$199, from major electrical stores
Features: 12 preset functions; makes 500g, 750g and 1kg loaves.
This dough hook was the only one that stayed firmly in the machine when I tugged the bread out. The base of the loaves still tore a little but I could live with this; in comparison, I ended up ripping apart the bread made in the other two machines while trying to dig the hooks out.
The control panel was fairly easy to navigate, but the button icons were not clear – I mistook the larger Rapid-bake button for the Start button, resulting in a denser loaf the first time round.
The hard crust was brown below but pale at the top. The top of the loaf was cracked, and a layer of crust stuck along the sides of the pan. While the inside was cooked, the bread was a little too moist.
This fared better. The bread was browned on all sides, although the top was a little pasty. It had air pockets scattered about, although the bread was a little stodgy.
My favourite of the lot – it had bits of strawberry in it, and a mild tang from the lemon juice I used.
7.5/10. Makes better jam than bread.
SEVERIN BM 3990 [Great Find]
$179, from major electrical stores
Features: 12 preset functions; makes 500g and 1kg loaves.
The buttons have clear icons, so it’s easy to figure out how to set the programme, loaf size and browning level. The biggest problem: The dough hook was lodged in the loaves, making them a challenge to prise out without ripping the bread.
The crust was tough and hard, even though I followed the recipe provided. While the bottom browned quite well, the top was pale, with the outermost layers a tad undercooked.
The best of the lot, with a thin, country-style crust that was evenly brown. The bread was considerably more airy than those made in the other two machines. It also had the most complex flavour – a subtle sweetness with a faint sour tinge.
I used strawberry chunks and this bread-maker did an exceptional job at mixing and cooking them down to a smooth, puree-like consistency.
8/10. Best for wholemeal bread and making a smooth jam.
$188, from major electrical stores
Features: 12 preset functions; makes only 500g loaves.
Unlike the other two machines, which had icons to indicate loaf size and crust level, this one had “light” and “dark” labels, with indicator lights beside each one.
It wins hands down for being so straightforward and foolproof. This bread-maker is also the only one that lets you make yogurt.
The loaf had a strikingly pale crust on top, and was under-baked at the bottom, with traces of uncooked flour at one corner. The flavour was lacking too.
The crust was light brown and just a tad hard. The bread was the densest of the lot, and a little undercooked on the bottom edge, although it had good flavour.
It came out quite smooth, in a beautiful deep red. It was just a little less sweet than the jam cooked in the Severin bread- maker.
7/10. Easy to use, but the loaves were mediocre.
This article was first published in Simply Her September 2015.