I inherited my Hinari breadmaker from my mum about 8mths ago when she upgraded. I was not too impressed with the bread she made but having a kind of 'chuck it in' and go attitude which has seen my cooking progress from school made dishes to family meals with much success i decided to give this pride of place on my kitchen worktop.
Now, the one i have is black and silver. Much better for hiding the occassional coffee spill etc (i have 3 children under 5 so these jobs seem to take a second place to surfing the net, cooking and never ending bum changing and wiping) - although they are very easy to clean and wipe down.
The buttons on the machine are very easy to read and work with and now the only button that ever gets my undivided attention is start! The ease of this machine is second to none - i pour in the ingredients (the enclosed recipe book is fab and so long as you follow it at first you can then start tweaking your loaf to personal preference) or i tip in water and a bread mix (luxury as quite expensive varying from 40p to £2 a pack) and shut the lid, press start and the 3hr 45 min cycle is underway!
Within the machine is a metal tin with a removal paddle. The whole unit inside does come out and to situate it is very easy with a slight right turn. The only prob is that when you loaf is baked and you turn the metal pot upside down and tip out your loaf, it has a hole in the bottom from the paddle......
A note here to say that when you remove the tin it is very very hot! Do not use your hands - you will need a couple of tea towels, although this problem is rectified if you are patient (unlike me) and can leave it to cool before slicing the bread.
I have had no problems with sinkage but i do find that on occassion my bread will rise right up to the viewing window which then adds a new job of cleaning that, however a baby wipe is fine for me :)
I also purchased a slicer in Jan as my doorstop slices were causing us to get through a loaf a day and my poor son serious jaw ache after his packed lunches. Much happier now although the first 3 slices do have a hole in the middle, these are reserved for the 2 youngest children who think holes in their sandwiches are great fun!
I recently got somone to buy me a loaf of bread from tesco and it was a premium brand. I have only been eating HM bread now for about 6mths and i was disgusted by the shop bought bread. It was soggy and doughy and second rate! I immediately baked a loaf.
Now, i am fully aware that this machine makes cakes and the like but i do enjoy making my own cakes so it will stay as a lowly bread maker which is fine for me!
For info a loaf of bread costs between 20 and 40p - you get a 1.5lb loaf which if sliced properly will give you between 8 and 10 slices - it is nearly time for me to upgrade to a 2lb loaf maker but this will suit small families perfectly although be warned it will go quickly!!!
I bought my Hinari Breadmaker for £29.99 in Curry's about eighteen months ago and haven't bought a loaf of bread from a supermarket or baker since then. The bread I am able to make in this miracle machine is the best we have ever had and nothing else matches it.
For a cheap machine it produces excellent results. Some breadmakers are very pricey indeed but I was loathe to spend too much in case it ended up not being used but gathering dust in the back of a kitchen cupboard. I thought I'd play safe and get a cheap one to start off with.
The Hinari is a clean white colour and takes up no more room than a small microwave but, to my mind, is so much more useful. The touch pad buttons are acccessible on the top of the machine and are easy to understand. There is a glass window in the lid which enables you to see what is going on inside the machine - the one thing you must not do is open the lid while the breadmaker is in operation. The timer will let you know when a programme has finished.
This machine is a doddle to use following the instructions provided or using your own recipes. I make some of our bread using one of the programmes that mixes the ingredients, kneads the dough, lets it rise for just the right amount of time and bakes it to perfection but our favourite loaf is made using the machine to mix and knead the dough after which I take the tin out and let the dough rise in it, then shape it into two loaves, let it rise again and bake it in the oven for around 25 minutes on gas mark 5, on a flat baking sheet (which I bought from Sainsbury's Basics range of cookwear for £1.29). Whichever programme you use you are assured of perfect bread every time - just take care to follow the instructions to the letter and make sure you always use yeast that has not gone past its use-by date. There is nothing more annoying than wasting ingredients to make a loaf that doesn't rise. This has happened to me twice before so I always double-check the yeast before I use it. The Hinari gives instructions for white bread and wholemeal bread but I find using 100% wholemeal flour makes for a heavy loaf so I usually use two thirds white flour to one third wholemeal flour. Always, of course, make sure you use bread flour not regular. My favourite bread flour is Dove's Organic, found in many supermarkets for around £1.20 per 1kg bag, and I always use Allinson's Easy Bake Yeast - I've used several other makes but this is one is the most reliable.
