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Panasonic SD257, white plastic, Bread maker is the big mama of kitchen appliances.
This arrived in my kitchen as a gift from a friend. She constantly upgrades appliances and sometimes we are the lucky, or unlucky, recipients of her goods.
This time I'd say lucky recipients. However, I would never buy such a big and weighty 8kg bread maker for myself. It's very hard to lift so the ideal situation would be to have a surface space large enough to store the machine permanently on. Moreover, the lid is on the top of the machine and the bread has to be lifted out from the top. Space needs to be considered for the height when open and you need to comfortably be able to reach in and out of it. It's better not to have any shelves or cupboards close above the machine. Please, think about space before making this purchase.
This takes up too much room and though we had months of bread making it went out of fashion in our kitchen and now makes less regular, low level, rumblings in the kitchen than the routine two to three a week bread making sessions. As easy as it is to use, you can even time it to bake in time for breakfast in the morning, it is easier to pick up a loaf from a shop when I buy the rest of my shopping.
This machine is simple to use and the included user manual is fine to follow. The provided recipe book instructions are also clear. Just measure the ingredients out according to Panasonic's suggestions, throw in the ingredients, press the relevant button and leave it until the machine lets you know it's done. The machine hardly makes any noise at all. There are also recipes provided of which I've successfully made most of them. I think it would be very difficult to mess up the process. My bet is you'll get good results every time.
The bread machine makes a rectangular loaf that is quite perfect in everything but in size especially on rapid bake. They are delicious but they don't go very far. A single person will find it just about right with a small loaf. Two people will find it feeds them for two days and a family will eat it in one session. The bread machine has the option of small, medium and large loaves and light, medium and dark crusts. A large loaf takes a few hours so it's not quick but at least you don't have to watch it. Now if you choose to shorten the baking time, by selecting the two hour 'rapid-bake', you will find the large loaf is halved in size and too small for a family.
I find the bread has to cool down before it is removed from the machine because the tool that kneads is caught inside the loaf and this a bit hard to pull out when warm. On the same subject, of this hook, it does leave a very small indentation in the underneath of the bread but not a big hole.
The bread is wonderfully fresh. The smell of home-made bread wafts through the house. There is no need to spend anytime kneading and anyone who has ever tried to make bread by hand will know what a blessing the machine is for saving your energy and time. There is a dough-making facility which does the job so easily and then the dough can be put in an oven. I've used it to make pizza. The machine produces a good brioche too. It has a special tool for making rye bread and that too tastes good.
The machine tin comes out and is easy to clean but the tin will need lining especially for cake-making. Why such a machine would be designed in a cheap, white plastic, I just don't know. I do think the look of the machine might be why we inherited the bread maker. It is not a sleek or fashion-conscious design for modernistic kitchens.
The freshness of the bread means that the maximum amount of days it can be kept for is about two days. Day three is when the bread becomes stale. The beauty is there are no added preservatives. It is as pure as the ingredients you put in but it is sumptuous with butter and I eat more than any shop brought bread so it isn't truly healthy.
The problem with purity and naturalness of ingredients is the short time that it can be eaten in. Some days the bread doesn't get fully consumed and ends up in the bin. People argue that making bread at home is cheaper. I don't believe it is even with the high cost of a shop bought loaf. Families would have to make a loaf a day. Couples perhaps two loaves a week with, possibly, the top up of shop bought bread, and singles will find waste if they are not big eaters. It certainly can't be all that healthy to consume a whole loaf, within twenty-four hours, to avoid wastage. In addition, the different types of good quality bread flour and yeast must be bought and, of course, this can create further storage problems. Flour bags will be those such as white, granary, rye, wholemeal and the list goes on. I've come across yeast packets that have gone beyond the use by date and had the waste of throwing these out after tiring with the machine. Finally, the bread machine relies on electricity. Long-term, this I suspect, will all cost more money than picking up a loaf of bread. In fact short-term at around £120 (that's approximately what my friend paid around two or three years ago) you've spent a fortune before you've even got your first bread. It's a grand toy for the rich but I wouldn't bother if you are on a low income.
Having listed a range of negatives I will advise buyers that this Panasonic machine is probably the best bread maker I've used. This is ideal for people with the room for the top-loading machine, storage of all the ingredients, and the money to pay for the extra electricity bill. The bread comes out perfectly formed as you would expect in a baker's shop, it has no nasty chemicals in, smells wonderful, has a perfect texture and tastes delicious.
