Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Review
Breville is an Australian small home appliance company that makes a wide variety of kitchen gadgets – toaster ovens, espresso machines, juicers, and of course a bread machine. What sets Breville apart from most small kitchen appliance manufacturers like Kitchen Aid or Hamilton Beach is they strictly focus on making the best, most full-featured appliances they can make which of course comes with a price tag. When it comes to bread machines, the BBM800XL Custom Loaf is the only bread machine Breville currently sells.
So can a high-end bread machine be worthwhile? Why would someone opt to get a top of the line bread machine over a cheaper one? We’ll explore those questions in this review to tell you if the Breville Custom Loaf is the perfect bread machine for you.
The Custom Loaf is pretty massive by bread machine standards and even quite large by kitchen appliance standards so the box may be jarringly large at first glance. Once unpacked, the bread machine itself is roughly 16.5 x 13 x 9.5 inches and weighs about 17 lbs. It’s not the easiest bread machine to move around due to its size and no side handles you can use to grip it, but I had no serious issues and imagine most people won’t as long as you have the counter/storage space.
Once I got the device fully unpacked, I took stock of everything that came with it – the bread machine itself, a bread pan, two unique paddles for mixing, and a surprisingly helpful 267 page instruction booklet (half in English, half in French). After I was done skimming a few pages of the instructions, I took a good look at the bread machine itself and was extremely impressed with how awesome it looked.
From the outside, the Breville is clearly the best looking bread machine on the market, hands down. The outer compartment is entirely stainless steel which gives in that high-end, modern look that most kitchen appliances aim for today. One area of design where it really sets itself apart from other high-end bread machines is in the control panel.
Fully backlit, making selections of settings feels fast and intuitive with the select dial. This setup is much more attractive and suitable than something like the Zojirushi Virtuoso control panel which relies on a series of dated looking plastic buttons instead.
Another design feature I should point out is the see-through window on the top of the machine which allows you to peek at your mixes and keep an eye on how they’re doing without having to interrupt the bake. There’s even a light button you can press to turn on the oven light and get a really good look at what’s going on – if you’re baking with kids, they’re going to love this feature.
Breville Instruction Book
While I normally wouldn’t dedicate a section to an instruction book, but the one Breville includes deserves mention. It’s a whopping ~270 pages (half English, half French) and includes 46 great recipes of all different types, as well as really helpful troubleshooting tips that will make your bread come out better. Advice on how to adjust your ingredients if the bread doesn’t rise enough, is too dense, etc.
You can also check out a PDF copy of the instruction booklet here.
The Breville Custom Loaf is more than just a pretty appliance – it’s packed full of features as well. Perhaps the most unique feature that sets it apart from other bread machines is the 2.5 lb maximum loaf size. This gives the BBM800XL the largest loaf capacity on the market. If you’re baking bread for the whole family, this could be a huge selling point for you. Overall, this machine offers 4 different loaf sizes – 1 lb, 1.5 lb, 2 lb, and 2.5 lb.
Here’s a look at the loaf bin inside the unit, which has a removable paddle inserted in the center.
This bread machine comes with two different paddles, the collapsible metal paddle and a plastic, fixed upright paddle. The metal paddle will be used on most of your bakes and collapses down during the bake phase so that the hole in the bottom of your loaf is as small as possible.
The fixed paddle is to be used when you’re making jams or the “jam” setting.
Another big selling point of the Custom Loaf is the variety of uses you can get from the 14 different settings. These settings include –
- Custom – this allows you to specify your desired temperatures and times for each step of the baking process and you can even save up to 9 different recipes to the machine’s memory to be used again in the future.
- Basic – For use with most pre-packaged bread mixes.
- Basic Rapid – similar to basic, but for when using rapid yeast.
- Whole Wheat – optimized baking for whole weat flour.
- Whole Wheat Rapid – similar to whole wheat but for when using rapid yeast.
- Gluten Free – For use with gluten-free flours.
- Crusty Loaf – For breads low in fat and sugar that produce a more crisp crust and finer crumb.
- Sweet – For berads high in sugars, fats, and proteins.
- Yeast Free – for breads that user baking powder/soda rather than yeast. Typically have a cake-like texture (banana bread)
- Dough Bread – for making dough that you will then remove and bake using another method.
- Dough Pizza – for making pizza dough to be removed and baked.
- Dough Pasta – for making pasta doughs.
- Bake Only – This can be used for a variety of reasons such as warming an existing loaf, baking dough that has been hand-shaped, darkening a loaf, etc.
- Jam – this setting is used to make jam from fresh fruit.
The Custom Loaf also offers three different crust colors, light, medium, and dark depending on your preference.
Another nice feature of this bread machine is the built-in fruit/nut dispenser. You can load up this compartment with up to 3/4 cups of fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, or whatever else you want to disperse into your bread dough at the appropriate time during the process. For bread machines without a nut dispenser, you have to be near your machine to hear it beep at the specific time when it’s appropriate to mix in your ingredients which can be limiting if you want to delay start your loaf to bake while you’re away or if you simply want to do something else (mow the lawn, do laundry, watch TV, etc) without having to be at your bread machine to manually do this part of the process when needed.
Finally, does it bake well? In my experience, the Breville Custom Loaf does an excellent job just as expected for this price range. All the recipes I have run through this machine have come out nicely, every component working as it should.
One thing worth noting about the kneading of this machine, it can be a bit on the loud side. Since there’s only one central paddle and the loaf capacity is very high, once the dough starts to firm up the paddle ends up beating the large ball of dough all around the bucket making somewhat loud thuds pretty often, even shaking the machine a bit.
To me, this isn’t much of an issue at all as I don’t really expect my kitchen appliances to be quiet, and the kneading phases really aren’t long enough for me to consider it annoying.
Overall if you’re looking for one bread machine to buy for the rest of your life, the Breville should be at the top of your list for consideration. There isn’t a better looking bread machine on the market and it has every possible feature you could need, making it future-proof. As long as it’s in your budget, I don’t think you’ll be sorry you bought a Breadville Custom Loaf.