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Russell Hobbs Breadmaker 18036 review

Chris Finnamore
10 Jun 2016
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
45

A cheap and no-frills breadmaker, but the results are underwhelming

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Specifications

Fruit and nut dispenser: None, Number of programs: 12, Time to make standard medium white loaf: 3h 20m

Along with Kenwood’s BM260, the Russell Hobbs 18036 is the most compact breadmaker I’ve reviewed. At under £50, it’s also among the cheapest, along with the recently-reduced Morphy Richards Fastbake Cooltouch.

It’s apparent where savings have been made. The breadmaker comes with a flimsy measuring cup, and the manual is back to basics: there’s not even space to print recipes in neat tables, so they can be tricky to follow at first. The manual also doesn’t have any recipes for raisin or fruit bread, which is unusual. 

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The wipe-clean control panel, with its flush buttons, sits on the top of the unit so you don’t have to bend down too much, but the tiny display isn’t especially easy to read. It does the job, however, with just a few keypresses needed to set the recipe, loaf size, crust colour and the amount of time before you want your loaf to be ready.

The display doesn’t show you where you are in the baking cycle, and there’s no breakdown of the timings for each bread recipe, so it’ll be tricky to add any extra ingredients if you’re making a custom loaf.

I wasn’t keen on the way you fit the bread pan. On most breadmakers I’ve looked at, the baking chamber has a bayonet fitting at the bottom, so you drop the pan into place and give it a twist to lock it. The 18036 has no bayonet and just relies on friction, so you have to jam the pan down until it sticks. This makes it harder to know when the pan is properly in place, and it also makes it more of a challenge to remove at the end of the baking cycle.

The bread recipes are straightforward, requiring only skimmed milk powder on top of the usual flour, oil, yeast, salt, sugar and water. I was able to buy everything I needed in the supermarket.

During operation, the 18036 doesn’t wobble around like the Sage Custom Loaf, but it’s nonetheless quite noisy. During the kneading phase it makes strained whizzing noises like a poor impression of a moped.

The white loaf looked fantastic straight out of the breadmaker. It was evenly-risen, and the inside showed a generally even texture with hardly any air holes. The bread was denser at the bottom of the loaf, however, and it didn’t have the light, fluffy texture I look for.

The wholemeal loaf was just about acceptable. It was uneven on the top, where some parts had risen more than others, but there was no sign of collapse. I found the bread to have a rather rubbery texture, though.

I also tried the bread’s Fastbake setting, which can make a loaf in just 55 minutes. Unfortunately, this was underbaked, doughy and not very nice at all.

The Russell Hobbs 18036 is a reasonable no-frills breadmaker for the price, but none of the loaves it produced were particularly impressive. At this price the Morphy Richards Fastbake Cooltouch is a better buy, thanks to the far superior white loaves it can produce. For good wholemeal loaves your budget options are far more limited, check our Best bread makers for more options. Buy Now from Amazon


Features
Timer typeDelay
Fruit and nut dispenserNone
Number of programs12
Time to make standard medium white loaf3h 20m
Time to make standard medium wholemeal loaf3h 50m
Custom bake memoryNone
Accessories includedBread paddle
Dimensions (HxWxD)300x310x320mm
Weight5kg
Power usage
Standby0.5W
Making white loaf peak665W
Energy used for white loaf0.40kWh
Buying information
WarrantyTwo years RTB
Detailswww.russellhobbs.com
Part Code18036

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