I brought this bread maker about 2 years ago and it is one of the most utilised items in my kitchen. I make 1-2 loaves of bread a week and they always come out at a brilliant standard.
The bread maker is quite heavy and white plastic in colour. This is one of its small let downs, because it is white and is placed on the kitchen work surface any spill or splash shows up on the machine so if you leave it out permanently, it will need constantly cleaning.
The main settings that I have used the bread maker for is the plain white loaf. The bread maker gives you the option to have the bread in small, medium or large size and that you can have the crust of the bread in light, medium or dark. I usually opt for large dark loaf. In regards to ingredients this works out the cheaper option, you get a larger loaf of bread for about 50g more flour.
The bread maker comes with a book full or recipes to try in your bread maker. Though I haven't tried everything yet I have tested a few of them. The cheese and bacon loaf is delicious when toasted it's like eating a cheese straw. The wholemeal loaf is also lovely and it is so simple to make your own rolls or pizzas.
Now the bread maker is not a time saving item. To make a large loaf of white bread it takes 4 hours. You do have the option of a 'Rapid bake' which take 2 hours and gives you a loaf half the size of the 4 hour loaf.
I would recommend making the 4 hour loaf as if you put it on whilst you are at work it will be done by the time you get home and your house will have a lovely smell of fresh baked bread. However I would recommend using the bread maker's timer setting and get the bread to come on 4 hours before you are due home. I made the mistake of putting the bread on when I left for work and then left it in the machine for over an hour, the bread started to sweat in the machine and by the time I took it out the machine it had a soggy bottom.
The bread maker has a extra compartment in the lid that holds a seed tray. I have used this tray once when I made my own hot cross buns. I put sultanas and lemon zest in the tray, half way threw the mixture being made the bread maker dropped the sultanas into the mixture so they were evenly stirred into the mix. I consider this a brilliant extra with the machine as it saves having to remember half way through the process to put the currents in you.
There are not really any negatives in regards to this item, it make wonderful loaves of bread and cakes. It comes with a cook book that gives you lots of ideas in regards to extra things to make that you would not have usually thought of. I would highly recommend this bread maker to anyone that enjoys fresh bread with little effort to make.
I purchased this breadmaker about five years ago and I haven't regretted it for a second. I use it every day for a medium loaf of bread and sometimes also use it to bake a cake and it hasn't broke once. The settings are so easy to use that my two year old often puts the bread on! It takes only a few minutes to put on a loaf and if I know I'm going to be busy then it has an excellent timer function so I can put it on the night before with a timer delay so that we can wake up to the smell of fresh baking bread in the morning.
It comes with an amazing recipe book with all kinds of different bread recipes including speciality bread and gluten free. The average loaf of bread takes about 4 hours total to cook, but it has rapid bake settings of half that time and the bread is still delicious. We like the olive loaf and the onion loaf. The ingredients are minimal and I always leave out the salt to make it healthier for the children without affecting the bread quality.
I would say that there are only two down sides to this product. The first is that like many bread makers, the mixing attachment leaves a small hole in the loaf and sometimes if I don't take the loaf out right away it gets stuck in the bread and I have to dig it out. Even so I've never found that any of the bread is wasted - it still tastes great. The second is that on occasion when I have taken the mixing attachment out to clean it I have forgotten to put it back and put the bread on. There is no alarm and you end up with a pile of cooked unmixed ingredients which is annoying. Provided you always check it's fine. All in all especially for the price I would say it is excellent value for money.
This panasonic breadmaker now has a permanent home in my kitchen. I must add that it doesnt actually belong to me. It belongs to my sister and brother in law. The story begins some time ago when I was recovering from a big operation. I couldnt do anything apart from peel a couple of tatties .....sitting down. Bored out of my head my sister suggested that I borrow her breadmaker and at least I could do something worthwhile with very little effort. Thats the best description for this breadmaker. Something worthwhile for very little effort!!! As well as being able to make three different sizes of loafs you can also pick between a quick bake of 2 hours or a standard bake of around 4 hours. It is very easy to get to grips with thanks to the measuring tools and recipe book that comes with it. To programme is simple and the results are fantastic. The bread tastes wonderful and although it has a shorter shelf life than bought bread you can make it fresh daily. It is also lovely to know that its not full of preservatives and you can be as cautious with the salt as you want to be. It is quiet when in cycle and you only remember its there when the room starts to fill with the smell of fresh bread! Cleaning is simple, and the attachment is easily removed from the tin also. I dont feel bad about keeping it at all. I do sometimes offer to give my sister half of one of the large loafs from time to time. If she insists on taking it back I will order one straight away. Maybe I should do that any way.........
