Selecting the best bread machine will make baking bread a breeze . Homemade bread is one thing many home cooks aspire to make yet never get around to doing. Making bread by hand is labor-intensive and time-consuming. It takes a lot of skill and equipment to make a good loaf.
Luckily, there is a new generation of bread machines on the market. Unlike older machines, these modern bread makers handle all the mixing, kneading and rising without requiring your attention. You can even do the prep work in advance and have a hot loaf waiting for you in the morning.
A bread machine is a great way to make a loaf that is healthy, preservative-free and above all, fresh. Bread makers allow you flexibility. You can make many different kinds of breads, quick breads, doughs for pizza or pasta as well as jams and cakes.
Lastly, the clean up couldn’t be easier. You only need to wash your measuring cups and bread pan.
- Bread Maker Comparison Table
- Our Top 5 Bread Machines for 2020
- 1. Best Pick- Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker
- 2. Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker
- 3. Zojirushi Home Bakery Programmable Mini Breadmaker
- 4. Best Budget Pick – Hamilton Beach HomeBaker Bread Machine
- 5. Oster Expressbake Bread Maker
- Bread Machine Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Do I need to use special flour in my bread machine or can I use all-purpose flour?
- Q: Does it matter what order I add my ingredients to the bread pan?
- Q: How can I get the best results from my bread machine?
- Q: Can I start the dough in my machine and then freeze it before it is baked?
- Q: If my machine does not have a dough-only cycle, can I still use it to make dough to bake in my regular oven?
- Q: Will using a bread machine save you money?
- Q: What else can I use a bread machine for?
- Q: Should I buy an extended warranty for my bread machine?
- Q: Should I measure or weigh my dry ingredients for the best results in my bread machine?
- Q: My bread machine doesn’t have a program for gluten-free bread. Can I still make GF bread in my machine?
- Q: What kind of yeast should I use in my bread machine?
Bread Maker Comparison Table
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Our Top 5 Bread Machines for 2020
You don’t need to buy an expensive machine to make a good loaf of bread. The additional features and sturdy construction of the premium models on our list are worth the price tag. However, even the less expensive machines will turn out an easy-to-make, delicious loaf.
We selected these models as our top 5 choices based on their performance, features, construction quality and ease of use. We paid particular attention to how much labor each of these machines requires. As a result, we only selected machines that did most of the work for you.
There is an option on our list that will fit your needs and budge whether you’re a novice baker or a pro.
If you are looking for a premium bread machine that will stand up to years of kneading, then check out the Zojirushi Virtuoso. The Virtuoso was an easy choice for our best pick because it is so simple to use, and it consistently makes great loaves of bread.
This stainless steel bread maker is both stylish and packed with innovative features such as a heated lid. You can watch through the top window as the extra heater browns the upper crust of your loaf. The machine even preheats your ingredients so they are at the optimal temperature right from the start.
The Virtuoso is a dual-paddle bread machine that produces a more traditional-style rectangular loaf. The two removable paddles and powerful motor ensure that your dough is well mixed and kneaded every time. It has one of the largest bread pans on the market, measuring 9 x 6 x 5 inches, and can produce either a 1.5 or a 2-pound loaf.
This bread maker really stands out for its well-designed features. The easy-lift metal handles on the bread pan allow you to remove it with a simple tug so there’s no awkward twisting or risk of burning yourself. Both the pan and the paddles are non-stick so you won’t have to struggle to remove your loaf.
The Virtuoso is an incredibly sturdy machine with a digital display. The controls are simple and intuitive. It comes with 10 pre-programmed settings and 3 you can customize yourself, and it also has 3 crust options. You can use the pre-sets for baking a basic white, wheat, gluten-free or quick bread. You can also bake a sourdough starter, dough, jam or cake.
The Virtuoso also has a setting for making a quick white or wheat loaf. Choosing that option will reduce the total preparation time by an hour. You can also use the delay timer to schedule your loaf for up to 13 hours in advance, and the machine will keep your bread warm for an hour after it finishes baking.
