Are you getting fed up with the ever rising cost of pretty ordinary tasting bread in the shops? Well have you ever tasted homemade bread?
Once you have tasted homemade bread you will never want to go back to the supermarket stodge again! In fact that is only part of the experience, once you have savoured the aroma of freshly baked bread you will wonder what you have been missing all these years!
When my wife first obtained a bread maker I scoffed at the fact, saying, "It can't be that good" but oh how I was wrong!
The model we got was the Panasonic SD-206 and I will attempt to give an unbiased review here, but admittedly this will be difficult, given how damn good the bread tastes!
Anyway, here are the facts and figures about the Panasonic.
WHAT SIZE IS IT?
Coming in at 14 inches by 10 inches and 13 inches high, the bread maker is reasonably large so make sure before you buy it that you have a suitable place to store it!
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
Well, you obviously have the bread maker itself which contains a removable bowl that the bread is actually made in. You are also given tablespoon and teaspoon measures, along with a measuring cup but I am sure if they go missing, most folk should be able to cope! Did I mention that you will need to measure out the flour yourself? C'mon, you have to do some of the work yourself, that's half the fun.
WHAT CAN IT MAKE?
Where do I start, obviously there are all the different loaves, like brown, white, plain, flavoured, then you have pizza's, cakes, the list is endless. I won't go into the details of how to make the bread as that will spoil the fun. What I will say is that it takes only a few minutes to add all the ingredients but about 4 or 5 hours to actually bake the bread!
However, once you have tasted it, then you will find that it was well worth the wait!
IS IT EASY TO CLEAN?
The Panasonic is easy to wipe clean on the outside and once everything is cooled down I would recommend giving the bowl a wipe down as this will save any residue building up and will give you perfect loaves every time.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
You will find this model pretty hard to come by these days but a similar model can be bought for around £100 with some of the more advanced models costing up to £150.
All in all, a great product which produces delicious bread time and time again.
I bought my bread maker four years ago almost on a whim. We borrowed a machine from a friend, made two loaves and were hooked! It must be stated here and now that even in 2003 such apparatus is nowhere near as common gracing kitchens the UK as they are in the US, although sales have been accelerating if the stacks of boxes of the various devices to be found in the department stores is anything to go by. This was probably due to the price (back then my Panasonic cost me about £160 - equivalent $ 240) but today you can pick a machine up for half that or even less. In any event we have much less experience of baking bread 'the modern way' at home in Britain. The bread maker is basically a steel tank with a hinged lid. Open this and inside there is a chamber that takes a removable baking pan that sits on an agitator spindle and above an electric element. Unlike some models there is no viewing window on the top but there is a steam vent which can get VERY hot. There is a small LCD control panel with push buttons to make selections from an operations menu (flour type, size, crust). This model produces loaves of one, one and a half and two pound sizes. It has a thirteen hour timer. It also advocated the 'Yeast in first, liquid in last' approach to adding ingredients. After my wife?s initial scepticism (oh yes! It's me that is master of the bread maker!) we have fallen into a customary routine three or four evenings a week: finish the nightcap, put out the cat, put on the bread maker - timer mode, clean teeth and retire. We then awake to the beeps and the smell of fresh baked bread. Even the children have become enthusiastic and will now eat more than just the processed white sliced supermarket pap. We rarely see the all-inclusive bread kits (Eagle Mills etc) which are popular in the States. However supermarkets have increasingly stocked the basic ingredients over the last two years or so. We can now find a wide variety of str
ong white, extra str ong white, soft white, wholemeal and granary flour. We have even occasionally found some of the rare spelt flours. (I shall post a review of these flours as soon as it has been enabled) The Panasonic machine comes with a good but slim recipe book and in practice we have not had to stray much beyond its confines. We have only had two disasters (one when the paddle came off part way through the mixing cycle and one when I inadvertently put in too much flour). This reinforces the truth that you should follow the recipe and measure accurately the ingredients. We have tried a few of the more exotic breads. Our favourite is the tomato foccacia made sun dried tomatoes. I tend to add up to double the amount of tomatoes at the raisin beep and also supplement the tomatoes with antipasto mushrooms. Just as successful has been the malt loaf - succulent sultanas and sticky malt. The only disappointment was the French loaf. It did come out with a hard crispy crust but for such a small loaf the six hour cooking time seemed a little excessive. This has been our most brilliant, and most used kitchen accessory. It has now more than paid for itself in its production. After more than four years of constant use, the pan looks a little battered and scorched but the loaves still do not stick. The paddle is perhaps a little slack on the spindle. Interestingly we bought a Breadman machine for our villa in the US. We couldn't resist one at $69.99 If you don't have one, buy one. If you can't bring yourself to do that, find a friend who has one and persuade him to give you a slice of fresh baked. My favourite recipe for Tomato Foccacia bread is as follows: (This has been modified from the generic receipe given in the Panasonic guide book) Yeast 1 tsp Strong White Flour 375 g Wholemeal Flour 50 g Sugar 1 tblsp Salt 1 tsp Passata 240 ml Water 40 ml Tomato puree
