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Breadmakers – the best thing since sliced bread?

A breadmaker

‘Real Breadmaker Week’ has just finished, with the aim of getting people to dig out their breadmakers and get baking real bread. If you’re already a fan of baking your own, do you think a breadmaker is the best way to do it?

The organisation behind breadmaker week, the Real Bread Campaign, estimates that Britain has 10 million unused bread machines in kitchen cupboards. This brings tears to my eyes.

I love my breadmaker; I wouldn’t be without it. I can make delicious, tasty bread when I want and none of it goes to waste. In fact the real problem is trying not to eat it all in one go. I’ve made dough for hot cross buns, fab olive bread, walnut and raisin bread, but mostly I stick to wholemeal loaves.

With such a wealth of information on the web, there’s a never ending supply of recipes, hints, tips and inspiration for making more adventurous breads. And it’s so easy to do, just add the ingredients and press ‘go’.

Are breadmakers useless?

But, in a Which? survey back in 2008, the humble breadmaker was voted as one of the most useless gadgets. Which makes me think that breadmakers must be like marmite – you either love them or you don’t – there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.

Nearly half of our members are experienced breadmaker owners and, like me, love experimenting with different flours or ingredients. And almost half of our breadmaker-owning members use them regularly – at least on a weekly basis.

So what about those of you with a breadmaker lurking in the cupboard? Are you tempted to dust it off and get baking like the Real Bread Campaign wants you to do? And if you do have a breadmaker, does it cut the mustard compared to good old-fashioned elbow grease?

If you’re a Which? member and need help with your breadmaker, on Wednesday 18 May, top artisan baker Patrick Moore, from More? The Artisan Bakery, will join Which? experts to answer all your questions in the Which? LIVE breadmaker Q&A.


I love my bread maker – bake two loaves a week. Not very adventurous though – just normally wholemeal though I do run to fruit loaf occasionally. I find newly baked bread crusty and delicious.

But best of all my three pet greyhounds really love it too! 🙂

In fact the lure of freshly baked bread was the only treat that Bambi was interested in when I was trying to house-train her She was three years old and lived in a racing kennel all of her life. At home she would not go through the dog door. I tried fillet steak – rump steak (cooked and raw) – cheese and every imaginable dog treat to no avail. But I accidentally dropped a warm slice of freshly baked bread and it was snaffled instantly and eagerly. I offered a half slice and it was virtually snatched out of my hand. Using the other half I went outside and she followed my treat. Two days later she was house trained. 🙂

Found later she could detect bread from 50 metres away.

Now when I am slicing my newly baked bread – they line up eagerly waiting their share.with waggy tails and smiles. .

Hello Richard, great comment – it made us smile! So you’re our Comment of the Week and will be featured on our homepage for the next seven days 🙂 Congrats!

I used to love my bread maker, and I am a hater of virtually all modern kitchen machines and gadgets, so that’s saying something! I used to make every conceivable kind of bread in it, including one I invented myself by adding 2 tablespoons of home made mincemeat to a rye loaf mixture and getting a result rather like the old Harvo malt loaves (anyone else remember Harvo? Whatever happened to that and St. Ivel Lactic Cheese spread?)

Sadly I have been suffering with IBS and a suspected gastric reflux issue for several years now and bread, in almost any form, gives me chest pains that the Doc’s have sometimes mistaken for Heart Attack they are so bad, so I gave the bread maker to a friend’s mum, who loves and uses it every day, as I can no longer eat bread. 🙁

Yes, the breadmaker gets a real thumbs up from me.

evie says:
16 May 2011

Breadmakers, like most things, come in various guises – there are good ones and bad. I used to have a “cheap & cheerful” variety which made reasonable bread, or so I thought …….then the thermostat went wrong, and it was replaced with a “Best Buy” model. The difference was quite remarkable! This one is used regularly- mainly for basic brown bread, as this is best for toast & marmalade in the morning! but I have also tried some more interesting flavours, and to be fair the machine has never let me down – the bread is much lighter in texture than what was produced by the cheap model, and even though I am not always as careful as I might be when measuring, it seems to cope. From my point of view one of the greatest advantages is knowing that, as long as there is a bag of flour and some yeast in the cupboard, I will never run out of bread at the last minute. The delay option is great for shoving the ingredients in just before bedtime, and waking up to a fresh loaf.

pickle says:
17 May 2011

My breadmaker is fine! Getting a bit old now, but I make a loaf a week and enjoy lovely fresh bread.
Safe a bit of money too. It’s a Parsonic.

