In this day of consumer electronics that get updated every year, it might seem odd even to discuss something that is nearly 15 years old. Yet, in the realm of bread makers, there are designs that simply don’t age, or at least very little. That’s certainly true for the Panasonic SD-YD250.
Its rectangular shape looks about the same as so many other bread makers, is available only in white, and even lacks a viewing window. The company claims that provides a more even heating surface inside but I’ve never had a problem with any of the other bread makers I tried out that have one.
Still, at 13 3/8″ wide x 14″ tall x 9 1/16″ deep it hits a very attractive mid-point in size. At 15 lbs you won’t have any trouble relocating it from the closet and back if you happen not to have permanent space on the kitchen counter.
Within that frame you can bake anything up to a 2.5 lb loaf (Extra Large) down to a 1.5 lb loaf (Medium). That extra large size will come out of the bread maker about 9″ long x 7″ wide x 7″ high. Not quite as long as a full-sized commercial loaf but the equal of some and very good for a home breadmaking machine.
The inner handle and pan is nothing special in design and material but it is highly functional. It inserts easily and pulls out without a struggle. It’s plenty sturdy and cleans up easily, thanks to a non-stick surface.
One really nice feature, though, is the Power-Interruption Protection. If you suffer a power failure that’s relatively short (10 minutes or less), the SD-YD250 can pick right up where it left off. Your loaf isn’t ruined if you forget to restart the unit when power is restored.
Of course, any outage that lasts a half hour or more is problematic, depending on when in the cycle the baking was interrupted, but it’s a useful feature for more common circumstances.
The auto re-start feature does introduce the possibility of a more serious problem that can limit its flexibility. Since there’s no Cancel button if you make a mistake and you start it with the wrong settings, you can’t just unplug it to reset. You can change them while you’re working through the menu but not after hitting Start. You have to wait more than 10 minutes to begin again.
Automatic Yeast Dispenser
Maybe the most useful added feature of the SD-YD250, especially for newbie chefs, is the top-loading Automatic Yeast Dispenser. This Panasonic lets you add the correct amount into a small container integrated into the lid.
It will automatically fold it into the dough for you at the right time. No need to add yeast at the beginning or hover over the bread maker to put it in at just the right time.
By the way, you can’t use the dispenser for nuts or tiny pieces of fruit, but there is a beeper-timer you can set to alert you when to do that.
Despite the age and plain appearance of the SD-YD250 there’s one area where the Panasonic bread maker really shines: the control panel. It may not look like much but the menu system is simple and offers lots of options.
It allows you to select the type of bread you plan to bake (White, Wheat, French, …), as well as to choose any of the standard three crust options (Light, Medium, Dark). Oddly, not all crust types are available for all bread types.
There’s a timer for baking time, of course, and other pre-set options. It lacks the huge array of options of the Zojirushi BB-CEC20, but the choices are certainly wide enough for most do-it-yourself pastry chefs.
There’s also the standard timer for setting the bread maker to start in the future, up to 13 hours ahead. So, you can mix your ingredients, let things settle, then start the timer when you leave for work. You can set it to return home just in time to take it out. Or, have it just start as you arrive so you can enjoy the smell during the whole process without the hassle of mixing after a long day.
When the cycle is complete the red indicator light makes clear that the loaf is ready to be removed. Unfortunately, it doubles as a trouble light if anything goes wrong so it’s possible to pull the bread out too early if you’re not paying attention to the time.
The Panasonic SD-YD250 package includes a measuring cup, a measuring spoon, and a kneading blade for the single rotor shaft in the loaf pan. The designs are nothing special but they do the job.
There’s also an easy-to-follow Instruction Manual and a Recipe Booklet that offers a ton of recipes. Now that you can find hundreds of those easily on the Internet that’s no longer as helpful as it once was but it’s a thoughtful touch.
Despite having been around for nearly a decade, the Panasonic SD-YD250 is still a very popular model. There are several very recent customer reviews, just as one indicator.
It’s no surprise, really. Maybe this bread makers’ looks are nothing special. It doesn’t dazzle consumers with some of the options available today. But it’s among the less expensive high-end models, very easy to use, flexible, and reliably makes an even loaf with no fuss.