This is a great option for both new and experienced home bakers but it does have some potential drawbacks. It is one of the more high-end bread makers and may be out of the price range for some families.
Factors to Consider
Given its price point, we were surprised that it didn’t come with an automated yeast dispenser or a separate dispenser for adding nuts and fruits. It does have an alarm that will tell you when to add in these ingredients but it would have been nice if this step was fully automated.
It’s also a big machine, measuring 18 x 10.5 x 13 inches, and weighs 22 pounds. This might not be the best choice if you have a small kitchen or need to store your machine in a cabinet. Still, the quality of the materials, sturdy construction and stellar performance make the Virtuoso worth the investment for a premium bread machine.
You can get a good look at the Zojirushi Virtuoso and see it in action by watching this unboxing video from Everything Kitchens:
- Dual-paddles ensure consistent mixing and kneading of your dough.
- Large rectangular bread pan produces a traditional-style loaf.
- Handles on the bread pan make it easy to place and remove.
- 3 customizable settings.
- Missing automated dispensers for adding yeast or nuts/fruits.
- A 1-year warranty is less than expected for a premium appliance.
- Large size and weight make it harder to move and awkward to store.
If you would like a bread machine with deluxe features at a very reasonable price, then the Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker might be a good option for your family. This stylish stainless steel bread machine is versatile and easy to operate. It has a digital display and button controls along with a full program menu printed on the top.
This is the only machine in our review that comes with a convection fan. The oven circulates hot air over your loaf while it bakes, thereby producing an evenly browned crust. You can easily monitor your loaf through the window in the lid.
You have the option of making a 1, 1.5 or 2-pound loaf in the non-stick pan. The bread pan measures 7 x 5 x 5 inches, so it produces a traditional style loaf but it is a bit shorter than those from the supermarket. It operates using a single removable paddle so you will only have one small hole or divot in the bottom of your bread.
The Cuisinart comes with 16 pre-set programs and has three crust settings. You can use the programs to make white, wheat, French/Italian, quick, sweet, low carb or gluten free loaves.
It also has rapid-bake programs for making a faster white, wheat, French/Italian, or sweet loaf. These programs reduce the kneading and rising cycles by about an hour. If you are in a hurry, you can even make a quick white loaf in an hour by selecting the last minute loaf program.
In addition to the bread programs, the Cuisinart comes with settings for making a dough, artisanal dough, cakes and jam. It even has a bake only cycle you can use with leftover or store-bought dough. It comes with a 12-hour delay timer so you can schedule your loaf in advance. You have a lot of options with this bread maker.
While this is a solid choice in a full-size bread maker, there are a few downsides to this machine. It is the largest in our review, measuring 18 x 12 ⅕ x 14 ⅞, and weighs 17 pounds. It may be a challenge to use or store in a small kitchen.
The convection fan always turns on for the baking cycle and you don’t have the option to toggle it off. We wish it could be turned off when making more delicate recipes to prevent the crust from over-browning.
The bread pan and paddle need to be snapped into the machine before you add your ingredients to the pan. This is a little awkward and could lead to spills inside your bread maker. We would prefer to prep the ingredients in the pan first, and then place it in the machine.
Also, the snaps on the bread pan sometimes come loose, causing the pan to shift during the kneading cycle. You may have to reseat the pan and paddle at times.
Nevertheless, the Cuisinart is a sturdy machine that comes with a 3-year warranty. If your family is looking for a bread maker with a lot of flexibility and features then the Cuisinart might be the perfect machine for you.
- Traditional-style bread pan that can make 1, 1.5 and 2-pound loaves.
- Multiple rapid-bake programs allow for last minute bread making.
- Convection fan ensures even browning of crust.
- 3-year warranty.
- Bread pan and paddle occasionally become unseated during the kneading cycle.
- Convection fan can’t be turned off when making more delicate breads.
