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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Cookworks Stainless Steel Bread Maker Review

About three and a half years ago I considered buying a bread maker.  The debate on bought vs homemade had been raging for years, and I was slightly hesitant.  After saving up my treat money for a few weeks, I decided to take the plunge with an entry level maker.

My weapon of choice was the Cookworks stainless steel bread maker, a steal at only £35!  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much, so when my first attempt turned out perfect I was smitten!  There are only two of us at home, which meant that two loaves would last us a week!  Having freshly made bread on tap was heaven.  Sadly Chris was diagnosed as a coeliac in 2010 - our much loved bread maker was shelved and although we successfully made gluten free bread in the maker, it just couldn't live up to the scrumminess of the original recipe.

We found an amazing recipe for gluten free pizza dough and knocked this up by hand at least once a week.  One day our online shop substituted our usual easy bake yeast for dried action yeast - Chris didn't think it would be a problem and so accepted the substitution.  I hate waste and so was loathe to throw it away (some may say cheap).  After reading the directions, I decided to try and give it a go, definitely better then the easy bake!  Feeling buoyed by the recent change, I decided to look into making pizza dough in the bread maker - it could be done, but they recommended easy bake yeast.  Sticking to my guns, I decided to still use the 'new' dried action yeast - but activated it in water first.

I will never forget Chris's face when I served him this altered dough - he was in heaven, he even commented that it was better than Dominos!  (He is the ultimate Dominos fan).

Just before Christmas Chris found out that he had been misdiagnosed as coeliac (the air was most definitely blue) - a gluten feast ensued, helped by our bread maker.

I am still using my original machine;

I can not recomend this highly enough!  Not only does it make bread, it also has settings for dough (pizza for us), jam, ultra-fast bread (2lb loaf cooks in under an hour) and even cake!  We only use the various bread settings and dough, but I have no-doubt that the cake and jam modes will be just as good.

My machine also has a delay setting - if you want to wake up to perfectly made bread, simply stick in the ingredients the night before and set the timer for a few hours before you wake up.  You can make both 1.5lb and 2lb loafs and even decide how dark you would like the crust.

I'm not going to say that every single loaf has been a success - but those that haven't been, are usually down to me messing something up rather than the machine.

Everyone knows the shocking amount of additives, sugar and salt that goes into shop bought bread, if you make your own, you know exactly what is going in.

This year we are cutting down on our food shop which means that the bread maker will be pretty much in constant use - Some people actually argue that it is cheaper to buy shop bread - it isn't.  I grew up in a house where having branded bread was considered a luxury, knowing that a 2lb loaf of fresh home made bread is actually cheaper then Mr Ts basic bread is awesome!

Don't believe me?  Here are the figures ;)

A basic recipe for white bread consists of the following ingredients;

Salt      - 1 teaspoon / roughly 5g
Sugar   - 3 tablespoons / roughly 45g
Oil       - 2 tablespoons / 30ml
Flour    - 510g (bread flour)
Yeast   - 1 teaspoon / roughly 5g

Having a quick look at Mr T's site, I found the prices of each ingredient and broke down the costs for each amount needed.

Salt      - 1kg 34p - 0.00017p
Sugar   - 1kg 99p - 0.044.55p
Oil       - 1ltr £1.45 - 4.35p
Flour    - 1.5kg 66p - 22.4p
Yeast   - 125g 64p - 2.56p

People may argue that the electricity will more then make up for the excess cost of shop bought, actually a bread maker costs on average 6p per loaf.

Total per loaf - 35.35472p or to round up 36p!

How does this stack up to shop bought (similar size to 2lb)?

Economy 'basic' bread - 50p
Stores Own - 79p
Uncut 'fresh' bread - £1.30
Branded bread - £1.35

The average family buys two loaves of branded bread a week - this adds up to an annual cost of £140.40 (excluding offers) similar cost for bread maker bread - £37.44, a saving of £102.96.

Not bad eh?  If you are inspired and want to have a go yourself, my original machine is still being sold at Argos (and has great reviews) for only £34.99 - even taking this cost into account, you can still save £67.97 this year on bread alone.  If you are a regular pizza eater, imagine how much more you could save ;)


  1. Just wondering what setting you used for your gluten free bread?

    1. Hi there LeeAnne, I usually use the basic white for gluten free :)

  2. hello, i just brought this bread maker as i found out i have a wheat allergy... What Gluten free recipe do you use ? i made one the other day and it was horrid :( lol

    1. There is a lot of trial and error with gluten free loaves - sadly we could never really get on with with the taste (even shop bought) but the best of the bunch was this one;