9;good squeeze' Sun dried tomatoes 200 g (coarsely chopped) Dried basil Use the Basic Raisin Bake Mode - add the sun dried tomatoes with the beep. This makes a medium loaf. I use the darker of the crust settings.
I bought this bread maker from John Lewis because baking bread in the oven was just taking too long. And I'm very glad I did... ============================================= Hypochondriacs Relax...The Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker is Here! ============================================= If you're a hypochondriac like me, you'll love the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker . You see, "malted brown" bread doesn't necessarily mean "wholemeal" or "good for you" and almost all commercial breads have unhealthy additives to make them look better, taste nicer or last longer. But why bother? Fresh, homemade bread looks mouthwateringly good and tastes great. And with my kids wielding bread knives at each other over who gets a slice, it lasts about half an hour. ============================================= Making Bread with the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker ============================================= Most of the recipes for the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker (it comes with a list of them, and some helpful tips too)need yeast,flour, salt, sugar, butter/margarine, skimmed milk powder/fresh milk and water. It comes with tablespoon and teaspoon measures and a measuring cup, but you'll need kitchen scales to weigh out the flour. It takes less than five minutes to put all this in once you get the hang of it and most loaves take about five hours(yes, there is a "Rapid" setting which takes three hours, but the bread is normally quite poor on this setting). You can set the timer so that the bread is just finished when you wake in the morning - you'll learn to love this feature! You'll soon find yourself growing in confidence and experimenting with different breads. Banana bread is delicious, but I tend to avoid rolls and pizza bases (using the "dough" setting) because you need to shape them and put them in the oven your
self, and they rarely come out well. The "raisin beep" function is handy for fruit breads - it alerts you when it's time to add the fruit. The only problem is that you need to be near the machine to hear it, and if you are not fast enough, your bread won't turn out right. ============================================= The Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker is SO Easy to Clean! ============================================= The removable bowl means you can whip it out, give it a scrub and stick it back in no time. The rest of the outside of the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker is smooth plastic and won't need any more than a wipe over. The inside gets a bit blackened by the heat and might need a scrub out every six months or so. ============================================= Recommended Reading for the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker ============================================= The New Bread Machine Book by Marjie Lambert (Apple publishing) seems to work well with the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker. The sweet potato bread can come out a bit heavy, though. ============================================= Why Buy the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker over Other Machines? ============================================= The Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker is a good all rounder that will do just fine for most families. Good features include: *Crust settings - light, medium and thick. *Power Cut Protection - If the power to the appliance is stopped for a short period, the program will restart where it left off when the power comes back on. If the power is off for more than an hour and a half though, you won't be able to salvage your loaf even if you start again from the beginning. There are two major disadvantages though: *No viewing window - In more expensive machines, if the bread doesn't look right, you ca
n probably rescue it. Not so with the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker. And it's also just interesting to watch your bread rise. *No auto turn off - On some other machines, when you open the lid, the power is cut. The Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker doesn't possess that feature and might not be advisable if you have young children. If these disadvantages are a problem, have a look at the reviews of other breadmakers. ============================================= Specifications of the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker ============================================= *Size - 14 x 10 inches, 13 inches high. I'd say it's quite compact, really. *Warranty - I got a six month warranty buying the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker in the UK. I haven't had any problems with it breaking down. *Doesn't come in pink - It's white, white or white, I'm afraid. Sorry. ============================================= Finally, Buy Some Oven Gloves ============================================= The Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker gets HOT! If you don't remove the bread fast enough after baking, it can sometimes stick to the bowl. This means you have to remove the bowl about ten minutes after baking, and it is very easily to get burned. Some oven gloves should do nicely. And while we're talking extras, you'll also need a cooling rack to put the bread on after baking. Very hot air also rises out of the top of the machine when in operation - something to bear in mind if you have children (or, in my case, cats). Anyone using the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker would also be well-advised to use Allinson flour or some other type specifically made for bread-makers. Quick-bake yeast also makes better loaves because the particles are smaller and so it reacts quicker. Thanks for your time! Freelancer1.
