If you’re anything like me, no meal is complete without bread. You consider yourself a connoisseur of fine bread. You get frustrated trying to find quality bread that’s made without additives and preservatives, and you’re willing to search to find bread that meets your high standards. Perhaps, in your attempts to have the best bread possible, you’ve even tried to bake your own. If you have, you know that it can be a lot of work. Baking great bread takes time. You have to find the right recipe, make the dough, let it rise, knead it and bake it. The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours of your valuable time making bread from scratch. Bread machines are widely available, and more affordable than ever. The right bread machine will do all of the hard work for you, and you can wake up with fresh-baked bread every morning. On this site, you will find reviews of many different types of bread machines. We’ll include information about size, efficiency and cost that will help you pick out the best bread machine for you and your family.
How to choose a Bread Machine
There are hundreds of different models on the market. In order to find the best option, you will need to compare different models and examine their features.
Primary Features of a Bread Machine
First, you should explore the main features of a typical bread machine. The following features are among the most important issues to consider before purchasing a bread machine:
- Loaf size
- Horizontal and vertical loaves
- Digital timers
- Kneading blades
- Programming and settings
One of the first decisions you will need to make is the size of the machine. You can find smaller machines capable of making a 1-pound loaf of bread. Larger machines may be able to make 3-pound loaves.
A 2-pound loaf is the standard size. This should feed a family of 2 to 4 for several days. With some machines, you have the option to bake different loaf sizes. They may offer 2 to 3 different loaf sizes for you to choose from. If you plan on making a variety of different recipes and various loaf sizes, then you may prefer a machine that has this option. Here are our picks for the best bread machines by size:
- Best small bread machine, 1 lb. loaf – Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Baker Mini
- Best medium bread machine, 2 lb. loaf – Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso
- Best flexible-size bread machine, 1.5, 2, 2.5 loaf sizes – Panasonic SD-YD250
Horizontal and Vertical Loaves
Along with the size of the loaf, you should think about the shape of the loaf. Older bread machines were primarily only capable of producing vertical loaves. These loaves were tall and square shaped.
As you start browsing the latest bread machines, you will find that many models allow you to bake horizontal loaves. A horizontal loaf is similar to the loaves of bread that you can purchase from a grocery store. They are longer and more suitable for cutting regular slices of bread for making sandwiches.
Digital timers can be useful for setting a time for your machine to start baking. How would you like to wake up to a freshly baked loaf of bread? With a digital timer, you can add the necessary ingredients and set the timer to begin kneading and baking early in the morning.
Timers are not always included. If this feature is important to you, then make sure that you include this in your search for the right bread machine.
The kneading blades can play a major part in the quality of your loaves. You will find machines with one or two kneading blades. With two blades, the dough will get properly kneaded. Having two kneading blades is a fairly common feature for machines that bake horizontal loaves.
Programming and Settings
Higher end bread machines often come with a variety of programming options and settings. These settings can allow you to bake different items or prepare multiple types of bread. Other settings include alarms, kneading options, and various baking options.
What Else Should You Look for in a Bread Machine?
You now know which features are among the most important in choosing a bread machine. Along with the features already discussed, there are a few other factors to consider. This includes the following:
- Noise level
The price can be an issue, depending on your budget. Prices can range from $50 to several hundred dollars. If you plan on using your bread machine on a regular basis, you should spend a little extra to get a quality machine.
A higher priced machine not only offers a longer service life they can yield better quality loaves of bread. A more powerful motor can knead dough quicker and properly prepare your dough for baking.
Did you know you can make more than bread with a bread machine? Along with loaves of bread, you could bake cakes and other desserts. Some machines are better suited to the task of baking other items. A versatile machine may be able to make jam, noodles, and even pizza dough.
Some bread machines come with additional accessories or have accessories that you can purchase separately. The versatility of the machine may depend on these accessories and specialty items.
All bread machines produce noise while kneading the dough. Though, the noise level can vary between different machines. Typically, a cheaper product will generate more noise.
A lot of work goes into the top brand machines in order to cut down on noise levels. They tend to be sturdier, which helps keep the machine from moving around your counter and vibrating.
Comparing the Top Bread Machines
Now that you know which features to look for, you can begin comparing bread machines. Here are our picks of the best bread machines available:
Best Bread Machine
Zojirushi BB-PAC20 – Top-of-the line bread maker. Rated as the best bread maker on the market.
Best Value for money
Panasonic SD-YD250 – A lower-cost bread maker with great features.
Best Inexpensive Bread Machine
Oster CKSTBRTW20 – Homemade bread on a budget.
Best Gluten-Free Bread Maker
Cuisinart CBK-100 – For anyone who is extremely health conscious or must avoid gluten, this model is the best choice.
Best Express Bread Machine
Oster CKSTBRTW20 – For anyone who is interested in buying the machine that can bake loaves quickly while still maintaining quality, this is an excellent choice.
Best Small Bread Machine
Zojirushi BB-HAC10 – Homemade bread for small family(single or couple).