When we got married eight years ago bread makers were all the rage so we duly put one on our wedding list. A friend of our kindly bought us the Morphy Richards cool touch bread maker priced at £49.99 from Argos.
We were so excited to have a bread maker and had vision of waking to the smell of fresh baked bread and tucking into wedges of warm homemade bread covered in thick homemade jam.
The bread maker is quite large and takes up a bit of room on the side or in the cupboard. At first I kept ours out on the side as it was getting regular use but as we stopped making the bread it has now been relegated to the cupboard.
The bread maker came in a nice big box that also included the cup and spoon you need for measuring and the instruction and recipe booklet.
The recipe booklet included all sorts of recipes from a basic white loaf to Italian loaves, banana bread, French bread, cakes and buns and even malt loaf and jams.
To make a basic white loaf you need:
Skimmed milk powder
Strong white softgrain flour
Fast action dried yeast
Some of these ingredients can be expensive especially if you aren't going to make bread regularly enough to use them up.
To make your bread you use the baking pan provided with the kneading blade in place and put the ingredients into the pan in the correct order making sure that the water and oil do not mix with the fast action yeast. Then you place the pan into the bread maker and make sure you twist it to ensure it is secure. Then you select the correct programme from the many available and press the start button. Then hey presto approximately three hours later you have a cooked loaf of bread. It is recommended that you leave the bread to cool on a wire rack for about thirty minutes before eating.
Initial we did use the bread maker quite a bit and for a while I was setting the bread maker up every night using the timer and waking to that lovely smell and having fresh bread for our breakfast. Unfortunately I was also pregnant and the bread gave me dreadful indigestion and heartburn and so I went off it pretty quickly.
The best thing about the bread maker is that it smells lovely and it makes you feel all domesticated making your own bread.
Unfortunately I have a bit of a list of the things that I don't like about the bread maker. Firstly the cost of ingredients is off putting but if you make enough loaves you would probably break even. Secondly the texture of the bread varies greatly and sometimes you get a nice loaf with a decent crust and a firm but light texture other times it is like trying to chew your way through a house brick. I have found that the brown bread seems to come out lighter and so I tended to make this variety most often. The only other thing I would mention is that the bread does taste very salty. I adjust the recipe to include less salt but I think this does affect the quality of the loaf that you get. Actually I will just mention one last thing and that is the kneading blade does tend to get stuck in the bottom of the loaf. This is standard with all bread makers I think but because of the blade your loaf will have a big hole in the bottom. Oh and one last thing it beeps a lot. Whenever it moves onto the next stage of the process it gives little beeps so you know what it is doing and then when it has finished. During the day this isn't a problem but if you set the timer and have it making bread during the night then it can wake you or more annoyingly the children.
I have never tried to make jams and I like to make my cakes by hand with a bowl and a spoon so I have never tried any of these recipes. I did try to make the malt loaf but it didn't turn out very well. I was expecting it to be like a nice sticky loaf of soreen but it was very dry and just like a fruit cake.
I'm not sure if this model is still available but Morphy Richards do have a similar model in Argos at the moment for £44.99. Bread makers can be very expensive but I think if you buy a middle of the range one it will do everything you need it to.
As I said our bread maker is now sitting sadly at the back of the cupboard. I have four children now and they don't like the bread very much and to be honest I have too much else to think about without remember to set the bread maker up before I go to bed. So much for home made Jam on a warm loaf!
A bit of a fad I think.
I'd had my breadmaker for over five years until my daughter blew it up recently by trying to haul the bread tin out of the main unit by brute force while it was still plugged in, instead of twisting it. The resulting flames shooting out of the bottom were spectacular but sadly didn't make up for the loss of this fabby machine, which I've used at least twice a week & has been fantastically reliable.
I once tried the fruit cake recipe in the instruction manual but the result was brick-like & badly overcooked so I never bothered with cakes again.
