The Kenwood BM260 is a quirky mid-priced breadmaker. Unusual design touches include retro-ish styling, fan-assisted cooking and even an adjustable spoon.
It has an "eco" program that uses less energy and time – it bakes a white loaf or bread mix in 85 minutes – and it comes with a glossy book containing a wealth of foodie recipes. The resulting loaves are impressive, making the Kenwood a good buy.
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Build quality is seriously solid for a fairly affordable breadmaker. The love-or-loathe design is unusual, white with a retro-style handle for the lid, reminiscent of a 1950s fridge. And instead of a window for inspecting progress, the lid boasts a built-in fan to assist cooking. The BM260 is compact, the size of an A4 sheet.
Features include the aforementioned "eco" program and a gluten-free program, plus programs for breads, cakes, doughs and jams. It makes loaves in three sizes, ranging from a 500g loaf made using 350g flour to a 1kg loaf using 600g flour. Baking a loaf takes 3 to 3.5 hours on a typical program.
The breadmaker comes with accessories including a larger-than-average measuring cup and an unusual adjustable spoon: slide the plastic inner to measure half or whole teaspoons and tablespoons of ingredients. There's also an actual power switch on the back – again an unusual touch.
The Kenwood's accompanying recipe book contains a good range of recipes, some of them rather foodie. Recipes include, or example, caramelised onion bread and chocolate bread. We tested it with an 86% wholemeal recipe but even this had slightly quirky ingredients, including lemon juice (perhaps taking the place of the vitamin C powder that some recipes feature) and a combination of butter and skimmed milk powder, rather than one or the other.
The adjustable spoon was superb, it worked well and make measuring easier and quicker. Washing it up was slightly fiddly, as you have to pop the two pieces of plastic apart, but it was still overall worth it. And the machine and controls were great, although it was a bit loud when the kneading blade was whirring around.
The bread had an even crumb and was light and fluffy, as much as it's possible for an 86% wholemeal loaf to be light. It only looks small in the photos because we baked the smallest (350g flour) size. The kneading blade got stuck in the loaf, but this didn't seem like it would be a perennial problem. And the crust and base weren't overdone because the breadmaker's "keep warm" function worked better than most thanks to the fan in the lid which gently circulates warm air.
Yes, if you're looking for a mid-priced breadmaker then the Kenwood won't disappoint. But if you can afford twice as much, the very best breadmaker performance we've seen so far was from the Panasonic SD-ZB2502BXC.
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The Kenwood BM260 is a mid-priced breadmaker that impresses with everything from its stylish design to its fan-assisted cooking.