The Fastbake Cooltouch Breadmaker makes a decent loaf in three different sizes. Programs include a speedy setting that will produce a 2lb (907g) white loaf in less than an hour.
It's a bit noisy, both in terms of mixing and beeping, but turns out a tasty loaf of bread.
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This breadmaker has an attractive, curved design. So while it is made of white plastic, a material which can look cheap in comparison to bright colours or stainless steel, the Morphy Richards looks really good. The good-quality industrial design can't, however, distract from the fact that it’s large – it's deep and narrow, with a footprint the size of a sheet of A4 paper (portrait) but a third deeper still.
Controls are easy to master and offer the usual functions, including a timer: you can delay the start time of the programs so that your loaf is ready in up to 13 hours' time, in increments of 10 minutes. Its 12 programs offer recipes for doughs, cakes and jams, as well as breads. And its Fastbake program will bake a large white loaf in less than an hour.
To look at the display, you'd be forgiven for thinking it only offers two loaf sizes. In fact, the recipe book offers three different sizes: 1lb, 1.5lb and 2lb loaves, which translates to loaves baked from 288g, 432g and 576g of flour respectively. It also offers three crust settings.
Baking bread with the Morphy Richards is a pleasant experience. The recipe book only contains around 30 recipes, but they're well chosen and well communicated, with articles on how to bake and finish loaves beautifully. The included 1/4 teaspoon measure – alongside the standard-issue cup, teaspoon and tablespoon measures – was a nice touch too, making it easier to judge the small fractions often required by breadmaker recipes.
We tested it using the small 100% wholemeal recipe – again, many breadmaker books don't even offer a 100% wholemeal option – and the cooking time was 3.5 hours, not including any rest time. We selected the medium crust setting.
The Morphy Richards stood out a few times for being noisy. When mixing, it makes a fairly loud whirr. It also beeps at various stages in the cooking process so you know when to do stuff like add optional extra ingredients… A nice idea in theory, but it can't be muted, so it's very annoying if you like cooking loaves overnight.
The resulting loaf was overcooked on the base, but had a good crumb. It was a bit dense, but only slightly more than you'd expect from a 100% wholemeal breadmaker loaf. However the kneading blade got stuck in the loaf and needed pulling out – it sits very loosely on its spindle, so this was unsurprising and likely to happen often.
Maybe. It's a good-quality breadmaker that offers three loaf sizes and speedy baking for a mid-level price. But for the very best results, you'd be better off with the pricier Panasonic SD-ZB2502BXC. And if you're on a budget, the Kenwood BM260 really impressed.
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This large, noisy breadmaker offers three loaf sizes and a speedy program that turns out a large white in under an hour.