I was looking for a budget breadmaker and came across this at a local supermarket on offer for £25. I was initially drawn to its robust design, constructed of metal rather than plastic like most of its competitors and the design looked fantastic.
The breadmaker itself has a big capacity of 900g, perfect when baking for a family. The design is impressive with a bright digital display and solid construction. I was really impressed for the price I paid!
Using the breadmaker is very simple. The device comes with a useful cookbook and you can use breadmaker 'bread mix' or cook from scratch using yeast, flour etc. Using the display, you can select the breadmaker to make different items such as cakes, fruit bread, wholemeal bread or quite simply - white bread. You can also select how baked you want your bread to be which is fantastic! It will then calculate a time which will count down. You can then sit back, relax and enjoy the smell of baking bread!
The only negative I can think of is that when extracting the bread from the casing, you end up with a big hole at the bottom due to the removable bread mixer/turner which is a little annoying.
A budget breadmaker that doesn't compromise on quality.
Enjoyed making bread for a while, though my bread tended to have a very light crust even on the 'dark' setting, and unless the flour and yeast are new you'll get quite flat heavy bread. But the button panel starting playing up after a dozen or so loaves and now after only 20 or so uses it doesn't work at all, rendering the breadmaker useless. Buy a breadmaker, but don't buy this model.
I was preparing to give up bread for lent but my mum highlighted how often I eat it and I began to think twice as it does form the basis of at least one of my meals every day - unhealthy I know but a bad and delicious habit! Then a few days later on my 25th birthday as my mum presented me with a large and well wrapped box it didn't even cross my mind that her casual comments had been to ensure I would be able to use my new gift - a bread-maker!
Taking the Tricity AV1 out its box I was filled with the overwhelming thought "will I actually use this?" it was one of those kitchen gadgets I just couldn't see myself needing (no pun intended). I know they clearly have their uses but I was not convinced the bread it would produce would be anything like a loaf bought in the supermarket. I love to cook and I suppose it was one of my last un-attempted culinary skills As it was a present I appeared delighted and my sisters soon badgered me to give it a go
As a gift at this point I had no idea of how much it cost but the first thing that struck me was that this must be expensive! The maker is brushed aluminium finished, a perfect match for my other kitchen appliances. The top is separated into two section, about two thirds of the makers is devoted to the actual bread container. This is covered by a hinged lid which has a visibility panel. The lid has a black strip running across it making it look a little more stylish than a aluminium box. To the right of the lid is a digital panel which contains all the bread makers controls. When light it is blue and throughout the cooking process you can see a timer. The controls themselves are touch operated and the whole impression was given that this was a slick device.
On opening the lid I found that it stood up on its own without assistance, useful I discovered when you are trying to add ingredients. Inside was a non-stick rectangular pan, it was larger than I thought but the maker can make a 900g loaf. The pan was easy to remove and I found the instructions, a cup for measuring and a measuring spoon inside. When the pan was removed the heating element is clearly visible. The only thing I had to do was remove the packaging round the 'blade' and attach it to the bottom of the pan. This was a simple process.
My fears about it not working began to disperse and as usual my mum was super organised presenting me with the ingredients for my first loaf!
Novelty was clearly playing a part here and I was now excited, the instruction booklet provides clear, well written instructions with illustrations of the control panel where it is deemed necessary. A diagram is also provided showing in which order the ingredients should be added, this is reinforced again as the recipes have ingredient lists which are in the order they should be added to the bread maker. I opted for a plain white loaf, although reassured that this was a decent bread maker I still expected my first loaf to be a complete disaster. For the white loaf I washed out the pan, dried it thoroughly then popped it back into the maker. I then added the following in accordance with the recipe:
1 1/3 water at room temperature (I guessed using my finger)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
3 1/3 cup of strong white bread flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast
I was immediately struck by the lack of ingredients and realised I had clearly been blind to how simple bread was. At this point I began to imagine a life with bread in which I knew the ingredients. Obviously with no preservatives the bread would not last as long but the thought was still exciting. I then shut the lid, plugged it in, pressed the Menu button till it reached the basic programme (visible on the digital screen ) selected my loaf size of 750g, selected a medium crust and held down start till it beeped.
