Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sunbeam Bread Machine Review

About two months ago I bought a bread machine. I bought it for several reasons, but mainly that I HATE sugar in my bread. I could get sugar-free bread if I went to the bakery, but I don't have time to go every day and $5 a loaf could get expensive. So I set about researching bread machines. I research most purchases obsessively, but this one I couldn't decide on and didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I wasn't sure how much I would use, so I just went to Walmart and bought the cheapest one on the market for $40.

So far I am VERY happy with the way it works on both the "do-it-all" settings and the dough settings. I have not tried the quick bread setting yet, but will do so pretty soon. I really like that there is a timer on it so I can put the ingredients in at night and have the dough/bread ready in the morning.

Here are Some Pictures:

I bought the Sunbeam Bread Machine

Sunbeam Bread Machine


This is what the pan looks like. I don't like that it has teflon in it:

Bread Machine Pan


This is what I find annoying about this (or any) bread machine. If you let it run it's course of mixing, kneading, rising, and baking you end up with a little hole in your bread where the kneading blade is. This is pretty annoying because your sandwich will have a hole in it.

Middle of the a loaf of bread from Bread machine

BUT.....and this is how I use my bread machine most of the time. You can easily solve this problem by using the dough cycle of the bread machine to do all the mixing, kneading, rising work for you, and then take it out and put it in a shape/pan you want.

Focaccia

Some things that I think you really need to make your bread machine even more useful is:
* A Peel
* A Good Bread Pan (I like a cast iron bread pan)
* A pizza stone (for unshaped breads like focaccia)
* A good bread machine book - so far I like Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine

If you are wondering how much a bread machine can save you by making your own bread, you can visit some of the blog posts about bread baking on the King Arthur Flour Blog. Their recipes, like this one for Ciabatta always include the cost calculations for the recipe.

3 comments:

Noo said...

We've had the same machine for about a year. It's fun once you get used to its quirks. I rate the bread it makes when you use their baking cycle B+. If you make bread dough in the dough cycle then shape the dough and put it in the oven the result is better. Also, use the dough cycle to make pasta (with semolina flour), bagels, pretzels, Italian bread and all kinds of other things. It's more than a bread machine, it expands your baking range.

Noo said...

Oh, I forgot to add pizza. It makes a good pizza dough, which it's up to you to turn into pizza.

MaltaMom said...

Good to know it has lasted a year. I was wondering how long it would last. All of the things you mention are on my "to make list"

Today I tried doubling a recipe for some sandwich bread which put about 4 cups of flour in -- I think I was pushing it for the motor. It seemed to be having some problems, it just didn't sound the same as when I put less flour in it.

I tried using my non-bread machine pizza dough recipe on the dough cycle forgetting that mine usually makes so much - it ran all over the inside of the machine.

 
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