Although we love our sourdough bread, we’re not too proud to use a bread making machine as well. Sometimes in the autumn the freezers are too full of fruit or veg to store even half a dozen loaves. Sometimes it’s nice just to make a plain white or wheatmeal loaf for sandwiches.
Anyhow, our old breadmaker was showing signs of age, and loaves weren’t always proving properly. Probably just a fault with the thermostat, but it was a cheapo model, and almost certainly not economic to repair.
I had an Amazon voucher from Nectar points, so it went towards a Panasonic 2502 machine.
I was a bit perplexed to see that Which? magazine no longer rated the top Panasonic as a “best buy”. They rather oddly favoured a machine sold by Lakeland at a premium price, but which was also available under the Andrew James label some 40% cheaper. Furthermore, the Lakeland model had attracted a large number of grumpy reviews from users, whereas the Panasonic got mostly excellent ones. So we went with the vox pop rather than the experts in the lab.
The 2502 has a whole bunch of programmes, a fruit, nut and seed dispenser, and a separate yeast dispenser. Our old machine simply beeped when it was time to add the seeds. I couldn’t resist giving the seed dispenser a try, so the first loaf was 250g Stoates Mill white, 250g Waitrose strong Canadian wholemeal, and 100g mixed seeds.
And jolly nice it was too. The loaves are rather an odd shape from the 2502, very tall and square, but the texture was spot on.
We cut it from the bottom, just to see how the hole inevitably left by the paddle would look. In fact, it’s far better than on our previous machine. The paddle is very slim, and extracts without tearing the loaf at all.
The top of the loaf was a bit too aerated, but I suspect that maybe I was a bit too generous with the yeast, or more likely didn’t get the hydration just right. Every machine as well as every flour has a “right” hydration, so we’ll need to experiment a bit to get it completely right.
But for a first go, we were very pleased with the result. I’ll report back when we’ve tried a few other types of flour.