Panasonic quality that consistently turns out beautiful, delicious loaves of bread. I just love that this machine has the option of baking an extra-large, 2.5-pound loaf, which lets me save on energy-use. No other home bread machine I have seen makes such a large loaf.
Also, it is amazing how quietly this machine operates. The first time I had the machine on and the paddle started kneading (after a silent resting period), I was standing in the kitchen three feet away from the machine, heard a faint repeating hum, and thought that there was something happening down my street — it’s that quiet!
I am delighted to find that the rubber feet on the machine do work: the machine does not vibrate enough to “walk” while kneading (as my old Breadman did), so it can safely stay on my countertop during operation (unlike my Breadman, which I had to put on the floor).
Some reviews have said that measuring flour and water by volume instead of weight lead to poor results, but I have used volume measurements on all the loaves and every loaf has turned out perfectly — no problems at all. I even tried varying the amount of flour in a recipe by 1/4 cup to test “tolerance” for inaccurate measurement, and the loaves still came out perfectly, with no noticeable variation from the loaf made with strict attention to measurement.
- Pan stays in place in the machine.
- Pan is exceptionally sturdy and thick. (Much better than the thin, tin buckets of the Magic Chef and the Breadman) It is easy to clean too.
- You can actually achieve a crispy crust.
- Yeast dispenser. I didn’t think of this as a ‘pro’ at first, but it means you don’t need to be as careful about order of ingredients into the pan.
- QUIET. Sometimes I don’t know if the kneading has begun until I hear the yeast dispenser click to release the yeast.
- The smallest loaf is size M approx. a 1.5 lb (3C of flour) loaf. I was disappointed at first, thinking that the M loaf would be too large for the two of us. But the 1.5lb is just right for two people. You’ll have a bit left over, so you won’t feel like such an oinker when you gobble up all the fresh bread.
- The instructions are readable and very clear. The recipes now come with the volume measurements as well as weights. This was a complaint in earlier reviews. Has a nice chart of bread results (sticky, collapsed, flour on top of bread, etc.) and the probable causes. Great for beginners.
- The rest cycle can’t be taken out. Although there is a pizza dough cycle that begins kneading right away and takes 45 minutes. If you’re going to try to bake a french loaf in the machine, your going to need 5-6 hours.
- Because the rest cycle is dependent on ambient temperature, the timing of the cycles aren’t exact. The ‘rest’ period (where the ingredients are brought to optimal temperature) for the basic mode is approx. 30-60 minutes.You can see what this would do to the timed portions of the cycle.
- No autolayse feature so if you are a crazed, fancy bread making fiend, the Panasonic machine may not be for you.
- You can’t program your own cycle, other than size, crust darkness and bread type. See bread making fiend comment above.
Remember – you can make a lot of kinds of bread in a bread machine. You don’t just need the recipes in the manual. I recommend Rustic Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine. It’s great fun.