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Tom’s Guide
Tom’s Guide
Camilla Sharman

Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker review

Breville bread maker.
Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker: Specs

Dimensions: 16.4 x 9.6 x 13.3 inches
Loaf size: 1 - 2 ½ pounds
Settings: 3 color crust options, 13 settings
Weight: 16.9 pounds
Power: Electric
Wattage: 830 watts
Colour: Brushed stainless steel
Features: Fruit and nut dispenser, delay start
Accessories: Collapsible paddle for bread and dough, fixed paddle for jam

The Breville Custom Loaf bread maker is a substantial bread maker that delivers a sizable loaf, with the most even results achieved when making the largest bake at 2½ pounds. Its large capacity makes it the best bread machine for families, although it still performs well when making smaller loaves  —  the taste and texture remain consistent; the only downside is that its shape is not as even. 

Its size makes the appliance on the bulky side, and it may be awkward to fit into a cupboard, but there’s no harm in keeping it out on the countertop to encourage you to use it regularly. Besides, its sleek brushed stainless steel finish makes for some real eye candy in your kitchen. 

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: Price and availability

The Breville Custom Loaf bread maker is available for $299 at Amazon and widely available elsewhere. It’s a little on the steep side for a bread maker but it provides a large bread pan and plenty of functionality. It’s a purchase that will need a commitment and is for those who know they won’t use the appliance for a couple of times before placing it at the back of a cupboard 

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: Design and setup

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

This large bread machine with a square appearance will sit under cabinets on countertops when the lid is closed. However, you will need to pull it out to open the lid and remove the bread pan. Although large, the appliance will sit under a wall cabinet without protruding, leaving you with some countertop space.  

The casing has an attractive brushed stainless steel finish, giving it a sleek and appealing look. However, it does mark easily with fingerprints, which is difficult to avoid when handling ingredients. 

It’s not the lightest of bread machines to move around due to its size, so you won’t want to take it out of a cupboard whenever you want to make a loaf of bread. It's best left out on your kitchen countertop or within a utility room if you have one.

One of the main benefits of this machine is the automatic fruit and nut dispenser incorporated into the back section of the lid. It lifts easily and has an internal plastic casing, where the ingredients are stored before they are automatically tipped into the dough at the optimum time.

It also comes with two paddles. A flexible paddle is designed for dough, and the fixed paddle is intended for jam-making. 

On the reverse is a fixing to store a recipe book and a place to wrap around the cable to keep it neat and tidy.

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: Functionality

You won’t just stick to making a plain white loaf with the Breville Custom Loaf bread maker. You’ll experiment with wholewheat, gluten-free, yeast-free and crusty loaves, enjoying cinnamon buns, homemade pizza and lashings of jam. And it has 13 preset options and 9 storable custom settings for you to save your favorite recipes and a delay setting of up to 13 hours, so you can plan for when you want a fresh loaf ready and waiting for you.

The Sage version I tried has a downloadable recipe book with a mix of 46 recipes covering all 13 preset settings. However, although I used the recipe book, it was a shame that it needed to be downloaded. A printed copy would be much easier to refer to and justified within the bread maker’s price. That aside, it is my only complaint about the bread maker.  

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: Performance

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Breville Custom Loaf bread maker is certainly up to the task. It mixed all the ingredients superbly without the need for any assistance. There was never any flour left in the corners of the bread pan, even when mixing smaller loaves with less mixture to pull other ingredients into the mix. 

The manual states that the bread machine produces a more even loaf when the largest loaf size is made. Although this was true, and smaller loaves didn’t have an even rise, it didn’t hinder the taste or the structure of the crumb. It consistently produced a tasty loaf. 

It was a little noisy when mixing and kneading, and the machine did move around a little. So, for this reason, I’d suggest not placing the appliance near the edge of a countertop when in use. However, this is only a minor issue.

I loved the viewing window. After using this feature, I’d find it hard to go back to a bread machine without one. Watching the ingredients being mixed and seeing the dough rise was fun. My family also enjoyed this element. It also saved any issue of wanting to take a sneaky peak inside, lifting the lid and reducing the temperature.

