The day that my bread maker was unpacked was a great one in more ways than one. I had my own bun in the oven and labour started the night before this acquisition. I had wanted a bread maker for a few years but had heard many friends say that it was a white elephant and that they hardly used them. I read reviews and narrowed the choice down to Mellarware and Russell Hobbs purely on price. I was told that Panasonic was the best but this was a lot more expensive and out of the budget. I was a little nervous about Russell Hobbs, their appliances are by far the most sexy looking but after spending almost 2k on 2 pretty glass kettles and 2 stick blenders over 6 years all of which died and gave endless hassles before doing so I was a little apprehensive.
I chanced upon a Russell Hobbs ‘Breadman Jnr’ at Checkers Hyper and the regular price was the same as the special price which I had seen advertised at other stores. Cliff was given this information in a not so subtle manner and being the smart fella that he is deciphered the hint and bought me one.
When this exciting and eagerly anticipated box arrived on Saturday morning I could not wait to play with my toy. I spent time reading the enclosed recipes and instructions then set off to buy yeast. At this point I was trying to ignore what were most certainly contractions. The inaugural loaf was started and the countdown timer showed that we would have bread in 2h35. However while this was on the go I decided that it may be a good idea to pop into the hospital regarding the contractions, the nurses hooked me up to a machine and confirmed that baby was on the way and I was not going home to my fresh bread. Cliff duly joined me in the maternity ward and brought me a slice of fresh bread. Acacia arrived at 1am the following morning.
To those who don’t know much about bread makers here’s a quick run down. To make bread prep time is 5 mins max, you chuck the ingredients into the pan which has a kneading blade at the base, set it for the cycle you want and when it’s done out comes a baked loaf of bread. The smell while it is baking is heavenly. I also get great use out of the dough cycle making naan bread, cinnabons (awesome!), vetkoek dough, hot cross buns (the best) & pizza bases. This week I made rolls for the 1st time, just put it on the dough cycle then made balls rolled them in sesame seeds and baked them in the oven, lovely with soup. The machines have a timer, before bed you can set it to have bread ready in the morning and it kicks into action while you sleep. This time Russell Hobbs has not let me down and I love the machine. My only little gripe is that when making bread about halfway through you can add olives, raisins, nuts or whatever and the machine gives an almost inaudible little peep to tell you when to add those. I never hear it so don’t do those much, the Mellarware which was our other choice had a dispenser which would have added them automatically.
Another thing which makes it a real winner is that we often go away on self catering holidays, these places are often not near to a good shop and finding bread and rolls was always a bit of a hassle. Now when we go away the bread maker comes on holiday with us.
I have had the machine for 2 years now, on average I use it about twice a week and it is most certainly not a white elephant. I highly recommend them!
PS if anyone want’s the dough recipes which I’ve mentioned I would be happy to share them
Update 6/5/14 – Sadly this machine did not last very long after 3 years the stop / pause button stopped working. After 3.5 years the oil seal gave in completely after being iffy for a while. When I phoned Russell Hobbs about replacing the seal a few months ago they did have a replacement in stock but are far from where I live and I never got there. I was amazed by the comment “That is a very OLD machine” 3 years is not OLD, my Kenwood Chef is about 30 years old, my Krups hand held beater is about 35 they are OLD and they still work without a moments trouble. Russell Hobbs do clearly not make things to last. When the seal finally fell to pieces I was told that they do not carry replacement parts. I did complain on FB and when I phoned again as instructed I was told that I can replace the whole pan, they have 1 left in stock, the price for the pan is R302.22!!! I’m sorry that’s just plain rip off, and not worth it as the machine is faulty anyway. I have replaced the machine with a Mellarware which I am very happy with, but would have liked to have the Russell Hobbs as a spare for when we go on self catering trips, I’m also sad to bin it as it was a special part of the day that Acacia was born.