Product Type: Kenwood bread makers
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A Nice Bread Maker That Mostly Rises to the Challenge
Member Name: victorias_books
Advantages: Extensive range of functions, viewing window, timer
Disadvantages: Rapid bake setting not perfect
I have an intolerance to gluten, and yet I enjoy bread. Usually the only gluten-free loaves available are from the Genius range which, while lovely and soft and very similar in texture and taste to 'real' bread, come in at £2+ a loaf. I have also experimented with packet mixes, which resolutely fail to rise. I enjoy the process of making bread, and I also make my own pizza dough from scratch. Attaining the final product having spent the last few hours mixing, kneading, leaving, kneading and baking is certainly satisfying, but it is also very time-consuming, to say the least. That is why I thought it might be a good idea to recruit the services of a bread maker, and have it do all the hard work for me.
I saw the Kenwood BM250 on offer for £42, and its extensive list of functions, coupled with its ability to bake gluten-free products, compelled me to purchase it. Ordinarily I might not choose this model, as although it boasts such a fantastic range of settings, it is not the most stylish design and is hardly inconspicuous in my kitchen. It is not overly bulky however, with dimensions of 31.0cm x 25.0cm x 34.5cm, so it can be stored out of sight if you have some space in your units.
The bread maker offers eleven different programmes, so you can choose a bread type to suit your taste. These options include standard loaves (up to a maximum capacity of 2.2lb), bread rolls and gluten free alternatives. There is also a rapid bake setting, in which the machine professes to deliver a loaf in 58 minutes. I used the rapid bake setting when making a 'normal' loaf for a friend, and was sceptical as to its success. I used the booklet to follow the instructions step by step, and remained in the house during the baking process, periodically returning to the machine to spy on my creation through the viewing window. Upon completion I allowed the loaf to stand for an hour before doling out slices of the fresh product. It was with some disappointment however, that we discovered the dough had not quite cooked perfectly, and there remained some stickiness to the mixture. I repeated this setting a week or so later, leaving the loaf to cook for an additional ten minutes. In this instance the results were much improved, but there remained a hint of glueyness to the slice at the very centre of the loaf. I have not used the rapid bake setting since then.
I have experimented with the gluten free cycle on numerous occasions, and while I am very happy with the taste of the products the machine has given me, just like the fateful packet mix mentioned previously, the bread has a tendency to resist rising. I have consulted numerous sources in an attempt to overcome this, and with a little tweaking and addition of different flour types I have achieved a little more success. I have however, resigned myself to the fact that gluten free bread is very tricky to make resemble a 'normal' loaf in terms of size, so am content to nibble on a compact loaf with a great taste.
Other functions that I have enjoyed in the bread maker are the keep warm setting, crust control and the non stick pan, which greatly aid you when it comes to removing bread from the machine. In total, this is a nice bread maker that gives you the option to create a variety of different bread-based products. If you are gluten intolerant however, you might just have to fork out the extra for a Genius loaf for the time being.
Summary: A nice, inexpensive model that gives you many option to suit your taste
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