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I go through phases with electrical appliances where I find one that I just have to have. In this case I used it a few times but it is now sitting in the cupboard unused and when I do make bread I prefer to make my own by hand.
The reasons for this I will detail later, I will start with the positives.
It is easy to use, it comes with a booklet which includes recipes for different types of bread and instructions on how to make them.
It can be used for different things not just bread. Instructions for cakes, rice pudding and jam are all included in the booklet.
It means you can have fresh bread without the kneading, proving and knocking back and baking, it does it all for you. You can also wake up to fresh bread using the time delay setting.
It provides the correct temperature to prove, this can be useful in winter when you can't find a nice warm spot to get your dough to prove.
Now why is it sitting in my cupboard then? Here are a few of the reasons.
It has a short kneading blade attachment meaning that you end up with a corner on your loaf that is floury due to not being kneaded fully.
The bucket and blade aren't dishwasher safe.
The bread can be hard to remove from the bucket and the kneading blade often gets stuck in loaf requiring you to dig it out.
If you have a power cut or your fuse blows after it has gone past the first rising stage you have to throw everything out. I only had this happen to me once but the wasted time and ingredients was frustrating.
So all in all, after giving this a go I find that I personally would rather have the sense of control and freedom that comes with making my own bread by hand.
I've been making my own bread for years now and in my opinion there's no shop-brought bread that can beat a freshly baked homemade loaf and the lovely smell that goes with it. This bread maker by Morphy Richards is the latest in a series of breadmakers and cost me £49.99 from Tesco.
--- The Look ---
The breadmaker has a very plain, simple appearance which is built more for functionality than style. It is comprised entirely of white, shiny plastic with four rubber feet underneath to stop it slipping. It is quite large so can be a bit of a pain to store but it is surprisingly lightweight and can easily be moved around the kitchen without to much trouble. All of the controls are located on top of the breadmaker including a set of six grey buttons which are clearly labelled, a viewing window and an LCD display. In addition to the breadmaker itself, the box also contains two measuring cups, three measuring spoons and an instruction booklet which also has (very useful) 50 recipes.
--- Features ---
The best feature is the range of 13 different programmes which have a versatile range of settings not only for various types of bread but also cakes, pizza dough and preserves such as jam and marmalade. There also options for different dietary requirements such as gluten-free and reduced salt options. In addition there a further five settings for crust type (very light, light, medium, dark, very dark) and three for the size of the loaf (small 1lb, medium 1.5lb or large 2lb). Another feature is the viewing window which I think is a great idea and allows you to watch the bread rising without having to open the lid and let heat escape which could affect how well the bread rises. There is also a timer shown on an LCD display with a cool-touch feature making it safe to touch when the breadmaker is in use. The timer has a 12-hour delay so you can get up in the morning or come home from work to the smell of fresh bread and a newly baked loaf - brilliant!
--- Usage & Functionality ---
So far I've made quite a few different breads from the recipes including wholemeal brown bread, plain white bread, cheese bread, fruity raisin & cinnamon bread and rustic rolls. Of the other settings I've only ever tried making marmalade although I'd love to try out the cakes when I get the chance! I have to say I'm really impressed by the quality of the bread that can be made. 9 times out of 10 the bread comes out gorgeous and soft with a lovely crispy and slightly chewy crust. Obviously the results do depend on what ingredients you use and what settings you choose but I find that as long as you stick to those provided in the booklet (or reliable ones online) you get lovely bread. My favourite so far has been the fruit bread with cinnamon which is moist with a great flavour and texture. The marmalade was also fantastic and much better than shop-bought brand I've ever tried. It had that bitter taste with just the right amount of sweetness and I was eating that on my toast at breakfast for months!
As it's usually just me that eats the bread I usually make a medium-sized 1.5lb loaf and then freeze what I don't eat. I find the bread stays fresh for about 3 days in the fridge before it starts to go a bit dry and stale. One of the downsides of making bread is that it is quite time consuming. After you've mixed all the ingredients and placed it in the breadmaker you then have a 2-3 hour wait. Once finished the breadmaker beeps to let you know but keeps the bread warm until you remove it.
The outside of the breadmaker is really simple to clean with a quick wipe with a damp cloth although it can be a bit fiddly to clean the insides. You have to dismantle the different components, some of which are quite sharp and clean them manually in warm soapy water.
--- Summary ---
Overall I think this is a fantastic bread maker - one of the best I've had - as it makes gorgeous bread and has such as great versatility of different recipes as well as being super easy to use. It is well-made and has lasted me a long time now without any problems. I am happy to recommend it.
