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I have no idea how I would cope without my Panasonic Breadmaker. The thought of eating shop bought bread is awful now as nothing surpasses the aroma of fresh bread baking or the 100% total freshness of the loaf. The added fact that I can produce so many various doughs i.e. pizza, ciabatta etc just makes it even more functional in todays multi cultural society where our taste buds now experience many more delights.
It's simplistic and clean line design means it sits well in any kitchen. It's easy to clean and tucks away nicely into any cupboard if desired.
One tip I would give is when you remove your loaf after baking, check the paddle is still in the machine as occasionally it comes out inside the loaf. It doesn't happen very often so I don't see this is a downside to the product at all.
My sister and sister in law are both now in the process of purchasing one after being shown just how simple they are to use. Both happily went home clutching their very own loaves!
Having been baking my own bread for a while, I deliberated quite a long time in investing in a bread maker as I wondered whether it was really worth it, but this was recommended to me with such rave reviews that I decided at last to give it a go!
Well, I am glad that I did. There is nothing quite like a fresh loaf of bread, but doing it by hand can be incredibly time consuming. In contrast, with this (as any other bread maker really), you just weigh all the ingredients into the pan, switch it on and wait. You can even put it on a timer if you want to go out and come back to a fresh loaf, which is just fantastic. The recipe book contains so many great ideas that unfortunately I have tried very few, but there is definitely something for everyone. Adding extra ingredients couldn't be easier, so you can make everything from a bacon and cheese loaf to olive bread. My personal favourite is putting pesto in place of the butter... yum!
The interface of the machine is very straight forward to use, and it is very easy to clean also. You can choose between sizes of loaf and the colour of the crust at the press of a button. I can't really compare this to many other bread makers but can honestly say that every loaf I have made in this has turned out really well.
There are a couple of draw backs, but these problems will apply to other brands too. Firstly, obviously you cannot make things like bread rolls or french sticks as you need to take the dough out of the machine to shape it. Personally I don't really see the advantage in using this to make dough as it takes a suprisingly long time and it would probably just be easier to do it by hand. Secondly, is that if you don't take the bread out of the machine soon enough after it has finished it can go quite soggy so you do really have to plan the timing right. The other thing that people should be aware of is how much space the machine takes up - if you have quite a small kitchen it might seem very bulky.
Despite these minor drawbacks, I really think that this is a great gadget to have in the kitchen. It's so easy to use and fresh, homemade bread is so much nicer than shop bought bread that it makes it worth it. One final word of warning - this could have a serious effect on your waistline too, I think that it is quite possible to sit down and eat a whole loaf fresh out of the machine it is so delicious!
Got given this for Christmas and can't stop eating bread ever since! It's easy to use functions and simplicity will enable you to produce a fresh loaf in no time, the most useful feature is the timer function which means that you can get all the ingredients ready and programme it to start and get the loaf ready for morning breadfast! All the other feature are quite basic e.g. you can choose from light to dark crust, bake only, bake rapid or just to make the dough only to be bake in the oven e.g. Pizza base, naan bread etc. The only negative I find is that the bread basket is quite small, meaning even the XL loaf is not that XL in size, which makes feeding a big family difficult. The user guide also comes with some really handy recipe to try out. Overall, a very good buy with easy to use functions and also with operate quietly as well.
We got the Panasonic SD-252 as a Christmas present from our kids a couple of years ago and it has been in constant use ever since. I have no idea about other breadmakers but there are two things I feel I should mention. First, I know my children are extremely hot on doing research before buying products, so they will have gone over all the pros and cons of various machines before having decided on this particular model. Second, for many years we used to bake our own bread (by "we" I mean mainly my wonderful spouse) and although that was excellent I do have to admit that the bread produced by this machine is even better, being lighter, fluffier and more evenly textured.
In the almost two years we've had the machine there have only been a couple of bad outcomes, both of which were "our" (my!) fault. Once I forgot to add salt - the resulting loaf looked wonderful but was not very pleasant to the taste. Another time I realised I only used about half the amount of water I was supposed to, so it came out something like a house brick.
