All year round I make a Christmas list because every Christmas my family ask me for it. And every single year without fail, when they come to ask me for the list I've lost it. Idiot. But thank crunchie for Amazon's wishlist as I often browse and add things that I'm not quite justified to buy for whatever reason. On my wishlist for years has been a bread maker. Something I really fancied having but not sure I wanted to risk spending the money having previously had a bread maker from freecycle that only produced things that were fit to build industrial buildings with.
So knowing I was going to be hopping on one leg for 3 months, I did a major stock take and spent a small fortune on larder supplies, a freezer full of meat from Townings and a big wine order from Waitrose Cellar. But one thing I wasn't sure what I was going to do about was fresh bread - I'd gotten into the habit of finding an excuse to pop into Lewes every few days and pick up some bread from Flint Owl whilst there, but logistically on crutches and one bus to Lewes from where I live every hour, is just wasn't going to happen post op. As nice as my bus driver is. And though I like to cook I had to face I'm no domestic goddess and I lack in patience far too much to bake my own bread (and who has the time for that every other day?).
So imagine my joy when on Christmas day I was presented with a large, heavy box that transpired to hold this bread maker. Complete genius move from my sister who had teamed up with my mum to get me this. I must admit, I was a bit dubious at what the outcomes would be at first, mainly because of my aforementioned bread maker experience but the reviews for this model were particularly good.
So far I've tried 10 of the bread and dough settings - the basic white bread, 50% wholemeal, 70% wholemeal, rapid wholemeal, french bread and rustic French bread. I've also used the brioche and the panettoni settings (and see this recipe for any leftovers), plus the pizza dough (which is super handy for when you just cannot be arsed to do much else but throw some ingredients on some dough and stick in the oven). And all of it came out just wonderfully. I've followed the manufacturers recipes each time though the times I added slightly more butter the bread came out lighter, which isn't actually that favourable being as the bread comes out so light anyway! This is honestly a new breed of bread maker and I can't tell you how lovely it makes the house smell.
The timer function is great if you want fresh bread first thing - you have to add the ingredients in order of the booklet - this is to keep salt and water away from the yeast so it does it's job in the early hours of the morning. Another favourite is to stick the rapid setting on on Saturday morning and to then have warm bread for an afternoon treat. Or Panettoni. Did I mention the panettoni?!
In terms of the maker itself, it isn't a small thing - it's white and not overly attractive so you will need to be able to house it in your kitchen. It does fit in my small end cupboard so it might be easier to stash that it might look. But as we all know, looks aren't the be all and though bread from a bread maker will never beat proper hand baked bread but man, does this come close.
If you're considering a bread maker, buy this. You won't regret it - I actually don't know what I did without it before. Ingredients for at least 5-6 bakes in this costs less than one 'specialist' loaf from the supermarket and you have the added benefit of knowing exactly what's in it (for most loaves - yeast, flour, butter, salt, a small amount of sugar and water). Included is everything you need to measure your ingredients bar scales for the flour - so there's a scoop for teaspoon measures and tablespoon measures and jug to measure the water.
The SD-2500 also makes jams and compote - the fields surrounding my house are apparently field with blackberries in the summer so I'll let you know how that works out! Most of the recipes have 3 size options - medium, large and x-large and also crust options in light, medium and dark. The only criticism I have is that the digital display is basic, but hey it's a bread maker, not a laptop.You can see more specs and info here or if I've convinced you, you can buy from Amazon or John Lewis.
Sorry for the ropey photos, hopefully they'll be back to a certain standard when I'm off the crutches. Any questions about this just fire in the comments.
Formally Emma Gutteridge