Nothing beats the experience of returning home to a kitchen filled with the aroma of just baked bread. Cutting a thick slice, slathering it with real butter and feasting to your hearts content.
The invention of the bread making machine is perhaps the best invention since…well…sliced bread!
The bread maker has come a long way over the last several decades, with new bells and whistles; it’s worth a shot to see what the best bread machines available on the market are today.
|Check Price on Amazon.com||Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker||Our Review|
|Check Price on Amazon.com||Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker||Our Review|
|Check Price on Amazon.com||Panasonic SD-RD250 Bread Maker||Our Review|
|Check Price on Amazon.com||Kuissential 2-Pound Programmable||Our Review|
|Check Price on Amazon.com||Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine||Our Review|
- Why make your own bread?
- What are the Factors to Consider When Deciding on the Best Bread Maker Machine for You?
- Tips for Making Great Bread in a Bread Maker
- TOP 10 Best Bread Machine Reviews
- Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Bread maker
- Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker
- Panasonic SD-RD250 Bread Maker
- Kuissential 2-Pound Programmable Bread Machine
- Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine
- Cuisinart CBK-100 2 LB Bread Maker
- Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker
- Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme
- Rosewill RHBM-15001 2-Pound Programmable Rapid Bake
- Hamilton Beach Programmable Bread Machine
Why make your own bread?
There are many reasons people choose to make bread at home. Being able to use fresh ingredients without chemicals and preservatives was at the top of the list.
Making your own bread allows you to make bread to your specifications and dietary needs, such as gluten free bread, sugar free, whole wheat and the list goes on.
Having FRESH bread is another compelling reason.
Cost savings are a factor as well, especially for large families. If you buy bulk ingredients and you eat a lot of bread, the savings can be sizeable.
So, why not just make bread in the oven, the old fashioned way?
You could make bread in the oven, but there are a few downsides to this:
- The biggest is you will be doing the time consuming and laborious bread kneading yourself.
- The second reason is you will need to heat the oven, which heats the house. A bread machine is more efficient and uses less energy than the oven. A bread machine allows you to bake in hot weather.
Before we jump into what is the best bread maker machine, let’s take a look at some key factors before buying a bread maker machine.
What are the Factors to Consider When Deciding on the Best Bread Maker Machine for You?
Bread makers vary in the size loafs they make. They range from 1 lb to 2.5 lb, although the most common sizes are 1.5 to 2 lb. If you need a large loaf, there are a few machines to accommodate that. Many of the best bread maker machines allow you to make two or three sizes.
How are Mix-ins managed?
If you like to add nuts, raisins or other items to your bread it must be done at a certain time in the bread making cycle. Most machines will indicate the right time by beeping to let you know when to add them. Some machines will beep loudly, whether you want them to or not.
Other machines have a tray where you load the nuts or raisins and the tray pops open dropping its contents into the bread at the right time. This feature is usually found on high end machines, but it is nice to have as it automates the process and requires less supervision.
Crust Settings and Browning
Virtually all the bread makers we reviewed allow you to select the crust level of light, medium and dark. Where the machines differ is how effective they are at achieving their stated crust level.
Our top rated bread maker has a heating element in the lid that browns the crust evenly and looks beautiful. Other machines have issues with browning where the bottom of the loaf is browner than the top.
All of the best bread machines we reviewed have a delay timer which allows you to set up the ingredients up to 13 hours in advance and start the cooking process at a later time.
What are the Paddles Like?
Paddles vary a lot between bread machines so take a look at how the mixing paddle operates. Our best bread maker has two paddles for even mixing.
Our second choice for best bread machine, the Breville, has a collapsible paddle that is supposed to fold down and get out of the way when the bread is baking. Some bread makers have paddles with non-stick coatings and some paddles are dishwasher safe.
While you can leave the paddles on while baking, removing them at the last rise cycle will make for a prettier loaf with no hole, and it will be much easier to clean as the bread will not be baked on to the paddle.
This of course means you will need to watch for this point in the cycle. Many bread makers have an indicator beep for this point in the cycle to let you know it is time to remove the paddle.
Another benefit of removing the paddles before baking begins is it gives you a chance to even out the dough so the loaf comes out well formed.
What is the Baking Pan Like? Orientation
Most baking pans have some sort of non stick coating, and some coatings outperform others. The Panasonic bread maker reviewed has a diamond florine coating with excellent non-stick performance.
