The Panasonic SD-YD250 is an excellent choice for home cooks who want to enjoy home-baked bread without a lot of fuss and trouble. Although it doesn't have the range of settings that more expensive models have, it does include a work-saving yeast dispenser, a delay-start feature and consistently great results, according to users. If you are an expert bread maker and want a full-function machine, you may find this one lacking, as it doesn't have a jam cycle or allow custom programming; and if you're a baker who likes to monitor the process, you might miss having a viewing window. Still, some upscale machines can cost more than twice as much as this model. If you want a premium machine but don't need all the bells and whistles, the Panasonic SD-YD250 may fit the bill.
Delivers consistently excellent results with every loaf. What matters most with a bread maker is the outcome, and according to reviews, the Panasonic SD-YD250 delivers an excellent loaf every time. Mason Currey tested five models for Slate.com and reports that the Panasonic produces one of the best-looking loaves, with a dark, crispy crust and good flavor. Most home bakers posting to Amazon.com agree that the loaves come out evenly baked, evenly risen, evenly textured and flavorful with every slice.
The praise for this model's performance is constant regardless of bread variety. One baker posting to Viewpoints.com, for example, has used the SD-YD250 to bake all kinds of bread, including cinnamon-raisin, beer bread and bacon bread, and has yet to "get a loaf that is less than perfect." Other bakers posting to both Viewpoints.com and Amazon.com echo these sentiments, although with fewer bread varieties. The only performance criticism we found was from one owner at Amazon.com who is disappointed that there is no choice of crust settings for wheat bread.
Makes bread baking a virtual no-brainer. It's not the most full-featured bread maker on the market, but the Panasonic SD-YD250 is widely considered an easy-operating machine. Users say its LED display is clear and allows bakers to easily choose among size, type and crust options. The delay setting allows you to add ingredients and choose what time you'd like the bread to be ready -- a very popular feature among Amazon.com users, many of whom enjoy the ability to wake up to the aroma of freshly made bread. Editors at The Wall Street Journal and owners at Amazon.com praise the yeast slot as a convenience feature because they say it eliminates the need to add yeast manually; a few users, however, report that it's difficult to add yeast without spilling some around the slot. Some reviewers also fault the lack of a viewing window, which would allow them to monitor baking progress. And some complain that if you make a mistake programming the unit, there is no quick way to clear the settings.
Sturdy and solid, but size is debatable. Bread makers in general don't garner many comments about their appearance, possibly because many of them are essentially large, white boxes, and the Panasonic SD-YD250 is no exception. Nevertheless, its size is an issue for some users. At over 13 inches wide, 14 inches tall and 9 inches deep, the model is considered compact by Slate.com's reviewer, Mason Currey, who reports that it's the only one he could imagine finding room for in his small kitchen. Some users at Amazon.com, by contrast, find it big and bulky. While editors at The Wall Street Journal report that the machine has a tendency to "levitate" across the counter, many users specifically state that the model is sturdy and stable, and they don't experience this problem.
A winner in the sound department. If noisy appliances are a pet peeve of yours, the Panasonic SD-YD250 may be your ideal machine. Editors at BreadInfo.com say it has a "reputation for being quiet." Aside from occasional complaints about squeaking or grinding noises, which in some cases signal mechanical problems, and a few "knocks" during the kneading phase, users posting to Amazon.com widely express satisfaction with the model's noise level. Many use terms like "extremely quiet," "quiet as a mouse" and "whisper quiet" to describe it, and some even report that they never hear the machine running.
1. The Wall Street Journal
Review Credibility: Excellent Editors of The Wall Street Journal evaluate bread machines using the same recipes for white bread, wheat bread, pizza dough, French bread and sweet loaves. After testing, five favorite models emerged and the Panasonic SD-YD250 ranked among them. Writer Lauren Moser praises the Panasonic machine for its yeast dispenser, noting that it makes the mixing process less daunting. On the con side, Moser says the basic cycle is relatively long, and the machine may "levitate" across the counter.
Review: Bread Makers, Laura Moser, Feb. 5, 2011
Review Credibility: Excellent Mason Currey, a Slate.com contributor, tries five machines over the course of six weeks, rating each machine for bread quality, convenience, features and value. He concludes that the Panasonic SD-YD250 beats out its competition in many areas, noting that it produces a good-looking loaf with a dark, crispy crust and good flavor. He also praises the size of the model, which he says fits nicely in his small kitchen. Nevertheless, he finds fault with its lack of a window for viewing baking progress and its recipe book, which he says calls for odd measurements.
Review: Loafing Around: The Search for the Best Automated Breadmaker, Mason Currey, Nov. 10, 2009
Review Credibility: Very Good The Panasonic SD-YD250 garners more than 1,070 user reviews on Amazon.com, with users giving it an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. Most reviews are highly complimentary, particularly praising its consistently excellent baking results and nearly silent operation. The easy-to-use display and variety of settings are also appreciated features. A few users report mechanical problems and frustration with Panasonic's customer service.
Review: Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker with Yeast Dispenser, White, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Good At this bread-enthusiast site, editors rate eight bread machines, judging them on appearance, price, features, ease of use, results and customer service. The Panasonic SD-YD250 earns an A-minus rating and is considered a "well-priced, good value."
Review: Side by Side Bread Machine Comparison, Editors of BreadInfo.com, Undated
Review Credibility: Good Jessica Harlan, About.com's cooking equipment guide, likes the Panasonic breadmaker, but says those baking enthusiasts who enjoy multiple custom settings will be disappointed. For the average user, she recommends the Panasonic as a basic machine that makes good bread. Harlan says the recipes included with the breadmaker are lacking, and she had to call customer service to determine which loaf size was appropriate for her recipe. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker (Model SD-YD250), Jessica Harlan, Undated
Review Credibility: Good Using the pen name "Mama Chef," this blogger devotes her website to offering buying advice and evaluating bread makers based on her own experiences. The Panasonic SD-YD250 is one of her top-five choices, earning the Best Large Bread Machine designation because it can bake loaves up to 2.5 pounds. She points out that the yeast dispenser and temperature-control function help ensure an even loaf. Her main complaints are that the unit takes up considerable counter space, and the variable crust selections are only for white bread, not wheat.
Review: Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker – Best Large Bread Machine, "Mama Chef", March 7, 2011
Review Credibility: Fair More than 20 users post reviews of the Panasonic SD-YD250 on Viewpoints.com, giving it an average 92-point rating on a 100-point scale. More than half note that they "love" it -- a unique rating option on this website. The delay-start feature gets praise from reviewers, with some pointing out that they like the option to add ingredients the night before and wake up to freshly baked bread. The large loaf size is also considered a plus. The few complaints involve mechanical problems, as well as the inability to cancel or change settings mid-cycle.
Review: Best Bread Machine, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of December 2012