Wish you didn’t have to go outside for a new loaf of bread? That’s something technology can assist with, as we learned with the Panasonic SD-R2530 bread maker.
What is the Panasonic SD-R2530?
We wish Panasonic had actual names for its products, but that’s a story for another day, and one other companies have issues with as well. Moving on, the Panasonic SD-R2530 is one of Panasonic’s recent styles of bread maker, with a fruit and nut dispenser, plus an assortment of programs to turn wet and dry ingredients into a loaf of bread in a matter of hours, typically three and a bit.
You can go a little bit longer if you like, but that’s the goal with this machine: bread without thinking, made for a world in love with convenience.
What does it do?
And shock horror, Panasonic’s SD-R2530 bread maker makes bread. That’s what a bread maker is supposed to do, and like other bread makers, it can do a little more than simply making white bread.
You’ll find recipes covering 30 programs, but not 30 styles of bread. There isn’t the depth of crazy bread available in the world of “Sarah and Duck”, but you will find normal breads you may want to make, including white bread (basic), whole wheat, sourdough, brioche, and French, and you can use these with an assortment of recipes, not just your a standard cake mix. The manual even offers up a few you might want to use and tweak with your own styles, and there are options for loaf sizes — medium, large, and extra large — plus options for darker and stronger crusts, ranging from light to medium to dark.
It can also serve as a bit of a mixer at times, thanks to the way the bowl mixes ingredients, with a cake making mode and cake kneading option, and you can bake cakes in it as well, provided you don’t mind a rectangular looking cake.
Dough options are there, with basic doughs, sourdough, and pizza dough, saving your hands some effort, and like a bunch of the other bread makers on the market, the heat of the unit and the constant motion of the stirring blade can be used to make jam and compote. If you opt to make sourdough, Panasonic includes a cup, starter spoon, and measuring spoon to help you make a starter.
And for folks needing a gluten free option, there are modes for gluten free bread, gluten free cake, gluten free pizza dough, and even gluten free pasta dough, though you’ll still need to roll out the latter and slice it up yourself dependent on the type of pasta you want to make.
Does it do the job?
While much of this is similar to what other bread makers can already do, what makes Panasonic’s feel a little different is the use of two sensors, which attempts to account for the outside temperature in your kitchen (or where ever the bread machine is) by measuring both outside and inside the tiny oven of the bread maker.
Panasonic also talks up a slightly different kneading blade in the unit designed to mimic kneading techniques by an “artisan baker”, but we’re not sure that’s necessarily making the difference. While all our bread attempts were soft and fluffy, we’re not sure the blade would have necessarily made it softer or fluffier, despite the marketing suggesting that.
A fruit and nut dispenser at the top is also included, handy if you want to automatically have extras thrown into the bread, though we were more interested by how fuss-free the Panasonic SD-R2530 is.
While the manual will tell you to follow the steps of the recipe — and you should keep it around just in case — we ended up testing the ingredient outs of order inside the bowl, and the bread still turned up beautifully, resulting in lovely fresh bread whenever, even if we wanted it timed. You can actually do that if you like, setting the timer for up to 13 hours in advance, and waking up to fresh bread, like a beautiful scent-aware alarm clock.
What does it need?
What Panasonic needs to do, however, is make that bowl dishwasher friendly.
It’s such a minor issue, but the bowl and scraper — the bread pan and kneading blade — need to be washed with a soft sponge and dried, with Panasonic advising not to use warm water with soap or to submerge it in water.
We can get around this, and ideally, the bread shouldn’t leave too much mess when you pick it up and take it from the bread maker. But in a world where convenience is pretty much everything, including a machine that makes bread while you sleep, not being able to have your dishwasher clean the bread bowl is kind of a surprise. Minor issue, as it is.
More critically might be the size, because the Panasonic SD-R2530 bread maker takes up a reasonable amount of space on the kitchen counter.
We’re not sure much can get around this issue, because there’s basically an oven in there, but it’s a sizeable piece of kitchen real estate, and just worth knowing about in the first place.
Is it worth your money?
The thing about electronic automated bread makers these days is they tend to be quite affordable, with a quick glance on Amazon showing them as low as $80. Of course, they can also be as high as $400, which is where Panasonic’s SD-R2530 edges close to.
Priced at $359 in Australia and with a street price not far from that cost, the SD-R2530 is one of the more expensive consumer-grade bread makers out there, though if you fancy a loaf regularly of nearly any kind, plus some extra things, such as jam or pizza dough, it could be a handy gadget to have.
Yay or nay?
If you have the room and the money to spend, plus the desire to make bread without touching much in the way of dough, a mixer, and an oven, Panasonic’s bread maker is a great way to do it, with good loafs all around.
While a little on the large side, Panasonic’s SD-R2530 does a great job, delivering great bread without thinking.
You could, of course, do it the old fashioned way. You can get your dry ingredients — flour, years, sugar, salt — and mix it with your wet, and you could knead it by hand, wait for it to rise, come back and knead it again, wait for it to rise, and then bake. And you could take the kneading by hand out of the equation and get a stand mixer to help out as well.
But if you want to take that manual process out of the equation, Panasonic’s SD-R2530 can let you get on with your day, and still have a perfectly great loaf.