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Panasonic Bread Maker Review: Is a bread maker worth it?

Panasonic Bread Maker Review: Is a bread maker worth it?

Today’s blog post is a Panasonic bread maker review as I share how I make fresh bread everyday. I know, I know. I didn’t think I’d be this person either! No one is more surprised than I am that I make a fresh loaf of bread most days.

We bought our Panasonic bread maker two years ago. I was hesitant about getting a bread maker as it seemed like another expensive kitchen gadget that would clutter up our cupboards once the novelty wore off. 

I asked the lovely people of Instagram what they thought and it was a 50/50 split. Some people said they loved their bread makers and used them daily, while other people agreed that they rarely used it once the initial excitement was gone. 

It was Sam who was the driving force behind the decision to get a bread maker and, would you believe, he’s the one who grew bored of it and hasn’t used it in over a year!

For me however, I LOVE it. It isn’t perfect but I wouldn’t be without it and I’m so happy we bought it.

Table of Contents

The Panasonic SD-ZB2512KXC

Panasonic bread maker

I really don’t know why Panasonic don’t give their breadmakers catchier names!

We opted for a Panasonic bread maker. After reading online reviews we saw that other brands of bread makers could be unreliable and broke quickly. To be honest, so can Panasonic bread makers (as you’ll see from my review below) so we bought ours in store from John Lewis as they’re always great when it comes to returns and fixing faulty items. Amazon are good with returns too but I like the ease of being able to drop it off at John Lewis rather than arranging packaging and delivery.

I’ve linked to it here on Amazon where it is £30 cheaper than John Lewis. I think John Lewis will price match but it’s interesting to look at all the reviews on Amazon (currently over 2,000 reviews and 89% are 5*)

The size

The bread maker is much bigger than I thought it would be so this is definitely something to consider when buying one. We initially kept it out on the worktop but it’s not the prettiest kitchen appliance so I reshuffled our kitchen cupboards and made space for it in a cupboard. This works for us but it’s a big appliance to store away each day. The ideal place for it would be a utility room if you have one!

The bread maker is so easy to use

  • You just add your ingredients to the basin which then sits inside the bread maker. 
  • You add your yeast separately into the top and the machine dispenses it slowly at the perfect time.
  • Select the size you’re making
  • Select how crusty you’d like your loaf to be
  • Press start or select timed delay (perfect for setting the night before and waking up to fresh bread!)
  • A medium sized loaf takes 4 hours from start to finish
  • I usually set it to just make the dough (2 hours 20 minutes) and then I leave it to prove and put it into my own tins (more on this below!)
Panasonic bread maker

Our bread maker bread recipe

The Panasonic SD-ZB2512 bread maker came with an instruction booklet with loads of recipes. We still use the ‘basic bread’ recipe from the book.

For a medium loaf we add:

  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 1 x teaspoon sugar
  • 1 x teaspoon salt
  • 15g unsalted butter (vegan butter works fine too)
  • 280ml water
  • ¾ teaspoon of yeast
Recipe for bread in a bread maker

Mama Hack Tip

If you’ve got a baby, it’s worth noting that 280ml is the exact size of a Tommee Tippee bottle! I don’t think you need to be really precise with your ingredients measurements but if you’ve got a bottle kicking around the house then it’s worth keeping as a really easy way to measure your water!

Tips to speed up using the Panasonic Bread Maker

As you can see, using a bread maker is so quick and easy but I do have an extra tip to make it even faster.

I recommend keeping all your bread making ingredients together in a box with your scales. It just speeds things up when it’s all together. I used to keep my ingredients in different cupboards around the kitchen – salt with my spices and sugar with my tea and coffee and flour with my baking supplies and my measuring spoon, well God only knew where my measuring spoon was! Now it’s all together it feels like even less of a faff.

Using your bread maker to just make dough

This is something I often do because I like to make two mini loaves of bread (and also because I think my bread maker is faulty – more on that below). 

I make my dough in the bread maker but I don’t leave it in to rise and bake. My bread maker has a setting to just make dough and I assume most bread makers will be the same. 

I then remove it and cut the dough in half and place it into two small loaf tins. 

I place a plastic bag over the loaf tins and leave the dough to rise for about 90 minutes before putting it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Having two small loaves suits my family best. I have three young children so plenty of afternoon snacks are a must! I usually make my bread to be ready at about 2pm so it’s ready for my kids when they finish school.  We’ll eat one loaf immediately and have the other loaf for breakfast the following morning. Fresh bread doesn’t stay fresh for long so this is a really nice option if you’re not eating all the bread at once.

