Today’s blog post is a Panasonic bread maker review where I share how I make fresh bread every day. I get it. I never thought I would be like this either! No one is more surprised than me that I make fresh bread almost every day.
I bought a Panasonic bread maker two years ago. I was hesitant to buy a bread maker. That’s because I felt like it was just another expensive kitchen item that would clutter up my cupboard once the novelty wore off.
We asked the lovely people on Instagram what they thought and it was a 50/50 split. Some people said they loved their bread maker and used it every day, while others said they rarely used it once the initial excitement wore off.
Sam was the driving force behind my decision to buy a bread maker. Can you believe it, he’s the one who got bored with his bread maker and hasn’t used it in over a year!
But for me, I love it. It’s not perfect, but I can’t live without it and I’m so glad I bought it.
The Panasonic SD-ZB2512KXC
I really don’t understand why Panasonic doesn’t come up with a catchier name for their bread maker!
I chose a Panasonic bread maker. After reading reviews online, I found that other brands of bread machines are unreliable and can break easily. To be honest, Panasonic’s bread maker is similar (as you can see from my review below). I bought my bread maker in store from John Lewis as they are always good when it comes to returns and repairing defective items. Amazon also accepts returns, but I like the ease of taking it to John Lewis rather than having to deal with packaging and shipping.
I’ll include a link to Amazon, which is £30 cheaper than John Lewis. I think John Lewis will be good value for money, but it would be interesting to look at all the reviews on Amazon (currently over 2,000 reviews, 89% give him a 5*)
The latest version of Panasonic’s bread maker is very similar, but with a horizontal design. This is a much nicer design as it fits on your kitchen worktop and can be pressed flush against the wall when not in use!
It looks pretty much the same as the one I have, other than the new landscape design.
The bread maker is larger than you think, so be careful when purchasing it. Initially, I placed it on the countertop, but since it’s not a very beautiful kitchen appliance, I replaced the cupboard to make room for it in the cupboard. This works well for us, but it’s a large appliance that we have to store every day. The ideal location is if you have a utility room!
The bread maker is so easy to use
- Just put the ingredients in the basin and place it inside the bread maker.
- You can add the yeast individually to the top and the machine will slowly dispense it at the perfect time.
- Please select the size to make
- Please select the doneness of the bread
- Press start or choose a timed delay (great for setting it the night before to wake up to freshly baked bread!)
- A medium-sized loaf will take 4 hours from start to finish
- I usually set it to just make the dough (2 hours and 20 minutes), then let it rise and put it in my molds (more on this below!)
Our bread maker bread recipe
The Panasonic SD-ZB2512 Bread Maker came with an instruction booklet with lots of recipes. We still use the “basic bread” recipe from this book.
For a medium loaf, add:
- strong flour 400g
- 1×1 teaspoon sugar
- 1×1 teaspoon of salt
- 15g unsalted butter (vegan butter is also OK)
- 280ml water
- 3/4 teaspoon yeast
Mama Hack Tip
if you have a baby, please note that 280ml is the exact size of the Tommee Tippee bottle. I don’t think ingredient measurements need to be that precise, but if you have bottles kicking around the house, it’s worth keeping as a super easy way to measure water!
Tips to speed up using the Panasonic Bread Maker
As you can see, using a bread maker is super quick and easy, but there are some additional tips to make it even faster.
We recommend keeping all your baking ingredients in a box along with your scale. Having everything in place will speed up your work. I kept my ingredients in separate cupboards around the kitchen. Salt went with spices, sugar with tea and coffee, flour with baking supplies and measuring spoons. Only God knew where my measuring spoon was. Now that we have everything, it’s even less of a hassle.
Using your bread maker to just make dough
This is something I do often because I like to make two mini loaves (and also because I think my bread maker is malfunctioning; more on that later).
I make the dough in the bread maker, but I don’t leave it to rise and bake. My bread maker has a setting that just makes the dough, and I believe most bread makers are the same.
Then take it out, cut the dough in half and place it in two small loaf pans.
Place a plastic bag over the loaf pan and let the dough rise for about 90 minutes, then put it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Having two small loaves is perfect for my family. I have three young children with my girlfriend, so afternoon snacks are essential. I usually make the bread around 2pm so the kids have it by the time they get out of school. She eats one loaf right away and then she eats one loaf for breakfast the next morning. This is a great option if you don’t want to eat all the bread at once, as fresh bread doesn’t stay fresh for long.
