Black Friday 2016 baking deals

I am a bit of a sucker for deals and quite often find myself buying so much stuff at this time of year because, of course, we’re beginning to get in on the US tradition of Black Friday!  I’m really hoping to get some great Black Friday 2016 deals and want to share them with you too, so anything good I find I’ll link here!

Black Friday 2016 baking deals

Heston Blumenthal Precision Kitchen Scale
List Price: £29.99
Price: £25.99
You Save: £4.00
Price Disclaimer
Kenwood KMX50BK Stand Mixer, 500 W - Black
List Price: £429.99
Price: £179.00
You Save: £250.99
Price Disclaimer


coming soon…

25th November

Kitchen scales – 1.59am

Baking mats – 1.09pm

Cyber Monday 2016 baking deals

coming soon!

best stand mixer for bread dough

Stand mixers where invaluable to me in the early days of my bread making adventures and if you want to bake bread in the oven rather than a bread maker they can really help with the kneading.   Whether that’s because you feel like you need extra help in the strength department or you just lack the time to do it properly a stand mixer will be a good compromise.  There are a lot of mixers around, but not all suitable for bread so I hope this article will help you in choosing the best stand mixer for bread dough.

If you haven’t time to read the whole article, here’s my top choice for a good all round mixer that is great for kneading dough – The Kenwood Stand Mixer

Why use a stand mixer for bread making?

While I like making bread solely by hand, in the beginning it was always hard for me to know when the dough was ready and to even contemplate what the change in texture looked like.  When I started using a stand mixer to knead the dough it took all the hard work out of it and I could really see that dough does change when it’s kneaded long enough!  I know that you’ll understand if you’ve ever struggled to knead by hand for a long time!

It can really save a lot of time as well – just like using a bread maker, you can throw your ingredients in and let it mix the dough while you get on with other things.  Perfect for busy people!

What to look for when choosing the best stand mixer for bread dough

Kneading dough requires a decent amount of power and that’s what makes some stand mixers not up to the job and are at risk of overheating.  When choosing a stand mixer, especially if you’re main priority is making bread be sure to look for:

  • Powerful motor
  • Bread dough hook
  • splash guard – helps reduce flour getting everywhere!
  • large bowl

Our stand mixer reviews

Kenwood Stand Mixer KM240

Kenwood are the masters of a good stand mixer and this is a great one.  This one is not as expensive as the classic Kenwood Chef model, which is also a good option if your budget is higher and looking for something with more bells and whistles, but if you want a simple mixer, that is also compact, this is just right.

It has a good sized 4.3L metal bowl which can hold up to 500g of bread dough and of course the dough hook attachment too.  The motor comes in at 900W so is plenty powerful to get a good mix going.


  • Compact
  • powerful motor
  • cover for the bowl


  • A little flimsier than the more premium Kenwood Chef
Check out this mixer on Amazon here.


KitchenAid K45SS Classic Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid stand mixer is definitely at the top end of the mixers that are available – both in style and in price!  They are a much coveted item with their retro styling but they are also a really good mixer as well.

Although it doesn’t have a very powerful motor, only 250w, there are many reports of it being great for mixing bread dough.  If you’re wanting a mixer that does way more than just mix, this is a great choice as there’s loads of attachments you can get like mincers or pasta makers to make it a really multi functional appliance.


  • Can hold a lot of mixture – up to 875g of flour
  • Beautiful machine
  • will hold it’s value if you decide to resell
  • Lots of attachments available


  • Low powered motor – the more expensive Artisan model has a slightly more powerful motor though.
  • Expensive
Check more reviews of this product and latest price on Amazon.


Andrew James 1300 Watt Electric Food Stand Mixer

We’re going the complete opposite way here than we did with the KitchenAid as this mixer from Andrew James is probably the best budget stand mixer on the market at the moment.  It’s not the absolute cheapest, but as I mentioned before, you need some power for making bread and this one delivers that and at a good price.

It comes in a few different colours which is also nice – you can get it in red, silver, pastel blue and also a cream colour.

It has a huge bowl – 5.2L, which can handle a good amount of dough and it also has a 1300w motor so it’s got an amazing amount of power behind it too.


