Lack of customization for the Russian food market, on the example of a bread machine of a very famous global company.

Lack of customization for the Russian food market, 

on the example of a bread machine of a very famous global company.

The basis of this post is my letter to the management of a very well-known global company that produces home kitchen equipment. After my wife gave me the bread maker of this company. During the whole time of using this bread machine, I found a lot of mistakes in customization for the Russian food market of this equipment. I was very upset that such a global company, did not study the Russian food market at all, before developing this bread maker and starting its sales on the Russian market.

Dear Sir/Madame

My name is Alexander Sinyanskiy, I’m from Russia. I have a lot of «……» appliances and I have always been very happy with them because «……..» products are famous for their reliability and quality.

About two years ago I got your bread maker. I am not a professional chef although my main job is directly related to food industry. I am a specialist in the food industry in Russia and CIS.

I have been using your bread maker for more than a year and it has been provoking only negative emotions. In my opinion this machine is not ready for the market. It looks like the person who is responsible for the creation of this bread machine does not know much about baking bread as this appliance has many drawbacks and rude mistakes. When creating this bread maker, one did not take into account the mentality of Russian people and the meaning of bread for Russians and any other Slavic peoples. As a result, this bread maker is not suitable in regular use.

That’s why I decided to write you this letter and not to write a review on your sites. I hope you will listen out my arguments and suggestions and alter this appliance, so that is becomes the best among competitors. Just as great as all other «…….” products.

Here are my suggestions for improvement:

1. The baking bowl should be round. First, for Russian people bread is historically round in shape. The square shape of bread is subconsciously associated with cheap low quality bread bought in a store. Second, due to the fact that now the shape of the bowl is rectangular, the knife for kneading simply does not mix the flour in the corners of the form during the operation stage. So, the bread in the corners is not baked through. When you get your bread out, you can often find unprocessed flour in the corners of the loaf. The main bread for Russian people is black (rye) bread, so soggy white flour in the corners of the bread loaf is very much visible.

The same problem occurs in the “jam” mode.  The same problem for the “dough” mode. Flour loaded into the bowl is not completely kneaded. In the end, due to the wrong shape of the bowl two modes of the bread maker (“dough” and “jam”) cannot be properly used. For Russian people jam is a part of culture, every Russian family cooks jam for winter season, and trust me each of these families would like to delegate this work to a machine.

Unfortunately, your bread maker is not suitable for that. And not only because of the wrong bowl, but also because of misconfigured temperature (Russians do not make jam at such a high temperature!). The essence of jam cooking is to heat, but not to boil. In your bread machine there is intensive boiling that happens because of too high heating temperature.

2. The size of the bowl. If you put all the ingredients according to your recipe book, the baked bread takes maximum of 40-50% of the height (volume) of the bowl. So, it is necessary to either change the recipe and adjust it to this bread maker size or change the mode settings. If you do not what not to change anything, then just make the bowl smaller, which will save raw materials and reduce the cost of the bread maker.

3. Cover for the bowl. I wonder if the person who designed this bread maker bakes themselves or uses this appliance themselves. The upper part of the bread is not baked or get almost baked. This is a huge drawback of this appliance. It turns out that the bread cannot be served as a whole piece since at the bottom of the loaf there is a very large hole from the knife, and on top the bread looks as if it is not baked. I can say that baking bread in a multicooker produced by any other firm results in an appetizing brown top, since those cookers are sealed and hold heat better. Further below I will get back to the fact that a bowl needs a lid.

4. Modes. First, why are there so long and so loud signals? They are really loud and there are a lot of them, I think about 10. If I want my bread to be ready by 8 a.m., I should put the ingredients into the bowl and put the timer on delay. At about 4 o’clock in the morning everyone wakes up from the sound of a very loud engine at the time of kneading, then, half an hour later, there was another loud signal indicating the time to add more ingredients like nuts or seeds, so everyone wakes up again. At the end of the mode there are long signals again!! Thus, in the morning you already hate this bread because you didn’t sleep half of the night and kept on being woken up. You need to reduce the number of beeps to maximum three signals. And there should be an option to turn off the sound completely.

