Before we used to leave the bread-making stuff only to the experts because it took a lot of time and energy which we did not have in plenty. We still don’t have them today but science has thankfully decided to incorporate those arduous methods into a single instrument! That is called a bread machine and we are here to look at some worthy to be our kitchen companion!
The Best Bread Machine
We will start off our list with an option that will be very hard to beat for other bread machines. This 2882 model from Hamilton Beach looks every bit of stylish with its sleek black exterior with hints of blue and silver. Just by its appearance, this bread maker can add a lot more attitude to your kitchen.
The most attractive feature it embodies is the wide variety of 12 setting options in total for preparing the bread loaves. These settings include some healthy choices as well as some fun ones like French, Cake, Jam, Dough, Bake, Whole Grain, Sweet, Quick Bread without yeast and two kinds of Express – 1.5 pounds and 2 pounds.
There are three choices for the crust formation called light, medium and dark. But before choosing the crust, you need to specify what will be the size of your loaf between 1.5 and 2 pounds.
All the necessary information regarding these features will be visible on the large digital display. There you will select the required options for the crust, loaf size and others. For the additional ingredients, use delay timer and let the baking process take off later.
The interior pan has a non-stick built and thus promotes easy cleaning for the user. It is also dishwasher-safe for fast cleanup! Two kneading paddles are provided so that you can still use one when the other is getting cleansed in the dishwasher. Beware of the machine which weighs at just around 15 pounds itself!
12 bread-making settings
Large digital display
Non-stick and dishwasher safe pan
- BrandHamilton Beach
- Weight15.22 lbs
Sunbeam’s 5891 model has a cozy white look with a typical structure. It has the capacity to produce half, one or two pounds of fresh bread loaves at once. So it can cater to all levels of need depending on the size of the crowd and that too within an hour!
This machine offers 12 ways of bread-baking including whole-wheat, French and many others. Moreover, it can also prepare the dough, cake, jam, and other bakery goodness. You can choose from three settings for the crust including light, medium and dark to encourage more versatility.
All you have to do is measure the ingredients correctly and add them to the baking pan. Then put it into the bread maker and close down the lid. After that, choose the desired options from the user-friendly button control panel and leave the rest to the machine! Every stage of the whole process will be shown on the LCD display. There is also a huge glass viewing window to let you have some sneak-peeks on the current state of the bread.
This machine allows a long duration of 13 hours to delay the bake time. The pan is non-stick and thus cleaning it up is easy. Recipes, instruction book, and a one-year warranty are provided with this machine weighing almost 19 pounds.
12 cooking functions
3 shade selections
13-hour programmable delay
Removable non-stick pan
- Weight18.6 lbs
Zojirushi built their first breadmaker of the Home Bakery series back in 1988. After 20 years, it has certainly improved its chances to beat all others in the market with this Virtuoso breadmaker. With its sleek yet simple design in the palette of black and silver, this machine will certainly catch a few eyes with its presence.
Weighing at a hefty mark of 22 pounds, it can make traditional rectangular loaves measuring 2 pounds each. These bread can be of any variety from the 10 pre-set flavors which include basic, wheat, quick, gluten-free and more. Besides, you can also add three of your own homemade menus to it!
Let the crust boundaries be light, medium or dark to complement the fresh warm bread! You will get to enjoy the newly made bread slices within 2 hours with its quick baking cycle! You can also delay it up to 13 hours for further convenience.
There are two kneading blades here to make the dough as consistent as possible and an additional heater on the lid for even baking. Peek into the current status of your loaves from the large viewing window. There are an indicator light and a button to start or restart the whole process.
A measuring spoon, an 8-ounce measuring cup and some recipes will be provided with the machine.
10 pre-programmed settings
3 homemade menus
3 crust shades
Dual kneading blades
Lid with additional heater
- Weight22.1 lbs
This bread machine from Oster can produce up to a 2-pound loaf of bread at a time. The 12 kinds of bread you can produce with this include wheat, gluten-free and other healthy variations.
There are also three crust settings to complement the wide variety of bread. The warmth of these freshly baked pieces is protected by the warm setting of this machine. After the kneading is done, the audible signal notification tells you the appropriate time to add all those extra elements. Due to the Expressbake cycle, the whole baking process gets completed in less than an hour!
Through the large display on top, you can easily read the specifications chosen for this particular loaf along with other information. You can also take a peek inside the container through the large glass window to see how it’s all going.
The pan itself is made of aluminum and has a non-stick surface. Thus, it promotes even heating of the loaf as well as easy cleanup afterward. With this machine weighing a mere 8 pounds, you will also get a measuring cup and a spoon for proper portioning.
12 bread settings
13-hour programmable timer
Lighter than others
- Weight8 lbs
This comes with 11 pre-programmed settings for preparing bread including basic or white bread, French or Italian bread, whole wheat, sweet, gluten-free, packaged mix, quick bread, rapid bake and more!
