I bought this as my first breadmaker to start making my own in stead of paying $6-$7 a loaf for the good, healthy stuff pre-made. I got a couple of mixes to play with at first so I could figure out the machine, timer, settings and the like. I have breezed through making breads, dough, jams and timing fresh, warm bread for the mornings. This breadmaker makes it nearly fool-proof with the easy settings and recipes it comes with.
Next, I ventured out into making my own recipes with varying flours and meals to make them healthier for me... still, flawless loafs with great texture and even color. I really like that it makes horizontal loaves and not the tall, funny-looking ones. Also, the heater in the lid really gives the top a nice even crust.
Using warmed ingredients is not necessary with this machine because the first cycle is "rest", which it brings everything up to tempurature. Really convenient feature over having to measure and then heat to 80 degrees.
Check your dough after it is done kneading it. Sometimes it is off to one side a bit and that'll make your loaf come out like a hippo (small head and big butt), but simply moving it toward the middle or stretching it across will fix that right up.
When making jam, thaw your fruit first. Or pour in your frozen fruit at night and set the timer for morning. It's a wonderful smell to wake-up to.