  • Good budget or starter mixer
  • large capacity
  • powerful motor


  • Can be a little noisy
  • A bit tricky to sit the bowl in


Check this item out on Amazon here.


Swan SP21010BLN Vintage Stand Mixer

This stand mixer from Swan is another that comes in a variety of colours to match your kitchen – a nice touch since often mixers are kept out on the work surfaces.  You can get this in blue, red, green, cream and black and they all have a nice vintage and retro feel to them.

This is a really good mixer at a good price with lots of good reviews, many of whom say it’s really quiet and mixes dough really well.   It has a 4.5L bowl so is a good capacity too.


  • 2 year guarantee
  • different colours available
  • 1000w motor
  • quiet


Check out this mixer on Amazon here.



How to store homemade bread to keep it fresh

Because home made bread doesn’t have preservatives in it, keeping it fresh can be a bit of a struggle.  If you don’t have an army of kids on hand to devour it you’ll want to be thinking about the best ways on how to store homemade bread to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

How to store homemade bread to keep it fresh

The most efficient way to store your bread and keep it fresh is going to be to freeze it.  I often do this and find that although it’s not quite as great as just out of the oven bread, it’s a good compromise which means I’m never without my homemade bread!  Always slice it if you can before freezing.

Whatever you use to keep your bread in, always make sure it’s not in direct sunlight and isn’t too warm.  If you do you’ll create moisture around the bread which then will help to make it go mouldy more quickly. I think finding the best storage area possible is sometimes more important than just what you put it in.


If you are looking to just keep it as good as possible without freezing, you’ll want something to wrap your bread in to stop it getting dry.  I’ve tried a lot of things in the past, from just reusing regular bread bags from store bought bread to bags that I’ve bought specifically for the purpose, to bread bins.

Bread Bags

Recycling bread bags work for a while and are a good budget option, but if you don’t buy much bread from the supermarket you’ll find this one a bit trickier!  You have to also remember to clean out the bag as best as you can as well.  If you leave crumbs in there they’ll go mouldy quickly and pass it on to your fresh bread – not good.

You can, of course, by some specific bread storage bags like this one which  is basically a plastic inner inside a nice cotton bag.  You’ll need to be aware of keeping it free from crumbs for the same reason as recycling the shop bread bags, but other than that I found that it worked quite well.  Some people find it doesn’t work at all though, your mileage may vary!  As I said above, I think what can make it ineffective is where you keep your bread bag – if it’s a hot place it might make the bread too hot inside and of course it will be a breeding ground for mould.

If you’re trying to keep plastic down in your life then a cotton bag might also do the trick for you, or simply get a clean tea towel and wrap it in that.

I find that plastic bread bags make the crusts go softer quicker, where the fabric bags keep the crustiness a bit longer.

Bread Bins

Bread bins are a good idea too and can keep all your bread contained in a nice area on your work surface.  I tend to combine them with a more close covering like a tea towel or a bread bag so that air doesn’t dry them out especially once cut.

Make it easy to eat

My last tip isn’t quite going to keep it stored longer, but I think it’s a worthwhile thing to bear in mind if you want your bread to be eaten.  Slice it.  

I find that if presented with an uncut loaf of bread it’s not as easy for the family browsing my kitchen to think of it as a nice and easy bit of food to eat!  But, if I’ve taken the time to slice the bread and it’s easily made into toast or a sandwich, it will be eaten more readily and not be left to go stale.  I always use a bread slicer to get even slices and the most out of a loaf.


Best food slicer for bread – my essential accessory for bread making!

I really wish that it was mandatory to get a bread slicer with every new bread maker!!  It honestly changed my life when I decided to invest in one and I couldn’t believe I’d not done it before.

A bread slicer helps to make all that hard work of making bread, whether you did it by hand or machine, much better as you get even slices which are much more pleasant to eat.  They make better sandwiches, better toast, and if you’re worried about watching what you eat can help you moderate the size of your slices!  You get much more out of your loaf too so you’re not wasting large crusts or making people eat bigger amounts so it should save you money overall.

The other good thing about these electric slicers is that they aren’t solely for bread and so are multifunctional.  You can use them to slice meat and cheese too.  I don’t tend to use mine for cheese as I’m not a big cheese eater, but I definitely use it to slice up a roast beef joint or a ham hock.  It can really make the meat go much farther, so excellent if you’re on a budget!

