Pop in a capsule, and out pops a loaf of bread
Coffee machine makers pioneered the concept of a single-serve beverage machine, and the food industry has taken notes to try to duplicate that fuss-free experience.
The Easy Bread system is such an adaptation, right down to the use of a convenient premix capsule, except that instead of a drink, the machine produces a loaf of hot bread in two hours and 10 minutes.
There are seven flavours to choose from, though only six have been brought in for the local market. Users simply open the top tray of the Easy Bread machine and insert the rectangular, 360g bread premix capsule with the top facing down.
Closing the lid will push the capsule downwards against a serrated blade that opens up the capsule. This dumps the flour mix into the deep bread pan at the bottom.
At the same time, the machine will draw 220ml of water from the water chamber in the rear of the machine. A kneading blade in the pan, connected to a motor under the pan, will do all the necessary work and the bread will be ready in 130 minutes.
The machine is essentially a two-touch system. A push of the power button turns the machine on. Another button lets users choose how brown they want their loaf to be, whether light, medium or dark.
There is a timer for folks who want to schedule the baking process and wake up to a warm loaf of bread in the morning.
Each mix makes a 500g loaf of bread, so the final product is a rather small loaf compared with the ones made by other bread machines, which are designed to make 750g or 1kg loaves.
The six bread premixes that you can get here make multigrain, wheat, sourdough, light, white and gluten-free bread. I found them to taste similar to those found at artisanal bakeries.
The premixes, which start from $3.90, also work on other bread machines, although you have to open the capsules manually and pour the mix into those machines.
I used the premix with the Philips Viva Collection Breadmaker and got the same amazing loaf of bread. Instead of using any preset menus, I chose an option that baked the bread in 150 minutes, and monitored the cooking process throughout.
I would recommend keeping an eye on the breadmaking process too when using the Easy Bread machine as things can get a bit messy.
This is because after the machine cuts a hole in the capsule, there will be leftover flour in each capsule. So I have to open the capsule chamber and knock any leftover flour into the baking pan within the first two minutes of the baking process.
Bits of flour will also get on the capsule chamber, which explains why the machine comes with a brush to help with the cleaning.
I recommend cleaning up the flour right after baking as prolonged exposure to air can cause it to cake up.
The instructions say not to use other liquids, such as milk, to make the breads, but you can toss in dried fruits and nuts to give the bread some flavour.
You can add other ingredients, such as cheese and chocolate, but since opening the bread pan chamber during baking is not recommended, you have to do so at the start of the process, and this creates a well-blended loaf instead of having bite-sized pieces of cheese or chocolate in each loaf.
Verdict: If you do not have a bread machine, you can get the Easy Bread system to do the job. If you already own a machine, try out the amazing premixes.
EASE OF USE: 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
This article was first published on March 16, 2016.
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