I recently acquired a different bread machine. I am a fan of automation and less into the process of cooking than I am the products. I was given the Goodmans (aka Hinari) machine by a colleague years ago as he was not using it. It has seved me well, but the loaves were not a great size, especially if the whole family wanted some. The Panasonic was another freebie via my neighbour who seems to get given a lot of stuff and he already had one.
You can seethe tin is a lot bigger. The Goodmans loaves tended to spill over the top, but those from the Panasonic look a lot like what you can buy. With both you end up with a hole in the bottom where the stirring paddle was.
I have made a fair few loaves with the Panasonic and the results have been good. This was a large white with darker crust. This bread does not tend to keep well and so you just have to eat it.
I should mention that the neighbour is also a miller and so he can supply us with big sacks of flour. That makes the bread pretty cheap as we just need to add dried yeast, sugar, salt, fat (butter or oil) and water. I quite like a granary loaf and these work well if you mix with some white flour.
This is a loaf from the Goodmans where it overflowed the tin. It was very sensitive to the amount of yeast. I think the Panasonic gives a better crust.
It generally takes four or five hours to bake a loaf. This seems to involve some time where it just stands, but I generally set the timer so it will be ready when I get up and so the duration is not too important. There is a quick setting, but the loaf I tried with that was smaller and quite dense. It is good enough in an emergency. Sometimes the top splits a bit, but that adds to the charm and we like a crunchy crust.
The manual came with lots of recipes and I have only tried a small selection so far. You can also make various types of dough and some types of cake. You do need a set of measuring spoons, scales and a jug for the water. It takes a few minutes to set up for a bake. I will have to try to French and Italian settings as well as experimenting with other types of flour. I am open to having a variety of breads.
I am not sure this can be considered an essential, but I have found it useful to be able to have fresh bread through the week. There is no baker in walking distance from us. Small local bakeries have generally been edged out by supermarkets and that is a shame. We have lost a few local businesses since we have lived here.