An expensive bread maker, but one that produces consistently excellent loaves
Fruit and nut dispenser: Yes (+ yeast dispenser), Number of programs: 33, Time to make standard medium white loaf: 4h
The SD-ZB2512 is Panasonic’s top-of-the-range bread maker, and it certainly looks fancier than the rest of the range. I particularly like the contrast between the shiny metal body and gloss black lid and control panel. Its tall, skinny proportions mean it has a smaller footprint than many bread makers I’ve seen, so you’re more likely to find space for it on your kitchen counter.
Like the cheaper SD-2511, review coming soon, the ZB2512 has a built-in fruit and nut dispenser, which will add your extra ingredients automatically at the right moment in the baking cycle. Unlike its cheaper sibling, the ZB2512 also has an automatic yeast dispenser. This will add the yeast at just the right moment, so you don’t have to worry about it interacting with the other ingredients in the bread pan and activating too early. It also has an ambient temperature sensor, so will adjust its baking program according to the amount of heat in the kitchen.
The bread maker comes with two measuring spoons and a couple of measuring cups, both of which have lids so can be used to store starter dough for sourdough bread. The manual is similar to the SD-2511’s, but the more expensive bread maker’s instructions are at least in colour. The manual is clear and easy to follow, and the ingredients lists for standard bread recipes such as white and wholemeal are nice and simple. You shouldn’t have any problems buying bread flour, salt, sugar, butter and bread machine yeast in your supermarket.
The bread maker’s control panel is simple and easy to use. There’s no fiddling required to fit the bread pan, and it locks into place with a slight twist. After that, just press the menu button until you get to the recipe you want, choose a small, medium or large loaf, select how dark you like your crust and press Start. You can also set the delay timer for your loaf, so it will be ready to take out up to 13 hours in the future.
The only fiddly part is adding the yeast; unlike the fruit and nut dispenser, which is removable to make it easy to measure out your ingredients, the yeast dispenser is fixed in place, and my natural cackhandedness meant some granules always missed the hole.
I was slightly sceptical about the yeast dispenser, but it did make a difference to the bread the machine produced. Just like the cheaper Panasonic SD-2511, the ZB2512 produced consistently evenly risen and well-baked loaves, but the white loaf in particular was a revelation. It was excellent bread, lovely and light and fluffy, with no hint of chewiness. The wholemeal has a consistent texture, too, which made it easier to cut cleanly than most. The raisin bread had an even distribution of fruit and was delicious.
It may be expensive, but I’m a big fan of the Panasonic SD-ZB2512. It’s the only bread maker I’ve seen with an automatic yeast dispenser, and this helped the machine produce consistently excellent loaves of bread. It’s a superb bread maker and a Best Buy. Buy the Panasonic SD-ZB2512 now from John Lewis or check out our buying guide and all our award-winning bread makers.
|Fruit and nut dispenser||Yes (+ yeast dispenser)|
|Number of programs||33|
|Time to make standard medium white loaf||4h|
|Time to make standard medium wholemeal loaf||5h|
|Custom bake memory||None|
|Accessories included||Wheat kneading blade, rye kneading blade, 2x measuring/sourdough cups, measuring spoon, sourdough starter spoon|
|Making white loaf peak||568W|
|Energy used for white loaf||0.41kWh|
|Warranty||One year RTB|