The Panasonic SD-ZB2512 is unpredictable

The reason I started using my bread maker to just make the dough was because after about 18 months the bread maker became unpredictable. Some days my bread was perfect and some days it didn’t rise properly and was soggy and undercooked. It was so disappointing to patiently wait for my bread for 4 hours and it would come soggy. I’d say 80% of the time it was perfect, 10% of the time it was fine but a bit too heavy and 10% of the time it was inedible.

I’m pretty sure I could have taken it back to John Lewis but we were in the middle of lockdown at this point and – to be totally honest – I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle.

I tried buying all new ingredients and different brands but 20% of the time it still wasn’t working.

I eventually realised it was to do with proving and I thought the bread didn’t have long enough to prove. I don’t know much about baking so it was actually my mum who suggested this was the problem!

So this is why I now just make the dough in the bread maker. I get it out once the dough is done, give it almost 2 hours to prove and then put it in the oven.

And now my bread is perfect every time!

I’ve been doing this for a couple of months now and it actually suits me better because I prefer to have the two little loaves and the bread is even nicer.

Using your breadmaker for pizza dough

Yes, you can also make pizza dough in your breadmaker! We’ve actually only done it a couple of times but it was really nice.

What else can you use your bread maker for?

I’ll admit I’ve never tried to use my breadmaker for any of these things but can also use it to make:

Jams and compotes

Some cakes

Sourdough

Rustic doughs

Scones

Ciabatta

Brioche

Spelt bread

Gluten free bread

Fruit loaf

Cheesy breads

And there are loads of dough recipes to make things like croissants, buns, hot cross buns, teacakes, french sticks, pizza, focaccia etc.

Some things to be aware of when using your Panasonic bread maker

Should you buy a bread maker?

Remove your bread quickly

You really need to remove your bread from the bread maker as quickly as possible when it’s finished. If you leave it in the tin then your loaf will get soggy. It’s best to get it on a wire cooling rack as soon as it’s done. This isn’t a big deal but it does mean you can’t really go out around the time your bread is due to finish.

I’d imagined I’d set my bread to be finished baking at 6am, so it would be cooled and ready to eat by 7am when my family get up in the morning. I tried it once and the bread was cooled but it was also soggy and damp so I won’t be doing that again!

Buying a Panasonic bread maker

It takes a forceful wiggle to remove it from the tin

It takes a bit of force to get the bread out of the tin. The first time I used the breadmaker I assumed the bread was stuck so I used a knife to prise it from the side of the tin. I ended up scratching the tin and it didn’t remove the bread! 

I now find that a good shake works best. It does come out a bit easier when the bread is slightly cooled but if you leave it too long then it’s going to get soggy.

I’m mentioning this because I think someone who is particularly frail might struggle to remove the bread from the tin. 

Panasonic bread maker review

You won’t save loads of money

One thing to be aware of is that using a bread maker isn’t the cheapest way to get your bread. It is slightly cheaper, especially if your breadmaker lasts a long time (but reading online reviews suggests they rarely last more than 3-5 years) but there’s a risk your bread maker won’t last.

  • My bread maker cost £200.
  • It’s about £1 for a bag of strong white bread flour and this will make about 4 medium sized loaves or about 8 of the mini ones I make.
  • Dried yeast costs £1 and lasts ages and ages.
  • Salted butter costs about £1.50 and will last about 10 medium loaves
  • You need a teaspoon of salt and sugar too.

So it probably costs about £0.40p to make your own bread. Yes, it’s definitely a saving and definitely cheaper than a delicious fresh loaf from your local convenience store. 

But if you’re considering buying a breadmaker purely to have the cheapest bread, then you’re probably better off sticking to the supermarket own brand at around £0.50.

I think the bread I make is nicer than the bread from my local co-op and I really like the convenience of not having to go to the shop – especially with three young children during the pandemic!

You can of course buy much cheaper bread makers. There’s a Morphy Richards bread maker for £60 which has great reviews on Amazon!

It makes me feel like Supermum

I’m not going to lie, baking fresh bread for when my kids come out of school makes me feel like Supermum. What kid wouldn’t want to come home from school to be greeted by fresh bread slathered in chocolate spread!? It makes a great afternoon snack for the whole family and makes the house smell incredible.

