Product Type: Russell Hobbs bread makers
Newest Review: ... mentioned, we first used a wholegrain bread mix (Hovis) which we poured straight into the tin of the machine along with the water and... more
Let's bake some bread :)
Russell Hobbs 18036
Member Name: nickbrown60
Russell Hobbs 18036
Date: 28/01/12, updated on 28/01/12 (488 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent value - bakes nice bread
Disadvantages: Not the best looking but not too bad!
*** Some information on the Russell Hobbs bread maker ***
The Russell Hobbs bread machine is a rather nice looking device with some great features at a rather good price, it is designed to make bread making easy. The machine is mainly white with some silver bits here and there with a few buttons on the top with a small window to view your bread cooking. I should think that it would fit in with most kitchen decors, ours is a farmhouse style kitchen and it does not look extremely out of place. It is not a fancy looking machine by any means and it does look slightly cheap but that does not take away from its performance. It is quite large but not much bigger than a standard bread bin.
*** Opening the box and setting up ***
Here's the exciting bit, getting ready to make our very first loaf (Bound to be a disaster as usual)... Inside the box was simply the bread maker with the cooking pan and mixing paddle inside. It was wrapped well and was extremely easy to set up ready for baking. To get started a quick flick through the instruction manual was required as it was a slightly different design to our last machine and some familiarising was required! Russell Hobbs recommends that you thoroughly wash the pan and mixing paddle in warm soapy water to remove and manufacturing 'left over bits'. This was easy and we were then ready to bake.
The instruction manual although being very simple looking and obviously written by someone that does not quite understand English is rather helpful. There is a small recipe section in the back with a few simple recipes to get you started and there is a problem section for 'fixing' your recipes if your breads are not turning out as planned. There is some fantastic information in there for any beginner or I guess 'professional' bread crafter - obviously not myself!
*** Time to make that first loaf ***
I have a favorite recipe that I like to use in bread makers of which I have been using for many years, I decided to scrap my recipe and trust the one in the recipe book provided which actually turned out to be a good one, much better than my 'used to be favorite'.
Basic white loaf recipe for a large 1Kg loaf;
*360ml of water or milk (Warm but not hot!)
*2 Tbsp of olive oil
*2 Tsp of salt
*2 Tbsp of sugar (I use caster)
*2 Tbsp of dried milk
*650g of 'Strong white bread flour' - Flour is the secret!!
*2 Tsp of yeast
We use mainly Tesco's own ingredients and a large loaf costs us roughly 65 pence to make excluding the electric charges which I should not think will be anything major. I think that this is good value and obviously home cooked bread cannot be beaten.
This recipe makes the rather standard white loaf which is quite large at 1kg, this bread maker has 3 settings for loaf size and also 3 settings for the crust colour. You simply pop the ingredients in, select the loaf size and the crust colour and finally pressing the start button. Roughly three hours later your loaf will be ready!
Now the ingredients unfortunately cannot be just thrown in the machine in a random order, they have to be separated which is clearly explained in the manual. The recipe above is in order of ingredients so basically you put the liquid in first with the salt, sugar and dried milk powder. Followed by the flour and making a little well in the flour to hold the yeast, I find that this is a very important thing to do with all bread makers and it also helps to create the perfect loaf that we all want to achieve!
Now bread machines are just amazing, they do all of the kneading, proving and cooking required which saves a load of time compared to making by hand. The first thing I noticed about this bread maker was how quiet it is while kneading the dough, our last machine was very noisy but the Russell Hobbs sounds smooth and very powerful. I couldn't resist having a peek inside while my dough was being kneaded and it seemed to be doing a fantastic job.
Three hours had passed and the smell filling the house was absolutely divine! The machine let out a good amount of beeps when our bread was cooked and this was heard all around the house, everyone ran to the kitchen upon hearing this for a taste of the fresh bread... It's amazing how much people love fresh bread. Our first loaf was a success and it was in all honesty - perfect! The machine had cooked it just as I had asked and it tasted absolutely lovely, just like it should have.
*** Features ***
We are not the most adventurous of bakers sticking to the basic white loaf with the odd granary, so we have not tested all of its features but I'm sure that all will work! I will explain most here;
Dough - this machine can be used to make dough for making pizza's, rolls etc. If you find it hard mixing all of the ingredients together for these then this bread maker can be a life saver. You simply put all of the ingredients in and select the dough button. The machine will mix everything and even knead the dough so when you remove it from the machine is ready for shaping and finally baking. We have used this for making pizzas and it makes the task extremely easy and it only takes roughly 20 minutes overall.
Jam - A bread maker can be used to make jam? Yep! There is a basic strawberry jam recipe in the book which does sound very nice but sugary. I know a friend with a very similar bread machine has made jam in his and he was extremely impressed, I must try this sometime.
Cake - There is a basic cake recipe in the book which is actually very nice, we have made this and it only takes roughly an hour to create. The cake that came from our machine was extremely light and rather fluffy with a lovely taste, it didn't last too long in our house! I would definitely make this one again.
The other features are rather self-explanatory such as fast bake, gluten free and sweet bread. It also has a time setting that can be used if you want to have fresh bread when you wake up in the morning. You select on the screen how many hours away that you would like it to start - obviously whatever bread setting you choose you should start it that time before you wake in the morning. We have used this and it works fantastically well and it was lovely to wake up to that gorgeous scent.
*** Ease of use ***
I find the machine very easy to use and the instruction manual is very helpful. The buttons on top of the machine are water proof and are very easy to press, making bread is usually a messy job and I always end up spilling flour on the buttons but it is easily wiped due to the waterproof buttons.
The bread pan inside is coated with a non-stick surface which seems to work very well, we have been very lucky so far and not one of our creations has stuck to the pan causing damage. The bread pan can be slightly tricky to remove at times and the mechanism does feel slight cheap when pulling the pan out. We have used this machine daily for a month and there are no problems yet but I'm sure that this could have been built slightly better. The mixing paddle used for kneading the dough is easily removed by pulling hard on it from inside the pan, the only slight complaint I have so far is that dough can get stuck under this mixing paddle and makes it rather hard to remove for cleaning. This is probably a good thing as our last bread maker used to leave the mixing paddle inside the loaf when removing from the pan, we always had a surprise when we cut into the loaf discovering the large mixing paddle! This bread machine however does not leave the mixing paddle in the bread which is fantastic news!
The lid on top is easy to open and there is a nice viewing window to see your dough without opening the machine and disturbing the proving process. This window can be slightly pointless sometimes as it does steam up resulting in a frosted glad effect which is rather useless for viewing dough.
*** Overall opinion ***
I'm generally extremely happy with our new bread maker and we are all extremely happy with the results. The bread comes out perfect every time (When the ingredients are correct) and the unit looks very nice. It is built rather well and comes with a 1 year guarantee for peace of mind but I do doubt that we will be needing any support as it sounds quality. I would honestly recommend this bread maker to anyone as it is a bargain and it actually cooks bread well. Congratulations to Russell Hobbs for creating a fabulous bread machine!
Thanks for reading,
Summary: A fantastic machine
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