I bought this when my old breadmaker died.
This particular breadmaker was a bit more expensive than most (it cost £119.99) but it was well worth the extra cost. The first thing I liked about it was the fact that it is almost silent. I also love the fact that is neat and compact and has a compartment on top in which to store the two kneading blades. I use this breadmaker every day and usually run it on a timer setting overnight, so that each morning when we get up, the kitchen is full of the aroma of fresh baked bread. You just cannot beat that, can you!
The bread always turns out well, with a great texture and outstanding taste. You can set the machine to have either a light, medium and dark crust and also make small sandwich-sized loaves, which make a lovely soft crust loaf, that is easy to cut and is great for packed lunches. The bread has a lovely homemade taste, never tastes plastic, like some machine-made breads do, cuts easily and toasts really well. There are never many left-overs, but if I do have any crusts left, I usually turn them into breadcrumbs and freeze them to use later. Nothing ever gets wasted. The bread keeps fresh for a couple of days too. It gives great results with either white or wholemeal recipes.
I would never get shop-bought bread ever again!
The recipe booklet which is supplied is excellent! It is full of different breads, cakes and even jam recipes, which I am slowly working my way through. It even has gluten-free breads, which I think is good customer service!
The instructions for use are written very clearly, giving the ingredients and settings needed for each type of bread. The only gripe I have is that it does take a long time to bake the bread. The shortest time for a basic loaf is 4 hours, though it only takes 5 minutes to prepare the ingredients. All you do is put in the yeast first, followed by the flour, seasonings and fats, then add water. You get a measuring cup with the machine. The timer is excellent and you can go away and leave it and it's all done!
There are several different settings, from basic white bread, to wholemeal, to dough recipes (so you can make things like pizza bases and hot cross buns etc) sponge cakes and jam recipes, though I have not tried jam-making yet!
The tin is very easy to use and clips in the breadmaker securely and lifts out with ease. I have had this particular breadmaker for about 2 years now and it has never let me down!
A great product!
Ok, I admit it, I lauged (loudly) when my house mate first returned with a bread making machine under arm. What on earth could you want with one of those I thought!
Fast forward a few years and after a few attempts at using it myself I was warming to the idea of making my own bread and actually using it more than he did but it was very hit and miss as to whether the ingredients I prepared in the evening would form into a suitable loaf for the morning toast and sandwich making before work. Then, finally, the machine broke.
Disappointed by the knowledge I'd never again wake up to peer into a machine hoping my breakfast and/or lunch would be available for the day I decided I had to invest in a replacement as mornings just weren't the same.
Little was I to know, they would never be the same again even with a replacement. The Panasonic SD257 hasn't produced a bad loaf to this day. Every night my bucket of ingredients magically transforms into a fresh loaf of bread by the morning with no work on my part. It's perfect!
Not only does it seem to have the habit of making perfect loafs every time but it comes bundled with recipes for countless different bread ideas which I'd never have thought of putting together myself for a machine to deal with (cheese and bacon being a particular favourite!) and is even capable of other things like helping cook pizza dough, tea cakes or french baguettes.
The usage is fairly simple with the aid of the instructions. You put the majority of ingredients into the bucket that sits inside the machine while some additional ingredients may need to sit in a compartment in the machines lid for addition to the main bread mix later in the process. Once the ingredients are sorted you set the type of bread you require using the front panel, configure a delayed start if required (perfect for that fresh bread smell first thing in the morning) and leave it to do it's thing.
The one thing I do miss from the first machine is a viewing window to watch the machine in action as the Panasonic seems to like to keep what it's up to to itself as though it's some sort of magic! I'm quite happy to let it keep its process as magic if it means my bread is a success every time though.
The loafs it produces taste indescribably better than anything you are likely to buy packaged in a supermarket and have the added bonus that you know exactly what went into making them, with the option of adding extras if you want too.