Yes thanks for the Q&A session.
I made a loaf after the session following your experts’ advice to use the long program and not skimp on the salt, and it was really good. Forgot to try adding an egg to the mix but will give this a go next time.

Hi Colin,

It’s great to hear you found the Q&A useful – we’ll be sure to let Patrick know his advice has already been put to good practical use!


I have a Best Buy Panasonic and it produces excellent consistent results. We love coming down to the smell and taste of fresh bread produced over night with the timer. No complaints on the bread but I’ve found that making the dough, letting it rise and baking in the oven produces even better results. Pity no manufacturer produces a bread machine to allow a timer function for dough though? It means the dough function can only be used when you’re around. It’s a shame because it’s very quick to bake a loaf once the dough’s risen.

There is a small risk that electrical goods could cause a fire: http://www.spottedinely.com/faulty-bread-maker-caused-kitchen-fire-fire-service-says/ In addition to the advice provided, I suggest making sure that the breadmaker is not near to flammable materials. Some people push them to the back of the worktop, under wall cupboards, which adds to the risk of fire spreading.

“A faulty bread maker is thought to be responsible for a fire” reported 5 months ago. How many fires have been directly attributable to breadmakers that were of faulty manufacture?. We don’t want a round of unnecessary scare stories, surely.

I was simply providing some simple advice that could help raise awareness of the fire risk associated with using electrical appliances unattended. There is no scare story.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

There is a small fire risk associated with most mains-powered electrical equipment and a somewhat higher risk associated with tumble dryers and washing machines. Many are used in kitchens, which often don’t have a smoke alarm because these can be set off by cooking smoke.

Heat alarms are recommended for kitchens. In addition to a heat alarm I have a smoke alarm hanging on a picture hook in the kitchen. If it goes off when I’m cooking it is consigned to the dining room and then returned as soon as possible. It’s a minor inconvenience and if there was a fire I would want as much notice as possible. I have had a smoke alarm in my kitchen since the early 80s when I had to deal with fire in a neighbour’s kitchen. The heat alarm did sound but the fire was out by then. Hopefully modern heat alarms are more sensitive.

Perhaps we should have sprinklers in kitchens, particularly those in communal blocks, in case someone or something starts a fire?

I suggest first having a look at the advice from Which? http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/smoke-alarms/article/how-to-buy-the-best-smoke-alarms

I already have decent smoke alarms, permanently fixed – and a stick to turn them off when they tell me the toast is done. I wonder how many people ever test them and replace the battery? I also have a CO alarm in the boiler cupboard.

It is suggested the current beeping is inadequate to wake children if they go off in the night; ours are pretty penetrating so would be surprised if they failed to rouse them, One was demonstrated on tv news that speaks a message – “the house is in fire”. I wonder whether this is really as effective as is said.

Can the language be changed? People who don’t understand English might think it’s the DAB radio and not get up.

The best option is to have interlinked mains-powered alarms with battery backup, so that if one is activated they all sound. I replaced mine with louder ones.

Perhaps better if it played “Smoke gets in your eyes”. Incidentally, the message says “on fire”, not “in fire” (fat fingers). Apparently it is being put on trial.

New houses I believe have this as a mandatory buiding regs requirement – is that correct?

This was introduced in the early 90s for new homes. Here is some basic information and useful advice: http://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/smoke-alarms/

I lived in a rented flat for a short period in the early 80s and that had heat alarms in the kitchen and lounge. I added a couple of smoke alarms. In my view, every room including utility rooms should have an alarm unless only used for storage.

