If you’re tired of the store-bought bread or just want to start making your own bread but don’t know how you might want to consider investing in a bread machine. These are great kitchen appliances which make baking bread incredibly simple and can help you out in a variety of other ways.
If you don’t know exactly what a bread machine is and how it works, that’s just one of the things that we’ll cover in this article. We’ll also present you with the best bread machines on the market right now and the main benefits one of these appliances can offer you. So, let’s get down to it!
Why Buying a Bread Machine?
There are various reasons to get a bread machine – you might be someone looking to make their own bread for fun, a person who wants to know what goes into their food exactly or even someone who’s been making their own bread for years but can’t do it by hand anymore.
But, you might still be skeptical – can a thing that looks like an undersized washing machine really make good bread?
Why of course, it can! A bread machine can automatically mix the ingredients into a dough and then knead the dough by using one or more paddles affixed to an axle at the bottom of its tin. After that, it will let the dough rise while warming it up and mixing the air into the process. It will knead the dough again after that, to get rid of the excess air, before starting the baking process, turning off when your bread is done and informing you of it. What do you need to do? Just put in the ingredients and select the correct program for the machine, then turn it on – it does everything we just described automatically, you don’t even have to be there. It saves you a lot of time and effort and makes good-quality bread almost no different than if it was made by hand.
You’re not limited to just making plain old white bread with a machine like this – you can use all kinds of different recipes, and plenty of these machines come with different pre-programmed settings and recipe books. When you get better with it, you can fiddle with the settings and even create recipes of your own, which you can sometimes save on the machine itself.
The benefits of a bread machine don’t stop at making bread, though (or should we say “dough”?) since, despite their name, they can also be used for a variety of other things. You can use them for mixing and kneading various kinds of dough, those used for making cookies or cake, for different kinds of pasta, for pizza dough and so on. You can also use them for purposes that might not spring to mind right away, like making jam for example. Plenty of them come with pre-programmed settings for such purposes.
You might not think you need a bread-making machine, but there are plenty of people who thought the same and changed their tune once they got one and tasted the delicious bread you can make with it. It’s an incredibly useful appliance and getting one can be a great boon for your household.
As with all other products, though, there are some downright useless bread machines out there as well. Plenty of manufacturers churn out cheaply made, low-quality products in hopes that someone who’s poorly informed will buy them. Sadly, that is a successful strategy, but we’re looking to at least save you the fate of falling for that by giving you the info needed to get a good bread machine.
In this article, we will cover what we consider to be the candidates for the best products on the market right now, give you the rundown of the most important aspects to look for in a bread machine and cap it off with some useful user reviews. So, let’s get started by giving you a look at the top three products!
Meet the Best Bread Machines
The Good: Durable and comes with a lot of great options and modes.
The Bad: It costs a lot, is huge and starts producing a lot of noise after extended use.
The Bottom Line: Overall, this is a quality product in almost every way that matters. It has some small flaws, and the price point is rather high, but we think the quality on display justifies the cost.
The Good: Comes at a low price, makes a large loaf of bread and has a small size.
The Bad: Not durable, moves while working, sometimes fails to make good bread.
The Bottom Line: For the price, this is a decent unit, but it has a ton of different flaws that make it difficult to recommend truly. Unless you’re tight on cash, consider something else.
The Good: It has a good suite of settings and can make different sizes of bread.
The Bad: It fails at making good bread; it is floppy and burnt most of the time.
The Bottom Line: While everything about this unit points to it being a decent bread machine, in practice it often makes bad bread which makes it quite a hard sell.
After reading this, you should continue below, as there is more relevant info to be found there.
All of the Factors Considered
Bread machines are quite complex pieces of kit, and many people aren’t familiar with how they operate. They’re a unique breed and because of this most people aren’t well informed about what makes a good bread machine and what is just unacceptable. Knowing that comes with the experience of course, and using a ton of different bread machines – but who has time for that? Luckily, our experts tested a bunch of bread machines and came up with a list of the most important things to consider when buying one.
Size and Shape
The size of the bread machine as well as the size and shape of the pan inside it are one of the most important things you need to consider when getting a bread maker.
For starters, these machines can be quite large, and you need to think about your kitchen setup and if you have enough space to use it and store it safely. If you lack space, you might want to consider getting a smaller machine.