Instead I've stuck to the recipe for the large basic white loaf that's in the instructions, & using the measuring scoops provided & a couple of taps on the controls it's as easy as pie. Even when I've added sesame seeds or nuts, for example, or when I've used brown flour instead of white I've stuck to the same proportions & the results have been completely dependable.
The bread programme takes about three hours on total so some forward-thinking is needed. There is a timer so you can add the ingredients & set the cooking to start at a certain time - before you wake up in the morning, for example - but I've never tried it myself. More useful to me is the feature that keeps the bread warm & condensation-free for an hour after the baking time has ended: vital if you've been out & don't quite get back in time.
When after over 2 years the spindle on mine wore out I bought a replacement tin easily over the phone (£10, I think, from Morphy Richards), & when I accidentally threw the first mixing paddle away I again bought a new one (about £4) no problem.
I do have lots of space on my worktop now mine has gone as the breadmaker was quite a big beast, but the bread it made was fantastic & I fund it hugely convenient just to chuck the ingredients in & switch it on instead of having to go to the shop. My house doesn't smell half so nice any more. I think I'll be buying a new one pretty soon.
At one time, a breadmaker was something that I had considered buying as a luxury, but could not justify spending over £40 on something that I didn't really need. However, with the economic downturn affecting the country at the moment, I have been thinking of ways to reduce my weekly shopping bill, and with the price of bread in my local supermarket averaging £1.20 per loaf, I thought I would make a worthwhile investment and buy myself a breadmaker so that I can finally make my own.
After doing some research on the various makes and models of breadmakers currently on the market, I finally decided on the Morphy Richards Fastbake Breadmaker. As far as I was aware, Morphy Richards had a good reputation and manufactured good, reliable products.
So, what do you get for your money?
The first thing I noticed when the Argos assistant handed me the breadmaker was how big the box was. What on earth could be in there? On opening the box, I found all the contents to be very neatly and securely packed with plenty of polystyrene. Nothing was going to break with this little lot.
The box comprised:
The breadmaker (obviously)
1 x paddle
1 x measuring cup
2 x measuring spoons
Instruction booklet (which incorporates a recipe section)
Cream in colour, the Morphy Richards Fastbake Breadmaker is a very stylish looking model, though it does appear a lot larger than it looks on all the promotional pictures I had seen. The approximate measurements of this particular model are 15" x 10" x 10". All of the program buttons are situated on the front panel of the breadmaker, rather than across the top, which in my opinion makes it easier to navigate the controls. There is nothing worse, especially if your breadmaker is situated on a high work surface, than having to stretch over to see which buttons you are pressing. Just above the row of program buttons is the display panel which highlights the programs you have selected, time remaining etc. The lid of the breadmaker is situated on the very top, and is a very simple lift-up lid with no release buttons to press. This has a clear Perspex panel so that you can see what progress your bread is making!
Can the breadmaker be used straight away?
No. Once you take the breadmaker out of its packaging, the loaf tin and kneading paddle need to be washed in warm, soapy water. After drying them with a clean tea towel, you should coat them with a thin layer of cooking oil (preferably sunflower) and replace them in the breadmaker. The breadmaker then needs to be switched on and program 12 (extra bake) selected. Leave on for approximately 10 minutes to seal the non stick pan and paddle. The instructions also advise that, prior to carrying out this procedure, you wipe the exterior of the breadmaker with a clean, damp cloth.
So, what can it do?
What can't it do? This is a very versatile breadmaker in that it can make various things in addition to a simple loaf of bread. There are twelve programs in total, and these comprise:
Basic white bread
Quick bread (which gives a denser texture)
Sweet (this gives a crispier crust)
Fastbake I (gives a moister 1.5lb loaf)
Fastbake II (gives a moister 2lb)
Dough (simply makes the dough but does not bake it)
Sandwich (light texture bread with a soft, thick crust)
Extra bake (increase baking time to your personal preference)
When the breadmaker begins kneading the dough, a series of beeps can be heard. The dough is then allowed to rest for 10 minutes or so. When the second kneading process begins, a further series of beeps can be heard, and it is at this point you may add fruit, nuts, etc if you are making sweet bread.
