Kitchen bread makers make it easy to bake your morning loaf from the comfort of your own home. Find out everything you need to know with our guide to the best bread machines.
- Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus
- SAKI 12-in-1 Programmable XL
- Hamilton Beach Home Baker 29882
- Panasonic SD-RD250
- Cuisinart CBK-100 2 LB Bread Maker
- The price
- The noise factor
- Specialty items
- Delayed time feature
- Number of kneading paddles
- Advantages of owning a bread machine
- Features to look out for
- How to use a bread machine
- How to clean a bread machine
Most people want to be making their own bread and not just rely on buying bread in stores. Store-bought bread can sometimes turn out to be stale and if freshness is something that you look for, a bread machine will work just fine. Bread machines will make you a baker of your own and enable you to have warm, freshly baked bread anytime you feel like. This brings us to the question, how do you know the best bread machine for your needs? What are the features you need to be looking out for? To help you make a wise decision, here are a few factors you need to consider before buying your own bread machine.
Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus
The Zojirushi bread machine is a 2-pound bread maker that comes with an automatic fruit and nut dispenser. The machine measures 15.5 x 10 x 12 inches and weighs about 11 pounds. The size of the bread maker will enable it to perfectly fit in your cabinet or countertop. It has 13 preset settings : basic, Sandwich, Whole wheat, Cake, Jam, Multigrain , Bake, Home-made, Rapid, Gluten-free, Dough , French and sweet. This provides you with a lot of choices. The machine will automatically knead, proof and bake your bread.
SAKI 12-in-1 Programmable XL
The SAKI comes in a single kneading blade. There is no signal to alert you on when to remove the blade; therefore, it is advisable to let it just bake into the loaf. To remove the blade, wait till the baking is done then use the kneading blade removal tool to detach the paddle from the finished loaf. The bread pan is made from aluminum with a nonstick coating. Rinsing and wiping the pan will suffice for its cleaning procedure. It has 12 settings: Basic, Whole wheat, French, Sweet, Express bake of 1.5lb, Express bake 2 lb., Quick , European, Dough, Bagel Dough, Jam and bake. The bread maker will alert you on when to add to add your raisins or nuts.
Hamilton Beach Home Baker 29882
It comes in a black plastic exterior, nonstick bread pan, plastic buttons and 12 preprogrammed cycles. The bread maker has one kneading paddle along with a spare paddle for safekeeping. This a great touch since you will have a readily available paddle in case the other becomes damaged or lost. The cycle button can select any of the programmed cycles: Basic, Gluten-free, French, Quick, sweet, Dough, Jam, cake, Whole grain, Bake, Express bake of 1.5lb, and Express bake of2.0lb. The loaf size button offers 2 options; either 1.5 pounds or 2 pounds.
The Panasonic SD-RD250 has the ability to produce quality bread without you having to worry about retrieving the bread from the loaf. The nonstick coating on the pan is of great quality and the thin blade makes the dough hook hole less noticeable. The bread maker is capable of a large loaf capacity; handling up to three loafs of 1.5 pounds, 2 pounds and 2.5 pounds respectively. It comes in six different bread settings: French, Basic, Whole wheat, Multigrain, cake and Pizza. Perhaps one of the most outstanding features is the inclusion of the raising setting. This will allow you to add fruits or raisins at the right time to ensure a delicious end product.
Cuisinart CBK-100 2 LB Bread Maker
The bread maker comes in a sleek and modern design that is sure to impress its users. Itfeatures 12 preprogrammed settings of Gluten free, pasta dough and pasta mix. The bread machine can be set in one of the crust settings of light, medium and dark. The machine has a 13 hour delay timer that can enable you to delay the baking process for up to 13 hours. The large window of the bread maker will allow you keep an eye on your baking at all times.
Bread makers differ in sizes and quality. It is up to you to identify the one that will serve you better for a longer period. Sometimes, it is advisable to save up and get the more expensive models as they guarantee better performance. Cheap models are friendly to your pocket but can end up disappointing you when it comes to baking.
Here’s what to look out for when choosing your bread machine.
This is the first thing you ought to think about. Before even walking into the store and purchasing one, analyze your budget. Keep in mind that bread machines will have more features and programmable options as the pricing goes higher. The more expensive it gets, the better quality of bread it produces. Put simply, you get what you pay for. If you need a bread machine for daily use and one that will last, it is advisable to go for a low budget- preferably less than $100.
The noise factor
Similar to blenders, bread machines tend to make a lot of noise. You can count yourself lucky if you find one that doesn’t. However, the noise factor directly relates to the quality of the machine. Elite models make less noise as they are built with better materials. Standard models on the other hand will go to the extremes of moving around your counter and maybe dropping to the floor. When looking for a bread machine, look for original models from well-recognized manufacturers to save yourself the inconvenience.