For year our family has been thinking about buying a bread maker and finally we decided to buy one. This one seemed to fit perfectly with it producing a loaf 2lb loaf which is one of the largest on the market. We also saw that this had the ability to do a multiple amount of thing from flavoured breads to jams. Due to the ability to make a large loaf we finally decided to pitched the additive that everyone worries about in your asda bread and decided that the extra time would be worth it with the taste.
Once we'd spend the 90 pounds in which it cost from tesco we set it up which I have to say was incredible easy and then we started to cook. With the bread maker is a variety of accessories in which are supposed to assist you in the production of bread including a recipe book and measuring jug which are incredibly useful.These were all really positive and a loaf took less than 10 mins to make, after around about two hours for the loaf we were incredibly excited but compared to other bread machines we thought that this was incredible disappointing although not compared to other bread machines this was incredibly disappointing.
Once we had made the first loaf due to the reviews for this particular machine being so good we thought that this must had simple been an error on our behalf.So we repeated the proccess trying it with different flours and different yeast all of which just lead to greater expense and not greater loafs of bread. So although I've read plenty of people have loads of success with this machine I unfortunately have not. I have however had great success with the fruit loaves on this machine and now simple just use it to make dough. This it is fantastique at and it makes a mean pizza base
The machine itself is also incredible easy to clean. I personally only run some hot soapy water on it but i'm sure you can run it through the dishwasher. So overall although I haven't had the best time of it with this machine I still to this day don't know if its me or the machine
added to ciao 2/12/14
I remember years ago my gran and my mum making bread on a weekly basis by hand. Mixing it all together letting it rise etc and naturally the house smelling of fresh baked bread. Well I normally don't have the time to make bread by hand so after my old bread maker packed in and I had a period of buying the mass produced rubbish from shops I decided it was time to replace it.
This machine cost me £36.99 form the co-op electrical the RRP is £79.99
What is in the box?
Not surprisingly it's a bread maker. Now despite being lager than my old one it is lighter and has more programmes on it to make different types of bread. Also included are two measuring cups and a set of measuring spoons. The two measuring cups are provided so you can measure the water/milk in one and the flour in the other.
The guarantee cards and instruction booklet are also included. The instruction book does have the usual trouble shooting tips as well as a good number of bread recipes as well. From these I have produced mainly the 50% granary loaf and regular wholemeal bread. As I don't eat white bread I have not tried to make this but I would assume the results would be then same. I have tried the soda bread recipe and just using it to make the dough for bread rolls.
Setting it up and using it
The machine makes mainly 1.5 and 2 lb loves, however, with some settings it will make a smaller 1 lb loaf.
Before you make your first loaf you have to brush the inside of the bread pan with a little oil and put it into the bread maker and then set it on the 'extra bake' mode for about 10 minutes. After washing the pan out and drying it and attaching the mixing arm you are ready to make bread.
Using the recipes provided makes using this machine is very easy as long as you put the ingredients into the bread pan in the right order. As with all bread machines you need to use dried yeast and the fast action sort is the best. When all the ingredients are in the pan simply put the pan into the bread maker then it's all in the programming of the machine.
This machine has 13 different settings for making all kinds of bread from a basic white bread to gluten free as well as sugar and salt free recipes. There is also a 'jam' setting for making jam in the machine. However, although nothing compares to homemade jam (if done properly) I don't have the time or patience to prepare the fruit etc so I haven't used this setting. The recipe book does advise which setting to use to give the best results for each recipe and this is what you should stick to. Then you can set the 'crust setting' from 'very light' to 'very dark'. I tend to stick to the 'medium' setting on this as it gives a good colour but it could be that bit crisper. There is also a setting to use if you are making a so called 'speciality breads' such as malt loaf and soda bread. Although the soda bread result was good with the machine it is the one bread I regularly make that I still prefer to do by hand.
So far I have tended to make the 2 lb loaves and they last about 2 days before they are eaten. As long as they are properly stored they should last a few days without drying out. For recipes I have used mainly the recipes in the booklet provided. The results for the 50% granary loaf is a soft bread with a slightly sweet crust and a slightly nutty flavour to the bread. The reason for making it with 50% granary and 50% white is that it tends to rise that bit better than it would have if I had used only granary flour. I have tried it with 75% granary and although the taste was better the bread wasn't as soft and did not rise as well. The wholemeal recipe also works well and again gives a good soft bread although not raised as well as white bread would do. This is actually normal as wholemeal and granary flours are heavier and don't rise as well.