This particular bread maker is capable of making three different sized loaves of bread: 1lb, 1.5lb and 2lb.
The breadmaker also has 3 crust settings (light, medium and dark).
One feature which I find particularly useful is the automatic timer. You can set this up to 13 hours in advance, so for example, if you want to wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning, just add your ingredients to the breadmaker and set the program for the time you wish the bread to be ready. A very simply process, and one that I have used on numerous occasions.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, the instruction booklet contains a recipe section with some delicious ideas on what to make with your breadmaker. These include:
Basic white bread
Italian herb bread
Cheese & onion bread
Sun-dried tomato loaf
Banana & nut bread
Porridge oats bread
Mixed fruit loaf
Hot cross buns
Raspberry & apple jam
Mixed fruit cake
...and a few others based around a basic white bread recipe.
I have only tried a few of these recipes so cannot comment on the outcome of each and every one, but one point I would like to mention, and which I personally think is quite important, is the fact that you can adapt the recipes to suit your own personal preference. For example, the 2lb basic white loaf suggests that you add 3 tablespoons of sugar. When I made this recipe for the first time, I found the bread excessively sweet and not to my taste at all. As time went on, I gradually reduced the amount of sugar I added, and I feel that I have now got the recipe just as I like it - with a mere ½ tablespoon of sugar. Quite a reduction from what the recipe suggests.
I purchased this breadmaker from Argos for £48.89. I have not checked other retailers but you may be able to find it for a more favourable price elsewhere. However, this price does include a 2 year guarantee, provided of course that you keep you receipt as proof of purchase.
Morphy Richards Contact Details
Morphy Richards Ltd
(Helpline): 0844 871 0944
My personal opinion of this breadmaker is that it is one of the best purchases I have never made. Out of one bag of flour, which costs in the region of 87p depending on which brand you use, I usually get approximately 4 x 2lb loaves of bread. Other ingredients obviously need to be added to this, but the likes of one pack of yeast, salt etc., make many many loves of bread.
It has always been reliable, and the recipes are so easy to make. I no longer use the recipe book for basic bread as I know the measurements of the ingredients by heart.
I do still buy the odd ready-made loaf, but it's true what they say: "once you make your own, you don't really go back to buying them". And I rarely do!
Thanks for reading.
**Also on Ciao (Matthewsmum)
We were given the Morphy Richard's breadmaker a few years ago. My brother in law tried to impress us by baking a loaf of bread for us but it didn't turn out well. So we left the breadmaker aside for a couple of years.
Recently, we decide to try using the breadmaker as we thought it will be good to have fresh bread without any preservatives. So, we took out the breadmaker, read the manual which was very straightforward. We decide to go for the french bread recipe, took down the ingredients needed and head for the shop.
We followed the instruction from beginning to end, We were surprised as to the ease of use. It is almost a no brainer. All we need to do is put the ingredients in the right sequence into the tray provided. Place in the machine, set the loaf size, set the timer and 3hours 40mins later, we have a lovely, fresh baked medium sized french bread.
The Morphy Richard's fastbake breadmaker makes breakfast a delight. We put the breadmaker overnight on a timer and a fresh loaf of bread is ready for us in the morning.
The Morphy Richard's fastbake is retailed £57.49 in Amazon, £49.00 in littlewoods.com.
The general specifications for the breadmaker is
You can make a 1lb, 1.5lb or 2 lb loaf
Fastbake setting allow you to bake a 2lb loaf in under 1 hour
There's a choice of 12 settings with13 hour programmable timer
Light, medium, dark crust setting
The breadmaker also allow you to set bread dough for rolls,it also makes cakes and jam.
