Product Type: Cookworks bread makers
Newest Review: ... relatively easy to use, just throwing in all the ingredients and selecting the settings using the front buttons, easy as pie, as there is... more
Baby I'm a want you....
Member Name: FairyG
Advantages: Kneading blade doesn't damage bread too much.
Disadvantages: Badly written recipe book.
As well as good reviews on performance, part of what appealed to me was the colour, which matches my other kitchen appliances, and also it's very compact, which means it doesn't take up too much space on the worktop.
The breadmaker has a tall upright baking pan which bakes tall loaves, rather than the traditional long low loaf shape. The advantage with this though, is that you can make a 1.51b loaf, which will rise about three quarters of the way up the tin, or a 2.0 lb loaf which will rise right to the top. It's got a straight kneading blade, which comes out of the pan and sticks in the bottom of the finished loaf. This has to be pulled out of the bread, using a little metal puller which is supplied with the breadmaker (it looks a bit like a long Allen key). The control panel on the top of the breadmaker gives the following options for setting it up:
There's also a numbered list of different types of bread you can make: basic, French, wholewheat, quick, sweet, ultra fast 1, ultra fast 2, dough, jam, cake, sandwich, bake. An LCD display shows the amount of baking time. The numbers on the control panel are easy to see, big and clear, which is very useful if you're over 40 and your close up vision isn't great any more!
The machine comes with a plastic measuring cup and spoon. It also has a very useful carrying handle.
It works very well with white bread, and various flavoured breads such as sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, herbs or olives. Spelt and rye bread came out a bit heavy, but I think that was my fault for trying it on a basic program instead of the wholemeal, when I was in a hurry. It was still edible though.
The machine has a one hour quick bread feature, which is great for basic white breads. I haven't tried fruit bread in it yet. I've also used it quite a lot for making dough for bread rolls, and foccaccia bread, which I then finish off in the oven. These have turned out fantastic. I've never tried the jam or cake recipes in this, so I can't say how well they turn out.
In my last bread machine, the kneading blade was designed to collapse after it had finished kneading, which would leave it lying flat in the bottom of the loaf. However, I always found this a nuisance as it took out a big chunk of bread when pulled off. The blade in the Cookworks bread machine doesn't collapse, but does come out very easily with the little metal puller, leaving quite a slim hole, which is much better. The bread comes out fairly easily, so long as I remember to oil the bread pan now and again. It's also especially important to oil in and around the mixing blade, which stops it sticking to the pan and allows the bread and blade to slide out.
It's not exceptionally noisy to use - it chugs away for the first kneading session, but it isn't as loud as or annoying as a washing machine for instance. The bread machine includes a delay timer which means you can set it to make fresh bread for next morning, or when you come in from work for instance. I don't tend to use that, as I find I'd rather check the bread when it's kneading to make sure there's a good firm ball of dough going around. If it's too sloppy I can add more flour, or if it's too crumbly I can add more water. If it's on the delay timer I can't make any adjustments and that's when things tend to go wrong. However, the instruction book does suggest that you try out a few recipes first, and when you find some that give good results, use these for the delayed start time. Fair enough advice I think.
The bread pan and blade are non-stick so are simple to clean with soapy water. Any baked on bread can be soaked off easily. They're not dishwasher safe though. The appliance itself can be wiped over with a soft damp cloth once unplugged. The lid also removes for cleaning. This is very handy, because occasionally bread goes crazy and rises up too much and sticks to the lid!
The recipe book has 21 different bread recipes, 3 jam recipes, and 2 cake recipes. This is my third bread machine, and I can't say it's a very good recipe book in comparison to previous ones, although it will get you started. There's one recipe, for Cranberry Walnut bread which bizarrely hasn't got any cranberries in it at all, but does have lemon peel!
For the recipes it gives instructions in teaspoons and tablespoons for the small ingredients such as yeast and sugar, which you can measure out with the included measuring spoon. However when it comes to the flour, it gives the weight in grams instead of measuring cups, which is a bit of a nuisance as you then have to get out the weighing scales. My previous recipe books give instructions of how many measuring cups of flour to use which is much quicker and easier.
There are thousands of bread recipes available on the internet though, so if you've got internet access it's worth a look.
I like the fact that the control panel is clear and easy to use, and that it's on the front. My Morphy Richards panel was on the top, so I found was craning my neck over to read it. I'm also pleased that the kneading blade doesn't make a great big hole in the bottom, which tends to ruin the last slice. For what I paid for this I've no complaints, other than the recipe book, which could be better. It's turns out a nice loaf when used correctly and hasn't had any problems in the three months since I bought it.
If you're baffled by the heading, it's the title of a song from 1972, by a band called Bread!
Summary: A decent compact machine for the price.
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