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.
It is not offered in Panasonic Canada’s online store as of late 2018, but is still offered in Panasonic USA’s web store and on Amazon. The Canadian store sells other Panasonic 2.5 lb loaf machines – the SD-RD250 and the SD-YR2500. These models have setting for medium and extra large loaves.
The SD-YD250 remains a good value machine. It seems to have the motor, drive train, non-stick pan and heating element of the newer models.
The SD-YD250 can bake 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.
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 these innovation or features are present in modern machines by other manufacturers. (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 by 14 cm (5.5 inches) wide in the pan’s normal operating configuration when it is vertical. Any loaf will be or should be 19 cm x 14 cm. The pan is 14.5 cm (5.7 inches) bottom to top. In a Panasonic extra large pan, a 2.5 lb. recipe of 4.4 cups of flour and about 2 cups of liquid would bake a loaf over 14.5 cm “long”, 19 cm “high”, and 14 cm “wide”.
A medium loaf baked on a basic cycle has about 3 cups of flour and 1.25 cups of water or fluid. This dough is hydrated at 71%. It could be baked in a 1.5 pound bread pan (about 2,600 cubic centimeters) – perhaps filling it.
A 1.5 pound conventional oven pan is 25 cm (10 inches) long, 13 cm (5 inches) wide and (about) 8 cm deep.
With white flour on the basic bake cycle, the height of medium loaf 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 Panasonic extra large 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 – the bread rises and is less dense – more space for the same mass.
Height affects how I store and slice the loaf, and can be a sign that a loaf lacks structure.
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.
There are no speed controls on the control panel. The motor seems to have two speeds: off and on. Slow mixing involves turning the power on and off in short intervals. Fast mixing means the motor is running.
The knead phase performs a short slow mix which escalates into a several intervals at full speed.
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 just happens 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.