I do tend to use milk in place of water as this gives a better flavour and texture to the bread. However, this has to be skimmed milk so as little as possible extra fat is added. As I don't use milk for anything else I tend to keep a packet of dried milk in my cupboard for this and mix it up on the day.
The time it takes to produce the loaf varies depending on the setting and the size of the loaf you want to make. The 50/50 granary one takes over three and a half hours including the one hour bake time. This length of time is so the heavier grains of flour can soak up the moisture better to give a better result. A 2 lb white loaf will take three hours (according to the booklet). There are some 'fast bake' cycles which work quicker and produce a loaf in a little over an hour but the result is a heavier textured bread. However the fast bake can only be used successfully when making white bread.
I have also used it on the dough setting when I have wanted to make some bread rolls. Here the machine will mix it all for you but it won't bake it. When it is ready it will beep to let you know to take the dough out and shape it and to allow it its second rise. Now this requires you to be fairly close by to hear the beep. Either that or set a separate timer to the time on the in built clock and keep it with you. The problem here is that the baking of the rolls is down to your skill as a baker and your oven. They should take about 15-20 minutes in the oven. I take them out at about 15 minutes in and, whilst holding one with a clean tea towel tap the bottom of one of it. If it sounds hollow then they are cooked.
There is also a timer delay function so you can set it to start to make the bread at say 2:30 in the morning so it is ready for you when you get up. There are some programmes where this is not advised and you shouldn't use it if you are using milk in place of water. The timer delay is also not very successful for wholemeal and granary breads (I learnt this from my old bread maker).
The digital display goes onto a dim setting after a few seconds in order to save some power but to be honest unless you leave it plugged in permanently the amount this will save is negligible.
After the bread has been baked the machine goes to a 'keep warm' setting for an hour but the sooner you take it out and get it onto a wire rack to cool the better as this prevents condensation from getting into the bread making it go soggy.
The bread pan and the mixing arm have to be washed by hand as a dishwasher would damage the non-stick coating on it. The non-stick appears to be quite thick and it is easy to wash. Just make sure that you are not using anything rough which could damage the coating. The outside of the machine is easily wiped down with a damp cloth and you should not use any cleaning product on it.
The lid of the machine also lifts off to make it easier to clean the glass panel in it. This is easy to do and also, more importantly, easy to put back on as well.
Removing the mixing arm from the bread after you have taken the loaf out of the pan. Not only, being metal, is it very hot but also the bread cooks around it enclosing it. The best thing to use to remove it are some plastic tongs as this avoids scratching it.
The machine its self is also quite large hence if you are short of storage space in your kitchen then a smaller model may be better for you. Despite its size it is fairly light so can be take out of and put back into a cupboard fairly easily although carrying handles would make this easier.
When mixing the dough it does appear that the dough has all moved over to one side of the pan. When I first used it when it got to the first rise cycle I opened the lid and with a plastic spatula evened this out. The second time I used it I did not do this and there was no difference in the quality of the bread produced. I do feel that a larger mixing arm would possibly prevent this.
Naturally after the bread is cooked the bread pan which is metal is hot, so using the handle to remove it, the only problem being that the handle is also made of metal and gets very hot. Also with a tea towel or regular oven gloves the handle isn't all that easy to lift up. I do have some of those heat resistant proper gloves (if that makes any sense) so I use those to lift it out. The handle is also quite thin and twisting the bred pan to unlock it isn't the easiest thing to do with hot metal so those with arthritis may struggle with this.
Depth - 29 cm
Width - 37.5 cm
Height - 33 cm
Power - 600 w
Please note height is when the lid is closed. Open lid adds an extra 30 cm to the height.
The machine is well made and comes with a two year guarantee as long as you register it online within 28 days of purchase. If not it goes back to a one year guarantee.
The range of settings it gives a lot of versatility to making bread. Despite a couple of design flaws (the handle on the pan and the mixing arm being too thin) the machine is a good one and it is well worth what I spent on it.
Baking your own bread is not only easy / it is also very quick! The Morphy Richards 48322 Easy Use Breadmaker is suitable for everyday use simply place all the ingredients in the non stick bread pan and the breadmaker will automatically mix knead prove and bake the loaf in as little as 80 minutes / It has 13 programmes which maintain the stability of the baking process and you can easily bake bread / And you can vary the loaf size to medium large or extra large and with viewing window you can see how your bread is being baked.13 programmes3 Loaf sizes5 crust settingsViewing window12 hour delay timerLCD displayRecipes includedCool touchCord storage600W / Short name: Morphy Richards 48322