Panasonic SD-YD250; Yeast

Reviews at Everyday Sandwich and Make Bread at Home describe and illustrate the Panasonic SD-YD250. It has loaf size settings for medium (1.5 lb), large (2 lb) and extra large (2.5 lb) loaves baked in an extra large vertical rectangle pan.  The control is a button.  The default is XL.  Choices are locked out on some cycles.Those loaves look like this:

panasonic bread maker sizes

This machine can bake any daily or sandwich bread, whether with white flour or whole wheat, as well as I can bake those loaves in conventional baking pans in an oven. It can bake light rye bread with a mixture of white flour and rye flour, and other multigrain loaves. While the food industry produces a variety of bread, there are few  palatable and inexpensive low sodium breads.  I prefer low sodium bread machine bread to the low sodium bread for sale in a grocery store.

Bread baked in this machine does not need as much yeast as recipes outside the Panasonic manual say.   

  • The yeast dispenser does not hold much more that a tablespoon
  • medium loaves  based on The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC”) and other recipe resources filled the  pan, and had airy, weak crumb; some ballooned or cratered/collapsed/imploded
  • Panasonic’s  recipes (in the manual; see its online recipe resource pages) call for half the amount of yeast 
    • 1 tsp instead of 2 or more for a medium loaf1.5 tsp. for 4.375 cups of flour for extra large loaves 2.5 tsp for  brioche on dough cycle with 3.25 cups flour

I monitored medium loaf recipes,  (3 cups of flour and 1.25 cups+/-) of liquid June-August, 2018. I peeked under the lid to see what happened – including the last part of the rise phase after the machine knocked down the dough.  I made manual interventions a few times to deflate a loaf – I ran a silicon spatula between the dough and the pan 5-10 minutes just before the start of baking. (Using a spatula risks marring the no-stick surface of the pan. Silicon spatulas are safer.)

I adjusted yeast in BLBMC formulas for white, whole wheat, and combined flour (multigrain), and formulas requiring 2 tsp  yeast for a medium loaf (a formula with 3 cups or 15 oz. flour +/- by weight). This approach works:

  • Ignore the amount of “bread machine yeast” in a formula in the BLBMC – (BLBMC has different amounts of SAF instant dry yeast and any other “bread machine yeast”);
  • Use half the amount in the recipe for SAF instant dry yeast in a BLBMC formula (instant or “bread machine” dry yeast in other formulas not specifically written for a Panasonic machine) i.e. reduce 2 tsp. for a medium loaf to 1 tsp.

This applies for recipes for dough and for bread baked in the machine.  It seems to relate to the mix ((‘Knead”) and rise phases.

50% salt reduction doesn’t affect the process or hurt flavour.  The principle is to reduce yeast by the same percentage as salt as suggested in BLBMC at p. 290 and by the Please Don’t Pass the Salt bread page.  For a Panasonic recipe I cut yeast and salt equally.  For a BLBMC or other recipe I make my adjustment for yeast amount above first, then I cut yeast and salt equally.  When  I use 50% of a BLBMC recipe amount of salt, I use 25% of the BLBMC recipe amount of yeast. The recipes and my notes are in a separate post.

This machine has feature that impressed me.  The pan coating releases the loaf easily at the end of the bake cycle but the paddle stays on the shaft in the pan.  I don’t know if Panasonic has a uniquely effective coating, or has designed the connection fitting on the shaft and paddle in a better way, or if this is a common innovation in all modern machines. Removing the paddle from the pan can be done after the pan cools after taking the loaf from pan.  It works better before the bits of crumb around the end of the shaft dry out and bond the paddle to the shaft.

The inside measurements  of the pan are 19 cm (7.5 inches) long (i.e. side to side), 14 cm (5.5 inches) wide, 14.5 cm (5.7 inches) bottom to top. A 1.5 pound pan is 25 cm (10 inches) long, 13 cm (5 inches) wide. A 2.5 lb. loaf (extra large) recipe would use up to 4.4 cups of flour and about 2 cups of liquid.  It would be taller than its length.

The smallest loaf addressed in the machine settings is medium.  The absence of a small loaf setting is a missing feature -a feature that may not have been used much and which might complicate support. It is big machine that makes big loaves.  Should it also make small loaves? It can. The motor and drive that can mix an extra large loaf should also handle a small loaf. The oven settings are the same across all sizes – a small loaf mixed and baked on the medium setting will not be burned.  

A medium loaf baked on a basic cycle has about 3 cups of flour and 1.25 cups of water or fluid. This amount of dough could be baked in a 1.5 pound bread pan 25 cm (10 inches) long, 13 cm (5 inches) wide, 8 cm (3 inches) tall (about 2,600 cubic centimeters) – perhaps filling it. This dough is hydrated at 71%.  It should flow and rise, and is suitable for baking in a pan.

