Product Type: Kenwood bread makers
Newest Review: ... also comes with an additional cook book containing many great recipes. I have baked the quick bread (from ingredients to loaf in less than... more
Stunning looking breadmaker with great results
Member Name: staindgirl
Advantages: Great bread, great looks
Disadvantages: No artisan recipes, instructions could be better presented
I have seen the Panasonic 255 in use so am able to compare this to the Kenwood both in looks and results. They both produce similarly great results but it depends on what look you want.
I paid £130 but now it's slightly under that at £126.95 at John Lewis and even cheaper currently on Amazon. John Lewis was at the time I bought, the only place stocking it which gave me a bit of faith it would be a quality item. I was not wrong I am relieved to say.
Aside from quality and a well known brand in Kenwood, I was mainly drawn to the look of this machine in stainless steel with black glass on the top. It is a rather large item and I have a rather small kitchen but nevertheless it fits in well and goes with the other stainless steel kitchen items. It is quite stunning to look at and puts the Panasonic in the shade on looks. Although it is quite wide and deep, it is not as high as the Panasonic so fits under the wall units and that is a bonus.
It does not get as warm as the Panasonic in use although does emit some heat but is not overly hot despite the stainless steel outside.
It is supplied with a standard squarish/oval sized bread pan. There is a round pan as an optional extra and this is currently on sale for £19.95 in John Lewis. The pan fits in the base at an angle at a small quarter turns fits it into place. It is best to remove the pan from the machine while putting in the ingredients as otherwise they could be spilt down the outside.
The instruction recipes are fairly straightforward and this machine works with the liquid items going in first and the dry items at the top (the Panasonic is done in reverse). For a basic 500g white loaf (using 350g of flour) it takes 3hours and 5 minutes.
This item has an automatic seed dispenser. I have used it with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. For smaller seeds such as sesame or linseed it is best to put them in the pan itself as they don't dispense as well. I have been using this breadmaker for 14 months now every few days and only 3 times in that period has the dispenser not opened in use, usually due to a stray sunflower seed getting trapped. You can however put the seeds straight in the pan at the start although they may get a bit chopped up (ie the seed dispenser dispenses after 20 minutes) or you can put the seeds in when it beeps. It beeps even if you use the dispenser but you can hear the seeds start to clatter around the pan so you know they have dispensed.
One bonus over the Panasonic is the interior viewing light - which is very interesting the first few times you use it! Although I'm not sure how long the bulb lasts as this is not an item it is possible to change yourself (it has to go back to Kenwood for that).
It is not overly noisy in use but there is some noise but it is not overly disturbing say if you are watching tv although it has woken me up if set on a timer as i live in an open plan flat!
It has 3 crust settings, I find medium is good.
There are options for 3 different loaf sizes, 500g, 750g and 1kg but I find it best to make the smallest size and make a new loaf every few days as it doesn't keep well without the preservatives and larger loaves may be more wasteful.
It has a keep warm facility for an hour after cooking is finished but I find this does make the bread a little crusty/drier so personally I find it best to take the bread out immediately the programme finishes. It beeps when it is finished cooking but it is a fairly quiet and short length of beeps so if you aren't paying attention you could miss it.
Wheat loaves take a lot longer as it pre-heats the ingredients first but a 1kg wholewheat loaf takes 4hr35 mins.
This breadmaker has an LCD display - one small gripe is that on first use the symbols are not necessarily obvious so you may have to refer to the key in the book to make sure you are pressing the right buttons. But it becomes second nature after a few times.
The timer works well - it's good for setting as you go to bed, ie if you want to set it to be ready for when you get up in 8 hours, you just increase the time to 8 hours and it includes the cooking time for your bread setting within that, ie for a white loaf you press the programme which brings up 3:05 and you literally just press the increase button till it goes up to 8:00. Great for hot bread for breakfast!
There is a full recipe book with the breadmaker for all types of loaves, from the basic white to wholewheat, rapid settings , french, sweet, gluten free, dough settings (naan, croissants, pizza) and cake and bake only settings. Although there are no recipes included for 5hr15 min artisan breads even though there is a setting for it. There is also a setting for a rapid bake in 58 minutes loaf although I have never tried this so I can't comment on how good that is - the ingredients are slightly different.
The pizza base setting is well worth using though, it takes 1hr30 mins to make the dough and unlike the bread, you then take out the dough, roll it out and cook it in the normal oven.
I haven't bought a shop loaf or pizza in the 14 months I've had this machine - well worth every penny as it's been well used.
The breadmaker does do jam but I have never tried it.
I have never had one bad loaf although I have always stuck to Doves Farm yeast and good strong bread flours - the flour quality used can make a difference but I have used Sainsburys own, Carrs, Morrisons organic and Doves Farm and all have outstanding results. The only slightly softer loaf was with Morrisons non organic bread flour which produced a slightly softer loaf so I wouldn't use that flour again with this machine. I use mainly white flour but like to add in 10% of brown flour which I find gives it a nice colour without making the bread heavy. The malted flour produces a great loaf with this machine too.
The extra bits included are a measuring spoon and measuring cup for liquids. You will need to buy some extra scales to weigh the flour and weights do need to be fairly accurate.
I recommend this machine and my only slight gripe is that the recipe book and instructions could be presented slightly better in 1 clear book instead of 2.
Summary: Fab breadmaker
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