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: The Bake Off

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I started with a basic white loaf to get used to the machine, setting the crust to dark. I found the dark crust a little tough, but then I altered the setting on subsequent tries and found the light and medium settings were better. I discovered that larger loaves were more evenly shaped, as the manual states. However, despite this, all the loaves had a light texture —much more so than my homemade efforts without a bread machine. 

I also tried the sun-dried tomato and pesto and pine nut recipes. But when I tasted these loaves, I started to worry about my waistline — they were so good. My son declared the sun-dried loaf was the best bread he’d ever tasted. High praise indeed.

A wholemeal loaf, with a mix of white bread flour and wholemeal flour, was also a success, although I did make a small loaf, and as expected, the rise was a little uneven. Knowing that wholemeal loaves can often be a little dense, I was pleasantly surprised at the light texture.

"My son declared the sun-dried loaf was the best bread he’d ever tasted."

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Pecan and maple bread (Image credit: Future)

I couldn’t get away without making a sweet dough — and I opted for maple and pecan as this bakes within the bread maker. I was tempted to try the cinnamon rolls, but the dough is removed, shaped and filled before baking in an oven, and I wanted to test the machine’s baking ability with sweet dough. Don’t worry; the cinnamon rolls will be baked before the bread maker is returned!

The pecan and maple bread was a sweet success, with the maple replacing the sugar and the nuts placed in the fruit and nut dispenser. It was another light loaf, and I’ve been enjoying it buttered with extra maple syrup on top. Now you know why I was worried about my waistline!

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: Ease of use

(Image credit: Future)

I found Breville's manual very comprehensive and the instructions and guidelines easy to follow, especially when describing how to use the different settings and custom functions, such as how to stop the  keep warm stage at the end of each program.

It also breaks down the time of each stage for every program setting and gives the overall start-to-finish time. 

The manual also includes additional information describing ingredient types and how they work with bread, plus metric, imperial and cup measurements to enable you to convert ingredient amounts from those stated in your recipe. It may seem like a small thing, but it saves valuable time. 

On the machine itself, I found the controls and the LCD display easy to use and navigate. I could easily select the bread type (basic, gluten-free, sweet, and more) and choose between three crust types. It was also simple to select the loaf size. The bottom section of the display indicates what stage the bread is at, although I didn’t need to know when it was baking because I could smell it!

I also liked that I could remove the “keep warm” stage before starting a program. This is a worthy setting, but it can lead to the crust being softer, a tip mentioned in the manual. 

The bread pan was relatively easy to insert into the inner chamber but sometimes needed a little wiggle to attach to the shaft. Also, the flexible paddle was a bit stiff to start with, but I eased this by coating it with some sunflower oil, which did the trick. 

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: Cleaning

(Image credit: Future)

The Breville Custom Loaf bread maker was easy to clean. The outer casing does show fingerprints, but these can be wiped with a microfiber cloth. One word of warning though: the bread pan needs to be removed before adding any ingredients, this ensures that nothing is spilt onto the heating element and drive mechanism. 

It’s also worth noting that the bread pan should not be immersed in water as it may interfere with the free movement of the coupling and drive shaft. Instead, the bread pan should be half-filled with warm, soapy water and cleaned with a non-abrasive sponge.

The paddle will also need some careful cleaning to remove any baked-on dough. However, avoid using any metal implements to remove residue as it may damage the surface. A simple soak will loosen the dough, allowing it to come free. 

Do remember to wipe the interior of the fruit and nut dispenser clean. This will ensure flavors are not transferred to other breads. The lid can also be removed from the hinge and replaced by realigning the pivot pins. I found it needed a little more cleaning when I added sun dried tomatoes into the compartment due to the oily nature of the ingredients. 

Breville Custom Loaf bread maker review: The Verdict

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Breville Custom Loaf bread maker is a mighty appliance for home bakers. Now that my testing is complete, I’ll be reluctant to send it back. It produced a consistently good loaf every time and has far surpassed my expectations, creating a much lighter rise than my homemade attempts. The option of baking small and large loaves also makes it a winner, especially for those who have a family or are looking for versatility in the loaf size they bake. 

Although on the pricey side among the best bread machines, it does offer a lot of functionality; the LCD and controls are easy to use, and the viewing window is a real bonus. And it makes a worthy investment for those who want to make bread regularly rather than on the odd occasion. If I was looking to purchase a bread maker, this would be at the top of my list.

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