In short, I'm never buying packaged big name brand bread again.
Ive tried a few bread machines now and this Panasonic SD257 has got to be the best! The loaves come out actually loking like a proper loaf and is tasty and delicious... and you know what has gone into it! in fact I'm just waiting for a spicy fruit loaf to come out of mine now and the whole house smells divine!
I use the timing facility most, where I can put all the ingredients into the machine and set it to come on in the early hours of the morning... fresh bread when I get up for work! I have used this setting on other machines and the bread comes out quite flat and not as good, on my panasonic it comes out as normal, infact perfect!
There is a gluten free setting which I have not tried yet as well as a miriad of other settings, all easy to use if you read the manual, which is set out nicely for you to read and understand.
If anyone is looking for a bread maker I couldnt recommend this one enough, the best on the market in my opinion.
I bought the Panasonic bread maker recently as I wanted to save money on grocery bills and know exactly what was in the food my family eat! After checking many reviews and getting advice from friends, I decided to spend the £110, with a slight nagging feeling that I was actually going to come off financially worse. However, I am absolutely delighted with the product, and would recommend it to anyone.
The SD-257 is a very reliable bread maker, and I have never had a bad loaf from it. A recipe book is included within the instructions, providing many recipes and ideas. I have tried various bread and dough recipes and they have all worked well and tasted delicious. A measuring spoon for dry ingredients, and a measuring beaker for wet ingredients are included also, making the process simple and quick.
There is a separate kneading blade for making rye bread, offering another alternative. This model also has a raisin/nut (or any other extra ingredients that you fancy) dispenser, meaning that you can make some very fancy things indeed!
The only problem I am finding is that when baking extra large loaves (which I do often because my yeast comes in individual sachets with the XL amount already measured), the bread rises so much that it sticks to the top of the machine. It is then a real effort to get clean as you are not supposed to use anything abrasive. However, I am going to fiddle with the recipe and should be able to solve this problem.
The jury is still out with regards to the manoy saving aspect. However, as it can be used to make all sorts of bread, dough, cakes and even jam, I find that I am constantly saving money. It might just take a while to recoup the cost of the machine.
Let me start by saying that I have been wanting a breadmaker for a very long time. Recently, I decided to go for it and so I started my research on which breadmaker was the best. The answer was an almost universal 'Panasonic SD257'. I ordered it off Amazon and I put it into use the very same day that it arrived.
And let me tell you, it has not been a disappointment! There are so many different types of breads for you to make, and the beauty of it is that it is SO easy! It is honestly almost effortless - all you do is measure out the ingredients, pop them in the machine, select whichever setting is most appropriate, and then leave it for however long is necessary! It is usually about five or six hours for the long/normal bake setting, or if you dont have that much time, then the Rapid Bake selection will have it done for you in about 2 hours. It is honestly that easy! And the bread actually does taste that good - it's warm, it's fresh, it smells nice ... there is no downside! The machine is even easy to clean!
The booklet gives you easy instructions on how to use the machine as well as dozens of recipes for breads, cakes and doughs. The addition of a raisin and nut dispenser also makes things easier if you want to make raisin bread or cakes - I think in the previous breadmakers you had to physically add them yourself at intervals. With this one, you just leave it and it will do it by itself! Easy!
I would absolutely recommend this machine - it may be slightly expensive but it is well worth it!
Also, a handy tip: I dont know how long they will do this for, but once you buy the machine, take the receipt and, downloading a form from the Panasonic breadmaker website, attach the receipt and send it off to Panasonic - in return, you will receive a free hardback breadmaking recipe book (along with your receipt!) So that's all the more bread for you to make!
I hope that you enjoy making the bread as much as I have! It's incredibly satisfying!!
We were brought our breadmaker for Christmas, by someone who has an earlier Panasonic model of breadmaker. We had often commented on how much we enjoyed eating such gorgeous fresh bread when we visited. We have now been making a loaf of bread either every day or every other day as well as several cakes and shop bread no longer appeals at all.
The breadmaker is a white rectangular box - 23cm wide, 29cm deep and 38cm high, on 4 rubber feet. The top is stylish and curved with an LCD display and six light touch operating buttons towards the front and a lift up lid behind. This lid raises to a height of 53.5cm, meaning that when it is raised it does not fit under standard height wall mounted cupboards. When it is in use I therefore bring the breadmaker forward to the front of the worktop to allow the lid to be raised. Within the main lid there is a secondary small lid accessed from the top that is a dispenser tray for dried fruit, nuts and seeds. During the cooking process a flap opens depositing these dry ingredients into the bread pan.