The machine is pretty easy to use. Basically you just measure out the ingredients following whichever of the many recipes provided you have selected, pop them into the loaf tin, put the loaf tin into the machine, select the settings appropriate for the recipe, and press the Start button. There is a convenient countdown display, which you can easily check to see how soon it will be ready. Dead easy. Afterwards, cleaning is pretty easy too. One other thing, after tapping the bread out (make sure you have a grill ready to stand it on to cool, and YOU WILL NEED AN OVEN GLOVE) it is a good idea to put some cold water into the tin and allow it to stand for a bit to cool down, and then make sure you remove the paddle while the dough traces are still wet, else it gets stuck and very difficult to get out in order to clean it. But basically that's all just common sense.
I have just a few minor criticisms. The handle can be a bit difficult to get hold of, using an oven glove, when the loaf is ready. Tip: hook it out with the wrong end of a wooden spoon. I don't like the loaf size descriptions, why can't they just put Small, Medium and Large rather than Medium, Large and XL? That seems silly to me, although it has been suggested to me these are actually "legal" sizes, defined by Europe or something!!!? The other minor gripe I have is that the beeper only goes about six times when the bread's done, and that's it. I wish it would beep for longer, basically I would prefer it to keep on beeping until it's seen to. I don't understand why not, it's not as if it's battery driven. One final teensy gripe is the hole in the bottom of the loaf which results from the action of the paddle. However, I imagine this is common to all breadmakers and is just one of those things that applies to mechanically made bread. And it's a price worth paying, in my opinion, just to avoid all that kneading by hand!
Otherwise, a great device, which I highly recommend to anyone who fancies a regular supply of fresh baked lovely yummy bread, day after day ... Mmmmmm.
Final Note: One thing, on several occasions until we got used to it, I found myself creeping downstairs, investigating strange noises in the middle of the night, only to find it was just the bread being kneaded! :)
I initially wrote this review about the SD253 but since then I have contacted Panasonic about the differences between the SD 252 and SD 253 breadmakers. I also have a friend with the SD252 so I have now used this machine. I have to say that both are very similar.
COMPARISON BETWEEN SD252 AND SD253
Below are listed the differences between the machines. My personal favourite is the SD253, but that is probably just because it is the one I own. Feel free to check out my SD253 review for more detail on this particular product.
SD253 has a nut dispenser. According the Panasonic, this is the main difference. The machines are extremely similar other than this additional extra in the SD253.
Both models have a timer function and a 115 minute bake cycle. Both use the same mechanism to mix the dough.
Both models come with a simple to follow instruction manual and cookery book so that you can be a bit adventurous with your breads!
It is so so easy to use this machine. There is a digital window that has the various options. You choose your size of loaf, style of loaf and darkness of the crust and then just click start. It really is that simple.
It is incredibly versatile. There is a rapid bake function that you just click and wait 2 hours for delicious perfectly cooked hot bread, or you can choose to make a French style bread that can cook overnight. It also has a dough option for mixing perfect dough without cooking it. Makes really delicious pizza bases. All you need to do it roll it out.
Best feature is the timer so that you can add the ingredients and time it to come on at 5am, so that when you wake at 7am, the house smells of freshly baked bread and you have warm bread for breakfast. (I have to be honest I am not organised enough to make use of this but a friend of mine does this every other day. I am jealous!)
It is also easy to clean. There is one bowl inside in which you put all the mixture. This is very high quality non stick so once the bread is done, it tips out perfectly. I have never ever had a loaf stick to the pan. Then the pan can simply be wiped clean. We usually wash it ever other use because it just doesn't need it. It seems to self-clean!
Plastic exterior is strong and hard-wearing and stays cool. Only the inside metal compartment that bakes the bread becomes EXTREMELY hot so be careful.
As with all breadmakers, this is quite large and so takes a lot of room up on the surface in the kitchen. We used to live in a cottage with low ceilings and there wasn't enough height between the top and base units to store the breadmaker. It was kept in a cupboard and inevitably it stayed there unused for quite some time. But we have moved and have high ceiling and a decent kitchen and our trusted breadmaker is out again! Hooray!
Slightly noisy but then what breadmaker isn't? It has to stir the mix initially and this will inevitably create noise. It isn't too bad though. Just a background whirring that stops once the baking starts. You can still listen to the radio in the kitchen when it is on and not be disturbed so it isn't that bad.
Only one thing I would change about this machine. Even at the darkest crust setting, the bread still comes out with a soft crust if you use the rapid back option. I guess it takes longer to create a decent crunchy crust but if they could magic it into the rapid bake function for us impatient types, that would be ideal!
The SD252 is cheaper than the SD253 because it is an older model but both are around £80 if you shop around. A good investment if you like baking and freshly made bread!