Another reason why the size is important is that it affects how much bread you can make. The size of the pan inside the machine is usually proportional to the size of the entire thing and will be listed somewhere in the product info, usually in the pounds of bread you can make with it. A typical, store-bought loaf of bread weighs around 2.5 lbs.
The shape of the pan is also important because it affects how you can use the bread you make in the machine. If you want to make the perfect loaf for sandwiches, you might want to look into a square or rectangular pan. If you want bread for a different purpose, or want to bake something else, a circle-shaped pan might fit you better.
This is just a fact – the more adjustable a bread making machine is, the better and more versatile it is. There are various adjustments they can have when it comes to temperature, timing, kneading speed or even loaf size and shape in some models. A lot of models come with a bunch of pre-programmed modes that are suites of settings designed for specific purposes – making bread, making jam, baking pizza dough, and so on. Some even allow you to save your current settings as a mode, which is useful if you find a nice recipe and want to use it all the time.
There are also specific options like the rapid-bake setting, allowing you to make a loaf of bread in a record amount of time. There’s also the dough cycle feature which allows you to take out the dough once it’s made, shape it yourself and bake it wherever you want instead of in the machine. A gluten-free option is also a useful thing, both for people who have medical issues and those who just want to cut gluten out of their diet.
Overall, there are tons of different options available and the more you have, the better.
Bread machines can cost quite a pretty penny, so you would expect them to be durable pieces of kit that will last you for years. However, that isn’t always the case, and you should be careful when buying one because poorly made machines carry more risks than just the financial one.
For starters, you should look for a machine that has lots of metal parts and little to no plastic parts, if possible. Plastic parts are more prone to breaking but, due to the high heat involved in the baking, might also melt if the machine is poorly constructed.
You should also make sure that all the parts are rust resistant and that the machine itself is solidly constructed. If you need to, consult some user reviews from people who have used that model for a year or longer, as that will tell you more about its longevity.
Like other similar machines, bread makers have been known to make some noise – but just how much, varies. The noise levels should be tolerable, enough not to make you resent staying in the kitchen while the machine is working.
If a machine starts making too much noise or a lot of noise during specific parts of the baking process, it might also be a sign of malfunction so you should check the warranty if your new bread machine suddenly starts making weird sounds.
Those are all the aspects you should consider when buying a bread machine. But let’s see how the top three bread machines ranked in these aspects.
In-Depth Reviews of 3 Bread Machines
Incredibly Large, Good Loaf Size
There’s no getting around it, this machine is huge, it takes up a lot of space. It’s 10.5 by 18 by 30 inches in size, and it weighs an astounding 22 pounds. The loaf it makes is of a nice rectangular size, and it is around 2 lbs in weight.
An Amazing Host of Options
It almost seems like this machine can do everything. It has ten pre-programmed settings which include options for jam and pizza dough; it has a quick-bake option that can make bread in two hours, a 13-hour timer, three crust shade settings and you can even program in your own settings if you want. It also has the option to be opened after kneading to take out the dough and bake it elsewhere.
Made to be Sturdy
This is a heavy machine, but it is also a durable one. Most of the important parts are made of steel, and it is well made with no parts that seem flimsy or poorly attached.
Usually Quiet, but not Always
At the start of its lifetime this unit is rather quiet and barely makes any noise while working. However, after a while, it will start to make various squeaky noises during the dough kneading process. We have no idea what to make of that, as it seems nothing is broken, but it still a concern.
Who Should Buy This Product
In case you want a highly adjustable bread maker that can do almost everything, this is what you should get. It is also great if you want evenly baked bread, which not a lot of machines can achieve. It can make a good-sized loaf of a nice shape, and it has a ton of options that cover almost anything you would ever need – you can also program in your own if that is not enough.
What to Watch Out For
There are a few flaws this machine has. For example, the dough tends to stick to the blades, so this machine has to be cleaned after each use, and thoroughly. It’s also rather large, and it’s hard to fit it anywhere. Another weird problem is that it starts producing a lot of noise while kneading after some use, but it keeps working fine.
This is quite a great product overall, coming with tons of different options that you can program as well, it bakes a good-sized loaf and bakes it evenly and so on. There are too many benefits to list here. It has some issues, but the most prominent ones are that it’s huge and expensive. We believe it justifies the cost though if you have enough space to use it that is.
Small Size, Odd Shape
This is an extremely small machine being only 13 x 13.8 x 14.1 inches in size and weighing around 8 pounds. It can fit almost anywhere because of this. Despite this, it can produce a loaf that is two pounds in weight, but it has an odd shape, it comes out incredibly thin and tall. It also has some trouble baking the bread evenly and keeping the air out of it.
