* Prices may differ from that shown
I really enjoy making my own breads and cakey bread after finding out i had coeliacs and i always use this breadmaker now. After years of faffing around with settings to get it to the right settings to cook the gluten free breads and many other breadmakers not delivering I found this, The gluten free bread settings actually work! I am in love with this bread maker now. I can easily adjust to make almost every kind of bread imaginable I am now on my next mission to try and make jam.
The bread-maker is a silver colour, but seems to be the cheaper silver that seems to be very vulnerable to scratches and wear and tear, the bread-maker is quite clumpy and heavy so I find it much easier to keep it out rather than store it and take it out, It does look fairly out of place but I use it so much I don't mind.
*How to use*
Ingredients are popped into the maker and click the setting you need, Jams, Cakes, Bread, and Gluten-free super easy and user friendly, the maker stirs and keeps an eye on everything, takes four hours and no-one can resist the smell of freshly made bread.
The only thing was when I recieved the item- no manual, I cannot figure out why but thank god the machine is so easy to use or I would have not been impressed :) The price did make up for it though for being such a bargain and the wonderful bread it makes - as a coeliac i would be lost without it
There's nothing like the waking up to the aroma of fresh bread permeating the house and then eating a thick slice of crusty homemade bread smothered in butter for breakfast. Although I am perfectly capable of making my own bread without any mechanical help, it's a bit of a bind, all that kneading, proving, kneading and proving once more. So I don't consider using a bread maker to be cheating one bit, and when my previous (Cookworks) bread maker bit the dust, I made several very large hints on how much hard work kneading is and was rewarded with a new bread maker just before Christmas. The bread maker in question is the Swan SB1030, which (from researching online) is considerably more expensive than my previous model.
The first thing to note about this bread maker, is it's sheer size. As with all bread makers it has a large footprint and will take up a lot of space on your work surface. In fact at 30cm x 38cm x 27cm it is quite a lot larger than even my previous bread maker, so make sure you have space for it. With a cable length of just under a meter, it also needs to be placed relatively close to a plug socket, which luckily enough, I have in abundance. As I have plenty of space, this bread maker has a permanent home on my work surface, but if you should be contemplating purchasing this then it might be handy to know that at 7kg it is a little heavy, if you will be putting it into a cupboard between uses.
Although I didn't actually choose this particular model, I must say that I'm quite impressed with how it actually looks. The main body is formed from brushed stainless steel with black plastic highlighting. I especially like that rather than simply being box shaped, it features a sexy curved top, that looks very sleek and modern. The lid opens easily and incorporates a small window so that I can check the progress and watch the basic ingredients change from dry flour to dough and finally a loaf of bread. The LCD display showing how much time is left until the loaf is cooked is clear but is not back-lit. There are also a minimal number of buttons, with the obvious stop/start, the menu button that cycles through the baking options, another to set loaf size, one for crust colour and a final pair to adjust the timings.
Baking bread using this is quite simply a doddle. The instructions are easy to read and while not comprehensive they do lead you through from preparing the bread maker for first use, to taking the finished loaf out of the machine. Also included in the manual are a number of sample recipes, with their being one for each of the 11 baking options. I will say though that it is important to follow the instructions about preparing the bread maker for first use, as this will burn off some rather nasty smelling coating that would otherwise taint your bread.
The bread pan is easy to fit into and take out of the main housing, surprisingly easy actually. I used to struggle occasionally with my previous bread maker, but have never had a problem with this one. The kneading tool also fits far firmer than with the cheaper Cookworks bread maker, while the supplied hook makes it far easier to remove the kneading tool should it become embedded in the loaf. A plastic measuring cup and double ended spoon are also supplied, although I must admit that it isn't as easy to read the measurements on the cup as it could be.
Baking a loaf of bread using this takes so much less effort than baking by hand. It really is a case of placing the ingredients into the bread pan (always place the liquids in first) and then switching on. The default setting will cook a 2lb loaf in 3 hours 20 minutes, and I've not had a single dud loaf. Unlike like my previous bread maker, this only has two different setting for loaf size, 1.5lb or 2lb, but this doesn't particularly bother me as I generally only cook the larger size loaf anyway. There are, however, three crust options, but again I stick to the default medium, as this gives the perfect crisp crust.
