I've owned the Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine for over six months. My family was very happy with the bread it made and bread making became my job. I enjoyed it, even though the process took me about 15 minutes. The controls have their quirks but were overall easy to use. Cleaning wasn't bad for the pan, but the interior of the bread maker was a little difficult to clean completely. Using the simple sandwich bread recipe, it made loaf after loaf of filling, tasty bread. A single slice was enough to make a hearty sandwich. We had totally stopped buying "store" bread and were just using what our bread machine made for the children's school lunches and other needs. We tried several kits and artisan breads, and they all turned out great.
Around the beginning of March, that all changed. The bread came out looking like a brick shaped bread bowl with a depression in the middle. It did not rise and was undercooked, and sometimes even had raw flour still coating the edges. After several attempts to remedy the issue by change cooking times and getting fresh ingredients, we determined that the cooking element had gone bad. I both emailed Panasonic and called their service line. After a long, frustrating interrogation by their phone rep, I was told I'd have to insure and UPS ship the bread machine to TX for service. Shipping would be at my cost and I no longer had the original box. Then I heard back from my online inquiry and they recommended I take it to a local authorized service center. That option is much better for me and I'm taking the YD250 in next week.
I read the reviews for a lot of bread machines before deciding upon the Panasonic. The majority were glowing, but perhaps 1 out of 10 mentioned similar issues with the machine failing, and the woes of dealing with customer service. I had hoped I'd beat the odds, but I didn't. Six months after purchasing and using my bread machine 2 or 3 times a week, I was left with something that didn't work. My family had gotten used to the wholesome goodness of homemade bread so this is a difficult time for us. When it worked, the SD-YD250 made great bread (and other foods). But you have to ask yourself if you want to take the chance that the one you get is going to break down in the first year like ours did. I wouldn't take that chance again and would probably go with a different brand, as much as I've enjoyed Panasonic products in the past.
EDIT: I got the breadmaker back from the shop and it is baking just fine again now. They said there was nothing wrong with it and didn't make any repair. ??? I'm not sure I believe them but it is working again and I'm happy for that. I've raised my star rating upward again, but can't give it a full 5 stars as I am unsure whether or not I can trust it to last now.
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