/ Food & Drink

Why I hate supermarket sliced and packaged bread

Why I hate supermarkets

There is a huge array of plastic-wrapped sliced pap in supermarkets that tries to pretend it’s bread. But I know better. My breadmaker produces a loaf that has a gorgeous crust and a tasty, soft innard that smells divine.

It’s perfect for toast and for cutting off hunks to mop up bean juice or dunking in eggs. Give it a day to mature, and I can slice it thinly enough for sandwiches, too.

I also know exactly what’s in it – flour, one teaspoon of salt, a little bit of butter, water, and a teaspoon of yeast. And that’s it.

Sliced and packaged bread, however, as well as flour, usually contains unknown quantities of yeast (they don’t tell you how much on the packet), vegetable oil including palm oil, plus extra E numbers that I don’t understand. It tastes awful; like softened polystyrene. And weirdly, it takes ages to go off (even if it’s not a 60-day loaf!) which I don’t trust.

Bread making is easy and saves you money!

It only takes a couple of minutes to make your own loaf if you have a breadmaker, as you just add the ingredients to the pan and let the machine do the hard work. And once you’ve forked out for the breadmaker itself, it also works out cheaper to make your own. You can buy 1.5Kg of bread flour for as little as £1.10, which makes nearly four loaves. A 100g pot of dried yeast is £1.

Which is just as well, as buying proper bread is really expensive. As I found out when I tried to buy a loaf in an artisan bakery. I may love bread, but I still expect to receive change when I hand over a note.

Best breadmakers

I’ve got a Best Buy breadmaker and it’s worth every penny. I use it every other day and it’s never let me down, reliably producing quality loaves whenever I want them. I’m glad my kids are growing up knowing what real bread tastes like and won’t think the bread they sell in the supermarket is the real thing.

You can watch our video to get some tips on making bread – such as what type of flour to use.

Sliced bread sales are falling

Sales of sliced, packaged bread have taken a nosedive recently, with a combined £120m drop in sales from the three biggest brands. Some of this is probably down to people choosing to consumer fewer carbs, but I bet you a big chunk of it is because people are wondering why they’re forking out for something that tastes so awful.

Have you used a breadmaker to make your own bread? What did you think of the results – was it easy to use and did you notice a difference in how the bread tasted?


I stopped using my breadmaker ages ago because its fresh baked loaves were too yummy to resist.

Instead, I now prefer to buy organic unsliced loaves from Sainburys.

wev says:
12 May 2015

There hasn’t been a new breadmaker review in 2 years. When is Which going to start reviewing more?


Afternoon wev, and thanks for you post.

I’ve checked our schedule to see if we’ll be testing any further breadmakers in the near future – It seems there’s none to be tested relatively soon. However last year, we did update the information on existing breakmaker reviews, and next month we’ll be updating the content about buying the best breadmaker, as well making the most of it.


We have a breadmaker a Morphy Richards 48210 serial number 90001569 bought possibly a decade ago. It is a substantial sized machine being 15*9 inches footprint and 14″tall.

The bread is actually fine however the shape and the perpetual hole in every loaf from the paddle are annoying. So for the last four years or so we have been making bread using the Kenwood mixer and using commercial breadmixes which we tamper with to get the loaves we prefer. About 59p per loaf. We normally cook two at a time to maximise value.

Would it be useful for Which? to provide subscribers with a comparison of taste and costs between oven-made bread and machines. We prefer the oven-baked and though slightly more time and skill is required well worth the effort.

BTW I note the serial number of my machine is 1569 and I wondered what data Which? had collected on the penetration rate of breadmakers in the population. Of course there are probably more like us who own a breadmaker but do not use it so that is a question to be asked.

The Which? Annual Small Appliance Survey does not to ask if you actually use the machines you own. It does ask about reliability and if it asked about breadmakers it has been completely fault free for the last four years. : )


I agree with the comment about the unwanted hole in the bottom of a loaf so I use our Panasonic breadmaker to make the dough and go from there. There is lots of really good advice available on the Internet. There are also many excellent recipes.

Hugo says:
13 May 2015

Mine is the Lakeland Breadmaker Plus purchased Dec. 2014. . I have been making bread for a number of years and find that if I follow the Lakeland recipes to the letter then the dough is too soft and really appears almost like a batter in the machine which means adding more flour. I now do not add the full quantity of liquid as per the recipe and I find that helps to get a good dough mixture which produces a good round topped loaf. I am therefore very pleased with the Lakeland machine which has a set of removable digital scales which is very convenient. My current favourite flour is the Granary Flour from Aberfeldy Mill in Perthshire–very lovely flavour !!

NukeThemAll says:
13 May 2015

I use a Panasonic breadmaker, generally to make the dough, and then I do the final prove/bake in a tin. Reasons for making own bread: vastly reduce the salt content. You don’t actually need **any** salt in bread if that’s to your taste. No, really, you don’t. Recipes work just fine if salt is deliberately or accidentally omitted. Try it if you don’t believe me…… I can also get the texture I want (I prefer very open) and the crust (I really like my loaves with a very dark, thick crust). Problems? Only a few times with a certain well-known brand of wholemeal flour, I got a ‘brick’, but a quick bit of internet research, yes, it was the flour, insufficient gluten content for UK-sourced flour because of a poor harvest. Easily solved by using a different brand, which uses the ‘stronger’ Canadian flour. I also make rolls and french bread (I have a dedicated french bread tin – easy to find on-line). The bread maker has probably paid for itself many times over, but to be honest, I don’t worry about the economics – I have bread just how I want it!


Maybe rather than testing breadmakers, Which? could try testing different brands of flour. I have a Panasonic too, and love it because it does overnight loaves far better than my old machine. But I haven’t really noticed that much difference between flour brands, I tend to buy the supermarket own brand from which ever shop I happen to be in at the time. Will try adding less salt though to see what happens.


Nuke, I use my breadmaker to make the French loaf, too. I find it’s much tastier.