Thread revival! We have had bread makers for years and found quite quickly that some are good but also some are bad or short lived. It would be invidious to put names to the bad ones we had, but fair to say that in common with a few other electrical devices, Panasonic seems to be a reliable brand. Our SD-2501 is the second Panasonic we’ve had – the first one suddenly died with an apparent motor failure. As it had been used three times a week for several years it didn’t seem unreasonable to replace it with the later model. Apart from the latch on the nut dispenser breaking (as it did on the earlier unit) nothing had gone wrong up until very recently. The latch, a plastic moulding, degraded and became embrittled leading to breakage. As the machine could have been impaired in function with the ‘trapdoor’ in to the baking pan hanging open permanently, I replaced the latch with a metal 3D printed piece from an eBay seller.
Back to the recent troubles… We almost always make a 500g (of flour) ‘large’ wholemeal loaf using Carr’s strong wholemeal flour as experience of brands led us to decide that Carr’s is the best in terms of results and consistency of quality. It’s not 100% and we did have a period when the loaves were poor, but it is a natural product so this has to be expected I suppose. Lately, though, the loaves had steadily become smaller and denser whatever adjustments we made to the method. A forum entitled diynot dot com has a thread dealing with this precise problem and the same maker of machine. To paraphrase the old Reader’s Digest mailshots, the subject was not only breadmakers, not only Panasonic breadmakers, but the SD-2501 breadmaker!
To précis the findings, there’s a motor start/run capacitor in the machine which decays in capacitance over extended periods – five years in our case. Nominally a 3µFd device, mine had degraded to 1.3µFd. This may seem to be a small drop (c.50%) but the result of an incorrect value is to reduce the available torque from the kneading motor. The kneading stage of bread making is of paramount importance and although watching the blade at work gave no indication of insufficiency, once the capacitor had been replaced the performance of the machine was restored to ‘as new’ as if by magic.
The lesson to be learned from this is don’t fork out for a new machine until you’ve explored the possible cause. Your experience is unlikely to be unique and people who diagnose and cure these sorts of problems almost always share their findings on the relevant forums. A £6 capacitor saved the cost of a new machine and gave me immense satisfaction in repairing it to as new standard. If anyone has a similar problem with a similar machine I can give chapter and verse of sourcing a suitable capacitor and step by step guidance on repairing the machine.
As a supplement, my son, who lives in Sydney, took a washing machine bought here with him when he moved to Australia thereby voiding any guarantee. Surely as eggs is eggs his machine stopped working. A forum search turned up another Beko machine with the same symptoms, and led to a 10p diode being replaced – voila! The may be clever devices that look hard to mend, but quite often it’s the most basic components that cause the unit to malfunction.

Hi Motco – It’s good to see you back with another technical discussion.

I have a Panasonic breadmaker, model SD-ZB2502 and that has a nut/seed dispenser which is made of grey plastic and has discoloured as a result of heat and age after only five years. That’s disappointing because I only use it two or three times a week. At least the non-stick coating on the bread pan has not worn away, which seems to be a common fault with breadmakers. I’m impressed that you managed to get a metal 3D printed spare.

This morning’s loaf was small and deformed compared with the last one I made with the same ingredients a couple of days ago. Hopefully I simply made a mistake but if not I will check the motor capacitor with the homemade capacitor tester that I made in the 80s. A couple of years ago I repaired a friend’s ancient Bamix stick blender with one of those 10p diodes.

I once contacted Karcher to say that a part of a pressure washer had broken because it was made of an unsuitable type of plastic and promptly received a replacement part made of a different plastic. I have extended the life of my microwave oven to over 30 years by replacing a broken plastic peg on the door interlock with a metal one.

You may have a bad yeast wavechange. A couple of weeks ago my non-machine dough refused to rise, left it all day then formed it into balls, cooked them and fed them to the foxes.

I use Allinsons yeast in single use packets. After getting the previous box out of the recycling bin, I found it was the same batch date as the previous loaf that I had no problem with. All ingredients were well in date.

I have got so used to making bread by hand now, I probably won’t go back to a machine.

I use the small tins of Allinson’s yeast, Alfa. I doubt it has gone off since I used it a couple of days before, but the operator might not have been functioning well late at night when I loaded the machine. I do keep a sealed tin of yeast and thankfully it’s easy to get hold of these days.

Incidentally it should be easy to hear if a breadmaker motor was struggling to turn the paddle even if this is not easy to see, as Motco has pointed out. Induction motors make a conspicuous buzzing when this happens.

I did once forget to put any yeast in one batch, and even birds showed little interest. 🙁

@alfa – I’m interested to know why you have switched to baking bread by hand. I recall that you had a problem with loaves that were the wrong size for the pan, which is not a problem I have experienced.

I’ve made my own bread but it’s a slow process, whereas it takes less than five minutes to set the breadmaker going. I know that our regular Vynor Hill makes his own bread but he bakes a batch of loaves rather than one.

