Product Type: Morphy Richards bread makers
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Bake me some bread as fast as you can
Morphy Richards Compact Breadmaker 48245
Member Name: historywitch
Morphy Richards Compact Breadmaker 48245
Advantages: Compact, easy to use, wake up to the smell of fresh bread, no nasty preservatives
Disadvantages: Small loaves, takes a while to get used to the process e.g. using warm water
When pulled out to the requisite few centimetres away from the wall, the worktop space it takes up is about 35cm x 30cm. This small size means it fits in nicely in the dead space between my microwave and kettle with sufficient space to still be able to prepare food.
The display panel is located on the top of the machine and indicates the selected program, time remaining, loaf size and browning level. It is reasonably well set out, but the screen’s location can mean those of a shorter stature (like my mum!) may struggle to see what they have selected. The panel also does not light up and as it is placed in the darkest corner of my kitchen I often have to pull the machine out or tilt it a little towards to light in order to check that I have chosen the correct setting.
Underneath the panel are the two Time buttons with up and down arrows. These enable you to set the machine to bake at a later time e.g. late at night to have fresh bread in the morning. My machine will delay up to 13 hours but I have never had the need for this function.
Other buttons allow you to choose the Colour (Light, Medium or Dark) of the crust, the Loaf Size (1 lb or 1.5 lb), to Start/Stop the machine and the Menu to select the type of bread you want to bake. All of these buttons are pretty intuitive, quite large and easy to press. Everytime you press a button the machine beeps, which can be quite annoying but is a definite reassurance that you have changed the setting. Colour and Loaf Size choices are indicated at the top of the screen by a little arrow, which I do find difficult to make out, often having to press the button additional times to be quite sure that I have the size and colour that I need.
This machine has ten settings:
10. Extra Bake
*********Using the Machine**************
In the Instruction manual they provide you with a couple of recipes for each setting, which are simple and easy to follow and have thus far produced edible and often really tasty bread. I have been using bog standard flour for baking and have not noticed a difference in quality from the more expensive flour that I bought in the first flush of bread machine excitement. I have noticed that it is important to use dried yeast that has been recently bought, as when I went through my cupboards to make that all important first loaf and used some ancient stuff the results were disappointing.
The recipes give you the amounts of ingredients needed to make the two different sizes of loaf so you have to make sure you are working down the right column in the book as you go! It advises using skimmed milk powder but I used milk instead; I also use melted butter instead of the recommended sunflower oil. The machine comes complete with the necessary measuring cup and spoons to ensure that your recipes are identical to the ones in the books, although the levels on the cup can be quite difficult to make out. Mr Historywitch tried to subvert this regimented approach to bread creation by a slapdash ‘add things until the dough looks right’ attempt, but the resulting bread could be sold to gangsters as an alternative to concrete blocks! It takes between 10 and 20 minutes to add the ingredients to the machine depending on the recipe you have selected and how organised you are. This machine only needs up to one and a half teaspoons of yeast at a time, meaning you can make up to three loaves of bread from one packet of instant yeast. I store my yeast in the fridge, but you have to make sure you use it up quickly.
The basic white is edible but not outstanding and certainly not as delicious as I imagined it would be. I enjoyed the raisin bread but it pales in comparison to a proper handmade loaf and that’s the irony…since buying this machine and realising how simple it is to make bread, I have discovered that I absolutely love creating it by hand leaving the machine more for my husband to use. I am happier with the cake and jam settings, the machine turns out a quite acceptable Madeira or fruit cake and rather a tasty (and incredibly simple) marmalade with minimal effort. Other breads such as the porridge oats or chocolate bread are nice to try as a novelty but not something that we could eat on a regular basis.
The baking cycles can last up to almost four hours, varying by setting, so there is not much spontaneity to this method of breadmaking, you really have to decide in advance when you want to eat your bread, especially considering that it needs to cool down a little before you can eat it. The range of recipes is very limited, there is only one recipe for French style bread and many of the recipes are very similar in taste e.g. the Italian herb bread recipe is created by the addition of a tablespoon of dried herbs to the basic white loaf. I found it very disappointing that there wasn’t even a recipe for ciabatta, something my father’s bread machine can produce. I have bought a book of bread making recipes but its so much easier to make them by hand than translate the quantities for this machine, which is smaller than the average breadmaker. You can’t put more than four cupfuls of ingredients into the machine and trying to work out proportions for favourite or unlisted recipes can take a lot of time unless you are an experienced baker.