Pans can be either square or rectangle. A square pan makes a higher loaf and a rectangle makes a more natural traditional loaf. While you may like the idea of a natural loaf, the square pan usually allows for better mixing because the paddle can reach all sides.
Most bread makers have a viewing window. Some are large, some are small, and some even have a light so you can really see what is going on.
The user interface varies quite a bit between bread makers, some are easy to use, some are easy to read, and others are too small to read easily. Most have an LCD display. Our number two pick has one of the easiest and most intuitive user interfaces to use.
Recipe Book and User Manual
Our top rated models have well written user manuals and recipe books. Some of the lower end models were lacking in this department. A poor user manual or inaccurate recipe will make for a disappointing experience and will turn some folks off from using the bread machine.
Even the best bread machine makes at least a little noise during the kneading cycle. Some are noisier than others but you should expect a bread maker to be about as noisy as a dishwasher during the kneading cycles.
If it is louder than this you may need to return it as too much noise can indicate a faulty machine.
Dough Types- What Else Can the Machine Make?
Virtually all the machines we reviewed make more that a standard loaf of bread. Extras include French bread, sourdough, gluten free, cake and jam. Some do a better job at making gluten free bread than others, so if this feature is important to you check out our reviews.
What Accessories are Included?
Many bread makers include a measuring cup and spoon, a user manual and recipe book. One model included an extra paddle, and a few models include a hook to fish out the paddle from the inside of a baked loaf. It seems easier to remove the paddle before the bake cycle, but it you are not around to supervise the loaf, the hook can help.
While a higher price doesn’t always correspond to a better machine, in most cases it actually does. Two exceptions are the Panasonic we reviewed, which had a mid-range price tag, yet was our third pick, offering a lot for the price.
The other exception was a Zojirushi with a high end price tag that did not perform as well as others in the same price range.
Tips for Making Great Bread in a Bread Maker
Regardless of the machine you ultimately decide on, there are some tips that can increase your level of success that apply to all machines.
Always use fresh yeast. If your loaf is not rising it may be due to an insufficient amount or old yeast. If your loaf rises quickly, only to fall later, if means you have used too much yeast.
The best way to measure ingredients is by weight, because weight is more accurate than using measuring cups.
If weighing the ingredients are not feasible, spoon the ingredients onto the measuring cup so they are not packed down, which leads to much more of the ingredient being used than intended. Use a knife to level off the top of the measuring cup.
Our bread machine reviews showed us that some bread makers are very particular about measurements and using correct measurements will greatly affect the outcome of your loaf.
Use Bread Flour
Use bread flour when making bread, there is a reason it is called bread flour and it makes a difference. Using regular flour will result in dense loaves.
Bread flour is higher in gluten and protein. The gluten makes the bread lighter and chewier because the elastic properties of the gluten trap carbon dioxide allowing the bread to rise properly. Changing from all-purpose flour to bread flour can make the difference between loving homemade bread to giving up on it.
Order of Ingredients Matters
You must add the ingredients in the order specified by the bread maker. Read the user manual and follow the instructions carefully. Without getting into all the specifics, just know that the order matters.
Yeast can’t come in contact with wet ingredients, and salt affects the rise of yeast. So the little details are important.
Your mix-ins should be dry. If they are wet, pat them dry with a paper towel before adding them to your bread.
Best Looking Loaf
To get the best looking loaf possible remove the paddle and shape the bread by hand after the last punch down phase. Most machines have a beeping indicator to let you know. While this is not required, it does result in a more attractive and an even loaf with no paddle hole.
Zojirushi, Breville and Panasonic made the top of our list in our top 10 review of the best bread makers.
Toastmaster manufactured bread machines in the past, but not anymore. The brand name is now licensed to select brands and they do not manufacture a bread machine with the toastmaster name. Therefore, Toastmaster bread machine reviews can’t be on this list.
Welbilt also manufactured several popular bread machines but they no longer make consumer appliances, only restaurant equipment. That’s why we don’t have a Welbilt bread machine review.
Other brands included in our bread machine reviews are Kuissential, Oster, Cuisinart, Sunbeam, Rosewill and Hamilton Beach.
TOP 10 Best Bread Machine Reviews
We hope our bread machine reviews has given you some factors to consider, helping you one step closer to answering the question “What is the best bread machine to buy?” and also actually buying the best bread machine for your home.