I love hot bread, straight from the breadmaker, with butter. The problem of trying to cut slices of hot bread has been overcome by using an old electric carving knife that belonged to my parents.

You may remember I had a sick Zojirushi BBCC-V20 bought in the US and used with a power converter. When I first investigated buying one, I decided a machine with twin paddles that made a horizontal loaf was what I wanted. The Zo was described as a workhorse, owners seemed to love it and that was the machine I wanted. So after discussing the power with an electrical shop, the next time I went to the US I brought one back along with US cups and spoons for measuring ingredients. That was over 20 years ago and I was able to acquire spares directly from Japan.

It did make a pretty good loaf:

I did buy the Sage from John Lewis but returned it as not only did it have food splashes on it, there was a jagged metal edge on the back that I consider a design fault.

I know people like their Panasonics, but for me they have no viewing windows, only single paddles and I can’t see myself loving one as much as the Zojirushi.

So at the moment I am happy making bread by hand using the Zojirushi recipes !!! A loaf takes about 3 hours to make – 30 minutes preparation and kneading, 1 hour in the small oven on plate warming 34°, knock out and about 40 minutes for the second rise, 20 minutes in the oven and a short time to cool before sharing the warm crust. I actually get a loaf plus a roll for the freezer out of the recipe.

You might also remember I had a problem with my kitchen scales that didn’t weigh properly which is why I stuck to the Zojirushi recipes and measuring in cups and spoons. The scales have just been replaced under warranty, so I might try out some other recipes some time.

Instead of cling film over the proving bowl, I now use a silicon lid bought from IKEA.

The roll kept sticking to the tin but I have now discovered washable/reusable/non-stick cooking liner instead of baking parchment.
I bought it for the non-stick and reusable properties not to save washing the tin – the main reason for the negative reviews !!!!! The same piece (a quarter of the sheet) has been used for cooking a roll probably about a dozen times now, so well worth it.

Thanks Alfa. I don’t remember the Zojirushi breadmaker but do remember a couple of discussions about using US 110V equipment in the UK.

I’m not very impressed by the uneven shaped loaves produced by my Panasonic breadmaker. When the paddle stops kneading, the lump of dough can be fairly central or at one end of the rectangular pan. If I wanted an evenly shaped loaf I could remove the kneaded dough and bake it in a loaf tin.

I don’t see the lack of a viewing window as a problem because it is easy to lift the lid, but the process is going on overnight so just get up to the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread. It’s a mild irritation if I have to use a pair or Spencer-Wells artery forceps to recover the paddle. With better design it could have been made captive.

I well remember you posting about your two-pan kitchen scale. I think you have been unlucky and my 3kg and 15kg Salter scales continue to work well. They are accurate, which is fortunate because I can see no way for the user to calibrate them against test weights, unlike my first set of digital scales which could be calibrated.

When making by hand, I usually take the dough out of the mixing bowl and lightly grease the bowl. I then replace the dough to rise. It doesn’t then stick when it has risen. Good fresh yeast rises the dough in about 45 minutes. The second proving usually 20 minutes (in the tins) and I give mine half an hour to cook at around 200 c. Powdered yeast will take a lot longer to work, but you might be able to wake it up with warm water and a little sugar before you are ready to use it. When it begins to bubble there is action.
If making an all white batch, the rising is quicker than a brown batch. I find that all brown bread is a little coarse and I usually use a bag of white and a bag of brown. Naturally you would weigh equal quantities for the amount you are making.
Ps. I never ever wash my bread tins!
PPs For a fun loaf, try a well greased earthenware flower pot.

Hi Alfa, I had a bread machine a couple of years back which I loved until the cats knocked it off the shelf and broke it . Anyhow your post caught my eye. I am in the market for a new beadmaker and thought I would do some investigation . Although I would too prefer to make my own , which in the past has NEVER worked out . Even the foxes wouldn’t eat this , unless they knew a good orthodontist . You don’t happen to have a beginners fool proof recipe that I could try do you ? Is this allowed? I didn’t always like the taste of the bread making loaves and was wondering if the taste could be made better with traditional hand making bread . I await in hopeful eager anticipation

Hi Alfa, my previous beadmaker died when the cats knocked it off the kitchen shelf . I am trying to look for another although I am intrigued by your post saying you make bread by hand. I have tried and failed miserably . Have you a beginners recipe you might want to share here ? Please , I tried and failed miserably many a time but sometimes the breadmakers bread taste was not always beadlike more cake like . Maybe i should give it one more go to make bread like yourself before i capitulate and buy another breadmaker x

I have just typed a long and detailed reply to Wavechange and when I pressed ‘post’ it vanished! Grrr!

