The Cuisinart Automatic Breadmaker is a good-looking breadmaker that produces large loaves – the included recipes were for either 465g or 700g of flour. It also has programs for making cakes, doughs and jams, and features a dispenser for adding seeds and dried fruits at the right time.
The styling is stunning and contemporary, and build quality appears to be good, but the design isn't perfect.
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The Cuisinart looks stunning – the best-looking breadmaker we've seen yet. Thanks to a black glass top, brushed stainless steel sides, clean lines and curved corners, it would look perfectly at home in a contemporary kitchen. It's wide and shallow, with a footprint the size of a sheet of A4 paper (landscape) but a third wider still.
The lid is home to a seed dispenser, but this is accessed discreetly from the left side: you pull it out like a drawer to fill it. Aside from that neat feature, it works like any other breadmaker.
There are 12 programs. 11 of them are preset once for breads, cakes, doughs and jams – and there are plenty of suitable recipes in the enclosed recipe book. But unusually the twelfth is programmable – you can set the timings for kneading, rising, etc. So if you come up with your own bread recipe, you can save it to the Cuisinart's memory. You can also delay the start time of the programs, so that your loaf is ready in up to 13 hours' time.
As we prepared to cook, two things stood out: one good, one bad. The good one was how user-friendly the seed dispenser is: it's a clever design, that works like a drawer. To look at the Cuisinart from the outside, you'd never guess it had a seed dispenser.
The bad one was that the back-right of the glass lid caught on the plastic beside it every time we opened or closed the lid. The lid still worked ok, but it was annoying and it was gradually scuffing the corner – this undermined the otherwise very positive impression of the breadmaker's build quality.
We baked a 700g wholemeal loaf, taking a recipe from the enclosed Cuisinart cookbook. It was a vegan recipe using sunflower oil rather than butter, malt extract and 2/3 wholemeal flour and 1/3 white flour. The cooking time was 3:32 and it gave the option of a light, medium or dark crust.
The breadmaker was quite loud as it kneaded: a deep, bassy whirring sound, like a tumble dryer. It was also loud later on in the program as it tends to beep at the end of each part of the breadmaking process, so you can hit "pause" and add ingredients or tinker if the recipe requires it.
The resulting loaf had a good, even crumb but was a bit too dense. The sides and base were slightly crunchy but not so much on top (we chose the medium setting). Toasted it was tasty but again dense, we'd have preferred it to be a bit lighter. Looks-wise the top of the loaf was slightly uneven but in a good way – it didn't look too breadmakery.
Yes, if looks are the most important factor – the Cuisinart's black glass and clean lines would look great in a contemporary kitchen. It's also good for baking big loaves, or if you want to create your own program. But if you're after the very best loaf, we'd recommend the Panasonic SD-ZB2502 instead.
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A high-end breadmaker with stunning looks, big loaves and a create-your-own program.