The urge to make more than just ordinary bread will tend to kick in once in a while. In case it happens, you ought to be prepared for it. How can you do this? By purchasing a bread machine with more settings for the baking of specialty items like, pizza dough, wheat bread, bread with nuts or cakes. If you are looking for a machine that makes more than simple bread, keep an eye for these features in your model.
Delayed time feature
The feature allows you to set time for when you want your bread to start baking. This way, you are totally in control of when you want your bread ready. If you would like to have freshly baked bread in the morning, the feature will allow you to set the time the baking will start, meaning after adding the ingredients you are free to carry on with your usual duties or even go straight to bed. The machine will start baking at the set time. You will wake up to the aroma of your ready-baked bread in the morning.
Number of kneading paddles
Look out for machines that come in dual kneading paddles. These machines will ensure better kneading. You also need to check if the kneading paddles are removable. This is important if you don’t want your bread sporting holes at the bottom after baking is complete.
Advantages of owning a bread machine
It’s easy to use.
The first advantage that we will look at is that using a bread machine makes it easy to have homemade bread. You will not need to knead! The bread machine does that for you. Often, kneading is what makes bread-making such a tedious process. Some real elbow grease goes into it, but a bread machine does the heavy lifting and ensures the right consistency.
If you’re a first-time cook or don’t have much experience with bread making, a bread maker is a great way to get professional bread from an amateur’s kitchen.
Using a bread maker is significantly faster than using a conventional oven. Making bread in a bread maker is much faster as all you will need to do is put the ingredients in the machine and let it work. This means you have cut down on kneading time, hence the overall time you will spend in the kitchen making the bread.
You know what’s going in.
Another advantage of using a bread maker is knowing precisely what has gone into the bread. This is especially helpful if your family has special dietary needs. When you buy bread, you don’t have much control over what goes into the bread, so sometimes, the wake-up call comes with a trip to the emergency room after an allergic reaction.
You can switch up the bread that you make
You will not need to go out for a new loaf when you need one. You can make different types of bread in the machine by just changing the ingredients. It also means that you can make as much bread as you need and not be forced to have more bread than you need.
Whilst it is a bread machine, you can also use it to make different types of dough, including pizza dough. Once again, it will do the kneading for you.
It is cleaner.
Using a bread machine can prove to be a cleaner way of making bread. You won’t have to cover a countertop in flour for kneading. So there’s less cleaning, after all, is said and done.
Features to look out for
One of the essential features to consider when buying a bread machine is the shape of the loaf pan. It will determine the shape of your bread and the overall result. Generally, the shapes don’t vary too much, and as such, the bread will look the same. This is usually a tall rectangular shape.
One of the things that make bread making such a breeze is that you don’t have to use your hands to knead the dough till it reaches the right consistency. Check on the number of paddles it comes with. Some will come with one, and these are often the less pricey ones. However, the pricier ones often have two paddles. The more, the merrier. You get better results when you knead with more paddles.
Look for a bread machine that has collapsible paddles. This way, you can remove the paddles. It also helps to have the bread machine beep when it is done kneading so that you can open and remove the paddles. When the paddles are left in the bread as it bakes, they leave holes in the bread. If you don’t mind this, you can use the machine without the collapsible paddles.
It’s essential to know how much bread the machine can make at a time. This is helpful so that you can make enough bread. You can find machines that will make loaves up to 2 pounds. Then some machines can make loaves bigger than that to serve more people.
For instance, if the machine’s maximum capacity is 2pounds, then it means that you cannot make a loaf bigger than that. You can choose to make smaller loaves by using fewer ingredients at a ratio to the original recipe. You will find that most bread machines are set apart by the size of the loaf that they can make.
Look for a bread machine that is easy to understand. The great thing about the more modern bread machines is that they come with various settings that make bread-making much easier. Some of these settings include pre-programming the machine to begin cooking before you need to serve the bread. This helps save on time, especially if you want it for breakfast.
How to use a bread machine
Not all bread machines are created equal, but what they do have in common that they make your bread making life much easier.
While different bread maker recipes differ, the foundation ingredients you will need when using a bread machine will almost always be yeast, flour, salt, sugar, liquids, and fats. Make sure that the liquids are at room temperature.
Add the liquids first, then the flour in a way that seas the liquids. Follow this up by adding the rest of the dry ingredients. Then add the yeast as the last thing. Now all you need to do is to secure the bread pan and turn the bread maker on, as per the instructions on the machine’s manual.
How to clean a bread machine
The first step is to let it cool down entirely, then tilt it on its side. Sweep the flour out using a brush. Make sure not to wet the inside, as water can damage some of the electrical components. You will then need to heat the heating elements, as they also tend to get dirty from flour and the entire cooking process. Use a moist cloth to wipe down the elements. Make sure not to scrub the elements or push them down.
The next step will be to clean the bread pan. You can use a soapy rag to clean the pan. And then rinse it with water. You can use water with the pan since it is detachable. However, make sure not to scratch it. Make sure that all the parts are dry before they are reassembled. Allow the machine to dry out completely before closing and putting it away.