This bread maker is kind of severe-looking, but at least takes up less counter space than many comparable machines. A smallish window, along with an interior light, improves insulation while still letting you see how things are coming along.
With a boxy exterior made from stainless steel, it’s also very easy to keep clean even in a crowded kitchen prone to splatters. Unfortunately, the casing isn’t very solid and you can actually feel it yielding under finger pressure.
One of its better features is a very simple and in fact self-explanatory LCD interface which includes a rotating selection knob, while other options rely only on buttons. Instead of having to look up what a number means, you can select what kind and size of loaf you’re baking using words and graphics.
Deluxe Bread, Here We Come!
An integrated fruit, seed and nut dispenser that holds about ¾ cup further expands this machine’s possibilities. Adding these ingredients at the right time helps to disperse them properly without crushing them. Some people find this accessory to be a little wonky, so it’s recommended that you follow the manual’s instructions closely: don’t exceed its capacity, and don’t use too-small items or those that will tend to stick.
In addition, the user manual includes about 60 recipes, some of which seem quite nice. These will get you started with basic loaves including gluten- and yeast-free options, pizza and pasta dough as well as chutneys and jams. The Breville BBM800XL has dedicated settings for each of these, taking much of the guesswork out of getting good results every time.
If you want to conduct some culinary experiments of your own, you can also enter your own programs. The machine stores up to 9 of these. Somewhat unusually, you can also set temperatures for the rise, bake and keep warm phases
All the Essentials
As with all the bread machines we’ve selected for a review, you can make use of a timer to delay the start of your chosen baking schedule. To help you keep track of what the machine is doing, a buzzer beeps every time a new part of the baking process is entered. Importantly, though, and unlike many of its peers, the Breville gives you the option of muting this sound. This is done by default in delay-start mode, which you’ll appreciate when you’ve set it to have breakfast ready at 5 a.m. Overall, it’s on the quiet side for a bread maker anyway, even while kneading.
Should the power trip momentarily during the night, your Breville should still get where it’s going, as a one-hour memory backup allows it to resume where it left off.
A Special Mixing Blade
One very notable feature of this machine is a self-folding kneading paddle. A major flaw many bread makers share is that the mixing spatula gets baked into the bottom center of your loaf, leaving a hole. Depending on your dough recipe and your luck on the day, it can actually tear out quite a large chunk, spoiling the appearance of several slices.
This paddle lies flat against the bottom after kneading is complete. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work all that well, especially with denser, stickier doughs. Still, it beats having to manually remove the paddle after the dough has risen, which kind of spoils the idea of having a fully automatic bread maker.
This paddle doesn’t have a separate motor for raising and lowering it. At least in theory, it’s supposed to pop up by itself when the machine is kneading and drop down before baking, when the stirring direction is briefly reversed. In practice, one or the other of these doesn’t always occur – it’s definitely recommended that you set the paddle upright before placing ingredients in the pan. It also makes cleaning more difficult, as dough tends to gum up the hinge. A rigid -blade is included too, but is made of fragile plastic and should be used only with the “Jam” setting, not for kneading dough.
Due to the range of settings you can select, the ability to customize these and the automatic fruit and nut dispenser, your sandwiches need never be boring again. If you find yourself in a hurry, you’ll need about 2½ hours to bake a basic loaf, so you’re better off planning ahead and using the delay start function. If this kind of flexibility is a concern for you, something like the Sunbeam or Cuisinart CBK-200 may suit you better.
On the other hand, this Breville has dedicated settings for baking a snack-sized loaf of only 1 pound in weight, or a family-friendly one as large as 2½ lbs. The pan’s shape is also more elongated than with most bread makers and produces loaves resembling those you can buy in the store. Those coming out of machines like the Sunbeam are arguably too wide for use in a toaster or making convenient hand-held sandwiches.
Though it’s not as well-built as the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus – you shouldn’t, for instance, toss the non-stick aluminum pan into the dishwasher – the quality of the Breville is pretty high overall and it’s therefore suitable for a family that wants to use it several times a week.
- Simple interface
- Customizable baking programs
- 4 size options
- Makes longer, flatter loaves
- Too expensive for only occasional use
- Bottom of loaf browns much more quickly than top
- Fold-down paddle doesn't always