The breadmaker come with a measuring cup, spoon and recipe/instruction book
Ive had my Morphy Richards Bread maker for about a year now and I still use it regularly. The beauty of this appliance is that you can get fresh homemade bread in less than three hours. The timer setting means that you can set it night and in the morning you can come downstairs to the smell of freshly baked bread which is perfect with coffee.
This unit comes with a bread pan which fits inside the oven unit, a paddle for mixing up the dough, spoons and a measuring cup. It is vital to use exact measurements or you will be disappointed.
So, what exactly is this unit?
Its bread mixer, prover and baker. It runs off a normal 240v socket and is fitted with a 13amp fuse.
There are two settings for this machine to make a small 454g or large 680g loaf.
Both loaves are made on the same setting but there is a crusty setting to create extra crispy crusts if you like them.
There is a fruit and nut beep which sounds when extra ingredients may be added so they dont get chopped by the kneading paddle.
The whole process is computerised and all you have to do is add the ingredients.
How do you actually make the bread?
The recipe book provided give instructions for different types of bread, ranging from basic white, French, whole-wheat, sweet, quick, and sandwich loaves, to the more exotic sun dried tomato and olive. You can also make jam in this appliance and bake a basic bar cake.
Select your recipe and add the ingredients in the order they are listed. Measure carefully and make sure that you use dried, fast acting yeast. Other types do not work as well.
Set the display to the recommended setting for your recipe and press start.
A timer is displayed and this is around 2.5 to 3 hours. If you want to delay the baking so that your bread is ready for a specific time, do it now.
What does the finished loaf look like?
Just like any other loaf but with a hole in the bottom where the paddle is lodged. I must admit that I find this a draw back but there is no solution to it. Sometimes the paddle is stuck in the bottom and you have to ease it out with a knife.
What does it taste like?
All the recipes I have tried from this booklet are excellent. The bread had tasted and smelled gorgeous.
There are lots of other recipes available on the internet but be careful about measurements if you are converting from US measures, to UK.
Are there are draw backs?
Yes, the unit is white big. It takes up a couple of square feet on the work surface. Its also heavy if you want to keep it in a cupboard and get it out to use occasionally.
The metal bread pan gets very hot (obviously) and can be difficult to lift out of the unit. Ive had a couple of burns from this. There isnt enough room to get fingers and a cloth down the side to lift it out and using the wire handle sometimes doesnt work as you need to twist the pan to unlock it from the unit.
The bread is exceptionally good when baked in this unit but its shelf life is quite limited. Commercially baked bread has preservatives added but this doesnt. Wholemeal bread keeps okay for a couple of days and white can still be used the next day but it goes a bit chewy. I let mine go cold, slice and wrap it tightly in tin foil which I then put inside a polythene bag. This does help.
This unit cost me £32 and it was well worth the money. A large loaf (excluding electricity) cost around 60p to make, depending, of course, on the quality of the ingredients.
I find that if I am going to bother making bread for myself, I may as well buy the best Canadian Wheat flour and quality yeast, or, alternatively, there is a working flour mill near where I live and they grind the wheat between stones while you watch. Wonderful flour!
Excellent. I can almost smell the aroma of fresh bread as I type. This is o simple to use and all it takes to achieve perfect results each time is a little bit of care with the selection and measurement of ingredients.
It must be far healthier to use pure, natural ingredients for your bread and avoid all those chemical preservatives.
I started making bread by hand a while ago, as no decent bread is available within walking distance from where we live. Few months ago a friend financed a Christmas present of my choice and I bought a bread-maker to make the process easier and less labour-consuming (let's face it, I was fed up with getting my hands covered in sticky dough and tired of kneading).
I was looking for a cheap machine that would do the basic job, without any extra fancy functions and thus price was the major consideration; I also wanted a reasonably reliable brand and thus I settled on the Murphy Richards 48286.