Same thing happened to me yesterday motco.

I was interrupted by a phone call half way through commenting, and when I returned and finished it, I posted before realising I was now logged out, and too late it vanished! It would help if responses could be ‘drafted’ or ‘saved’ before embarking on a long and detailed reply.

It’s really annoying to lose the draft of a post. I lost one recently but it was my own fault, after being interrupted by a phone call. When writing an epic it’s worth composing it in a word processor and using copy/paste to add. it to Convo. (I really should follow my own advice!)

If you find you have composed a post and find that you are not logged in, copy the text, struggle to log in and then paste in the text.

I’m looking forward to the reply, Motco.

Thanks for that useful info Wavechange. I hope motco will oblige! It’s extremely frustrating to lose a comment when you are so interested and absorbed in a particular topic.

It certainly is frustrating, Beryl. I usually find that the second effort is better because I’ve had more time to think about what I’m writing.

I have occasionally found when a comment has disappeared that if I click on the Reply button in the post above, the lost comment will mysteriously appear. It’s a miracle, but cannot be replied upon.

Yes, I have found the same, John. Usually when switching between windows, maybe to check information or to copy something into my pending contribution. Sometimes I’ve then had second thoughts about a contribution, or maybe deciding not to bother 🙂 . So not necessarily all bad.

It’s happened again! Twice!
Thanks all, I wasn’t interrupted except by my own slowness of typing. I’ll précis my original as it did wander off topic a bit (a lot). Instead of using an electric carving knife I now use an Eezi-Slice board and knife (https://eezi-slice.com/) You’ll also need a piece of non-slip matting under the board, but it does make reproduceable slices easier even than an electric knife.
The thread on Panasonic machine repairs is here (https://www.diynot.com/diy/threads/panasonic-bread-maker.350833/page-8) I used the Ducati capacitor for mine and although my machine differs slightly from JonathanK’s (in the thread linked to) the job is straightforward if you have soldering/desoldering skills. The source of 3D printed spares is Shapeways in Holland; here https://www.shapeways.com/product/345Q5L32A/panasonic-sd2501-zb2502-breadmaker-dispenser-latch That is the latch that failed.
I have found that sachets of fast acting yeast are the most reliable type, but only a tablespoon (c.3g) for a loaf using 500g of flour. Hovis yeast seems reliable.
Not wanting to risk thread loss again I’ll post this and try to figure out the picture posting method in a separate post.

Why can I post my complaint but not a longer post?
Edited to say that if I edit my short post by pasting in the longer one it appears correctly. Weird!

Thanks for the links, Motco. I did find the 3D printed part online after you posted yesterday. One of the contributors to the online discussion in one of your links does point out that you can hear if the motor is struggling.

It is not possible (except for Which? staff) to post images directly. I upload photos to imgur, which provides a link that can be included in a post on Convo. Imgur was suggested to us by Patrick Steen, but other photo sharing sites might work too.

Thanks Wavechange, I use Imgur routinely at the moment. I’ll bore everyone silly with other fixes another day! As an example, years ago (obviously if you know the brand) when I had ears that worked better I bought a linear tracking turntable in a clearance sale. It was – still is – a ReVox brand which is generally respected as being good quality. My Good Lady and I sat down that evening and listened to a couple of classical LPs and I noticed that one of them which had a lengthy quiet passage about a third of the way through the first side, and a regular ‘thud’ was evident. Suggestions on a postcard, as they say… Tip: It’s not the record.

I remember your Revox or ReVox tuner from our previous discussions. I don’t know enough about turntables to make any useful suggestions but there are probably online discussion groups where you might find an explanation.

When I was a young man, a friend introduced me to ‘end of side distortion’ and did a very convincing demonstration of how the sound quality deteriorated when playing the last track of an LP, which I had not been aware of. After that I paid more attention to the music. I will stick to fixing little problems that have an easy solution.