Decent Amount of Options
This bread maker has a stand out option, the best being the “expressbake” setting, baking a loaf in under an hour. It also has 12 different modes and three crust setting. However, it lacks some crucial things like the ability to take out the dough after kneading and so on.
This product has a lot of plastic parts in its construction and even some crucial parts are not made of durable metal. It seems like it will fall apart in short time and won’t stand up to years of constant use.
Lots of Noise
This machine is quite noisy, but if the problem stopped at just that it would be fine. No, this machine also tumbles a lot while working, so much that it might fall off the counter if left unchecked. You can’t just set it and forget it because it moves so much.
Who Should Buy This Product
If you’re on a budget and want a bread machine that will still do decently, this is a good one to pick. Also, if you want a tiny bread machine, this one will also work for you. It can still make a full-sized loaf despite its small size and it takes up surprisingly little space on the counter.
What to Watch Out For
There are two big things you need to watch out for. First is the fact that this is not quite a durable machine, lots of its parts are made of plastic and seem like they can break at any moment. The other is the huge amount of noise and the tumbling that comes with it – this machine will move a lot while it works, so you have to watch over it. There are others, but there’s too much to mention.
For the price this is quite a decent bread maker, it takes up little space on the counter and can still make a large loaf of bread. However, it has a myriad of flaws that keep it from being truly good, and it is difficult to recommend, even at this price. You might want to consider something else.
Large, but not Huge
At a size of 16.38 x 12.38 x 12.75 inches it is rather large, and it weighs 15 pounds, it’s surely above average. However, it’s not as huge as some other units, so it is still fine. It can also make bread in sizes of 1.5 or 2 pounds, in a rectangular shape.
Plenty of Good Settings
It has 12 different pre-programmed setting, it can make both 1.5 and 2 pounds bread, it has settings for other dough types and jam, a timer, 3 crust settings and so on. You can’t program in your own, but other than that it’s a full suite.
It’s nothing to write home about, but this is a decently sturdy machine that can work well and doesn’t seem flimsy or badly put together. It does overheat at times, but the plastic doesn’t melt at all.
It doesn’t make a lot of noise while working, but it is worth mentioning that the beeping sound it makes when it turns on, starts a cycle or finishes it is exceptionally loud. You don’t want to be sleeping in the vicinity while it’s on.
Who Should Buy This Product
If you want to get bread in two different sizes, this is the product you get. Also, if you want a good bread maker at an affordable price, this will fit you well. It is a bit bulky but not too much, and it performs well most of the time and comes with a whole range of great options.
What to Watch Out For
Well, for starters, it has only one kneading paddle, meaning that it takes more time and doesn’t knead as well as models with two paddles. It also has trouble making good bread, unfortunately. It can burn the crust, and it often produces flopped bread. There are other issues, but these are the major ones.
This would be a decent bread machine according to the specs, it has good adjustability, and it can even make bread of different sizes, so what’s the issue? Well, the bread it makes is not of good quality, and that is quite an important thing. It might still be worth it if you can handle the occasional failure, but it’s still a major black mark on this product.
The Best Pick – Zojirushi BB-PAC20
People buy bread machines for many different purposes, not just to bake bread or not the same type of bread anyway. A machine that might be perfect for a person who just wants freshly baked bread every morning might be horrible for a person looking for some extra functionality. Because of this determining the best product out there is difficult, but we gave it our best shot.
After testing a few dozen bread makers, we had to agree that the best one out there right now is the Zojirushi BB-PAC20. It’s a great machine in almost all aspects, and it performs better than almost anything else we tested while having no crippling flaws. It does have two significant downsides – its size as well as the cost. Still, we believe it is worth the price, and if you can handle the size, you should get it because of the quality it provides. That’s also the reason why it is our best pick today.
That’s the bread machine we consider to be the best after testing plenty of different ones. It wasn’t easy to pick, but we are confident in our choice. That doesn’t mean you should follow our recommendation and you might find that a different product fits you better – whether one presented here or some of the others out on the market. You should parse through all the info we presented and use it to make the best purchase possible. After all, that was all we wanted to do – to make you better informed. If we have helped you at least a little bit, please share this article wherever you can since others might find it useful as well. Until we meet again, have a good day.