This maker has programmes for white, wholemeal, French and sandwich breads; as well as extra programmes for cake and sweet breads; jam, dough only and bake only settings. There is also a 'quick' setting of which more later.
The breadmaker is equipped with a timer that can be set up to 13 hours forwards as well as 'keep warm' facility which means that the bread will stay heated after a programme finishes which is supposed to prevent condensation inside the machine making it wet.
The manual provided with the machine includes recipes for all of the programmes and stern warnings on exactly following the measurements if one wants to get good results: a measuring cup and spoon are provided to facilitate that.
I have used all bread settings, most of them few times and I also used the 'cake' setting once. Apart form one try on 'quick' setting, I have only used larger loaf programmes as a 1lb loaf disappears in less than a lunchtime in our family. I used Tesco strong white flour, Whitbread wholemeal mixed with Tesco strong white as well as Allison strong white and various mixtures including my favourite of 1 part rye to 2 parts strong white.
The bread programmes provide perfectly acceptable results; the bread that comes out of the machine is not as nice as one made in the oven would be - I suspect it's due to the enclosed space in which it is baked as compared to more airy environment of the oven. I made white bread on all three settings (white, French and sandwich) and there was a noticeable difference, with French being suitably drier and crispier (even using normal bread flour) and sandwich - as per recipe - denser and noticeably sweet (this programme uses a lot more sugar and less yeast). For those sensitive to visual aspects, the top of the bread invariably collapses a bit and thus you never get a 'domed' effect as from the oven.
The 'quick' setting was much less satisfactory, I have had nice breads made at this type of setting in a different breadmaker, but this one was basically too dense to be acceptable. I wouldn't recommend this breadmaker if you are likely to often want to use the 'quick' setting.
I made one attempt at using the cake setting, adhering to a recipe religiously, and it still ended in totally disastrous, inedible, completely unrisen end product (I might try again and update).
The dough setting is a very useful one for me, as it takes all the messiness and effort out of the mixing and kneading the dough, which then can be either left in the machine to prove and baked in the oven or taken out to prove and form and then baked in an oven. Also, this programme accepts a larger amount of ingredients so you can make a decently sized loaf or even two this way. I suggest taking the kneaded dough out of the tin and leaving it to prove in its final baking tin/sheet as it can get sticky towards the end of the proving process in the machine.
I have not used the jam setting and as I can't imagine anybody making a 1lb of jam, so this one is bit of a decorative addition.
*Functionality, features and niggles*
It takes a lot of space, especially vertically. This was one thing I didn't think about when buying it, but in addition to the footprint of 20x40 cm (8x16 in) it requires almost 60 cm (24 in) vertically to lift the cover. This was a big drawback to me as I only have a little bit of a worktop that does not have overhanging cupboards/boilers and I am not really happy with the machine sitting there. However, moving it about when you need to open the cover is not really an option as it's to heavy. So this is one thing that a tech spec will not necessarily say but worth taking into account when choosing a machine.
The measurements in provided recipes are all done in cup-volume terms, and yes, there is one measuring cup and one measuring spoon provided; but I would like to see a conversion into weights or/and millilitres in the recipe booklet, as the way it is means that if you loose the cup, you will have trouble performing the precise measurements required according to instructions. NB, perfectly good bread can be made without being *very* rigorous with the measurements, as I have been more lax recently, at least with things like sugar, salt and oil to pretty much the same results.
As all breadmakers, the machine requires quick action dried yeast (the one that you mix with the flour, not activate in water and sugar beforehand). I use fresh baker's yeast when making bread completely by hand (this can be got for free at Tesco bakery counter 60g at the time) and thus was bit annoyed that the more expensive quick action yeast was needed for the machine. On the other hand, considering the long time that kneading and proving takes in the machine, I suspect that traditional fresh or dried yeast might work as well, at least when you don't use the timer.