The Panasonic SD-ZB2512 is unpredictable
The reason I started using my bread maker just to make dough was because after about 18 months it became unpredictable. Some days the bread baked perfectly, other days it didn’t rise properly and was soggy and undercooked. It was so disappointing to wait patiently for 4 hours for the bread and it came soggy. 80% of the time it’s perfect, 10% of the time it’s okay but a little too heavy, and 10% of the time I think it’s inedible.
I’m sure I could have taken it back to John Lewis, but at this point we were in the middle of lockdown so I honestly didn’t mind the hassle.
I tried buying all new ingredients and different brands and 20% of the time it still didn’t work.
eventually I realized it was due to yeast. I bought a large 100g can of yeast, but it must have gone bad in a few weeks. So I switched to sachets of yeast and haven’t had any problems since!
You can also buy sachets of yeast in bulk at a reasonable price. Each sachet is about 4-5 loaves, so each one lasts about a week, which is great.
Using your breadmaker for pizza dough
Yes, you can also make pizza dough in a bread maker. I’ve only actually done it a few times, but it was really good.
What else can you use your bread maker for?
To be honest, I’ve never tried to use a bread maker for these purposes, but you can also use it to make things like:
jam and compote
gluten free bread
bread with lots of cheese
There are also many dough recipes for making croissants, buns, hot cross buns, tea cakes, French sticks, pizza, focaccia, and more.
Some things to be aware of when using your Panasonic bread maker
Remove your bread quickly
Once the bread is finished, you should remove it from the bread maker as soon as possible. If you leave it in the can, the bread will become soggy. It’s best to place them on a wire cooling rack as soon as you’re done. This isn’t a big deal, but it means you can’t really go out by the time you finish your bread.
My plan was to set the bread to finish baking at 6 a.m so it would be cold and ready to eat by the time my family wakes up at 7 a.m. I tried that once, and the bread cooled down, but it was still soggy and wet, so I won’t do it again!
It takes a forceful wiggle to remove it from the tin
It will take some effort to remove the bread from the mold. The first time I used the bread machine, I thought the bread might be sticking, so I used a knife to pry it from the side of the tin. I ended up damaging the can and couldn’t get the bread out!
Now I know that a good shake works best. Allowing the bread to cool slightly will make it easier to bake, but if you leave it out for too long, it will become soggy.
I mention this because I think people, especially those who are frail, may have a hard time getting the bread out of the tin.
You won’t save loads of money
One thing to note is that using a bread maker is not the cheapest way to obtain bread. It’s a little cheaper, especially if your bread maker lasts a long time (though if you read reviews online, you’ll see that bread makers rarely last more than 3-5 years), but there’s a risk that your bread maker won’t last longer there is.
- My bread maker was £200.
- A bag of strong white bread flour is about 1 pound, and it makes about 4 medium-sized loaves, or about 8 of the mini-sized loaves I make.
- Dry yeast costs £1 and will keep for years.
- Salted butter costs around £1.50 and makes about 10 medium loaves
- You will also need a teaspoon of salt and sugar.
So it probably costs around 0.40p to make your own bread. Yes, it does save you money, and it’s definitely cheaper than the delicious fresh bread you buy at your local convenience store.
However, if you’re considering buying a bread maker purely to get the cheapest bread, then you’re probably better off sticking to a supermarket own brand that costs around £0.50.
I think the bread I make is better than the bread from the local co-op. I love the convenience of not having to go to the store, especially during a pandemic when she has three young children!
Of course, you can also buy a cheaper bread maker. Morphy Richards bread maker is on sale for his £60 and has great reviews on Amazon!
It makes me feel like Supermum
I’m not going to lie, baking fresh bread by the time my kids get home from school makes me feel like a super mom. Who wouldn’t want to come home from school and be greeted by freshly baked bread slathered in chocolate spread? It makes a great afternoon snack for the whole family and leaves the house smelling wonderful.
For more information on the bread makers I mentioned, check out the Amazon reviews to see what others are saying:
My Panasonic bread maker (£169)
Morphy Richards Fast Bake (£59)