Is the Sage bread maker worth splashing out on?Which? tries out the £250 Custom Loaf Pro
16 April 2016
If you love to wake up to the smell of a freshly baked loaf in the morning, you are likely to have considered buying a bread maker. A bread maker can take the hassle out of making homemade bread, as well as offering the satisfaction of a home-baked loaf over a supermarket slice.
And if you're an adventurous baker, the Sage Custom Loaf Pro might sound like just the thing. It has over 60 different bread settings, and even allows you to create your own custom programs.
It's also £250, making it the most expensive bread maker we've seen. But is it worth it?
UPDATE (25/04/2016): We got one of our researchers to try it out - get her first impressions in our updated first look Sage Custom Loaf Pro review.
Custom Loaf Pro - the smartest bread maker ever?
Sage thinks that this is the 'smartest bread maker ever', thanks to its vast number of settings, which can be further customised to your requirements, including changing the loaf size and level of crust browning.
It also has a collapsible kneading paddle that lies flat after kneading. It's not the first we've seen, but it's a useful extra, and our researcher found that it did leave a smaller hole in the loaf than standard bread makers that don't have a collapsible paddle.
There's an automatic fruit and nut dispenser too, so you don't have worry about having to add any extra ingredients in partway through the process.
Choosing the best bread maker
While the Custom Loaf Pro has some useful features, the number of settings and options could be overwhelming for the novice bread enthusiast. It's possible to get brilliant results from even some cheap bread makers, so you don't necessarily need to spend big to get a decent loaf.
We've seen cheaper models which have a good range of bread recipe options, such as the Panasonic Automatic SD-ZB2512 bread maker, £189, which has settings for trendy artisan breads such as sourdough, rye and spelt bread.
If you're on a budget, we've found Best Buys that cost £60 or less. See our round up of Best Buy bread makers to find one that suits your needs and budget.
Which? bread maker reviews
We go to great lengths to ensure that you won't be left with a disappointing purchase, baking hundreds of loaves and rating the crust and crumb texture of the finished loaf.
It's not just the finished loaf that matters. We also check if the kneading paddle sticks, and how easy each bread maker is to use and clean.
We have tested over 20 different models, including Kenwood, Lakeland, Morphy Richards and Panasonic bread makers - see how they compare with our bread maker reviews.