- Large footprint makes it a challenge to use in small kitchens.
If you are in the market for a premium compact bread machine, then the Zojirushi Mini may be the bread maker for you. Designed for smaller households, this portable unit is lightweight yet rugged. It also comes with a convenient carrying handle and cord organizer.
The Mini makes a 1-pound loaf of bread that is square-shaped but has a traditional top crust. The bread pan measures 5 x 4 x 4 inches and twists into place easily using the attached handle. It uses a single removable paddle for mixing and kneading. You can prep the ingredients in the pan before you snap it into the machine.
The digital display is easy to read and is located on the front of the machine. It comes with programs for making basic white (regular or firm texture), soft white, French and quick/sweet breads.
It can also make dough for pizza, cookies or pasta, and it has programs for making cakes and jams. The two crust settings allow you to choose a regular or a lighter crust.
Details & Specs
The motor is surprisingly quiet. It will alert you when it is time to add in your fruits or nuts. In addition, it also has a 13-hour delay timer so you can prep a loaf in advance.
This Mini is compact and lightweight, measuring 8.5 x 11.25 x 12.25 inches and weighing only 13.3 pounds. It is also very sturdy. You won’t have to worry that it will move around your countertop during the mixing or kneading cycles.
The Mini has a few downsides that may make it a less desirable option for some bakers. The exterior is white plastic and the design of the appliance is a bit old school. It actually looks more like a rice steamer than a bread maker.
Things to Consider
Functionality-wise, it is surprising that the Mini doesn’t come with a bake-only cycle or a program for whole grain or wheat bread. You can still use the machine to make a whole grain loaf but you will have to play with the programs to find the right setting.
The Mini makes a great loaf of bread but it does have its drawbacks and limitations. Still, if you want the quality of a Zojirushi bread maker and prefer a very small or portable appliance, then this bread maker may be perfect for you.
Whether you live in a tiny home, apartment or an RV, this mini bread maker will fit into your living space. It is easy to store and transport and it has all of the functions you need to make a great 1-pound loaf of bread.
- Compact and lightweight bread maker perfect for small kitchens.
- Carrying handle and cord organizer.
- Makes 1-pound traditional style loaves of bread.
- Lackluster appearance given the cost.
- No dedicated program for making wheat or whole grain breads.
- Missing a bake-only cycle.
- A 1-year limited warranty is less than expected for a premium product.
If you are looking for a bread maker with high-end features but you don’t want to break the bank, then the Hamilton Beach HomeBaker may be a good option for you. This simple yet modern bread machine is surprisingly versatile.
The HomeBaker can produce 1.5 and 2-pound loaves using a single removable paddle. It even comes with an extra paddle so you can use one while the other is being washed.
The bread pan measures 5 x 7 x 6 inches and makes a square-shaped loaf with the traditional top crust. Both the pan and the paddles are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
This machine gives you a lot of flexibility and options, especially given the budget price tag. It even has three crust settings so you can have a loaf with a light, medium or a dark crust.
It comes with 12 pre-set programs including basic white, whole grain, French, gluten-free, quick, sweet, dough, jam, cake and bake-only. It can make a rapid loaf in about an hour. It does a fantastic job on gluten-free loaves of bread and the dough setting allows you to make dough for pizza, pasta, cookies, and sweet or savory rolls.
The HomeBaker has some features not often found in budget models. The display is digital and located on the front of the machine so it is very easy to use. The lid has a window so you can monitor your bread while it is being baked. It comes with a 13-hour delay timer so you can prep a loaf in advance.
Points to Consider
While this is a great budget option for new and experienced bakers, it does have a few downsides. The machine is lightweight enough at 11.86 pounds that it could slide around your countertop during the mixing and kneading cycles. You may want to place a non-slip mat underneath it.
Also, unlike the more expensive machines above, the HomeBaker isn’t as well insulated. You may be able to hear it when the motor is running. It also doesn’t pre-heat your ingredients before mixing them. You need to make sure that you bring your ingredients to room temperature before adding them to your bread maker.