Choosing the best food slicer for bread

When looking for the best electric bread slicer you want to think about the following:

  • Does it have specific bread blades?
  • How easy is it to clean?  This is a big one for me.
  • How easy is it to use?
  • Does it have a safety cut off?

Electric bread slicer reviews

Andrew James Electric Precision Food Slicer

This food slicer from Andrew James is one of the most popular available at the moment.  To me, it has everything that you want in a bread slicer – it’s not too expensive, it’s not too big and it works well.  Oh and you can get it in some different colours too – black and red as well as the silver above!

The bread slicer has 2 blades that are useful for cutting bread.  There’s a universal blade and also a bread blade which is good when you’re wanting to cut a loaf you’ve just baked and is slightly more fluffy in texture.

All in all this is a great value slicer and my best choice of them all.


  • specific bread blade for freshly baked loaves
  • 2 year warranty
  • inexpensive


  • can be a bit fiddly to clean if using it for meats


Swan SP10060N Compact White Food Slicer

If you’re just looking for the best cheap bread slicer this one from Swan should do you well.  It’s very similar to one that I had a few years ago and I used it lots with no issues.

What I really like about this bread slicer is the fact that it’s so compact and can be stored away easily as it folds up.  This also means that the blade isn’t easily accessible when stored.

It works fine for all breads and meats, I used to wait till my bread was completely cool before using it.


  • Cheapest slicer on this page
  • folds away for easy storage


  • Only one blade
  • low powered motor
  • bit fiddly to clean – not so much with bread but definitely with meats


Graef EVO E 20 Food slicer

This food slicer from the German make Graef is a wonderful piece of equipment that will not only do the job of cutting bread and meats, but will look extremely stylish on your work surfaces!

It is one of the most expensive food slicers I’m reviewing, but it has some great reviews on Amazon (click the button below to see them) and if you want something that will stand out in your kitchen this would be the one to go with.

It cuts both breads and meats with ease and has an adjustable width blade so you can go from thick to thin easily.  It’s a heavy and sturdy bit of kit too so won’t move around too much while cutting.


  • Looks very modern and stylish
  • child safety lock
  • very sturdy
  • many spares available


  • expensive

Luvele Razor Electric Meat Slicer

Finally this is another positively reviewed bread slicer for home use.  This one from Luvele is probably more suited as a meat slicer that also cuts bread so excellent if you’re wanting to do more than just make some sandwiches!

It has a maximum cutting height of 13cm for loaves so if you make really tall loaves then it might not work so well for you.

It’s easy to clean and is a sturdy machine.  I like that you get the two different blades for cutting meats and bread too.


  • mid range price
  • easy to clean
  • 2 separate blades for meat and bread


  • not great with tall loaves of bread (max cutting height is 13cm)


Best flour for bread making machines

One of the main worries when getting a new bread machine is the cost of the ingredients of bread and whether you need anything special.  In this post I’m talking about the best flour for bread making machines and whether you need anything specific.

Do you need special flour for bread machine

In short, the answer to this one is no.

I have never used a special flour that was made specifically for bread makers and have never suffered from not doing so!

However, and this is probably where the confusion comes in, I do use specific bread flour (strong) for making bread rather than just plain flour (all purpose).  Generally bread flour works much better because it’s made from a harder wheat than the plain flour and so it has more gluten.  More gluten means it will have a better texture when it rises and bakes.

I do encourage people to give different flours a try though when baking, especially when you’re using a new bread maker as you may well find that there’s a certain type or brand that will work well for you.

What’s the best flour for bread making machines?

As I said before, look for Strong Bread Flour.  This is available in all supermarkets these days, at least in the white variety.  Some shops don’t carry wholemeal and often it’s a lot more expensive if they do.  Supermarket own brand works well for me, as does Allinson and Doves Farm.

When you’re just starting out I recommend using strong white flour.  It makes a much nicer bread and is more forgiving.  Wholemeal flour is heavier and can make a brick if you’re not careful!  I found that I needed lots of practice and tweaking of my bread recipes to make sure that I was producing something edible.

