before putting it into the machine). It sliced well and I suppose if I had to be hyper critical I might say that the texture was towards the 'close' end of the scale rather than 'open' being a little denser in the last 1cm at the bottom. But that would be a little unfair and might be down to using oil rather than butter or the amount of water I used (the packet instructions said 300ml the recipe in the manual said 350ml). The taste was way better than I had been expecting and to be honest as good as any white loaf I’ve ever made (apart from that one time…) and I didn’t have to faff about kneading, proving, knocking back etc. I wrapped the remaining half in a brown paper bag and I was surprised that it was just a fresh the next morning (I’m used to my home made bread going stale fast) and the toast it made was spectacular, like the doorsteps I used to toast over the fire at my gran’s when I was a kid.

When it came to cleaning there wasn’t much to do, leave it to cool down, give it a quick wipe around the seal to catch a tiny bit of condensation. The blade had a small amount of bread around the spindle meaning that I had to put an inch of warm water in there for about 5 minutes to loosen it. After that just swilled it around with warm soapy water and wiped down with kitchen roll. Sorted.

Apart from the quiet alarm bell (which hardly qualifies as an alarm, more of a meh) and a slight side to side wobble on the lid which I suspect is within tolerances I can’t find anything to moan about.

Fingers crossed for brioche, if all goes well I intend to live on the stuff.
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on 5 August 2014
I purchased the Panasonic SD-ZB2502 after struggling with another brand breadmaker for a year with a miserable success rate of 20% (if that). I chose the Panasonic after reading all the reviews and as a last ditch attempt before going back to shop bought bread. Boy am I glad I got the Panasonic!
On the day of purchase, I made a mixed seed loaf using both machines and using the same ingredients. The other loaf came out like a brick. The Panasonic loaf was perfect and 100% better than the very best from the other machine which has now been binned as a complete waste of money!
I have tried numerous recipes from the list that came with the Panasonic machine and all have been perfect.
I've read reports that the seed hatch can be troublesome and that the separate yeast compartment is not worth having but I dispute both these. To have the seed compartment to drop the contents into the mix at exactly the right time is brilliant. Also, having the separate yeast compartment ensures that when the machine is used on the timer, there is no possibility that the yeast can come into contact with the mix and start the process. The ONLY criticism I have is that the end of programme 'beep' is not loud enough - needs at least doubling in volume. BUY THIS NOW! - you won't regret it.
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on 20 February 2013
I wasn't too impressed with the first 2 loaves this created. I followed the instructions to the latter, all ingredients are within date so I couldn't understand why my loaves were collapsing in the middle. After doing some research I figured out that it was the recipe in the booklet. I used 300 mls of water today instead of their recommended and hey presto, my bread is finally domed shaped and looked like it should.

The hole in the bottom of the bread isn't as affensive as my previous models (russell hobbs 18036 & kenwood bm450), it looks more like a slot and isn't a problem when it comes to slicing the bread. I do miss having a viewing window, but I heard that this is because it can affect the final crust so I am learning to live without this and just leave my machine to get on with it's job.

My only gripe so far is that panasonic should reavaluate their recipe booklet because in my experience it is not a good basic whit recipe. As I said, I changed it and got a much better result. Another thing that bugs me is the colour of the bread. It is slightly brown where as my kenwood made my bread white. It doesn't affect the taste of the bread, but I thought I would mention it.

Easy to use and keep clean and it's worth noting that you shouldn't submerge the loaf tin in water. I didn't know this before but glad I read the instructions.
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on 25 December 2012
I bought this recently as a replacement for my much loved, much used five-year old Panasonic Breadmaker from which I have never turned out a poor loaf. Early days yet with this model but sad to say I've had more disasters than successes. Quite disappointed. I had assumed that newer would be better. Also the "dark crust" setting doesn't produce a crust anywhere near as dark or as crisp as my old model.
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on 16 February 2015
I love this breadmaker, had mine about 3 years now and cannot fault it, I brought this to make Gluten Free bread, I spent a lot of time looking at reviews and research on bread makers and this came out tops. My bread is amazing, light and fluffy and I would say it tastes better than any other bread I have tried,
Thank you Panasonic for a amazing product.
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on 5 October 2014
Beautiful addition to the kitchen; fits in nicely with our black and silver kettle/toaster etc.

More importantly though, works like a dream. Just drop the mixing paddle into place, plonk the ingredients in using the measuring cup and spoon provided, close the lid, place the yeast and add additional ingredients (seeds raisins etc - as required), press a couple of buttons, then wake up to the aroma of fresh bread ready in your kitchen - FANTASTIC.

The manual is very well laid out;

Pages 3-5, the obligatory "don't use in the bath" warnings.
Pages 6-7, full guide to components and buttons
Pages 8-9, full overview of possible ingredients (so you can stock up depending on what type you think you'll be making)
Pages 10-11, Overview of all 27 menu options; each for a different kind of recipe and pre-set baking processes for each with times required.
Pages 12-20, Step-by-step pictorial and worded instructions for each type of recipe, from Bread to Brioche and from Cakes to Jam.
Page 21, full recipe index.
Pages 22 to 41, detailed recipe lists for all of the above and more, including all ingredients and measures, plus baking times.
Pages 42 to 47, cleaning and troubleshooting.

....A very well laid out manual indeed.

We bought the machine THEN went to the supermarket for the ingredients, but, so you can get cracking as soon as it arrives, these are the basics you'll need for a simple loaf:

Weighing Scales - these need only be a cheap plastic, less than a tenner set and guessing is not recommended!

Oven Glove/s - It's going to be hot when you shake it out of the tin, and remember to take the mixing paddle out of the loaf if it wasn't left in the mixing tin. It is deliberately a loose fit to make taking the loaf out easier.

Flour- (we use "Strong Ground Wholemeal", but white / granary, brown to your choice). Usually the packets say "suitable / ideal for break-making machines etc. Tesco has a good selection of ingredients for bread makers (other supermarkets are available!)

Table Salt - One tube of this will last years, unless you're a bread-a-holic.

Butter - The proper stuff, where you have to peel the silver paper open, not spreadable / margarine types!

Sugar - Regular sugar is fine - what you don't have any? Yeah; right!

Water - Tap.

Yeast - We use a little green 100g tin of "Allinson Easy Bake Yeast", but other brands are available. It states on the tin, "Makes up to 14 loaves, but I reckon you get a LOT more out of it, having made that many and still half a tin left.

Recommended - Packs of seeds (Pumpkin / Linseed / Sesame / Poppy / Raisins) etc. Definitely worth it for a very tasty loaf.

(Optional - Herbs and Spices / Eggs / Bran / Wheat Germ, but we started simply and moved on to that stuff!)

You CAN buy bread mixes in a packet that have it all done for you, but where's the fun in that? (and you can't be sure how much salt and sugar they're putting in now can you?)

Some of the bread-types allow you to choose the type of crust you want (Dark / Medium / Light), and the machine adjusts the cooking times based on the size you enter (M / L / XL), which of course relates to the measure of ingredients you selected / used.

Whilst baking, the machine digitally displays the progress as:

REST - KNEAD - RISE - BAKE - END

..and of course the yeast and any additional ingredients you placed in the appropriate top dispenser, are introduced at the optimum required time for the perfect result.

By far the best feature, is the function to add time to the bake so that the bread is ready as you wake up, with that lovely "bakery smell" leading you to the kitchen like a Bisto kid (other gravy's are......~<sigh>)

Yes.....it's good.
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