That’s because the rate of passage of the stylus reduces with the effective circumference of the track I assume?
My ReVox problem evolved with the discovery that the thump was present with all discs and no disc at all. As it is a linear tracking turntable the stylus cannot touch the mat so passing the (magnetic) cartridge across the full travel of the carrier revealed that the thump still happened when a clearly defined part of the rubber mat passed beneath the stylus. This is an induced signal, I thought, and my knowledge of the injection moulding process (my professional qualifications are in polymer technology from way back but long since abandoned as a means of earning a living) suggested that there was a ferric inclusion in the mat material, probably a shard of the screw in the barrel of the moulding machine. I marked the approximate area of the mat that this would be and removed the mat from the turntable. There are annular ridges on the upper face of the mat and it appeared that this theoretical inclusion was in one of these ridges. bending the mat back on itself at the relevant place caused a sharp splinter of steel to pop out of the rubber! Once removed and the mat replaced Mozart, Bach, whomsoever could play in peace! Cue a warm feeling of satisfaction.

Scientific investigation is fun and very rewarding, at least on a good day. 🙂

We do have The Lobby for off-topic discussion, humour and more: https://conversation.which.co.uk/discussion/off-topic-lobby-4/#latest

I must put the breadmaker on during the day and study why the appearance of loaves differs, even using the same ingredients. I might try removing the paddle and reshaping the dough just before the baking stage of the cycle starts in an attempt to produce a more consistent shape and without a large hole in the base.

Wavechange, I always soak the inside of the bread pan in warm water, but only enough to just cover the paddle, otherwise it lodges itself firmly to the pan base. After soaking overnight it comes away easily and so does the dough residue surrounding the base stub. I then clean the hole in the paddle thoroughly with a small long handled brush. This should prevent the paddle from sticking and unevenly mixing the dough, also the paddle becoming lodged inside the base of the loaf.

I find olive oil instead of butter, which is added on top of the flour helps with the mixing process. Butter if preferred is normally placed at the bottom of the pan along with the yeast, salt and sugar, and needs to be softened a little to ease the pressure on the paddle.

I hope your bread turns out more balanced than of late. I am down to my last slice, so must remake before tomorrow.

Thanks Beryl. I do put water in the pan to make it easy to remove the paddle. What annoys me is when the paddle stays in the loaf and has to be extricated by keyhole surgery.

I use olive oil instead of butter too, and that is to reduce the saturated fat content of the bread. I usually use 50% wholemeal and 50% white bread flour. With my breadmaker the dried yeast and seeds go in separate dispensers.

I have a batch on at the moment and will keep it under observation this evening.

I rather thought that the salt killed the yeast, so should be kept separate. Is that not true?

I used to pour the olive oil over the paddles to lubricate them. In my bread machine, liquid went in first with yeast last keeping it apart from the salt. I never did use it on a timer.

The Sage has a retractable paddle which is what drew me to it, but it does have problems and there are helpful hints on the internet on how best to use the machine.

A long soak and the paddles came out of the pan easily. They rarely got stuck in the loaf. Cotton buds were useful for cleaning the hole of the paddles.

It’s common for the paddle to remain in the loaf when using Panasonic breadmakers and the problem is discussed on various websites. A simple retainer would be one solution to this problem. On my machine the yeast is not added until the other ingredients are well mixed.

The paddle would probably still stick in the loaf so the whole caboodle would then be held in the tin. I have never had a problem removing the paddle.
I have not used my Panasonic for a while; I must get back into the habit. Hopefully my packeted yeast is still viable.

It just annoys me when I see products that could be better designed. People claim to have contacted Panasonic to complain about having to extricate the paddle from their loaves.

It annoys me that some of the best bread makers have never been available to purchase in the UK. I suppose at least they have advanced from baking on one end to now looking loaf shape.

I don’t think any twin paddle machines have ever been available in the UK. 20ish years ago when I was looking for one, brands like Zojirushi, West Bend, Breadman and Hamilton Beach were unheard of here. Zojirushi has sold one model here, but it is always their one-paddle budget model and so discretely that most people will never have heard of them. Panasonic has had the monopoly on bread machines in the UK and my impression was/still is they are second-rate to USA models.

When I last bought spares from Zojirushi in Japan, I told them that bread machines were in high demand in the UK, theirs were the best and I wanted to buy their latest model here next time. They replied they had no concrete plans at the moment but they might plan one in the future.

There are less twin paddle models around now but here is an article on twin paddle machines and why I bought mine:

I had not read about twin-paddle bread makers and I can see the benefit for making a long loaf. That kneads a motor that can deliver twice the power and there will be two holes in the bottom of the loaf.

