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Customer Review

184 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy kitchen essential that can do a lot more than bread, 15 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Panasonic SD-257WXC Automatic Breadmaker with Gluten Free Program (Kitchen & Home)
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Knowing people who've bought breadmakers but gradually got out of the habit of using it because supermarket bread is more convenient, we didn't realise how addictive getting a breadmaker would be. Now we've got one, we're not going back to supermarket bread, ever.

Above everything else, it's just so easy to use. Ingredients in, press a couple of buttons, press 'start', come back in a few hours, there's your loaf. There's a timer on it so you can pop the ingredients in in the evening, set the timer, and wake up to freshly baked bread for breakfast.

It's also more than a breadmaker. As I type this I'm tucking into a hazelnut and honey loaf cake, also done in this Panasonic. When we've finished that I'm going to try a cherry & marizpan cake. Besides cake it also does brioche, malt loaf, rye, French, Italian, brioche, gluten-free, dough-making, hot cross buns, croissants, Viennese rolls, gingerbreads, soda bread, and that's just selected highlights from the list. While it's not strictly the breadmaking device's fault, the whole process might be rather fattening.

It's a sturdy, rather heavy block of a device that looks a bit like a dustbin but with buttons on it. The inner tray comes out very easily and is extremely easy to clean (with clear instructions in the manual), which was one of my main worries.

In our small kitchen we were able to squeeze it in next to our microwave. When it's baking you're supposed to leave adequate ventilation around the device. Make sure you've got enough room for it, as it is quite a lot bigger than the loaf of bread it makes.

Don't throw away the instruction manual! Partly because it's got some interesting information about how bread-making actually works, but mainly because only the first bit of the manual is the actual instructions- the rest is a very thorough recipe book, containing ingredients lists and instructions for dozens of different varieties of loaves, buns, cakes, all of which can be made very simply. (The one 'ingredient' they forget to mention is grease-proof paper- make sure you get a stock of it in for the cakes).

If you put in the wrong ingredients, or the wrong amount of ingredients, the results can be disappointing- it doesn't lend itself much to 'experimenting' with trying to invent your own recipes, which have tended to be a bit heavy and flat. But if you stick to the recipes, the results tend to be very good. The bread is generally a little bit heavier and denser than supermarket breads, but not by much and we like it.

One minor gripe- not important enough for it to be less than 5 starts- is that it doesn't have an 'off' switch, you have to unplug it at the wall or wait for it to turn off automatically, which can lead to over-baking on the timer function. If you've got switches on your power sockets and can easily reach them that's fine but if the plug's in an awkward place, that would be rather inconvenient.

The difference between the SD-257 and cheaper SD-256 model is that the 257 can do rye bread (it has a special stirrer) and has a special 'raisin nut dispenser' so it can control when your extra bits get dropped in. If you're only planning to make simple loaves with it, then the SD-256 is all you need.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Dec 2010 13:16:21 GMT
Great review and addressed a few points which are very relevant to me. Thanks JM

Posted on 23 Apr 2011 08:58:21 BDT
Muz Ali says:
Thank you, finally found A review telling me the main differences between 256 and 257 and whether the extra 257 worth it. For me I think the 256 wil be fine.

Posted on 10 May 2011 15:59:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 May 2011 16:02:20 BDT
chic-a-dee says:
I found (by mistake!) that pressing and holding the 'Start' button for 3 seconds, the unit will switch off and it resets itself immediately and you can switch it on and continue. Unfortunately, this is not in the instruction manual.
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