The Hinari HBM210 is simple to keep clean; just wipe the outside over with a damp cloth. The loaf tin can be lifted out and the paddle removed for easy cleaning. I make sure I never use scouring pads - just a soft cloth is enough to make sure the tin is clean ready for the next batch of ingredients.
All in all, I find making bread very satisfying; I know what goes into my bread, it is so tasty, it is far far cheaper than the shop-bought variety; in fact, it's even a lot cheaper than supermarket own-brand and, in these days of rising prices, that's so important, and nothing gets wasted because even the normally frowned-upon end crusts get eaten. An added bonus is the lovely smell of homemade bread that pervades the kitchen - my family say it's the most welcoming smell after a hard day's work.
I have had this breadmaker/homebaker for about four years. I bought it when I was in new gadget mode and seemed to have most of the ones that most people have and this seemed a brilliant idea.
Then after getting it home, unpacking it and making several loaves of bread, we realised that in this house we actually don't eat a loaf of bread a week. So there it sat atop the microwave, because we don't even have room for it really, for about three years. Every so often I gave it a wipe, thought I really ought to use it more often, but otherwise it didn't feature very highly in our lives. When the children came to visit my husband was heard to make jokes about all the gadgets we have and whether he could find something else as useless as the bread maker for my next shopping rush. But with children and grandchildren around it started to be used again and my family just love to eat fresh warm bread spread with butter, so it is no longer the most useless gadget I have every bought.
So! What is this wonder machine that gathers dust?
I bought it in Curries, it is a Hinari bread maker, it makes loaves of bread, cakes and even jam. What a wonder machine.
I paid about £29 for it and have just looked on Amazon to see and they have them for £29.97. I am not sure if they include delivery in their prices.
Then what happened?
Well, some of our children with a grandchild came early in January 2004 to live with us, this is a great thing and suddenly from being a middle aged couple, we are part of this large extended family. We really are having fun.
But back to bread!
I decided that as several loaves of bread were now being eaten each week that maybe I could make some bread for a treat.
I dusted it off, opened it up, got the pan out, got the recipe book out, got the ingredients out, threw the lot together and set it to large light.
Some three and a bit hours later, out came this hard, solid, stodgy mass of bread. Oh dear, they all politely looked at it, tasted it and the rest went in the bin. So, I had another go a few days later, same result.
By now I was really bothered. What was I doing wrong? Well obviously loads of things, one being I wasn't measuring perfectly accurately. And for this machine and probably others like it, you really need to measure exactly and don't just throw what looks like the right amount in.
One of the recipes I used and have used in the past state a table spoonful of dried milk powder, well I didn't have any of that in the house so at the last minute sloshed in some milk hoping that would be the same and I guess it isn't the same at all.
I went and bought new flour and yeast. I bought the white Hovis flour and on the back is a much simpler recipe than the ones in the recipe book so I tried that one. Three and a bit hours later the loaf was cooked, risen to huge proportions, light and soft and just perfect.
I made several loaves over the next couple of weeks and they all seem to disappear really quickly, I usually get the crust, when it is hot and straight out of the machine, hence the indigestion, but don't often eat bread so take their word for it that it is good stuff.
So, the next week, while shopping I bought more flour and decided to try brown bread. Now, I have made brown bread before and it tends to come out rather heavy and the family aren't so keen, so I decided to try a half and half recipe. I used a bit more white flour than brown and set it at large light again. Not very adventurous me!
Some three and a bit hours later out came a small, hard, heavy stodgy loaf. Once again the family said, oh dear, and in the bin it went.
Then in the middle of the night I had a flash of revelation. Of course, the brown loaf setting takes over four hours, I think it is 4hrs. 20 mins. as brown bread takes longer to rise. That is where I have been going wrong!