Each of those loaves can be either 1 pound, 1.5 pounds or 2 pounds in amount depending on your crowd size. You can make a choice from the three crust settings for those loaves – light, medium or dark – allowing more versatility in your creations.
All these choices can be made from the LCD display. You can use the timer of 13 hours to match your schedules. To know how much of the process is done, just look inside through the viewing window.
Usually, there will be 15 beeps until it has ended when the display window will show 00:00. After that, the loaf will enter the Warm Cycle which can keep it warm for 60 minutes without letting it get soggy. The stay-cool handles make it easier for you to lift the lid up. The lid, pan and paddle are all removable for convenient cleanup.
This machine also comes with a backup system for power failure situations. In case of a power outage, the last stage of the bread-making cycle will be stored in the memory. As soon as the power comes back, it will resume the process. Unfortunately, this works only if the power outage lasts for a maximum of 15 minutes.
11 pre-programmed menu options
13-hour delay-start timer
Backup system for power failure
- Weight1 lbs
Another Zojirushi creation on our list is the model BB-HAC10 which only supports 1 pound of bread. Its slim and compact structure takes up the minimum space in your kitchen.
This machine offers three textures for the slices – regular, soft and firm. The crust also does get its due significance from the 2 settings of light or regular.
In addition to bread, it can also help you prepare cake, French, fresh dough for cookies or pasta. There are also course settings for jam as the perfect fruit topping and 12-inch thick or thin pizza crusts.
This machine can make all these amazing baked goods within 2 hours with the help of its quick baking cycle. To make all your choices regarding the crust, bread type, and others, select the options accordingly from its user-friendly LCD panel.
To see what stage the process is at right now, just peek into the small viewing window from the top. Looking into it, you will be able to tell if the kneading is still on or not. Both the kneading needles and the pan are non-stick to make the cleanup smooth for you.
This expensive machine weighs 18 pounds but due to the sturdy handle, it is easy for anybody to lift it and store in place. The convenient cord storage also helps to keep things organized in the kitchen.
1 pound capacity
7 kinds of baking
3 bread textures
- Weight15 lbs
This bread machine from SKG comes with 19 different programs for you to take advantage of including – basic, quick, sweet, French, whole-wheat, gluten-free, cornbread, rice bread and more! In one sitting, you can produce 1 pound, 1.5 pounds or 2 pounds of any of these bread variations.
This machine will also allow you to try out jam, yogurt, dough and many other varieties of bakery goodness within an hour!
In addition to it, if the house suffers from a power outage of up to 15 minutes, it can also recover the last state of the process from its memory. There is no need for a separate viewing window here since the ergonomic lid on top plays that role itself!
This machine looks very sleek and has PP food grade housing furnished with brushed stainless steel accents. The non-skid feet keep it in place while working and the bread pan helps in even spreading the heat.
You will get a measuring cup, measuring spoon, a metal hook for lifting and a 2-year warranty with this bread machine which weighs only 8.6 pounds.
19 automatic programs
1-hour automatic warmth
3 loaf sizes
15-minute power interruption recovery
- Weight11.5 lbs
The last entry on our list is also programmable with 19 digital settings including French, gluten-free, whole grain, quick bread, sweet bread and many others. There is a simple bake function which allows the cook to knead and rise separately. It also lets you make some dough, jam or cake for trying out some advanced bakery.
No matter what kind of bread you decide upon, there will be three kinds of crust options available to you. Make it light, medium or dark depending on what the crowd demands. Besides, you can make the bread for a loaf of unusually specific sizes like 1.1 pounds, 1.7 pounds or 2.2 pounds. All these choices can be made on the digital display which also has an indicator light.
The warm-keeping function lets the bread stay warm for about an hour. In case the power goes off and comes back within 10 minutes, the memory function will resume the baking process right where it left.
When it comes to the structure and design, the interior of this 12-pounds heavy machine is made of aluminum alloy which boosts even heating across the pan. It is also non-stick which makes the cleanup a lot easier and effortless. After the whole process is over, you can put its removable parts in the dishwasher.
19 digital settings
Adjustable loaf capacity and crust control
10-minute power interruption recovery
- Weight11.85 lbs
Best Bread Makers Buying Guide & FAQ
How Do Bread Machines Work?
Originally making bread used to be done in five distinct steps - mixing, kneading, rising, knocking down and baking. The way a bread machine works is pretty similar to these very steps! The only difference is that the knocking down step can be avoided since the rising process is done a lot more efficiently by the machine. Besides, you don’t have to put in any effort nearly as tiresome as them!
No matter how the breadmaker is built, it usually goes through the following steps:
- Put the desired recipe ingredients into the pan.
- Select any of the multiple programs included in the machine’s settings. Usually, the number of options in this regard can be 12 to 19. Here all the ingredients are mixed up for a while.