We bought a Panasonic SD206 Breadmaker. Lovely bread for about a year. Then it started making odd noises. The dough paddle mountshaft was detached from the breadpan - unit unusable. Called Panasonic, no parts available. Will be in stock in about 2 weeks. 2 weeks elapsed, called again, parts will be another two weeks. This has now gone on for about 12 weeks - breadmaker completely out of use. Each time I call it is obvious that there are many customers waiting for this same part. Sometimes the reason for delays given as shipping delays from Japan, sometimes it's problems getting parts from Panasonic suppliers, other times they don't know why there is a delay! At end of this week Panasonic unit goes out as junk, and I go buy a breadmaker from a company that knows about post-sales support. Needless to say, NOT Panasonic.
Many years ago when I first moved away from our family home I found myself staying in a single bedroom flat. It was basic, it was uncomfortable and it was expensive. It did, however, have one saving grace. It was right next door to a bakery. I don’t think I will ever forget the wonderful early morning smell of freshly baked bed wafting into my abode. The taste of the bread was pretty good too. This all planted the idea in my mind that it would be good to make my own bread. However, I am very lazy at heart and the idea of spending time and energy kneading dough into the right consistency held no appeal at all. I was, therefore, delighted to discover that there is an easier way and decided to buy a breadmaker. After much research I opted for the Panasonic SD206. This looked like reliable machine and it would be possible to produce three sizes of loaf (not surprisingly: small, medium and large). The machine has a number of different modes you can use. There is a ‘basic’ mode which as it implies produces a basic loaf of bread with no frills. Nevertheless, there are a number of ‘basic’ bread recipes, which means there are a many options open to you even if you never use any of the other facilities on the machine. Using this mode it is possible to produce a lovely loaf of bread in four hours. All you do is measure the ingredients into the pan provided, put the pan into the breadmaker, turn it on, press a couple of buttons, and wait. The average loaf of bread involves about two minutes work by you. Once the machine is started you can leave it alone and don’t need to go back to it until your bread is ready. There is also a ‘raisin bake’ mode. With this you can produce fruit loafs, and much more besides. For example, a particular favourite of mine is Tomato Foccacia. Anything produced in ‘raisin bake’ bake is slightly more complicated. You measure and add
your ingredients in the normal way but hold back on any bits that have to be added (e.g. raisins). Halfway through kneading the dough the machine stops. It then beeps to tell you to add your raisins, or whatever else is required. This does means that for the first forty minutes or so, you do have to be around, but once your extra ingredients are added you can leave the machine to get on with it. I hope I have made this sound complicated because this is very easy to do. There is also a mode for baking French bread. This is the easiest recipe, and in my opinion, the tastiest bread. The downside is that this takes six hours. I gather that other machines do produce French bread in less time. When I first used the machine I had a complete disaster with it. There is a rapid bake mode. This enables you to produce a loaf of bread in 1 hour 55 minutes. Being the impatient type I wanted a loaf of bread as fast as possible, so as soon as I got the machine I unpacked it and set about making a loaf of bread using fast mode. Being impatient, I also did not read the recipe properly. Had I bothered to do this I would have noticed that rapid bake needs more yeast. The net result was that I was left with a gooey mess instead of a wonderful of loaf of bread I was expecting. I have since learnt that quality bread needs time to ‘prove’ and I have never repeated that mistake. Since that first disaster I have produced a quality loaf of bread every single time. There are a few other facilities worth mentioning. There is 13 hour timer, which allows you to pick when you want your bread to be ready. I usually set this so that I wake up to a fresh loaf of bread in the morning. And yes, it really does smell just like a bakery in our house. You might not like that idea, but I think the aroma of baking bread is wonderful. There is also a dough mode. Here you let the machine knead the dough for you but do your
