We've had this machine for 3 years, and we're still using it at least once a week (for our household of 2 adults). I make organic spelt bread (Arrowhead mills) most often, but also make fabulous spelt pizza dough that my husband says makes better than ANY commercial pizza. We have trouble with wheat so this is a lifesaver in terms of budget (have you tried to buy all wheat-free?) and taste and texture that is second to none. And, it takes me 5 MINUTES to assemble bread. No matter it takes 5 hours 'til it's done, put it on when you cook breakfast and by noon you have it. Word of warning, though, if you're dreaming of having fresh, hot bread in the morning by using the timer and having it cook overnight, that might be the only dream you have. When it pulls in the yeast and while it's kneading it's very loud (not the whole time). We only made that mistake once. For daytime operation, the noise is not a problem at all. Another issue that has cropped up is that my bread started sticking to the sides after a couple of years. NOT a huge issue; I just use the oil the bread calls for on the sides and use a thin spatula to loosen it before dumping it out. I'd buy this unit again in a heartbeat, but in the interest of full disclosure, there it is. Oh, I also make spelt crackers from the pizza dough, too. Just roll it out nice and thin and bake 'til you can smell it. So, organic spelt bread, pizza, and crackers, all in 5 minutes to prepare. And, this will never go in a yard sale if we're still going strong with it after 3 years, right? BUY IT, you'll LOVE IT. Here's my recipe for Arrowhead Mills Organic Spelt Bread (Large loaf, Whole Wheat Bake settings): 1 tsp salt 1/4 c sugar 3 1/2 c spelt flour (dry measure, fluffed up) 1 1/2 c water (wet measure) 1 - 2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil (pour a little in) 3/4 tsp yeast Spelt Pizza Dough (Pizza Dough setting): 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 5 cups spelt flour 1 1/2 c water 1 Tbl yeast Let rise outside of bread machine for an hour before rolling out and baking in cookie sheets. Heat oven to 475, put sheets in oven, turn down to 400 and bake 15 minutes or until bottom is brown and cheese bubbly.
Expected it to be loud and noisy, but it is not! Expected it to be a slow process, but it is very efficient and effortless grinds grains very quickly. This is a good way to purchase ORGANIC and NON-GMO grains from the internet and make your own baked goods!
Maddi, maybe you just got a bad machine. I've had my Breadman roughly 10 years. I've never had a problem with no brown top. If anything, even on light, the crust comes out too dark most of the time. However, I bake only with whole grain flours. If you place the loaf in a plastic bag while it's cooling the crust will remain soft. I agree the shape is odd. So, I cut each loaf in half (from top to bottom) to accommodate for the shape. The fact that you have to pull the paddle out of the bottom does annoy me because it leaves a gaping hole in some of the slices. Although I haven't ever looked inside other vertical loaf machines but I can't imagine they have any different outcomes in terms of shape. Form follows function. You can't expect all the advantages of an oven-baked loaf from a vertical oriented machine. But you should be getting a decent brown top.
This is a wonderful over-sized pressure cooker. The programmed automatic settings work like a charm. For example, I often place an entire 5 pound bag of potatoes in the cooker, cover with water, press the Potato and Yams setting and have perfectly cooked whole potatoes suitable for cutting into potato salad in about 35 minutes. The stew and soup setting works beautifully. Just place your ingredients into the pot, press soup/stew and walk away. The automatic meat setting leaves the meat less tender than I like it so I seldom use it. For meat, including roasts and ribs I use the manual program, setting it on high for up to 90 minutes. The rice and grain setting gives you perfect rice every time. This is a great size. Pressure cookers can be filled to no more than 2 inches from the top of the insert. This means that this 8 quart cooker really maxes out at about 6 - 6 1/2 quarts. Filling it more than that provides the risk of food bubbling up into your escape valves, which could possibly cause a failure of one or more of the safety features. This is true of every pressure cooker, not unique to this one. You can actually fit a 4 or 5 pound roast in this pot with room for vegetables and sauces. I cannot do that in my 6 quart cooker which really only cooks about 4 1/2 quarts of food and is much smaller in diameter than the pot on this one. I must comment that this pot can be used with as little as one quart of food in it, it still cooks perfectly, does not need to be crammed full to work. Pros: automatic settings for commonly cooked foods and rice ( I cook as little as 1 cup of raw rice using 1 1/2 cups of water), Can use manual settings if you prefer. Perfect size, (even large enough for canning pint and quart jars.). Switches to keep warm automatically when cycle is complete. Set and walk away for perfect results. Can be used as a steamer with a rack insert. Steams broccoli in 2 minutes. Can be used for single servings or family sized meals. Cons: It has no browner setting. You must sear or brown your roasts, ground meat etc. if you wish before adding to the pot. While the window shows the countdown to the time remaining and indicates that the contents are under pressure by displaying a "P" on the panel when MANUAL settings are used, there is only a "P" displayed once the pot has come up to pressure when using the Auto settings, that is, there is no indication of the cook time remaining. (not a big deal, the pot accurately calculates the remaining time, just does not display it) I found that the keep warm setting works well for foods containing a lot of liquids but thick sauces, cooked dried beans etc. seem to stick to the bottom of the pot if left on "keep warm" too long. This happens with my smaller pot also. ( I just shut the pot off when done and allow it to remain closed. It keeps food hot for hours by itself, if unopened.) I highly recommend this pressure cooker. I bought one for my daughter who loves it also.
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