New Toy: Russell Taylor Bread Maker
We’ve been under Movement Control Order (MCO) for the last 10 days. I ate my last slice of bread last weekend. Since then, it’s been impossible to get bread anywhere, as everybody is at home and trying to minimize cooking meals and just eating a lot of bread. Rumor has it that there are people waiting at the shops at 7AM for the delivery truck to arrive, and the stock is gone immediately.
So what should I do? Start my own bread production factory for myself of course! And I shall achieve it without leaving the house at all …
I spent an hour or two of researching and asking friends (thanks Murad!) about bread making machines. A very popular model is the Tesco Breadmaker at around RM200. But Tesco is so busy these days you can only secure a delivery slot in Mid-April. And even if you’re brave enough to go to Tesco, you need to find a store that has it in stock.
The next popular breadmaker is from Russell Taylor. Despite the name, this is a Malaysian brand that rebadges appliances from China, and sells exclusively on-line. They advertise as being able to deliver during this lockdown period. They have three models, the basic BM-10 (RM179), a BM-11 (same as BM-10 but with “nut dispenser”). All these models come in white, which I am not a fan of. They also have a BM-20 model (RM279) which has the same spec as a BM-10, but comes in a stainless steel casing and more presets.
I figured I am probably not the only smart-alec in the country, and justified buying the stainless steel version on the pretext that the cheaper models might end up being sold out in the next 24 hours. I ordered it with express delivery.
Equipment settled, I started looking for supplies. There’s a lot of stuff to learn! I found a company Ezymix on Shoppee that is still open and can deliver. To make life easy for bread makers, they have ready-to-go bread mix packs, both white bread (RM2.80) and wholemeal (RM3.20), where you just add an egg, 60g butter and 160/170ml of water or milk and you are done. They also sell flour and yeast and other baking ingredients separately. I ordered a few packets of wholemeal bread mix, some 1kg packets of flour and yeast (with some experience I can probably prepare my own mix to my liking and maybe for cheaper), and some packets of pumpkin/sunflower/sesame seeds and raisins for when I am ready to be more creative.
Both orders submitted were submitted late at night on the 24th of March.
Nothing happened on the 25th.
On the morning of the 26th, the ingredients arrived in a big carboard box. I think I ordered a lot — certainly enough for a few months of bread making !
By evening I was getting disappointed as I’d paid for express delivery on the bread maker explicitly for delivery on the 26th. But at 18:15 I get a call, a parcel is waiting at the ground floor. It’s arrived!
I cleared off my old oven toaster, which I haven’t used for years since getting my air fryer (I use the air fryer even for toast, as it is more akin to the oven and creates crispy bread without burning it), cleaned the space, and set up the bread maker machine. The manual says to clean it, run it through a 10 minute bake cycle, and then let it cool and clean it again. Do take this seriously as the heating element will give off some smoke and smell the first time you use it.
The bread maker machine also includes a measuring cup and spoons, which is good because i don’t have either. The manual also says to put the content in layers, with liquids at the bottom, then dry material, and yeast at the top, So I cracked and whisked an egg and poured that in, followed by the bread mix. This recipe also needs 60g of butter in it, which if you buy a 250g block, means cut out a quarter (with butter, more is always better!). It says soften the butter, so I popped it into my microwave for 20 seconds. The bread mix comes with the yeast in a sachet located inside the packet, which i wasn’t aware of, so had to fish out of the pot. The yeast should be sprinkedat the top (some say make a valley in the flour and put it there. I think it doesn’t matter, as it will all get mixed up shortly. Just avoid getting the yeast soaked in the pure liquids at the bottom early on).
As with any new appliance I needed the manual to figure out the steps, but once you know it it is actually quite obvious. Switch on the machine, press MENU repeatedly until the program matches the one you want (03 in my case). Press “Weight” to approximate the weight of your ingredients (500g-ish). Press “Colour” to choose how brown you want the crust to be. Then press “Start” and that is it.
As long as you can measure ingredients carefully, any idiot can do this.
You’re now free to do your own thing. The machine starts by kneading the dough till it gets one big lump. Then there’s a resting cycle, followed by a warm cycle for the yeast to activate. It seems to spend a long time doing nothing but next thing you know the bread dough has risen. The last 30 minutes or so of the three hour program is spent baking.
Baking bread is a delicate process as the bread still has to be soft inside. This is my first time baking anything so it was interesting to watch. Yes I normally have better things to do, but this was fun!
At the end there was a series of long beeps. I opened the cover and a nice golden brown loaf of bread was ready!
The handle was blocked by the loaf of bread so I used an ikea rubber spatula to free it. The pot needs a slight twist to detach from the machine. I took out the pot and left it to cool for 10-15 minutes. Then I flipped it over and with minimal effort from the spatula the loaf popped out (the non-stick coating of the pot is key here).
It looks good. I was already full from dinner so tomorrow shall be the first tasting. But judging by the ingredients that went in (commercial sliced bread has no milk, butter, eggs in it) this should be more akin the the loafs you get in bakeries.
t’s by no means cheaper (60g of butter alone costs RM2.50) so it is not an economical solution compared to the Gardenia or Massimo loafs you buy outside. I’ve been treating myself to village seed bread from the bakers at Jaya Grocer, which is about RM8 per loaf, so with a bit of creativity this should be comparable to that (hence i bought all the seeds to experiment).
Beyond the better bread, the main benefit I see is the freedom of not being dependent on regular supply of sliced bread. I’ve also justified to myself that making my own bread means that there is now one more slice of commercial bread out there, for someone who needs it.
Here are the links if anyone interested, although there’s probably a mad rush to buy them now. Lazada is also having a one day sale today (27 March) where there’s an additional RM10 off the machines.
- Russell Taylor Bread Maker on Lazada:
- BM10 – https://www.lazada.com.my/products/russell-taylors-bread-maker-large-20lb-1kg-bm-10-i100734167-s101020682.html (RM179)
- BM11 – https://www.lazada.com.my/products/bday-sale-russell-taylors-bread-maker-bm-11-with-automatic-nuts-dispenser-i549674931-s1091670917.html (RM210)
- BM20 – https://www.lazada.com.my/products/bday-sale-russell-taylors-deluxe-stainless-steel-bread-maker-bm-20-i549716880-s1091720377.html (RM279)
- EzyMix Shopee Links:
- EzyMix Store Link – https://shopee.com.my/shop/54744772
- EzyMix 380g Wholemeal Bread Mix – https://shopee.com.my/Ezymix-Wholemeal-Bread-Mix-380g-i.54744772.4617075497 (RM3.20)
- EzyMix 380g White Bread Mix – https://shopee.com.my/Ezymix-Bread-Mix-380g-i.54744772.5517074961 (RM2.80)
Do browse EzyMix’s other products as you might as well get everything you may need in one delivery. EzyMix is located in Kepong just down the road from me, so once this MCO is lifted I can probably save a bit by just collecting from there. You can probably find bread mixes available at most baking ingredient shops. But for now, the delivery service is the most convenient.