This afternoon I made another half and half loaf, using the simple recipe on the back of the flour packet. Just before I started this review I took out a perfectly risen, large light brown loaf of bread. Ate the crust which is crisp and delicious. Probably I will get indigestion again, but it won't last forever and the bread is lovely.
Over the last month we have had good, fresh bread from the machine, also it makes cakes, we had a lovely ginger cake the other evening and by the time I got home from work the next day it was gone. I have in the past made a fruit cake, but that was a bit dry, not as good as the one I bake in the oven. It also makes jam, but I haven't tried that; I make my jam in the microwave. You can make pizza dough in it and make just dough to bake in the oven in whatever shape you want. I have made dough and made rolls for tea, which were very nice. It also makes French bread but I haven't tried that.
The recipe book that comes with it is clear and simple to use. It gives recipes for a basic white, small or large, a basic brown, small, or large. Also there are recipes for speciality breads, like tomato and basil. I haven't tried these but have replaced part of the flour with other things, like oats or sunflower seeds and that works well.
When you select the programme and press start, after about 20 minutes an alarm beeps a few times and you can add things at that point. A couple of times I added grated cheese and that bread was wonderful, with a nice crispy crust and lovely baked cheesy flavour. If you wanted fruit bread you could add raisins or sultanas or whatever you wanted at this point too.
This bread maker has a timer, so you could put all the ingredients in, set the timer for the appropriate time before you awake in the morning and have hot bread for breakfast. The bonus of doing this is of course waking to the wonderful smell of baking.
What does it look like?
It looks like a small oven with the door at the top which you lift up and some buttons and an LCD beside the door opening.
I have put the dimensions below, they may not be exact, but near enough, I asked my husband and as he measures things by sight he told me the figures below, and I believe he is probably close enough.
15 ins wide x 11 ins deep x 14 ins high
Ours, as said before sits atop the microwave because we have a minute kitchen and there isn't anywhere else, but it could sit anywhere on a kitchen worktop.
There is a select button, a start button and a stop button.
Above these is a list of the programmes, these are numbered so you just have to select the number and press start and wait.
1. Large light
2. Large dark
3. Large rapid
4. Regular light
6. French bread
7. Sweet bread
10. Pizza dough
11. Bagel dough
12. Pasta dough
14. Bake only
So you can see there are lots of different sorts of bread and things you can make here.
Inside there is a pan that twists to go in or out, this pan is non-stick and only needs a wipe out after use. Inside that there is a sort of paddle thing, which mixes the ingredients together and kneads the dough. When you take your baked loaf out this leaves a little hole in the bottom of the loaf, but it doesn't detract from the flavour and that is the important bit.
Once you have tipped the finished loaf out, and please be careful as the pan is very hot, you can wrap it in a clean tea towel while it cools, which produces a fairly crisp crust although not as crispy as if you leave it nude on the side to cool, or if like my husband you like a soft crust you can wrap it in the tea towel and then put in a carrier bag which contains the moisture while it cools and leaves a nice soft bread crust.
Well, I am at last glad that I bought this gadget. There are other things in this house that I thought I would use but never get out of the back of the cupboard, this one was worth the money and not that expensive.
It takes several hours to make the bread and at first I was disappointed because for some reason I had thought it would be a quick process. I have made bread many times kneading by hand and proving in a warm place and now that my life is busy most of the time this is much the easier option. I did buy a book of recipes for bread makers but can't remember what I did with it, so stick to either the book that came with it or the recipes that are found on the back of most bread flours.
Each loaf is the same shape, either the regular ones which are about half size as the large, you would have to make dough and shape and bake in a conventional oven if you wanted fancy shaped bread.
It only takes a few minutes to measure the ingredients and put them in the pan and less than a minute to set the machine off, which is great in this time of working, caring for a mother and having children and grandchildren around. I doubt I would ever make bread the old fashioned way nowadays because I never seem to get a free afternoon, and I can put the bread on, go for a swim and then visit my mum and come home to the finished loaf. How good is that eh?
Thanks for reading and I hope it will help some to make the decision of whether they want and would use one of these or not.
This review is also posted on ciao, I have made a few adjustments but basically it is the same and is posted under the same name that I use here.