A relatively expensive breadmaker that produces consistently good results, but there's better Panasonic models
There’s nothing particularly fancy about Panasonic’s SD-2511. It’s a simple, unfussy design, but the no-nonsense approach produces some impressive results. It’s available in both black and white, we tested the black model (around £160) but the functionally identical white version is inexplicably available for around £30 less.
The bread maker is tall and relatively slim. I preferred it to the squatter bread makers I’ve seen, as it means the SD-2511 takes up significantly less space on your kitchen worktop. It may be a problem if you want to hide your bread maker away in a cupboard, however.
The SD-2511’s plain design hides all the features you could need. There’s an automatic fruit and nut dispenser for speciality loaves, and the bread maker will automatically adjust its baking program according to the ambient temperature of your kitchen; leaving the bread to rise for longer in colder environments, for example.
The SD-2511 comes with two bread paddles, one of which is specifically for rye bread, measuring spoons and two measuring cups, which can also double as storage for sourdough starter. The bread maker’s overall unfussy design extends to the manual, too. In some ways it would have been nice to see a full-colour booklet with appetising photos of different types of bread on a machine this expensive, but the SD-2511’s simple booklet does the job. After a brief overview of why the various ingredients you use in a bread maker matter, you’re given simple instructions on how to use the machine followed by 33 bread, jam and compote recipes.
The standard recipes are simple: you just need to add yeast, flour, salt, sugar, butter and water to the bread pan. There’s no need for milk powder or eggs, for example. Out of all the designs I’ve seen, Panasonic’s pan is the easiest to fit into the bread maker: it just drops in, and you use a quick bayonet twist to lock it into place. Likewise, the fruit and nut dispenser is easy to remove and stick on your scales to measure out ingredients or to clean.
The interface is simple, too. There are dedicated buttons to choose the bread recipe, the size of loaf and how baked, or dark, you like your crust. After that, you just need to set the delay timer in 10-minute chunks; put your ingredients in at 11pm, set the timer for 8 hours and your bread will be ready and fresh at 7am. Bear in mind that it will need a while to cool on a wire rack, so make sure you get it out of the pan before your shower.
When it comes to the bread I baked, the SD-2511 was all about consistency. Using standard Tesco strong flour, white, wholemeal and raisin breads all came out perfectly shaped, and I had no problems with bread rising too much and collapsing, as on other bread makers I’ve tested.
The white loaf was evenly baked on the crust, with a pleasant fluffy texture. There were some small air holes, but nothing too drastic. The bread itself was very slightly chewy, however. My wholemeal loaf came out perfectly shaped, with a reasonably even texture inside, and the bread was tasty with a slightly stretchy, chewy consistency.
The star of the show was definitely the raisin loaf, which was just lovely. It had a fluffy texture, sweet taste and an even distribution of fruit throughout the loaf; the fruit distribution was even better once I read the instructions properly and cut all the raisins in half before baking.
The Panasonic SD-2511 is easy to use and produces consistently good, if not outstanding, standard bread loaves. I was particularly impressed with the raisin bread, too. I feel that the Panasonic SD-ZB2512’s superior white loaves make it worth the extra cash in the long run, but some might balk at the additional £60 upfront. Buy Now from Amazon.
|Fruit and nut dispenser
|Number of programs
|Time to make standard medium white loaf
|Time to make standard medium wholemeal loaf
|Custom bake memory
|Wheat bread paddle, rye bread paddle, 2x measuring/sourdough cups, measuring spoon, sourdough starter spoon
|Making white loaf peak
|Energy used for white loaf
|One year RTB