Still, the HomeBaker is a great deal and a solid option if you are on a budget or just want to try out a bread maker. It is small enough to fit easily in most kitchens, with a footprint of 12.2 x 14.13 x 10.43 inches. It comes with a limited 1-year warranty and replacement parts are available.
- Especially good at making dough and gluten-free loaves of bread.
- Compact breadmaker can produce 1.5 or 2-pound loaves.
- 12 pre-set programs allow great flexibility in your baking.
- 1-year limited warranty is appropriate for a budget machine.
- The machine is a bit noisy when the motor is running.
- Needs a slip mat to prevent it from sliding off the counter while in use.
- Doesn’t pre-heat your ingredients so results may vary depending on their temperature.
If you would like an inexpensive bread maker that can make a variety of loaf sizes in the more traditional rectangular shape, then the Oster Expressbake might be the right choice for your family.
This compact bread machine can make 1, 1.5 and 2-pound loaves with a traditional top crust. The bread pan measures 7 x 5.25 x 4.5 inches and uses a single removable paddle to mix and knead. You can prep your ingredients in the pan and then easily snap it into place inside the bread maker.
The Expressbake comes with 12 pre-set programs and 3 crust settings. You can make a basic white, French, whole wheat, sweet, quick, or European loaf. You can also use the ultra-fast program for making a 1.5 or 2-pound loaf in an hour. It also has programs for making dough, bagel dough and jam along with a bake-only cycle if you already have some dough handy.
Details & Specifics
The Expressbake is an attractive appliance with a compact footprint measuring 12 x 11 x 11 inches. The digital display is arranged on the front of the machine and is very easy to read and understand. You can use the delay timer to prep your machine up to 13 hours in advance.
This is a good option for new bakers or folks who want to try out a bread machine without a big financial risk. However, we do have several reservations about the Expressbake.
While it is about the same size as the Zojirushi Mini, it only weighs 8 pounds. The lack of insulation means that this appliance is a bit noisy. Also, it is so lightweight that it can easily move off the counter when the motor is running. You will definitely want to use a slip mat underneath this bread machine to keep it safely in place.
Since it doesn’t have a lot of insulation, the machine is very sensitive to the temperature inside your home. If your kitchen gets hot in the summer months then the machine may give you an error message (ingredients too warm) and not operate until you cool things down.
The machine can make 3 different size loaves. When making 2-pound loaves, the dough sometimes rises too high and hits the underside of the lid, flattening the top. It also doesn’t always do a great job of mixing dough for a 1-pound loaf, leaving bits of flour in the corners of the pan.
The Expressbake is a reasonable option for a bread machine under $100 and is versatile enough for most home bakers. It comes with a limited 1-year warranty, so you are not risking too much by investing in this machine. It is a good machine to start with if you are just learning about home baking and want to be able to make loaves in a variety of sizes.
- 12 pre-set programs handle a variety of dough and bread types.
- Audible alert for adding extras like fruits and nuts.
- Produces 3 loaf sizes in a more traditional-shaped pan.
- A 1-year limited warranty is appropriate given the price point.
- Extremely lightweight and requires the use of a slipmat to keep it in place.
- Sensitive to room temperature and may throw error messages in the summer.
- Lack of insulation makes this machine noisy.
Bread Machine Buyer’s Guide
Would you like to wake up to the heavenly aroma of freshly baked bread? You can if you own a bread machine.
In fact, you can have a loaf ready any time you choose. Having friends over for a party on a Friday night? Impress them with your own olive oil and balsamic vinegar fresh bread dip or crispy homemade pizza right out of your oven. Both will be big hits with your guests!
Modern bread machines are very versatile and easy to use. If you buy a lot of bread or prefer gluten-free loaves then buying your own bread machine may be the right decision for you. It could even save you money in the long run.