baking in the over. There are all sorts of possibilities with this mode including, French sticks, bread rolls, Chelsea buns, Nan bread and pizza bases. It is even possible to bake cakes using........... You’ve guessed it! A bake mode! You have to mix the ingredients yourself, but can then use the breadmaker instead of an oven. Although I have produced a passable orange and chocolate marble cake in this way, I still think that cakes are better oven baked, so I’m not totally sold producing cakes in this way. The real purpose of the machine is to make bread and it does this superbly and for the minimum effort on your part. The machine comes with an easy to follow manual. It is also accompanied by a recipe book, which shows how to make just about every type of bread I can imagine that I will ever want to make. You should not, however, run away with the idea that this is a cheap way of buying bread. By the time you have bought flour, yeast, butter, dried milk (some recipes), salt, sugar and miscellaneous ingredients for some of the fancier breads, the cost does mount. You can probably buy bread a lot cheaper in the supermarkets. But, it won’t be so good. Nor will you get that wonderful smell. At around £120 this breadmaker is not the cheapest on the market. On the other hand it will do most things you want it to and it is reliable. Provided you buy good quality ingredients you will get good quality bread every single time. Are you feeling hungry yet?
This bread making machine is just a magical household appliance (a must for all bread lovers). Not only can you make 3 different sized loaf's you can make a whole variety of different types using the instruction manual which comes with the product. When you begin making a loaf you tend to attempt your favorite in the manual first, not a problem, do exactly as the manual say's and you won't have any problems at all. Once you master the machine the world is your oyster, you have a range from about 27+ different loaf's to hot cross buns, pitta bread, naan bread to marbled chocolate & orange cake. The timer option is also very easy to use, place the mix into the machine, set the desired program, set the timer ready for the morning and there you have it, fresh bread for the morning and even better once toasted. The option to make Rolls/french bread is also a great idea as the machine will mix the ingreadients for you and beep to inform you the mix is ready to place in the oven. I tend to make a batch of rolls, freeze them, and use them for dinner at work and also very nice with the BBQ on the weekend - lovely.
Although there are many advantages to this product there are also a couple of disadvantages. Advantages first though! This product is incredibly simple to use, you simply chuck the ingredients in to the machine, press a couple of buttons and bobs your uncle! It is definitely the cheats’ way to a healthy diet, as unlike shop bought bread, you know exactly what is going in this loaf yet you don’t have to slave for hours to produce it. Furthermore the smell given off from this machine is delicious, exactly like if you had hand made it yourself. On top of all this the machine has a function so you can leave the bread to bake over night, so you can bung the ingredients in before you go to bed, then come downstairs to the heavenly taste of freshly baked bread for breakfast. Yum! Now on to the disadvantages, the bread produced although generally delicious can sometimes become a bit soggy on the bottom. Also a hole is left in the middle of your loaf where the mixer has been so there is not a perfect appearance. Another thing I must mention is in my experience only the recipes presented in the products recipe booklet work in this machine, as other recipes followed have resulted in disaster! Furthermore I was disappointed by the look of the product as for such a horrendous price, in my opinion it looks fairly cheap. In conclusion this product is pretty close to perfect but beware of a couple of small imperfections!
