Our tested finally decided whether or not to buy a breadmaker
Product: Available from John Lewis, Currys, Argos, and Lakeland Price: £139.99 Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)
What they says it does...
This revolutionary breadmaker can create a wide variety of breads, jams, cakes and compotes. Featuring a yeast and fruit and nut dispenser you can guarantee the best freshly baked bread every day.
What our reviewer said...
I've thought about buying a bread maker for a while now, being tempted by the smell of freshly baked bread in the mornings, so I was really happy to be given the opportunity to try one - especially as it can make jam as well as bread.
This bread maker is really easy to use and comes with clear instructions and a booklet full of recipes. You just pop all your ingredients bar the yeast in the machine. Your yeast goes into a special compartment in the lid and is released when the bread making begins. You set the programme you want and select the time you'd like your bread to be ready for and off it goes.
I put everything in the machine in the early evening and set the timer so that we'd have fresh bread in the morning. I was surprised that you could leave the water sitting on the flour for such a long time before the bread machine starts to make the bread, but it turned out fine the next day.
The bread maker lets you choose how dark a crust you'd like on your bread. I chose medium but found that far too light for me, so I'd recommend selecting a dark crust if you like a crunch on your bread. I followed a recipe from the booklet and found the bread to be a bit bland, it really needed more salt. The loaf was also incredibly soft and I found it really difficult to cut a slice - which was a shame. I also wasn't impressed by the hole you get in the bottom of your loaf that is made by the blade of the breadmaker. I'm sure this is the same for all breadmakers, but it meant that there was a chunk of dense dough at the bottom on the bread that you have to cut off the middle slices.
I also tried making jam in the machine following a recipe from the booklet. I used frozen berries, sugar and pectin and ended up with a nice soft set jam - which isn't great on toast because it's too runny and is more like a thick compote, but it's great for pancakes.
If you want a machine that will make bread and jam for you then with the right recipes this would do the job. For me it took the fun out of bread and jam making and the results weren't good enough for me to be impressed.