- Then the dough rests for 10-15 minutes so that it can develop the gluten. After that, the kneading will begin and will continue for 5-6 minutes.
- When you see the thermostat of the machine showing an increase in temperature, the rising step would be started.
- After the rising is done, the machine will go straight to the baking mode and put an end to the process when the time is right.
Why Should I Buy a Bread Machine?
Just look at all those tiring steps and wonder if it would be possible for all us busy people to go through such tasks on a regular basis! The answer is definitely “no”. That is the primary reason why you should at least consider buying a bread machine - to let yourself have more time for exploring your interests and be productive at your job!
A bread machine comes with a combination of convenience and flexibility. All of us would love to be introduced to our new day with the beautiful aroma of fresh bread. To let us have that luxury without compromising our daily schedules and productivity, bread machines can do that job for us. It produces a loaf of bread straight from scratch and follows a process safely in every way. It boosts health and nutrition for the whole family, along with providing a great taste!
Most of them are even equipped to produce a lot more than just bread. They can support up to 19 varieties of bread, as well as jam, yogurt and other delicious delicacies. If you browse the web, you can stumble upon a huge number of recipes for mouth-watering dishes to make with these bread machines.
So to save our time and also provide us fresh, healthy and tasty food items, bread machines are a necessity.
Features to Look For in Bread Makers
- Programmable options
Of course, we would need programmable options for starters! Typically, the more expensive a bread machine is, the higher is the number of programmable baking options available. On a regular breadmaker priced between $60-$150, there should be 10 to 19 choices for the main baking dish and 2 to 3 similar options for the crust color.
- Delayed timer
To wake up to a beautiful aroma and to offer freshly baked bread for your loved ones in the breakfast, you will need delay timer. It keeps the whole process off and starts only after 13 to 15 hours according to the brand or model you chose to buy.
- Kneading paddle
They can be one or two in number for bread makers. Two is better of course since then they can knead the dough very well. There can also be some replacement ones for pasta or other specific requirements.
What Are the Different Bread Cycles For?
There are a number of cycles implemented in the design of these machines to make the whole process a lot easier for you. These cycles are meant to optimize the characteristics of these bread loaves. On every cycle, there is a particular time period and temperature set. This saves your time from fixing them up again and again. For example, a whole wheat cycle usually has a longer period of rising and bake.
How to Use a Bread Machine Properly
First of all, place the kneading paddle inside and measure up the ingredients correctly. Then put in the liquid ones and seasonings, followed by the flours and yeast. After that, make the selections from the LCD or LED display and let the cooking begin!
These selections will include the size of loaf you need to bake which could be 1. 1.5 to pounds heavy. Then most bread machines have the option to choose your crust color. Pick dark, light or medium depending on how brittle you want it to be. Usually, there are many modes of baking that come pre-programmed on such machines. So make your choice of gluten-free, whole-grain or sweetbreads. For a more festive season, you can choose to make pizza or cake too.
During the process peek inside the container to see what stage it is at, or it might also show up on the LCD screen. When it lets you know through the notification tone or indicator light that the process is over, take the fresh loaf out and enjoy!
Which Crust Color to Select?
You can choose color of the crust based on your preference of crispiness. The darker the shade is, the crispier it gets. For a soft crust that is easy on your mouth, choose the light one. This is recommendable if you are serving elderly people or babies. Also, if you are trying out a recipe which is heavy on grains or sweeteners, choose light crust option. Because they will end up being darker due to fast browning caused by those elements.
How to Use Yeast in this Machine?
There are two ways to use yeast in breadmakers – active dry yeast and instant yeast. The first one should not be used in machines where the cycle is an hour or even less. If you have this kind of bread machine, increase the yeast amount to double to triple. The liquid temperatures might also vary depending on the machine type.
For the active dry yeast, use yeast in 3 quarters of a teaspoon for each cup of flour. On the other hand, instant yeast needs only half a teaspoon of it.
What if My Bread Collapses While Baking?
First of all, take a reading of the liquid temperature with a thermometer to see if it is the correct measure. You can use less liquid for it to not get messed up.
It is also possible that you added too much yeast. So check that amount also. If that doesn’t work, see if increasing the salt amount does the trick.
If it is the season of high humidity and hot weather, use less amount of water and cool them down enough before using.
Why is My bread Not Rising Properly?
It could be just measuring errors or yeast activity. Check the recipe to be sure that these are not the reasons.
If it is not, you probably used flour which has low gluten content. It is recommended to use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. Also, have all ingredients at room temperature but the liquids at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Buying the right bread maker is as important as its recipe. That is why we brought you eight of the best bread machines in the market. Which one would be the best for you depends on a number of factors like the kinds of bread you usually make and how often you make them. Besides, the daily schedules of you and your loved ones also matter. So keep all these in mind while picking your bread machine and wake up to the refreshing aroma of freshly baked bread every day!