5. Measuring cup. There should be two of them , like in your noodle machine. Why two? According to the recipe, at the beginning the bread maker is filled with water (measured by measuring cup), then flour and so on. As a result the cup is wet after the water, and the flour immediately sticks to the sides of the cup, so it is not possible to accurately measure the amount. Secondly, the marks indicating the amount are not visible, especially when it is full with water or flour. They should have a different colour, for example black. I personally had to buy another measuring cup, because yours is not easy to use.

6. Measuring spoon. It is high and has a small diameter, washing is not convenient. I cannot put inside even my little finger. It would be easier to use if the spoon had a larger diameter and lower sides.

7. Yogurt mode. Why it is not possible to use the delay function in this mode? We make yogurt for children. Again we have to wait and stay up until midnight to turn on the yogurt mode, so that loud signals beeping at the end of the process do not wake the children in the middle of the night. So that the signal beeps at least at 8 am, not in the middle of the night. Either there should be a delay function for this mode, or there should be a possibility to increase the timing of the mode from 8 hours to at least 10, even better 12. Yogurt does not get any worse.

8. Now the most basic – technological errors of baking bread. The reason why your bread maker is practically a useless thing.

A) The rise of the temperature rise – why to have proofing at 27°C, and then 32°C? There is no big difference between these modes. White bread, the total time of 3 hours 55 minutes, of which almost 2.5 hours is spent on rising of the dough at low temperatures. You also have a mode called “express baking” where is the rising stage is at 48°C. In this case, the bread rises too, which means the yeast bacteria do not die.

The general misconception is that yeast bacteria die at temperatures above 38°C, but this is only a misconception, the dough rises perfectly well with temperatures of up to 50°C. In “French bread” mode, the rising of the dough occurs at 20°C, according to Russian standards inside winter temperature cannot be below 24°C. Doe it mean that the bread maker will cool the dough? Cold fermentation, which is used for example in Italy for pizzas, occurs at +4°C (in refrigerators), but not at +20°C.

The temperature in this mode is not clear at all. I could understand that if the rising of the dough at low temperatures gave the bread some advantage, but there is no such thing. It is necessary to make the proofing stage at 48°C then it will reduce the time of bread-making.

B) The bread maker gives a lot of heat, the body is made of plastic, it is necessary to put at least a foil coating, then it will keep the warmth better, the bread will rise faster, the quality of bread will improve, the time for baking will be reduced and energy consumption will decrease.

C) There should be a function to adjust the temperature and timing of each mode. The main ingredient of bread is flour, flour is different in each region. So a person should be able to “adapt” their ingredients to your recipes. Now the bread maker is set to make such changes.

D) People who buy a bread maker want to eat not only delicious bread, but healthy bread. The most important healthy bread for Russian people is bread made with “zakvaska” as the fermentation starter. There is no mode for the correct baking of “zakvaska” bread. I tried to do this in different ways. The rise of the dough takes up to 10 hours. I tried to put the “zakvaska” dough in the bowl and switch on the yogurt mode. The dough is rising fine, but then it is necessary to switch on the baking mode, which cannot be customized, this mode starts with mixing and all the dough that has been rising for 8 hours falls off! Which does not allow to continue to bake good bread.

You should either make the “right” program for baking “zakvaska” bread, or allow the user to customize the processes in any baking program (operation, temperature, baking timing, etc)

Bread for Russian people is a very important part of historical culture. When a Russian person says that there is “nothing to eat” at home, it means there is nothing, but bread. The bread is always there at any Russian’s home. When a Russian wants to eat, the first thing he takes is a piece of bread. So for all Russian and Slavic people bread is not just a meal, it is a part of their culture and a necessary part of their daily meals.  According to this, what you produce now is trash and Philips should be ashamed of such a “not finished product”.

I hope my comments will allow your company to create a truly best bread maker on the market.

Best regards,
Aleksander Sinyansky
Business Adviser on  Russian Food Market.

p\s I want to say that one of the Vice presidents of this company answered me personally, which is a great honor for me. A working commission was organized where my suggestions and comments were considered. I was sent a detailed letter. I would say that the respect that the highest leaders of this company themselves had done was sincere and very professional. My family and I will definitely continue to use the products of this company (except for the bread maker, of course)

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