With the credit crunch upon us I decided to get the bread maker out. It had been at the back of my cupboard for quite few months, bought by my partner before we moved in together, I decided now was the time to make our own bread and hopefully save money in the process.
The Morphy Richards fast bake is quite a large machine and it takes up quite a lot of counter space, so it wouldn't be any good if you had a tiny kitchen, It looks quite nice in silver and black and it has air vents down the side.
For such a big machine it makes quite small loaves of bread, it has a smaller metal container inside that you can remove and put your ingredients in before putting it back in and fixing it in to place.
It has a small mixer in the center that kneads the dough and due to this all your bread has a hole in the bottom, quite a lot of the time when you remove the bread the small mixer comes out in it and you have to get it out which can be quite messy.
The fast bake has many settings and you can make all different types of bread and you can choose how you want it to come out, light, medium or well done, so theres a setting for everyone.
It also has a timer so you can delay it starting. If you set it to make the bread in the early hours you can wake up to fresh bread for your breakfast, lovely.
Another nice feature is that you can just have the bread maker make bread dough and you can then use this to make home made pizzas that are both cheep and very delicious.
I normally make a medium white loaf and this takes 3 hours in total, about half the time making the dough and the other half cooking the dough. Most of the time they turn out ok although when they don't it is annoying because you have waited 3 hours. Mine have only ever not turned out ok due to human error.
The bread is always quite nice and when it's fresh its delicious, but like most fresh bread it only lasts a couple of days max before it starts to go hard.
I would recommend it though, its always nice to have fresh bread and when its baking the bread your house smells lovely. I don't think it has saved us money though, instead of buying 2 we are now making 4 loaves a week, we do however have a lot of stale bread for the ducks.
I only managed to get a decent loaf out of this bread maker once. Wouldn't you know, it was the first time I used it. That first loaf was perfect; fluffy, light texture with a brown chewy crust and good taste.
Then it all went downhill. Typically, the bread I made in this did one of two things; it either didn't rise properly, leaving me with a lumpen housebrick, or it rose spectacularly before hitting the top of the lid, burning, then collapsing. It didn't matter which recipe I used, what flour I used... I called the helpline and they told me that my kitchen was too cool. Oh, sorry, I didn't realise that my central heating was supposed to cook the bread; I naively thought the heating element in the breadmaker would do that. I did actually ask the helpline whether there was a possibility of a fault; they said that since the mixing paddle and neating element still worked it was fine.
The recipe book does detail all sorts of interesting and tasty-sounding breads, but I couldn't get any of them to work. I did have success with croissant and doughnut doughs in it, but for a bread mixer it is very cumbersome!
The machine has nine settings, to make different sized loaves in either white or wholemeal, including a rapid bake option that produces a loaf within an hour (white only). It can make loaves up to 2lb in weight - this is a far bigger loaf than it sounds! There are two browning settings as well, I found that the lighter of the two was suitable for all loaves, even wholemeal.It can also make doughs without baking them, and has a timer delay. Sadly it doesn't have a jam making function or a seed and nut dispenser, though it does beep so you can put the nuts in yourself at the right time.
I had hoped to use the timer delay to bake bread overnight; no chance! The machine kept me awake at night; during the mixing stages it is extremely loud and the whole machine vibrates.
The machine is good looking; it is stainless steel (a little baby oil is a good way to get fingermarks off it) with a black lid and a viewing window. It does have a larger footprint than most other breadmakers, and takes up a lot of worktop space. I found the viewing window difficult to keep clean, and resorted to using a scourer on more than one occasion when the loaf hit the top. The loaf pan and paddle are non-stick and come out for cleaning - they are dishwasher safe but as I don't have a dishwasher I never tried to - but the pan is VERY difficult to get back in correctly - it is very stiff and needs a lot of force to be pushed in and out correctly. I also found that if the paddle wasn't positioned precisely it would fail to turn properly.
I ended up selling this on ebay and buying a panasonic instead; I'd advise anyone considering this maker to buy a panasonic instead too.
We recieved this great kitchen gadget as a christmas present 2 years ago and use it at least twice a week. It is great for making white, granary or wholemeal bread. My husband (who had never made bread before) enthusiastically tries out other speciality breads including Italian Herb Bread and Mixed Seed Bread which are both delicious. I find it makes a tasty and substantial pizza base. The recipes that come with the breadmaker produce really good results as long as the ingredients are measured out accurately with the cup and spoons provided. It even allows for you returning late from work as it has a built in facility that keeps the loaf warm for up to one hour after it is baked preventing it going soggy. As well as healthy nutritious breads for those with a sweet tooth there are also recipes for donut and croissant doughs as well as cakes. The instructions are nice and clear, it really is very easy to use and clean. The fastbake function is not so good, the loaves produced tend not to have risen well and look undercooked..but the booklet does suggest that a 'shorter' loaf results when this setting is used. The baking time can be increased but this rather defeats the object of selecting fastbake in the first place. Apart from this it really is a luxury item which could quickly become indispensible ...you can't beat the smell of fresh bread in the morning.
Short name: Morphy Richards 48261