The shape of the bread pan is very vertical - the actual pan is higher than it's long. I suspect that the reason for it is that the machine kneading produces a ball-shaped dough and there is much more chance that it will expand evenly to fill in a tin closer to cuboid shape then a long and low one; especially if you make the 1lb recipe (which would end up too flat in a lower, longer tin). This means that the number of slices you get out of a loaf is smaller (I KNOW they are bigger, but it somehow doesn't matter they still get eaten quickly).
The keep warm facility, although helpful, is not enough to keep the finished loaf for 1 hour from getting damp due to condensation. I would suggest taking the finished bread out of the tin within 15 minutes of the cycle finishing to prevent dampening of any crust that the loaf might have.
When on the subject of crusts, I have to say that despite always using 'crusty' setting for the loaf and 'medium' for colour (the other options are, not surprisingly, 'light' and 'dark'), the loafs I produced were usually rather pale and not very crusty - which doesn't surprise me as the element goes round the bread pan and thus the loaf is heated neither from the top nor bottom.
The kneading paddle often gets stuck in the finished loaf, which means that if you forget to remove it promptly (risking burnt fingers), it is at a great risk of being scratched by the hungry family members cutting themselves slices of bread, and that's definitely Not a Good Thing for a non-stick surface.
Cleaning of the bread pan and the paddle is very straightforward, the non-stick is really non-stick and thus only some warm water is required. The pan fits in the machine very easily and only a slight twist is required to lock it in or loosen it to pull it out.
The whole unit is white and thus clenaing it involves normal white-goods treatment with a damp cloth with bit of washing up liquid (when really necessary).
The higher heat produced when using the French bread cycle seemed to cause slight yellowing of the plastic near the lid joint, but it happened early in the life of the product and I noticed no further detriment.
The controls are located on the front, gently curved panel and comprise of several diamond-shaped, reasonably sized buttons which need to be pressed - not too strongly - to operate particular control (menu option, browning etc.). The LCD display shows the programme number and the time left of the current cycle, while little icons above and below that show chosen programme and additional options. The digits used to display programme and time are generously sized and easy to see, while the other information is bit small, but probably OK for most normally sighted people.
*All in all*
I am reasonably happy if not exactly extatic with my purchase, and I suspect that most of the faults apply to breadmakers in general more than to this particular one.
Nowadays I use it about half of the time for making dough to bake in the oven rtaher than making bread from start to finish. This has less to do with the faults of the machine and more with the fact that since I got pregnant I find the smell of baking bread rather sickly and somehow the one emanating from the bread machine is worse than the one from the oven.
If you are looking for a new budget breadmaker this is certainly a model to consider, though the quick bake option is not very good; the sinking crust is also something that can put people off though it doesnt seem to affect the taste. If your surfaces have low overhangs or if are likely to often want to make your bread on short notice I would look elsewhere.
This machine can be currently bought for £39.99 from Amazon.
I've had my MORPHY RICHARDS breadmaker for 3 years now and its still going strong after using it 3 - 4 times every week. I chose this model because of its many features and its good looks. you can make a 1lb, 1 1/2 lb or 2 lb loaf with a choice of a light or dark crust.I mainly make granary loaves as my husband and I prefer them, although I do make white loaves for my grandchildren when they come to stay. One of there favorite meals that I make is my homemade beefburgers served in homemade rolls made in my breadmaker. The timer delay function on it is fantastic, I set it to begin at 3.30 am which means when i get up at 7 am its ready - the smell coming from the kitchen is delicious. the whole process takes just over 3 hours although there is a quick bake programme but I found that the texture of the loaf is not quite so light.
About 6 months ago my husband decided to make a loaf while I was at work. He put all the ingrediants into the inner baking tin, got interupted when the phone rang and did'nt relize that he hadn't turned breadmaker on until he went into the kitchen about 1 hour later and saw the baking tray full of the ingredients sat there. He srarted the machine but didn't think that the loaf would be any good, but thought it was worth a try, to his amazement it was the best loaf we had ever made, it rose right up to the lid. Now we leave it for an hour every time before switching it on, the results are perfect bread every time.