I am intrigued by collapsible paddles and assume that this is done by reversing the rotation when the kneading is completed.

Here is an article on mostly US collapsible paddles. Slight indents are definitely preferable to holes, although I have read they can still get stuck.
The Breville is the same model as the UK Sage that I bought and returned.

Thanks Alfa. Having a collapsible or folding paddle seems to require a motor that can rotate in both directions and a means (probably electronic these days) of controlling the direction of rotation. I do not know if this affects reliability.

I suspected that the pan of my breadmaker would be the Achilles heel because I have heard of so many cases of the non-stick coating wearing but mine is still in near-perfect condition, despite the fact that I usually add seeds, which are considered to be abrasive.

Wasn’t it Marshall McLuhan who alluded to the medium versus the message? Bad music is still bad when played on the best sound system, and the best music can still move one when heard from a portable radio. The same applies to television. I believe that there is a fixed quantity of television quality which has become diluted by the sheer number of channels transmitting it. This means that finding the nugget among the pebbles grows ever harder.

David Attenborough has featured a lot lately – he found a lot among the pebbles. And I watched Hot Fuzz the other night for the umpteenth time. Otherwise I tend to gravitate to Talking Pictures where, even if the film is good or not so, real, but incidental, scenes of life of yesteryear are rather interesting to see.

I have been given a small collection of classical 78s in albums from EMI. My current turntable won’t play them but I have a new one that will; just getting round to setting it up. I am looking forward to discovering their qualities.

My Panasonic paddles never stick in the bread, and I remove the paddle from the pan immediately after ejecting the loaf. Hold the drive flange under the pan with one (gloved) hand, and work the paddle back and forth to the extremes of the backlash in the drive spindle/driven spindle interface and then the paddle comes off the spindle easily. There’s always residue around the spindle and inside the bore of the paddle, but these can be picked off while the whole is still warm. A soak before cleaning the pan loosens the residue.
My wholemeal recipe is almost the same as the one in the instruction manual for my previous Panasonic: 1tsp fast acting yeast, 500g strong wholemeal flour (Carr’s from Sainsbury’s), 1 1/2tbsp (1.5) sugar 1 1/2 tsp salt, 25g extra virgin olive oil, 370g (or ml) of water. This is at variance with the instructions with the current machine which requires only 1 1/2 tsp of sugar but I haven’t had the courage to risk failure by a 3:1 reduction in sugar from tablespoons to teaspoons. Panasonic, when asked, confirmed this change as not a typo. Also, the water content of the older machine was 360ml, and that of the current one 370ml but it seems to be of no consequence.
We occasionally use Wright’s focaccia bread mix but only to make the dough in preparation for oven baking.

I made some bread yesterday evening and kept the machine under observation. It worked fine this time and the paddle remained in the loaf, as it does periodically. The paddle is a very loose fit, as is the one provided for rye bread, and I suspect that the drive shaft is out of spec.

I use a teaspoonful of sugar with 400g flour when making a small loaf, as suggested in the Panasonic recipe for wholemeal bread.

I have seen recipes (not bread) where teaspoons and tablespoons have obviously been mixed up and others where both metric and imperial measurements are given but a conversion error has been made for one of the ingredients.

You don’t have to push the paddle down to lock into place do you wavechange? Just a thought.

Thanks, but there is nothing to lock it in place. I keep a pair of artery forceps to recover the paddle, so it’s not a major problem. Someone suggested jamming a paper clip between the paddle and spindle in an online discussion, but I won’t be trying that.

You have described one or two examples of poor design in your posts, Alfa.

MalcolmR, I saw my late father for about 15 seconds on Talking Pictures ‘Look at Life’. He was an engraver at Boosey and Hawkes for fifty years and the film ‘The Big Blow’ featured brass instrument bands and manufacture. My aged half-sister who’s 93 was quite thrilled when I sent her a Youtube link to it.
TPTV is a staple for our viewing. ‘The Brack Report’ and ‘The Main Chance’ are both 1970s series which still resonate today.
Off topic again, sorry… 🙁

I removed the ADA29E165 unit housing the drive shaft, bearing and seal at the bottom of the pan in my Panasonic breadmaker. The steel shaft has a curious profile.

Since taking the photo I have seen the same design in a photo online.