Breadman Ultimate Dream Machine
The new Breadman TR-4000 is Salton’s latest top of the line bread machine. It combines the best features of the Breadman Ultimate TR-2200 with the features of the now discontinued Breadman Dream Machine TR-3000. The offical name for this power house machine is the Breadman Ultimate Dream Machine. Does it live up to this grand title? Let’s see.
- The Breadman Ultimate Dream Machine breadmaker includes many cycles including: White, French, Fruits and Nuts, Quick Bread/Cake, Whole Wheat, Super Rapid, Sourdough, Dough, Bagel Dough, Pizza Dough, Jam, Bake Only, and 6 Personal Baker cycles.
- Touch-activated LCD screen prompts bakers on how to make a loaf of bread every step of the way.
- The viewing window allows you to watch the bread making process.
- Automatic add-ins dispenser allows you to add ingredients, such as dried fruit or nuts, herbs, oats, etc. which will then be dropped in to the dough at the appropriate time during the cycle. You can choose to use the add-ins dispenser or not simply by pressing a single button to turn it on or off.
- Large well designed user’s guide with lots of recipes for every cycle.
- Includes a single on screen recipe for every cycle.
- Loaf size selection includes 1-1/2, 2 and 2-1/2 pound.
- Crust color selection includes Light, Medium and Dark.
- Use the Quick Bread/Cake cycle to mix and bake a prepackaged cake mix or a quick bread from scratch.
- A special rapid course allows you to save up to an hour during the bread making process compared to the normal course cycle.
- The Super Rapid cycle bakes a 1-1/2 and 2 pound loaf of bread in as little as 59 minutes. The 2-1/2 pound loaf bakes in 1 hour and 9 minutes.
- Sourdough cycle, this cycle will mix the levain (starter) ingredients together for either normal or French Sourdough, and then ferment the levain in a warm environment for up to 48 hours. It then prompts you to add the remaining ingredients and select either Bake Only or Dough cycle to complete the process.
- You can make dough for rolls, loaves or hand shaped bread you’ll bake in your oven. Use the breadmaker’s Dough cycle to do the mixing and kneading for you, then shape and bake the bread yourself.
- The Dough cycle also has selections for Pizza and Bagels.
- You can wake up to hot baked bread in the morning by using the delay bake timer.
- The Jam cycle allows you to enjoy your favorite fresh, home-made jams in 1 hour and 5 minutes.
- You can use the Bake only cycle to bake frozen dough and other types of dough that need refrigeration.
- The Personal Baker cycle lets you manually set times and temperatures for every process of bread making to adjust to your own recipe, environment, type of flour, etc. Use the kneading and baking cycle chart as a guideline to change the settings on all stages of bread making. The name will change from empty to user defined after the start key is touched.
- You can use the Personal key on the White, French, Fruits and Nuts, Quick Bread/Cake, Whole Wheat, Super Rapid, Dough and Jam cycles to transfer the times and temperatures of that cycle to one of the Personal Baker cycles. Then you can alter the time and temperature for each process based on the weather or the ingredients. The name will change from empty to the name of the cycle you started with after the start key is touched.
- You can activate Pause to remove the dough for shaping, filling, braiding and more or to score the top of your loaf for a rustic style bread or to make a decorative crust with rolled oats, poppy seeds, etc.
- The keep warm phase prevents the bread from getting soggy by keeping finished bread warm up to an hour after the baking is completed on some settings.
- Touch the Nutrition key to display the approximate nutritional analysis (Nutrition Facts) for each screen recipe.
- This breadmaker has a 60-minute power failure back-up that resumes the process where it left off if the power failure is no more than approximately 60 minutes.
Ease of Use, the LCD Screen and the Pan or the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Overall I really like the LCD screen approach to bread machine control panel. It not only is more visual it is kind of fun. What I don’t like is that the LCD screen is not backlit which means for me most of the time I had to have a flash light handy in order to read the screen. Even with all of the kitchen lights on the glare and angle of the screen made it very hard to read. I can’t believe they didn’t splurge for a backlit LCD screen for this thing. With it running off house hold current there is no excuse for this oversight.
The included built-in recipes are ok, but I didn’t really see anything that was all that hot. What would have been cool is if they had included a USB port and/or wireless connection so that the bread machine could be linked to your PC or Mac so that you could enter in and store your own recipes. With memory prices being as cheap as they are this would have been fairly affordable and a very cool and useful feature. When it comes to basic breads like white or wheat I have my recipe and it would have been nice to have that right on screen and ready to go.
In all but one way this machine looks like the old Dream Machine TR-3000. The only place that I see a difference is in the pan and unfortunately this is where Salton once again blew it. I would be the first one to tell you this is the ultimate bread machine if it wasn’t for the horrible pan. The pan is exactly the same size and shape as the pan included with the old Ultimate TR-2200. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this pan it is a cross-breed meaning it is half horizontal and half vertical. In other words you get very odd sized loaves of bread that when sliced make odd sized sandwiches or in the case of toast won’t fit in your toaster (they are too tall). If Salton had only woke up and included the wonderful horizontal pan with dual kneading blades from the Breadman Pro TR-810 they would have had the worlds most perfect bread machine.
Besides the loaf shape the other thing I hate about this pan is that 98% of the time I have to open the lid and scrape flour and stuff out of the corners of the pan. This is just unacceptable in my opinion. Only poorly designed pans make you do this. At least if it wasn’t for this I could recommend this machine for people that wanted to make dough, but because of this I can’t really recommend this machine at all, which is a pity it has a lot of great bells and whistles.
My final complaint is that they have decided that this machine with its poorly shaped pan is suitable for 2-1/2 pound recipes. The old Ultimate wasn’t suitable for 2 pound recipes because of the loaf shape it made, let alone this one with the same shape with 2-1/2 pounds of dough. Not only did the 2-1/2 pound recipe of ingredients guarantee you had to scrape out the corners it also caused the machine to struggle and even stop kneading quite frequently. I can’t help but think how bad that is for the motor. To make matters worse they added this 100% worthless size while dropping the more useful 1 pound size. So now you can only make 1-1/2, 2 and 2-1/2 pound recipes. Doing the 1 pound isn’t an option because the baking times, temperatures, etc. are set for the above 3 sizes, you can half way fake it using a custom programmed cycle, but it isn’t the same as the machine having direct support for 1 pound recipes.
In the end I am just heart broken about this machine. It could have been a hot machine that finally tossed the Zojirushi from the top position, but instead it turned out to be a white whale. The only thing I can recommend this machine for is people that are going to do dough only with no in machine baking and even then you had better enjoy scraping out the pan corners and using a flash light to read the control panel.
I hope when Salton replaces this machine in a few years that they take the time to listen and get it right. For $199.99 I wouldn’t touch this machine, if someone else way paying for it. My top choice for best bread machine still goes to the Zojirushi, the pan is superior and it includes all of the cycles and settings one needs to make any type of bread they want. While some of the bells and whistles in the TR-4000 would be nice, they are far from a necessity.