There’s no harm in also mixing your flours.  You could try a 50/50 loaf if you wanted.  Just remember to stick with strong flour.

Using bread mixes in bread makers

Bread mixes are small packets of all the dried ingredients that you need to make one loaf of bread.  For example a white bread mix will contain the flour, salt, yeast and possibly some other ingredients.  You simply add it in to the bread maker with the liquid it requires and set it going.

Most bread mixes are suitable to be used in a bread maker nowadays unless it’s a type of bread that wouldn’t be getting baked in to a regular bread shape such as a ciabatta.

Check the instructions on the bread mix to see what it says and remember that you can always give it a go and see how it turns out.  It’s impossible for the bread mix companies to know which bread programme to use for it since there are so many, so if it doesn’t give any clues try it on the basic programme and see how you go.

If the bread mix is to be baked in the oven you could always use the bread maker for the kneading portion (most bread makers have this function). Then once you’re done you’ll be ready to transfer your dough to the oven to be baked.

My Panasonic bread maker review – SD 2500

I can’t tell you how happy I was to have my first Panasonic bread maker!  If, like me, you’ve had bread makers that just never give the kind of loaf you think you should be getting then you’re going to want to know about the Panasonic SD 2500 – seriously, it’s one of the best out there!  This Panasonic bread maker review is not sponsored, but the links in the post are affiliate links and any purchases made might generate some commission for me at no extra cost to you.

Panasonic Bread Maker review – SD 2500 WXC model

After the first couple of bread makers I tried I thought that really nice bread, the kind that is slightly crunchy on the outside but soft and light on the inside, just couldn’t be done.  I figured I’d either have to get better at baking bread by hand or go back to buying bread from the bakers.  Then I got the Panasonic SD 2500 and I was truly amazed.  The bread that came out of this bread maker was brilliant – everyone in our family enjoyed it, even the ones who didn’t normally like my bread maker bread!

I don’t know what it does that makes it so different to other models I’ve tried, but it really does give that soft texture inside to bread, even when I’ve made wholemeal.  Normally when I do that it really resembles a brick!   With this one, I’ve managed to make a really decent wholemeal loaf that isn’t heavy and rises really well.  You can see a wholemeal loaf I’ve made above.

We’re a family of 4 and we normally make the medium size loaf and it will last us a day, maybe a little bit longer.  It makes bread in 3 different loaf sizes as well though, so if there aren’t so many bread lovers you could do the smaller size and if your family is a little bigger you could do the large size.  One thing that I don’t like about the larger size is that it just ends up taller rather than bigger, so you have to cut it on it’s side to get more slices, but that’s not really a big deal.

As well as using it for bread I am always using it to make dough – super easy and the best thing is that it keeps it warm and covered so you don’t need to worry about it drying out or not rising.

It has a few other features too:

  • 10 different bread and dough modes, including a gluten free one
  • a jam setting – not tried this myself!
  • timer to allow you to wake to fresh bread

With this model there isn’t the fruit and nut dispenser which is a shame as that would make life a lot easier when making different loaves.  I have to say I don’t do that much though so it’s not so much of an issue for me and I just have to remember to add the ingredients at the right time.  There is a model that has an automatic dispenser – the Panasonic SD-ZB2502BXC – which is a little more expensive.

Panasonic have a few other models out there at the moment and they are all really good according to the reviews on Amazon and from what I hear.  They really are one of the best around.  The one I’m reviewing here is the cheapest at the moment, but still a little more than the others that are in the best seller crowd.  Really though I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed if you can stretch to it and you’ll most certainly use it for fresh bread every day and I know when I had other makes I gave up really early.



Welcome to Busy Bakers!

Thanks so much for coming along to the site.  I hope to have it be a place for learning the best practices about baking bread, specifically if you’re in a rush and generally busy!  Our lives are so full on now but having time for lovely baked bread is such a treat.

You’ll find reviews about bread makers that are on the market in the UK and I’ll be looking at the best products that can help take your bread making from mediocre all the way up to awesome!

I’ll also be sharing my tried and tested recipes that I use daily from our day to day sandwich loaf, to our pizza dough, flatbread recipes and much more.

I can almost smell the bread baking now!