Breville The Custom Loaf Review
Pros: Automatic fruit and nut dispenser, easy to use, backup power supply
Cons: Expensive, large, heavy
Our Analysis and Test Results
The main things that set the Breville apart from the rest of the pack are its overall appearance and its automated mix-in dispenser. However, it can't match the baking performance of the best models and is far too expensive to be a budget buy, leaving the Breville in a bit of an awkward middle position. It does have a relatively sleek and stylish appearance, but there is only so much you can do to make a bread maker stylish and the vast majority of people aren't even going to store these appliances on the counter. This essentially means that you are paying a whole lot extra for an automated mix-in dispenser, which may be totally worth it if you make that kind of bread all the time or useless if you don't.
The Breville got off to a fair start in our white bread test, baking a load that was relatively consistent without a ton of extra flour, but there were some weird voids on the outside of the loaf. The crust on the sides was quite a bit darker than the top of the bread. There was also a decently large hole in the bottom of the loaf where the paddle was, even though it does fall flat after kneading to try and minimize this. We didn't really find this feature to be necessary, as it didn't seem like it was all that effective in our tests and in some cases actually made it more difficult for us to remove the bread from the pan.
The Breville did a little bit worse with the wheat bread, getting off to a rough start when it came to kneading the dough. The paddle made an awful clicking noise throughout the entire process and the bread finished with an overall gnarly appearance in terms of shape. It did do alright in terms of color, with the sides and bottom are an even color, with the top again being a shade lighter.
However, there was an odd grey spot on the outside of the bread where the paddle was, leading us to think that it might be a spot of grease or something similar, especially when combined with the odd clicking sound. This never happened again with the Breville, but it also didn't happen with any other machine that we tested, making it a bit disconcerting nonetheless.
The performance of the Breville rebounded in our gluten-free test, doing the best of the group at incorporating the cornstarch and leaving very little leftover on the outside of the finished bread. The crust looks great and is very even and the loaf did a great job of retaining shape — most of the gluten-free bread baked in other machines collapsed in the center.
Ease of Use
The Breville does redeem itself when it comes to its interface and its ease of use. It's the only model we have seen with a backlit screen, which makes it very clear and easy to read. It has an intuitive dial interface for selecting between the different baking profiles. This bread machine also has a 60-minute backup power supply if the power fails or it accidentally gets unplugged. However, it won't keep baking when the power is off, only hold your place until the power comes back or it gets plugged back in. This appliance has a capacity of up to 2.5 lb. loaves and includes a 1-year limited warranty.
The Breville is a little bit on the large side, weighing in at 16.4 lbs. and measures 9.8" wide and 15.7" long. It is 13.9" high as well and has a stainless steel housing.
The Breville does have quite an impressive set of features — and it better, considering its higher than average price tag. This bread maker has 12 different automatic baking profiles — basic, whole wheat, rapid, gluten-free, crusty loaf, sweet, yeast-free, dough, pizza, pasta, bake only, and jam — and the ability to store up to 9 custom settings for your own dough recipes. You also have the option to set a light, medium, or dark crust for each setting as well.
As mentioned before, the Breville does have the automated fruit and nut dispenser, which is vastly superior to other models that beep when it is time to add mix-ins and then force you to manually add them in.
This bread machine includes two paddles — one collapsible for dough and one fixed paddle for jellies and jams.
The Breville is a terrible value, coupling a high price tag with a performance that isn't all that much better than some budget options.
If you love being able to set customizations and add dried fruit or nuts to your bread, then the Breville the Custom Loaf is a solid bet if you can afford its high price tag. However, we weren't all that impressed with its baking performance compared to models that cost a whole lot less.
— Austin Palmer and David Wise