We've had our Panasonic SD-206 Breadmaker since April, it's used daily and it is fantastic. We've baked everything you can think of, from simple plain loaves to fruit loaves, granary loaves, banana cake, croissant dough etc. etc. Everything has come out perfect - no failures! NOT ONE. True it takes 4-5 hours to make a loaf, although some recipes allow a 'rapid' mode to be used (2 hrs). You have to be a little organised, but there is a timer feature, but to be honest we tend not to use it for the morning after bread as it is often to fresh / hot to eat straight away better later in the day. It has changed the way we eat, we love our bread and breakfast is an all-together better experience. Not bad for £120.00 (RRP £135.00). You can buy much cheaper breadmakers and as far as i can tell they work fine too, whether its a quality of machine or quality of results, that stands them apart, i can't tell you. A fabulous recipe book is incuding also!
This machine really works and the results are great. It is hard to believe but in just ten minutes from getting out the machine adding the ingredients and setting the timer you can leave it to do all the work. In a few hours the pinger will let you know when your freshly baked loaf is ready. Bread was only ever supposed to be made of flour, yeast and water plus some sugar to feed the yeast; but look at the list of ingredients on your next loaf of bread from the supermarket and you will wonder what is going on. This machine is solidly constructed, neat design and really easy to use. You only need to set bake program, bread type, size and timer. You set the timer to the number of hours ahead that you want it ready; can be up to 13 hours ahead so you can set it in the evening for the next morning. When you have turned out the loaf the non-stick pan and small paddle are easy to wash. The machine comes with a comprehensive recipe book and useful tips plus a measuring cup and spoon. My tips are to follow the recipes to make medium sized loaves, smaller ones are very small and the large ones come out too tall and spongy, medium size are perfect. My favourite is a 50% 50% wholemeal/white loaf, not too solid but much more substantial than just white. Follow this recipe plus a pinch of vitamin C powder to improve rising and you will have a delicious and really nourishing loaf. Other tips are to remove the pan from the machine as soon as the pinger goes to tell you it is ready, turn it out straight away and stand it right way up on a cake rack and let it cool for at least ten minutes before you cut it. Follow these guidelines otherwise your loaves will go too soggy and sort of damp texture and will be disappointing. Also be careful, when turning out your bread the pan is dangerously scalding hot, fill with hot water with washing up liquid and you can wash it and the paddle quickly and easily. Try out all the recipes, they are all a matter
of taste: white, brown, wholemeal and French-style. Some recipes are only for large size sizes, but just adjust the recipes to medium size for best results. Keep in stock a supply of any of the cheapest but freshest supermarket brand bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, milk powder, salt, vitamin C powder, and with water out the tap you are ready to go. There is no point buying the fancy well-known branded bread flours, there is absolutely no difference in your finished product. The smell of bread cooking early in the morning can be a bit much after the novelty has worn off, so you may want to shut the machine in the kitchen with a window open. The actual cooking phase is only about the last forty minutes or so of the program but can be a bit over-powering. The bread lasts well, eat it warm the first day and toasted the next or whatever you fancy. I don't think it is that suitable for sandwiches unless you like doorstops, the so called sandwich loaves are best for slicing but even then not really when totally fresh, better on the second day. When completely cold stick the bread loosely in a plastic bag and leave at room temperature. There are also recipes for specialist breads and cakes, which I am not very keen on. I do though like the gingerbread and malt loaf. Double the quantity of powdered ginger in the gingerbread recipe and make the malt loaf with all brown flour and twice the amount of malt and you will be pleased with the results. There is certainly no point in struggling to knead and bake your own bread in the oven. Overall, other than the initial cost of the machine, your bread will be bit more expensive than from the shop but at least you know what is in it, how it has been handled and best of all it is really fresh and full of goodness. Machine is highly recommended and will be money well spent.
Short name: Panasonic SD206