Included in the package are a bread pan, two kneading blades; one for regular use and one for making rye bread, a measuring cup for liquids that is marked in 10ml increments and a measuring spoon with 5ml (teaspoon) and 15ml (tablespoon) marked at ¼, ½ and ¾ intervals. These are used to measure yeast, sugar and salt for the bread recipes.
The instruction book is well presented and easy to use. It includes safety instructions, photographs with parts labelled, diagrams of the control panel and explanations of the function of each button, the ingredients required for bread making, clear instructions for baking bread, dough, brioche and cakes, adding extra ingredients using the dispenser, recipes, care and cleaning instructions and finally trouble shooting (which fortunately I've not needed to look at, at all).
The recipes are extensive including basics such as white loaf, wholemeal loaf and many more exotic things such as pizza loaf, apricot and almond loaf, cheese and bacon loaf and sundried tomato and parmesan . Bread of the texture of French bread ,Italian breads, brioche and gluten free breads can also be made as well as dough for forming into rolls, hot cross buns, croissants, pizza etc, but these then have to be cooked in a conventional oven. Several cake recipes are included which are hand mixed, but baked in the breadmaker - the apple and ginger cake is scrumptious. Basic bread recipes require yeast, strong bread flour, salt, sugar, butter and water. There are many additional ingredients that can be included to provide variety.
Depending on the recipe chosen the control panel needs to be appropriately set. Instructions for this are easy to follow and the LCD display indicates choices that have been made and cooking times. The first (select) button determines the type of bread e.g basic white, wholewheat, bake only for cakes. The second (option) button allows you to choose regular bake (4-5 hours), rapid bake (2 - 2.5hours), bake raisin where the dried fruit dispenser is used, dough for rolls etc. Next is a size button - medium, large and extra large (why not small, medium and large?); the recipes all tell you the ingredient quantities for each size. The fourth button gives the option of a light, medium or dark crust - personally we use the dark crust as it is crispier. A timer is operated by the fifth button - on most settings there is no need to use this as the time is set automatically, but for baking cakes the time needs to be set and there is an option to delay the start cooking time so that for example you can wake up to fresh bread in the morning. Thirteen hours is the maximum delay time. And finally there is a start, stop button which is pressed at the end of programming and starts the cooking process. It flashes and is accompanied by a bleeping sound when the cycle is complete. For a standard white extra large loaf no buttons have to be pressed except start.
While operating there is no noise except for a slight clanging sound during the kneading phase. The bread pan is non stick. Once slightly cooled you need to turn the pan upside down and shake and the bread usually comes free. Several times we have needed to loosen it my twisting the part where the blade attaches at the base. The pan washes easily, but you need to take a little time to ensure no mixture is left where the blade attaches.
We have been really pleased with our end results. The quality of the bread is good with well shaped and risen loaves with a light texture. When using rapid bake the bread rises less and can be a slightly more dense texture. The bread does need to cool for about half and hour before slicing as otherwise the air is pressed out of it leaving a more doughy consistency. All four of us have enjoyed making and eating the bread. My children are older, but even quite tiny children should be able to join in and make their own bread.
It retails at £119.99, which is more expensive than a number of other brands, but it is worth paying the extra as the quality of the machine and bread is very good.
Six months on from being given the breadmaker I can confirm that the novelty has not worn off. We're still making all of our own bread which we find so much tastier than the plasticy white sliced loaves. The Allinson seaded grain and country grains are our favourites. Although I keep an emergency Hovis loaf in the freezer we've barely ever touched it as both myself, my husband and teenage daughter keep a check on when we need to make a new loaf, as we've no desire to eat the shop brought one. We no longer need to use the recipe book for regular loaves and it only takes a couple of minutes to throw the ingredients in and set the machine. We've had one dodgy outcome but the machine holds no responsibility for this - just the useless operator (me) who forgot to add the mixing blade and a very peculiar doughy unmixed product found it's way straight to thr bin. There have been no technical problems at all and the breadmaker continues to work reliably. It is one of the very best gadgets that we own!
Short name: Panasonic SD257