For more information about the bread makers I have mentioned, check out the reviews on Amazon to see what other people have said:

My Panasonic Bread Maker (£169)

Morphy Richards Fast Bake (£59)

Andi

Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

I have a Panasonic SD-200. I don't know how old it is, however, given that I think we bought it a couple of years after buying our first house in 1984... and we've since moved into a new house, new town, and it's 2022, we're still using the same breadmaker! The only thing we've had to replace in all that time was the kneading paddle! However, it is limited to bread and it makes vertical loaves which are a bit awkward to slice. Unfortunately given its age, sour-dough really wasn't an option, they don't have a suitable paddle (nor can you get one) and I don't think the motor was quite strong enough for sourdough, not sure. (I did contact Panasonic to ask.)

But as of this date, I've upgraded to a new breadmaker, still Panasonic. I subscribe to Choice Magazine Australia, a consumer products group that tests and reviews all sorts of things from white goods to laundry detergents and they'd recently done a review in December 2021 on the latest breadmakers. They give all the pros and cons and the Panasonic was at the top of the list. So I did a little looking around and worked out where I could buy one, (one or two hours travel) but then discovered my local electrical store (we're in a little country town so it doesn't stock a huge range) had one on their shelf (and one still in the box out the back!) So... now I've upgraded. I won't ditch the old one yet and perhaps when I get a chance to visit my son and his gf, I'll deliver the old one to him. He's more likely to use it mostly for the dough preparation side (he's always made his own pizza bases by hand.)

You're right, some people love them, some don't use them much. I loved waking in the morning to the smell of bread baking and that beep when it was done, kind of like an alarm clock really, you have to get up and get it out, otherwise it sweats.

So I'm really, really looking forward to experimenting with the new breadmaker and having many, many more options to choose from.

Finally, many years ago, I bought a recipe book for Breadmaking Machines. It's Australian, published by Five Mile Press and it's called Hot Bread! The Breakmaking Book for Breadmaking Machines. (Published 1998) And I've made a few recipes out of it and they're amazing. They have all the pros and cons, troubleshooting and hints. And I have to say my favourite recipe is the Caramel & Butterscotch Brittle Pull-aparts.

Finally, as somebody else mentioned with the yeast. The old Panasonic didn't have a dispenser. I use the Laucke bread flour (I always use flour specifically for bread making) and get the multigrain. Sometimes I add extra grains. In the old breadmakers, you usually followed the order of adding ingredients. Some had water first, some last. With multigrain, I would put my water in first, then my flour and finally the yeast on top, that way, while it 'rested' before starting the kneading process, the flour would start to absorb the water a bit and it helps soften the grain, apparently. (Great for overnight) It's always worked for me.

Sorry for such a long post. Kind of obvious I love my breadmaker? lol

Michael Lowe

Wednesday 16th of February 2022

You can’t be serious? A fifty pence white loaf contains about 14 ingredients ,one of them solely to make the flour absorb more water. Disgusting pap that you wouldn’t feed to a dead dog. A solid investment worth every Penny.

Nikki

Monday 31st of January 2022

I have owned and regularly used my Panasonic SD253 breadmaker for 20 or so years. We love it so much we recently bought a nearly new one from a charity shop the other day for only £25!!! I couldn't believe it was the same model! Another throwaway from a lockdown hobby perhaps??? We have made fruit breads, dough for rolls and pizza and all sorts of daily bread. It doesn't save us money because we eat thicker slices because it's so yummy......I like knowing what goes into my bread and it is a healthier option than many supermarket loaves......all flours and fats not being equal..... It does matter whether you measure your ingredients carefully or not, as an imbalance in sugar, salt and yeast ratio can be disastrous. When cooked we turn the bread upside down and just shake it and it comes out easily. Unless any of the non stick coating has been scratched off the paddle.....then it's not so easy!

Charlie H

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

My mother in law bought me my Panasonic in 1988. The old girl makes two loaves à week. I have never had a mechanical problem with it. She made a splendid loaf of gingerbread tonight for Christmas breakfast.

Michael Nix

Tuesday 14th of December 2021

We've had our Panasonic for at least 12 years and use it at least twice a week for seeded wholemeal loaf and pizza dough. The only problem we have is that as the pan is now old the bread sticks when done, but ours came with a grooved spatula that you just slide down the grooves on the pan and this releases the bread. For vegans, I use one and a half tablespoons of rapeseed oil instead of butter. In fact this gives a nice flavour so I use it for my own loaves too!

Monica

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

Oh that's good to know about the vegan loaf, thank you, I'll give that a try!