Panasonic bread makers are our favourite, however they are expensive; particularly if you think you’ll only use it occasionally. The alternative is to buy a budget machine to dip your toe in the water with, and that’s exactly what we’re looking at today; the Russell Hobbs 18036.
This machine actually has a lot of the features that you’d expect to see in more expensive machines. First off, it’s got 12 built-in programmes which will bake everything from a basic white loaf, to french bread, cake, jams and dough. There is also a 55 minute fastbake option, to have a fresh baked loaf ready in just under an hour.
Also built-in are a 13 hour delay timer (which you can use to have fresh baked bread ready just in time for breakfast), crust control (light, medium and dark), and a 7 minute power-cut memory so that the machine can pick up where it left off in the event of a loss of power.
If you’re unable to get the bread out as soon as your programme has finished, the 18036 has a keep warm feature. This is will keep the bread warm for 60 minutes, stopping it from getting soggy until you are able to remove it.
The machine can provide three different loaf sizes: 1lb, 1.6lb and 2.2lb.
Although this bread maker doesn’t have an ingredients compartment for nuts and raisins, it will signal with a beep when it is time to add them, then you can simply throw them into the mix manually.
The bread tin and the kneading blade are both dishwasher safe, making the machine nice and easy to clean too.
We found that most bread makers were cheapest at Amazon.co.uk, including the Russell Hobbs 18036 which is currently available for 9% off.
Russell Hobbs 18036 Breadmaker Features and Specifications
- 12 programmes – makes basic bread, wholewheat, french, cake, jams and doughs
- Compact size
- 3 loaf sizes – 1lb, 1.6lb, and 2.2lb
- 55 minute fastbake option
- 13 hour delay timer – wake up to fresh bread
- Add ingredients signal
- Dishwasher safe bread tin and kneading blade – easy to clean
Customer Feedback and Reviews
We’ve scoured the Internet to find out what people had to say about the machine, and we found that 84% of customers were satisfied, awarding it with 3 stars or above.
Despite the fact that the majority of customers appeared happy, we’ve identified some worrying flaws with the bread maker.
The majority of people were satisfied with the quality of the bread that they got from this machine, however we did note that nobody appeared to be too enthusiastic. If you check out customer comments for the Panasonic SD-2501WXC, for example, you’ll find rave reviews of the bread that it makes. However even the satisfied customers didn’t really seem overly enthusiastic.
One of the main problems that we noticed, is that almost half of the reviews mentioned that the crust control doesn’t work. Many reviewers said that no matter what crust setting is used, the crust comes out pale and soft. Whilst this may suit some people’s taste, we personally can’t look past this flaw. One reviewer even remarked that the crust came out uncooked on one particular run. Not good!
The second problem that we picked up on, is that the kneading blade doesn’t appear to do a great job of mixing together the ingredients. A lot of people pointed about that the walls of the tin were left with a lot of flour residue left on them. Since the measuring of the ingredients can be crucial when baking bread, leaving a lot of flour behind is another unacceptable flaw in our eyes.
Yet another problem, was that many people reported that the machine is quite noisy. This renders the delay timer quite useless for those who want to prepare their bread in time for breakfast, as the machine appears to be simply too loud for night time use.
Compounding this problem, it is not possible to turn off the ingredients signal, which is also rather loud. So, even if you’re not awoken by the sound of the machine itself, the beep which indicates that you should put in extra ingredients is likely to disturb you. The ridiculous thing, is that it is not possible to turn off the beep, so even if you don’t intend to add extra ingredients it will still go off!
As you can probably tell, we’re not very impressed with the Russell Hobbs 18036. It’s noisy, inefficient and not a very well thought out machine. If you want a budget bread maker, we’d recommend going for the Morphy Richards 48322 instead, which is far superior and even cheaper!