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Lakeland digital bread maker review: A good-value gadget for loaves, cakes and pizza bases

A little less fancy than pricier rivals, but it could be all you knead...

Tamara Hinson
Monday 28 March 2022 16:50
<p>The 12 programs vary from gluten-free and wholewheat to crusty French bread </p>

The 12 programs vary from gluten-free and wholewheat to crusty French bread

TV shows, such as The Great British Bake Off, have created a nation of bakers, and as a result, sales of bread makers are through the roof.

If you’ve never used a bread maker before, the good news is that they’re easy to work. The bad news? Choosing the right one can be a bit of a minefield.

There’s a growing number of gadgets which make more than just fresh loaves – some models have over 20 programmes and can whip up not only different types of bread, but jams, cake and even chutneys. In other words, it’s important to think about what you’ll be using the machine for, without discounting features which could prove an unexpected bonus.

Common features – and ones which are pretty much essential when it comes to baking bread – include power outage functions and delayed timers. The former will ensure the baking process continues in the event of a short power cut, while the latter is ideal for getting fresh bread made for a certain time.

Before we kick off with our review, we’ve got some top tips for baking brilliance from Val Stones, a former star of the Great British Bake Off and Stannah’s home baking expert. She says, “Temperature affects the result of your bake more than most people realise. Ensure your kitchen is not too cold and check that all your ingredients are at room temperature, including water or milk. The time settings in each programme are set for ambient temperature, and if it takes an extra 10 minutes to warm up the ingredients, the heat cycle will switch off before the prove is complete.”

Read more:

How we tested

We baked a wide range of items – including cakes, bread and pizza bases – and spent a considerable amount of time experimenting not just with the various programmes, but the options for customisation. Here’s what we made of Lakeland’s home baking sidekick.

Lakeland digital bread maker: £74.99, Lakeland.co.uk

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Number of programmes: 12
  • Loaf size: 700 or 900 grams

Design

Hooray! A bread maker which isn’t white. Or cream. Or any colour which means the average baking session will leave it looking as though it’s never cleaned.

In fact, when it comes to aesthetics, this one ticks all the boxes, with smooth, curved walls and a stainless steel control panel which brings to mind a spaceship, rather than a bread maker. We immediately noticed the extra-large window – all too often windows are either too small or made with dark tinted glass which makes checking on our bread nigh on impossible.

We generally prefer a handle on the lids of our bread makers, simply because they’re easier to grip and easier to clean, but Lakeland’s bread maker changed all that. The handle has been replaced by a deep groove beneath the lid, which made it ridiculously easy to raise and lower.

Scrolling through the 12 programs on the lid was simple and quick

In terms of programmes, there are 12 to choose from. Each is handily displayed on the top of the machine and scrolling through them was simple and quick. We loved how a brief description of each programme is listed on the lid too, meaning there was no need to scramble around for manuals (which we’d then typically render unreadable due to floury, dough-covered hands).

Despite the fact that there are plenty of bread makers with many more programmes, the dozen options covered all bases here. It includes settings for French bread (sadly, not a baguette), gluten-free and wholewheat loaves, as well as programmes relating to specific actions, such as kneading – which is handy for rolls and pizza dough.

However, it’s still not the most customisable of gadgets, there is no seed dispenser and even the delayed timer function only allows you to extend by 13 hours – in our experience, around 15 hours appears to be the norm.

Read more: 8 best air fryers for cooking up a storm in the kitchen

Our disappointment was short lived though as some other features included on this model more than made up for these absences. For example, instead of a seed dispenser, there’s an audible alarm which sounds when it’s time to add extras such as nuts or fruit. And the power failure backup – which will ensure bakes aren’t destroyed in the event of a short power cut – provided peace of mind too, especially given that we’d recently suffered several power outages courtesy of Storm Eunice. The “bake” option also came in handy for those times when our pre-set cycle had finished, but we wanted our bread a little darker.

Its size (36cm x 25cm x 29.5cm) makes it a great option for couples or solos as it tucked neatly into our (very cramped) test cupboard. And its streamlined design – which, as we mentioned earlier, includes the use of a groove to open the lid, rather than a protruding handle – cranked up the space-saving benefits.

The floury finale

As you may have already gathered, we were initially worried about the “limited” number of programmes, but in reality, having 12 was more than enough. It soon became clear that there had been a careful selection process in terms of which programmes to include. This in turn actually served to enhance this bread maker’s efficiency as all too often the bread makers with the most programmes feature many we simply wouldn’t use.

We loved the French bread programme (really, who doesn’t love a crispy crust?) and the kneading function, and the machine churned out some of the lightest, crispiest dough we’ve had the pleasure to eat. The alerts, which sounded when the bread was ready were the perfect volume as well – not too loud, but still loud enough to hear when we were upstairs.

Read more: 6 best stand mixers that do all the hard work for you

On top of all this, we were especially impressed with the way the bread could be easily removed from the pan (non-stick is a phrase thrown about with too much abandon, in our opinion). And for once, we made full use of the accessories which were included: a measuring spoon, measuring cup, and a hook to help remove our piece of doughy deliciousness without risking a burn.

The verdict: Lakeland digital bread maker

The Lakeland digital bread maker is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to spend ridiculous amounts on a bread maker, but who still wants to be able to whip up a wide range of products. There might not be as many features as those you’ll find on the most expensive bread makers, but the ones which are present have clearly been carefully chosen, and are more than capable of serving most baker’s needs.

We also loved the appearance. When it comes to bread makers with lower price points, common denominators appear to be plastic, various shades of white and controls which look and feel cheap, but none of this applies here. This not only looks sleek, but lacks the cumbersome weightiness associated with cheaper models too.

Lakeland digital bread maker

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Find the best bread makers for delicious homemade loaves in our tried and tested round-up

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