There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh bread wafting through the house, but baking your own bread can be time-consuming. This is where a bread maker can prove handy, taking the hard work out of baking your own loaf. Panasonic has been one of the more prominent manufacturers of bread-making machines since they first appeared in the 1980s, and the latest addition to its bread-maker range is one of four units that come with a new horizontal design that doesn’t take up as much space on the countertop.
The Panasonic SD-YR2540 has a sleek, stainless-steel finish. For the first time the appliance comes with both automatic fruit/nut and yeast dispensers, which will add these ingredients at the appropriate time in the baking process, spreading them evenly throughout the dough, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.
It can bake several different types of loaf including white, wholemeal, gluten-free and sourdough. The SD-YR2540 can also make cakes, along with pizza dough, jams, and chutney, making it one of the most versatile bread makers Panasonic has ever produced.
There are 32 presets designed for different types of bread, dough and other items, and the bread maker allows you to select the size of loaf you want to bake (M, L or XL) as well as how dark the crust should be. The Panasonic SD-YR2540 also has a delay timer that can postpone bread-making by up to 13 hours, so you can wake up to a fresh loaf in the morning, providing you’ve weighed out the ingredients and added them to the bread maker the night before. In addition, there’s a ‘bread mix’ program that can be used with pre-packaged mixes from supermarkets that already contain yeast – a first for Panasonic bread makers.
Panasonic SD-YR2540 price and availability
- RRP: £239.99
The Panasonic SD-YR2540 is available in the UK for £239.99. It’s one of two bread makers in the new range that comes with both automatic fruit/nut and yeast dispensers. The other model, the SD-YR2550, is priced at £199.99 and has a dark grey rather than a stainless steel-style finish. The latter model doesn’t offer a spelt loaf program, but includes the rest of the presets offered by the SD-YR2540.
- Blade replicates hand kneading
- Non-stick bread pan can turn out up to 1.1kg loaves
- Dual sensors adjust proving time based on surrounding temperature
As we’ve already mentioned, the SD-YR2540 is one of Panasonic’s first ‘horizontal’ bread makers, meaning it won’t take up the whole depth of your countertop. However, measuring 40.8 x 25.2 x 36.2cm (w x d x h), it still requires a fair amount of space. The 4.5cm display on the right-hand side displays the preset selected, chosen using the buttons below it, alongside the remaining time, chosen loaf size and browning level of the crust.
Open the lid of the bread maker to access the non-stick bread pan, which has a handle to make it easier to fit and remove. The fruit/nut and yeast dispensers sit on the top of the bread maker, beneath a thin plastic lid. The SD-YR2540 can make loaves up to 1.1kg, and even comes with two different kneading blades: one for standard bread dough and one for rye breads.
Panasonic says it has redesigned the kneading motion of the bread maker, so it's more akin to hand-kneading. It also includes dual temperature sensors that monitor the temperature of the room and the bread maker itself, adjusting the proving time for each loaf in order to achieve a consistent bake every time.
The Panasonic SD-YR2540 can make several different types of bread, as well as dough, jam and chutneys using the preset programs. There are four gluten-free programs, plus a manual mode that lets you add the yeast yourself if you want more control over your loaf.
- Loaves were evenly browned with a crisp crust
- Fruit/nut dispenser evenly distributed fruit through loaf
- Exterior casing does become hot during longer programs
We were very impressed with every loaf the Panasonic SD-YR2540 turned out. We made white, fruit, wholemeal and supermarket bread-mix loaves in the appliance, all of which came out with a crisp, evenly browned crust, with the bread itself soft and fluffy. Upon slicing the raisin bread, it was clear that the bread maker had done an excellent job of evenly distributing the fruit into the bread dough.
We also baked a gluten-free loaf in the bread machine, following a recipe included in the instructions. This had a crunchy crust that was well browned, but the bread itself had a cake-like texture – although this is to be expected from a gluten-free bake.
The non-stick bread pan made it easy to remove the loaf once baking was complete, with the bread just sliding out of the pan – we did need to wear oven gloves, however, since both the pan and handle were too hot to hold. We were pleased, too, that the paddle didn’t become stuck in the bottom of the loaf. In addition, the Panasonic SD-YR2540 proved easy to clean, with the bread pan simply requiring a wipe down with a damp cloth.
The bread maker provides an audible and visual alert to notify the bread is ready, so you’ll know when to open the lid and remove the loaf. As expected, the Panasonic SD-YR2540 does make some noise during baking, particularly when mixing and kneading the dough. These lasted no longer than 30 seconds at a time and measured only 64db on our decibel meter; this is similar to the noise a dishwasher makes mid-cycle, and more than acceptable in our opinion. Note, though, that during longer bakes the casing reached up to 50ºC, which was too hot to touch – worth remembering when positioning the bread maker on the countertop.
Should I buy the Panasonic SD-YR2540 bread maker?
Buy it if…
You want versatility
The SD-YR2540 can do more than just make bread; it can also prepare and cook cake batter, bind pizza and pasta dough and make jams and chutneys. If you’re looking for one device that can do it all, this is it.
You want to wake up to fresh bread
With a 13-hour delay timer and an automatic yeast and fruit/nut dispenser, this bread maker can ensure you wake up to fresh bread, if you’ve prepared the ingredients the night before.
You’re gluten free
The Panasonic SD-YR2540 has four different gluten-free programs covering bread, cake, pizza and pasta dough, so if you follow a gluten-free diet then this bread maker is well suited to you.
Don't buy it if...
You’re on a budget
This is one of the most expensive bread makers on the market. While it turns out the perfect loaf every time and is extremely versatile, those on a budget should look to Russell Hobbs or Tower for more affordable options.
You’re short on space
The SD-YR2540 takes up a fair amount of countertop space, and its size also means that storing it away in a cupboard after every use might not be practical. Consider whether you have sufficient room for it before you buy.
You want to position it under a kitchen cabinet
At 36cm, the Panasonic SD-YR2540 is a relatively tall appliance, which will be a problem if you want to place it on a countertop underneath wall cabinets – during testing, we were unable to open the lid completely as the edge of the cabinet was obstructing it.
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