Bread machines are not for everyone, though. They have limitations and some users end up getting a machine they are unhappy with. So before you purchase a bread machine, consider the factors below.
Why Should You Buy a Bread Machine?
The allure of a bread machine is that you can make a great loaf of bread with a minimal amount of effort. Simply measure your ingredients and add them to the machine, and a fresh loaf is on the way.
Bread machines have different strengths and weaknesses, and you obviously want to pick the machine that best suits your baking needs. If you primarily want to make bread for sandwiches, for instance, then you may prefer a different model than a family that mostly uses theirs to make dough and sweet loaves.
Consider the size of the bread machine and how much room it will take up in your kitchen. If you will be storing your machine between uses, factor in how difficult it will be to move the machine from the cabinet to the countertop.
A bread machine is an investment and you want to be sure you get your money’s worth out of the type of machine that you ultimately select. The right bread machine for your family is the one you will use frequently.
Quality of the Bread
It is important to understand that a bread machine won’t produce a loaf that is identical to their oven-baked or store-bought counterparts. Since the machine is an enclosed environment, the texture of bread made in them tends to be denser, with a more compact crumb. The loaves are heavier and don’t rise as much as bread baked in an oven.
If you prefer the soft, pillowy texture of a supermarket sandwich loaf then you may not be happy with a loaf from a bread machine.
On the other hand, a lot of bread machine users actually prefer the texture of their homemade bread to conventional loaves. The denser crumb allows for a more substantial and filling sandwich and makes for a fantastic piece of toast.
The textural differences between a loaf from the store and a loaf from your machine is really only a factor for sandwich-style breads. Your machine’s other doughs, sweet loaves and such will turn out similar to their handmade cousins, while requiring only a fraction of your time and attention.
The quality of your loaf of bread will also vary based on outside factors such as: the accuracy of your measurements, the freshness of your ingredients and the order in which you add them to your bread maker. All of these factors will affect the final product.
Easy as they are to use, it still takes practice to learn how to get the most from your bread maker. You will likely have to try a recipe several times before you get the results you desire. You may need to adjust your methods or add in extra steps (such as hand shaping your ball of dough) to produce a really good loaf.
While bread machines can often be ignored after you add in your ingredients and select your program, many recipes still benefit from additional attention. The folks over at King Arthur Flour have produced this great list of tips for producing a superior loaf in a bread maker, if you don’t mind doing some extra work.
When you’re learning to use a new bread machine, it’s best to read the instruction manual and follow their recipes exactly. As you become more experienced, you can play around with other recipes and make adjustments to recipes you have mastered.
However, you will get the best results from the start if you stick with recipes proven to work in your machine.
Shape of Bread Loaf
The biggest complaint I’ve heard from people unhappy with their bread makers is that they don’t like the shape of the final loaf. This is an especially common critique from folks who have used older bread machines with the first-generation of bread pans.
Your loaf shape is limited by the design of the bread pan. In some machines, especially older models, the bread pan is oriented so that the upper crust is actually the end slice of bread (the heel of the loaf) instead of the top of the loaf. This can lead to a loaf that is awkward to slice for sandwiches.
Why are bread pans designed this way? Since the ingredients are mixed and kneaded by a small paddle attached to the bottom of the bread pan, it can’t be too long or the paddle won’t be able to reach the edges. This leads to lumps of unmixed ingredients around the perimeter and dough that’s unevenly kneaded.
The good news is that modern bread machines have been redesigned. Many now come with a bread pan that makes a loaf with the traditional shape and upper crust. These loaves may be shorter than ones from a supermarket, but they produce normal-sized slices of bread for toast and sandwiches.
When shopping for a bread machine, choose one that has the style pan you prefer and can make a loaf with the dimensions most useful to you.
If you mostly want to make bread for sandwiches then you may prefer a machine that uses two kneading paddles rather than just one. This allows for a longer pan that produces a more traditional-shaped loaf.