Highly recommend! It is very easy to use, easy to clean and bakes perfect bread. I wouldn't be without mine! Sometimes we get bread mix packets when we are being lazy. For a decent mix with seeds, they are between 50 and 80 pence depending on where you shop. When a decent loaf costs about £1.50 these days, not only do I get fresh bread but I feel like I'm beating the supermarkets - always a nice smug feeling!
Both SD252 and SD253 models are excellent, work well and the only difference is that the SD253 has a seed dispenser. I would get whichever you can get for the cheapest price, because you can simply add seeds directly to the mix anyway.
Buy this and you'll never want to eat shop bread again!
I love bread - all kinds of bread, crumpets, muffins etc. But for a long time I wondered whether it was worth getting a breadmaker. I imagined it would be a lot of work, hard to clean, and expensive. I couldn't have been more wrong!
This machine has really changed the way I cook. The bread it makes is delicious. You can make anything from a rapid bake loaf (takes about 2 hours) to the most delicious, crusty French loaf (best done overnight, takes 12 hours). And not only are the results to die for, but you know exactly what's gone into your food - no additives, no e-numbers, just wholesome goodness! If you suffer from food allergies, this would be a godsend.
There's a nut and raisin dispenser, so that you can add olives, nuts and raisins to your breads. It also bakes cakes and prepares rolls, muffins, donuts and crumpets (though you have to cook those in the oven!). Every Friday night, we make the most delicious pizza base in it... and it takes just 45 minutes to prepare!
All you have to do is measure out the ingredients, pop them into a pan, press a couple of buttons to programme it (it couldn't be easier to work!) and you're there. No kneading, no rolling out, nothing! The machine is really clean, and doesn't take much washing up. My only grouch is that Panasonic didn't make the bread basket dishwasher safe.
Overall, the loaves you bake work out slightly cheaper than uncut loaves that you buy in the shops, so you will probably make your money back eventually too!
When my much loved and well used Morphy Richards breadmaker finally gave up the ghost (the spindle fell out and poured bread mixture over the kitchen worktop!) I looked around for a replacement. This machine was available at a brilliant price from Amazon (£60 approx, with free delivery). Having talked to a few breadmaking experts, I knew that Panasonic machines have a great rep, so this was the one!
We have not been disappointed. This machine produces lovely consistent bread, possibly because it's baking cycle is longer than my old machine (4 hours for a normal loaf, 5 for wholemeal) and I have had no craters or lop sided loaves (yet).
It does have a rapid bake option which I haven't used yet. I mainly use it on timer to be ready for breakfast. The timer function is easy to use (unless you have had a few!), you simply set up the machine as normal, then use the time button to add time until you want it to finish. (So last night I put it on at 11, on a wholemeal program (5 hours). I then pressed the timer button, which keeps adding 10 minutes until the readout said 9 hours. Then I pressed start (VERY IMPORTANT) )
The dough option only takes 45 minutes, and makes pizza dough of a very good quality. It also makes rolls.
The dry ingredients (yeast, flour etc) go in first which seemed upsidedown to me at first, as both my previous machines had put the liquid in first, with the dry on top. Once you get used to it, it is fine, although you do have to think a bit before using recipes from books, as the ones I have all start with the liquid.
The recipe book that comes with it is fairly comprehensive, but for some reason doesn't give flour etc. quantites as cups, despite providing a cup measure with the machine.
The bread pan is easy to clean and the paddle design is excellent (I have only had one instance of the paddle sticking in the bread in about 15 loaves - it happened all the time with my old machine.)
All in all, this is an excellent product which I thoroughly recommend.
With the superior build quality and simplicity of design and operation, this breadmaker is an ideal addition to your home / It gives you the convenience of having fresh bread at anytime from fresh basic ingredients and can cater for particular dietry requirements e.g / gluten free, low salt, high fibre / The SD252 has a Rasin Beep signal to prompt the user to add their ingredients and can also bake gluten free loaves, using a wide range of gluten free bread mixes / The SD252 has a Super Rapid Option to produce a white or brown loaf in only 1 hour 55 minutes and a Sandwich Option to bake softer bread with a thinner crust / ideal for making perfect sandwiches / This model also features a Versatile Dough Option to make dough from white, brown or wholemeal flour for rolls, buns, croissants etc / and a French Dough Option for crusty French sticks / The Bake Only Option is also ideal to cook a selection of tasty cakes and teabreads / Short name: Panasonic SD 252