I have a Panasonic SD2500 bread maker and it literally gets used everyday! Each evening I put bread on using the timer and it finishes baking at 6.30am the following morning.
When we awake in the morning you can smell the gorgeous aroma of fresh bread. It is a pleasure to make the kids sandwiches with this bread - it is so healthy - not full of additives. I use a mix of half wholemeal flour and half white flour - I find this nice and light but it still has the fibre of the wholemeal bread.
At the weekend I love to make what I call my "speciality" breads (post here) - garlic bread, olive bread, stilton bread, garlic & cheese bread, ham and mustard bread to name a few.
I also use the bread maker for making pizza dough. My garlic pizzas and homemade pizzas are so popular with my kids and their friends. Making pizza is a great way to involve the kids in cooking and they get to make a pizza with their favourite toppings on - no more picking out the bits they don't like. The great thing is I'm really popular with their friends - to quote my daughters best friend "all the food you make is lush" - I felt like I'd really made it, getting approval from a teenager!
Check out my post here on how to make pizza:-
Tips for buying a bread maker:-
1. Check out the recipe book, does it cover everything you want to make. Some bread makers can makes jams & cakes as well as bread. You may be interested in gluten free breads or speciality breads such as Italian or French.
2. What are the ingredients - are they easy to purchase with your weekly shop. If there are obscure items you will find difficult to source the chances are you won't bother!
3. Are the measurements easy - I prefer grams and ounces rather than cups but that's my personal choice. As long as you are comfortable with the measurements then that's fine!
4. Does it have a timer - I think this is really important as you can set the bread to finish at a time to suit you. It may suit you to put bread on the morning and come home from work to freshly baked bread!
5. Can you bake different sized loaves - I think this is important especially if I have friends coming round I can bake a larger loaf.
Tips for using the Bread maker:-
1. Familiarize yourself with the timer option. By understanding the option it will ensure your bread is ready when you want it.
2. Use good fresh ingredients - strong bread flour is the best.
3. Add the ingredients in the order they are shown in the recipe.
4. Measure accurately to ensure the perfect loaf!