What a wonderful smell
My Mother-In-law very kindly gave me some money for my birthday so that I could treat myself to a breadmaker. We had been admiring her home made loaves for a while and I had decided it would be nice to have one of our own.
So off I went in search. I quite fancied a Panasonic one, but didnt have enough pennies for that one, so in the end I chose this Morphy Richards model, priced at £39.99 from Comet.
It is quite attractive and doesnt take up lots of space on your worktop its footprint is 10 x 14 being long rather than wide on the worktop. The only real thing you have to be careful of is the height of the lid when opened it stands a full 21 when open and does not fit under my wall cabinets although we did know this when we purchased it so it wasnt a problem to us. The only downer is the length of the mains cord, which my wonderful hubby is going to have to lengthen for me! Ok, 2 and a half feet isnt that short but in our kitchen it just isnt long enough!
The unit is a coolwall construction and is finished in a pale cream plastic. Its clear oval control buttons are on the front wall and are a little space like. They are easy to read and use. The buttons are clearly labelled time up and time down - for the timer options, menu to select the bake progam you require, colour for a pale loaf or a darker finish, size 1lb, 1.5lb or 2lb and Start Stop self explanitory!! There is an LCD display which shows you which options you have selected and how long the program has left to run.
In the lid is a viewing window so that you can see what is happening inside and we all find it fascinating to watch hat is going on nearly as good as TV if not better most days!!
Inside the unit is a removable nonstick baking pan (7x5.5x6) where the loaf is made. Inside this fits a non stick paddle which does all the hardwork. Also included are two measuring spoons and a measuring cup. Now all of the recipies are given in cups that is American cups so you need to use the cup which comes with the unit to measure you ingredients accurately. This does save weighing out everything, but can be a little fiddley at times.
So what is the finished product like? Well the unit comes with a fairly comprehensive recipe and information booklet and I still have lots of options to try out. But I can safely say that the white loaf and wholemeal ones are excellent. The dough program is also brilliant and I have been making my own rolls using this and baking them off in the oven. I have a pizza base dough which I like and have found that the machine makes this very well so it saves me getting my fingers sticky (no lewd thoughts here please!). I found the wholemeal a little heavy for us and have replaced half of the wholemeal flour with white and the end product has still been delicious! I have now tried the softgrain and granary recipes, having visited my local Waitrose to buy the flour, and they are absolutely wonderful. The aroma is just superb!!!
The only thing I am still getting the hang of is thinking a head a little so that we never actually run out. It takes 3 hours or so to bake a loaf and although there is a quickbake program (1 hour 40 mins.) the end result isnt quite as good. But I have managed without buying a shop bought loaf or cobs since September so things are going really well. That reminds me I must put flour on my shopping list!
I have used the timer function to delay the start time (for up to 13 hours) for a program and found it works really well although I have been reluctant to run the unit at night as it is quite noisy when the dough is banging around inside. An option that I have used though is that after a loaf has been cooked the unit will stay warm for 1 hour afterwards, until it is switched off so you dont have to leap up immediately the program has finished and this works really well.
The loaves bang out of the tin really easily after being left to cool slightly for 15 minutes. Even the paddle doesn't get stuck inside the loaf and the 'hole' left in the loaf is really quite small - the paddle stopping cross ways on a loaf so that as few slices as possible are affected with a little bit missing.
The taste of the loaves is excellent and as time goes by I will gradually personalise the recipies a little so that they are just as we like them. It really is nice to know what goes into your own bread although I was a little shocked at first to find out how much sugar and salt was needed to make the yeast work properly! I have now cut down on these a little.
I would recommend one of these to anyone who enjoys cooking and making their own meals and cakes etc. I am thoroughly enjoying using it, my latest adventure was a malt loaf which was delicious - must make another!!