The setting that really saved this machine for me is the dough setting. I can bung all the ingredients into the machine, go off and play with my daughter and 90 minutes later its ready to use. My chosen setting is usually for pizza dough and I throw in a couple of pinches of tarragon as well. Once created its great fun shaping and decorating the pizza bases with children, especially as you know that there are no nasty preservatives or flavourings involved. The dough can also be quickly shaped into rolls or a loaf shape and covered with grated cheese and/or pasta sauce to create lovely savoury bread in ten minutes in the oven. You do need to make sure that the water you use is warm rather than cold, as this ensures the yeast activates properly. I made this recipe this afternoon and had enough dough to make 6 largish rolls, 3 of which I then made into individual pizzas that were more than enough for one person (to give an idea of quantities).
Other subjects covered in the instruction manual are the procedures for setting up the machine, descriptions of the programs, how to use the machine and how to clean it. It is important not to scrub the baking pan, I find it just needs a wipe down with a damp cloth after each use. The manual also gives a quick introduction to bread making ingredients and how they are used to create delicious fresh bread.
At the back of the recipe section are two gluten free recipes, one for a cake and one for a simple loaf of bread. They use Nutricia glutafin gluten free fibre mix, but never having had to use these recipes I cannot guarantee their quality or taste. There are also conversion tables for measuring ingredients which I imagine would be useful if you lose the cup that comes with the machine, or if you are happier working in grams.
The manual also has a general FAQ and troubleshooting section at the back, to answer all your bread related questions e.g ‘why didn’t it rise?’ which I haven’t had to use yet (fingers crossed!). It also informs me that there is a beep when you have to add the nuts/fruit etc for a recipe. I did wonder why the machine seemed to randomly beep as I have been slinging in all the ingredients together and I haven’t noticed any problems with doing this.
Inevitably there are niggly things about this machine that annoy me; its hard to remove the bread tin after baking for example. It has a thin metal handle that you are supposed to use to twist the pan out, but after the first use it was evident that it just was not strong enough and it bent out of shape. Now I have to firmly grasp the sides of the tin with oven gloves and give it a firm twist. There is a definite knack as my husband finds the tin impossible to remove.
The manual is not wipe clean, a small niggle, but given the amount of time it comes out to be consulted it does not seem unreasonable to expect this. Ours is already covered in flour and grease spots, is tatty and torn and I expect that I will soon have to copy out the most used recipes in order to preserve the rest of the book from destruction.
The details of the settings are rubbing off from the top of the machine, I assume that the ink used has been affected by the heat from the machine (even though the coolwall function keeps the sides of the machine at a warmish temperature). I can flake little bits off with my fingernail after only four months of use which doesn’t impress me very much.
The keep warm function means the machine can stay active for up to an hour after the machine has finished, on experimentation we have found that the resulting bread is either far to well done to eat, or too soggy (due to the water being unable to escape the machine).
The created loaves are small, only enough for ten or so slices of bread, which for up to four hours of cooking time often seems a sad result. If we are cooking for more than three people I make our bread by hand as there is never enough to go around otherwise. In addition the detachable kneading tool at the bottom of the pan can get stuck in the bread as it cooks, meaning the pan can often need vigourous banging to get the bread out of the pan. You then have to excavate the tool from the bread, leaving a big hole in the bottom.
The bread also doesn’t keep fresh for longer than two days, but this is less of a concern because A) it’s a small loaf and soon eaten and B) it doesn’t have the chemical preservatives of shop bought bread so it is to be expected.
Finally it is recommended that the pan is filled with hot water after the bread has been removed, to prevent the kneading tool from getting stuck to the pan. I have to be careful about where I leave the water-filled pan as mine leaks-something I only found out after slipping over on a puddle of water on the floor.
I am glad that we bought it as it has come in very useful but I have been a little disappointed with the quality and shape of the loaves produced; I guess I have been a little spoiled by the Swiss bread I buy and the bread I make myself. However it is a useful little gadget to have in the kitchen and you can wake up to the smell of fresh bread everyday. Once you are confident with the basic settings then you can experiment with your own bread recipes and add new ingredients. Its size makes it ideal for a couple or a small family. This is excellent if you want to eat fresh bread with no nasties in it but don’t have the time/inclination to get floury and make it yourself.
I have found it especially useful in teaching my daughter about bread making as she is too small to do much when we make it by hand. She is always asking me to ‘make dough’ in the machine and I can lift her up to tip the ingredients into the machine one by one. Thanks to this she now knows that ‘geeest’ (yeast and its her special job to hold the packet for me) and flour and water go into bread and she takes great delight in telling me what I should be putting in next. It also prevents her from eating quantities of flour, something she does with abandon when I am making my own bread, her job being to keep the work surface floury while I work! She also likes to watch the machine making the dough through the viewing window and comes back periodically to check that the bread has ‘got big mummy’.
Price: RRP is £39.99, but you can buy it from morphyrichards.co.uk (under the Products section) for £24.99 which appears to include the delivery charge. Definitely a bargain if you can get it for that price!
Summary: Good basic breadmaker for small kitchens
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