I bought a DAK bread maker about 8 months after the first round of
price cuts (I paid about $180). I owned a Panasonic which produced
excellent bread, but wanted bigger loaves and liked the idea of the
glass top so I could watch what happens. I just wanted to make
basic whole wheat bread. When I bought the DAK, I gave the Panasonic
to a friend.
I've been very unhappy with DAK and the bread maker. The bread maker
came without the recipe book, so I tried some basic whole wheat recipes
that worked fine in the Panasonic. They hardly rose at all, and the
resulting bread was pretty disgusting. I figured I needed to use the
DAK recipe book, so...
I tried calling the 800 number for DAK support. I tried off and on
for a week, different times of day, about 10-15 attempts. The phone
was busy every time except for two. The first time there was no answer
after 20 rings so I figured I had dialed the wrong number or there was
nobody there. The second time, a few days later, I let it ring for
about 20 minutes. While letting it ring, I wrote them a nasty letter
(I'd already written them a nice one). I finally received the recipe
book, but received no other acknowledgement of my letters.
I thumbed through the recipe book, and there aren't any recipes that
just include your basic stone ground whole wheat flour. Their "whole
wheat" bread is mostly white flour. I haven't experimented with the
thing since about July since there is a wonderful bakery in Lexington
KY (Great Harvest), and I've visited Lexington enough to keep bread
stocked in my freezer. (Try the herb wheat or sunflower whole wheat
if you go to Great Harvest.)
There are a couple things I notice that, I believe, make the Panasonic
bread maker superior to the DAK. First, the yeast is kept separate from
the rest of the ingredients in the Panasonic until kneading time. Perhaps
it heats itself to optimal yeast-growing temperature before adding
the yeast? I don't know. But I think this is a superior method,
especially for me since I like to tell the thing to start 4 hours after
I go to bed, and I don't trust the yeast and water together in the DAK
for 4 hours before kneading. Well, when I tried it, the bread was n.g.
Also, the little blade in the DAK whirs continuously once the thing is
activated. For the first five minutes or so in the Panasonic, the blade
spins a bit and stops a bit. I think this probably is a better simulation
of human kneading. Just seems more logical to me.
Anyway, I think the Panasonic produced a good loaf more consistently
than my 3-4 trials with the DAK. I will experiment more when I run out
of Great Harvest :-) I don't know if Panasonic's customer support is
better because I've never had to call them.
If anyone has a basic whole wheat bread recipe that works well in
the DAK, I'd sure like to hear it! I'd like to use honey instead of