A medium (1.5 lb.) loaf in the bread machine pan of the Panasonic SD-YD250 should be 19 cm (7.5 inches) long by 5.5 inches (14 cm) wide. With white flour (assuming typical rise and spring ) on the basic cycle, from the bottom of the pan to top of the loaf at the wall of the pan would be around 75% of the height of the pan: about 9 cm at the side of the pan. To the top of the domed top of the loaf, 11-12 cm is reasonable; more is tall.  Height changes with:

  • type of flour (e.g. rye flour does not rise as well as wheat flour); or a small change in the amount of flour (1/4 cup), water, salt or yeast; or
  • cycle, e.g. French Bake.  “French bread” has a carmelized crust and a soft crumb.    Bakers shape lean, wet white dough into batards and baguettes which hold up and slice better. And with a hotter oven a baker can get a better crust.

Height affects how I store and slice the loaf, and can be a sign that a loaf lacks structure.

Panasonic’s recipes for medium loaves call for 1 tsp of yeast for a medium loaf:

  1. Basic White Bread – basic bake cycle, 3 cups bread flour, 1.25 cups of water, 1.5 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of yeast. Basic bake cycle: 4 hours;  2 hours or more rise. This rises like French Bread;
  2. 100% Whole Wheat – bake whole wheat cycle, 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1.25 cups of water, 1.5 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of yeast.  Bake whole wheat cycle: 5 hours; 2 hours 30 minutes or more rise. This produces a compact brown loaf.

These recipes have identical hydration rates – the flour and water weights are identical.  The hydration rate seems high for white sandwich loaves and low for whole wheat.  But both recipes work in the prescribed cycles.

Panasonic’s recipes use 1 tsp of yeast with these loave. .  This is 2.8 g to 417 g.; in baker percentage (B%) 7%, which a professional baker would regard as normal. Panasonic built a machine that can handle formulas with that hydration rate and B% yeast.It is low in relation to the yeast B% in many other recipes. 

Panasonic’s  “bake sandwich” cycle are simplified bake settings for medium loaves – these cycles lock out the use of the loaf size command setting.  The recipes in the manual for white sandwich and whole wheat sandwich bread on bake sandwich cycle are identical to the formulas for medium loaves in the basic white and 100% whole wheat recipes. For the 2 hour “bake rapid” cycle and the 3 hour “whole wheat bake rapid” cycles, Panasonic suggests 2 tsp of yeast.

There are two kinds of cycle, “bake” and “dough”.  Each cycle has three phases; a bake cycle has the fourth one:

  •  (Initial) Rest – the ingredients come to a common temperature. The heating element, as far as I can tell is used for short intervals but not enough to heat the outside of the machine;
  • Knead – mix the ingredients together, hydrates the flour, dissolves soluble starches and works the proteins into gluten.  In the basic bake cycle, the machine
    • mixes at slow speeds for 4 minutes,
    • mixes at a faster speed for 10 minutes, with several short pauses, rests for 3 minutes, mixes at the higher speed for 3 more minutes;
  • Rise – fermentation. 2 hours in basic bake cycle. There are clicks indicating that the heating element is deployed to keep yeast at a good temperature (the dough may heat up on its own) on a cooler day. The mixer drive is deployed for knockdowns in this rise phase in all cycles including the dough cycles. In basic bake cycle there are 2 sets of about 15 slow turns  at -2:00 and -1:40 on the countdown timer;
  • Bake – the heating element bakes the bread.

The knead phase performs a short slow mix which escalates, with no pause into a series of bouts of intensive mixing, at what seems to be a high speed.  This works with a white flour or whole wheat flour formula where the machine develops gluten.  The SD-YD250 has a following with bakers who bake with whole wheat

The machine forms a ball of dough centered on the paddle.  This machine has a long warm rise. After the second knock down (50 minutes before baking)  the dough should relax and flow to fill the bottom of the pan and rise again. In the first part of the bake phase, the dough should spring. A tenacious, elastic dough holds its ball shape for a long time. It may gather at one end of the pan.  The result is that the top of the baked loaf slopes. It isn’t a bad loaf – it happened with some dough in this kind of pan.  There is a hydration zone.  A dough under 70% or a tenacious dough may not flow.  A wet dough may balloon or collapse.

More lessons:

  • Flour should be measured as precisely as possible. Weight is better;
  • Water can be measured by volume but watch the meniscus; weight works but weighing means added steps and implements;
  • A little bit of salt or yeast does a lot.  Accurate measurement is possible with full level measuring spoons. I use an  electronic kitchen scale that measures down to .1 grams;
  • Instant dry yeast, quick-rise yeast bread machine yeast is the right yeast for bread machines; active dry yeast works too. LeSaffre SAF-Instant dry yeast is excellent. For bread, SAF Red;
  • Added gluten is not useful in this machine;
  • In a normal published formula, bread flour means the American kind. Canadian all purpose flour is the perfect replacement. Canadian bread flour complicates baking in a Panasonic machine. (e.g. Rogers Bread Flour is a blend of white flour, and added gluten. Rogers doesn’t disclose the ratio.  It does not add to the process in this machine and confuses the process);
  • Rogers Whole Wheat Bread Flour is a blend of white flour, whole wheat flour and added gluten. Rogers doesn’t disclose the ratio; I guess 50 to 60% white flour.

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