The whole process took about three minutes. On a basic programme the bread is kneaded three times, after the second kneading it beeps so additional ingredients can be added, it will also be risen twice before the baking begins. A 750g loaf on basic takes 2 hours and 55 minutes. Of course I spent nearly all of the 2 hours and 55 minutes starring through the visibility panel in wonder, I literally could not wait for the end product.
I was staggered at the simplicity but in this case the truth was in the bread!
When the final beeps came indicating the cooking was complete I was already there with my oven clothes on, I opened the lid and was met with the most amazing fresh bread aroma and plenty of steam. It was too hot to remove so I took out the pan and left it for five minutes. After that I was able to turn the pan upside down, give it a good shake and out popped my perfect loaf. I left it on a wire rack to cool, if placed on a plate or other surface the steam that is collected in the loaf will not be able to leave meaning you have soggy bread.
I stood back, it certainly looked like a loaf, beautiful crust, admittedly not the perfect shape you get in the shops but you don't get this level of satisfaction when you buy it in the shops either. It sliced easily and inside I had a fluffy white loaf! Declaring it a true success I rinsed the pan and packed it all up ready to return home. The only criticism we had was it lacked a little salt, I have made an adjustment to the recipe since but clearly this is personal taste and with salted butter it tasted fantastic. A promising start!
The bread maker offers 12 programs:
Basic, whole-wheat, French, Quick, Sweet, Cake, Jam, Dough, Ultra Fast, Bake, Dessert, Home -Made.
The maker can produce loafs of 900 or 750 grams. The recipes provided are for 750g.
It has a 13 hour delay which is simple to set meaning you can wake up to fresh loaves.
The instruction/recipe book includes a short summary of what each of the ingredients do for the bread making, for example that sugar helps the yeast to rise. I liked this inclusion as understanding the science makes it easier to create your own recipes.
The trouble shooting guide is easy to understand and quickly solved the only problem I have had where the bread collapsed during baking, my water had been too warm.
In the last week I have made, tomato and basil bread, whole-wheat and banana bread. All bar a slight hiccup with the whole-wheat have turned out perfectly and I am already beginning to have the confidence to invent my own flavours based on the framework recipes provided.
The machine is very quiet, the only noise being generated when it is kneading, as I live in a one bed roomed flat I don't fancy leaving it to start at 4am in case the whirring does wake me up but in a house I don't think you would even be aware that it is on.
The weight of the machine and its size is an issue, I certainly don't enjoy picking it up and off the counter and due to its size it does look cumbersome on the work top. A permanent home will have to be found in due course but as space in our flat is limited it may be the case that it is relegated to the store cupboard.
Obviously because these loaves are fresh they do not keep as long as your shop brought loaf. Mine have been eaten within two days but as I live alone I not sure it is practical to keep churning out loaves at this rate. However for a family I cant see this being a problem.
Per loaf this is by far cheaper than buying in a supermarket, I estimated its about 40p for a standard white loaf. The convenience is evident, the bad weather recently has meant getting to and from the shops has not been a delightful task so this would be perfect if you are in a more remote location,
**Points for improvement**
I really have no complaints at all with the product and I hope its not a fad, I have resolved to try some of its other options sooner rather than later so that I fully understand what I can use it for but I am already a convert to home bread making. The one area that could be improved is the recipe book itself. The bread maker has settings for jam, cakes and sweet yet no recipes are provided for these settings and I have been unable to find any on the internet in relation to this particular bread maker. I am in unfamiliar territory so maybe using other bread maker recipes is simple and maybe making jam is easy but I would have liked some guidance on it.
To complete the review it was essential to find out the cost, £44.97 Tesco, the whole bread making experience has been superb but to achieve the quality of bread I have been getting for that price is outstanding. Notably my mum and two of my colleagues have been so impressed with it they are going to be changing they ones they currently use.
Assembled Dimension Depth 368cm
Assembled Dimension Height 425cm
Assembled Dimension Width 285cm
Assembled Weight 6.8