The timer delay is especially useful, not only because I love to wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread, but also so I can take advantage of cheaper electricity. Baking can be delayed for up to thirteen hours by using the + and - buttons, and it's simply a case of deciding when you want the loaf to be ready and then working out how many hours it is until then. I generally place all my ingredients in the pan just before I go to bed and then set it so it finishes at about seven in the morning. The bread maker will also keep your finished loaf warm for up to an hour after baking, but personally I would recommend removing it from the pan as soon as possible to ensure the crust doesn't go soggy.
Should there be a power cut or if the power is interrupted in any other way, the bread maker will 'remember' where it had got to in the cycle for 10 minutes and will automatically continue if the power is resumed within that time. Unfortunately, if the power is not resumed within 10 minutes then you will need to start again, but it's a nice thought.
Using just the basic recipe and basic loaf setting, I always get perfect results. From the crispy crust, to the springy white interior, each loaf has been cooked perfectly. But I must stress that I use quality ingredients, including strong white flour bought from my local bakers. These loaves never last long enough in this house for them to go off, but the crust does tend to soften after a day. Although my partner and I both enjoy this type of bread, it's probably nine month old Freddy that enjoys it the most. I don't like giving him processed food, but he absolutely loves his toast. With this bread maker I can be sure of exactly what's in his bread and I can ensure you that there would be hell to pay if we were to eat a slice of bread without giving him a crust to chew on.
As well as basic loaves, there are ten other functions on this bread maker, of which I've actually tried very few. The dough function is handy for taking the work out of making rolls and even cottage loaves, and so is one I have tried on occasion. I found the French bread function, didn't really make much difference, except for adding to the time it took to cook a loaf of bread. I know from my experience with my previous bread maker, that the fast bake options result in denser bread, so I've never bothered with these, preferring to wait a little longer for a softer, springier loaf. I've never tried the jam making option either, partly because it's not really jam making season, but mostly because I prefer to have control when making jam. What I did try, was the cake function, and it was an unmitigated disaster that I won't be repeating. Let's just say, it's called a bread maker and not a cake maker for a reason.
The non-stick bread pan is easy to clean after use, all it really needs is a wipe down with a damp cloth. I do occasionally find it needs a bit of a soak, but this is very rare. The kneading tool is also easy to clean, but remember to put it back into the pan afterwards, there's nothing worse than putting all the ingredients in and then realising you've forgotten the kneader. Being made from stainless steel, the exterior benefits from the occasional wipe down, but doesn't seem to attract dirt quite as easily as white bread makers. Personally I've always found a couple of drops of baby oil on a soft cloth is perfect for bringing any stainless steel surfaces to a perfect shine.
My previous bread maker bit the dust when the bread pan was dropped one time too many and became so dented that it wouldn't fit back into the housing. Now with that particular model, replacement parts weren't available meaning that it would no longer work. With this Swan model, all the removable parts can be replaced as they are sold as spare parts. So losing the kneading hook doesn't mean that the complete unit becomes redundant. I cannot, however, comment on this service or how much these parts cost to replace as my bread maker is still complete and working perfectly.
So the question is, do I recommend the Swan SB1030? And the answer is a hearty yes. Although this is a significantly more expensive model than my previous bread maker, it is also a vastly superior one. Of course, I'm in no way saying that it's perfect, as my one attempt at using it to make a cake would testify to. But out of over twenty loaves there's not been one that hasn't come out perfect. In fact the bread this produces is very much in demand and every relative that visits leaves with a loaf that was baked the night before. Of course, the price per loaf doesn't compare with the cheapest, mass produced bread, but there again the quality and taste doesn't either, with this producing some of the tastiest bread I've ever had. If run overnight on Economy 7 electricity, it is also relatively cheap to run, with each cycle costing literally pennies. And it takes all the hard work and uncertainty out of producing fresh, home baked bread. And so with an average price of £65, I'm giving the Swan SB1030 a healthy four stars out of five and recommending to anyone who has the space.
Short name: Swan SB1030