Those kneading paddles have one other affect on your loaf of bread- they leave behind a divot or small hole in the bottom of your loaf. You may need to manually remove the paddle from the finished loaf once you slip it out of the pan. This isn’t very difficult but it does leave an impression that some bakers don’t care for.
Many experienced bread machine bakers add in an extra step after the machine’s final round of kneading. They remove the dough and paddle from the pan, wipe the pan clean of any remaining flour and shape the dough into a loaf by hand. Then they place the dough back in the paddle-less pan for the final baking phase.
This eliminates the problem of having to fish out a paddle from a baked loaf of bread. You will still have a divot in the bottom of the loaf but it is much less noticeable. Also, the shape of the finished loaf tends to be more even and the crust more attractive when you take this extra step.
Bread Machine Features to Consider
There are many different features and functions you can find in a bread maker but these are the key ones you should consider when shopping for a new machine.
Loaf Pan Size and Shape
The most important feature in a bread machine is that it produces a quality loaf of bread in the size and shape that suits your needs. Some machines are able to make a range of sizes, from a small 1-pound all the way up to a 3-pound loaf. Others are only able to make a loaf in one or two different sizes.
The sizes are approximate because your bread’s weight will really depend on the weight of the ingredients. The most common sizes produced by bread machines are 1.5 and 2-pound loaves.
Since bread made in a machine is preservative-free, it will quickly become dry and stale. You should plan to consume your loaf within a couple of days or store it in the freezer for future use (if you store it in the refrigerator it will likely become moldy). So choose a machine which makes a loaf your family will be able to eat within that time frame.
- 1-pound loaves generally produce about 8 slices of bread and are a good size for a single person or small family of two.
- 5-pound loaves make about 12 slices of bread and can easily accommodate a family of 3.
- 2-pound loaves produce about 16 slices and are well suited for the average 4 person family.
The dimensions of your loaf pan will vary from machine to machine. They come with pans in a variety of shapes and generally produce square or rectangular loaves.
Remember, you can always shape the dough by hand and bake it in your oven to get the shape you prefer. You can even braid or twist your dough before placing it into the machine’s pan for baking if you want a fancier appearance.
Loaf Pan Preparation and Attachment
An overlooked yet important feature is how easy it is to attach the bread pan to the inside of your machine. This installation also connects the kneading paddle to the machine’s motor and keeps the pan from moving during the mixing and kneading phases.
You want to choose a machine that makes attaching and removing the pan as easy as possible. Typically these bread pans snap, twist or get locked into place using pins. Some bread pans have a handle that makes placing and removing them easier.
If your pan is not seated correctly (or is difficult to seat), the paddle won’t turn and your dough will not be properly mixed or kneaded. Ingredients could potentially leak through the bottom of the pan and spill inside your unit. You might have to stop the machine and reseat the bowl and paddle mid-cycle.
Another thing to consider is whether you can prep your ingredients in the pan before you place it in your machine. Some machines, such as the Cuisinart Convection, require the pan to be in place before the ingredients are added. It is much easier to prep everything first if you can, and it reduces the chances of spills.
Bread machines come with an array of program options. But a machine that has 16 programs is not necessarily any better than one that has 8. Most importantly, the bread maker you choose should have all the options most useful to you.
Most of us really end up using only two or three programs on a regular basis. You can expect a bread maker to have settings for making basic (white), whole wheat and quick/sweet breads. Some come with special settings for making French, Italian and artisanal or European-style loaves.
The program settings optimize the final results based on the kind of flour you are using and the kind of loaf you want to produce. They control the length of the kneading and rising times, and the number of cycles. Letting a dough rise for a longer amount of time will lead to a lighter texture. Kneading it longer will develop the proteins and make the loaf chewier.
Gluten-free and low-carb programs have become very common to find in bread machines as the popularity of these diets has increased. Many bread makers can make a gluten-free loaf even if they don’t have a special setting. You just need to use the whole wheat program.
Rapid or Express baking programs are frequently found in bread makers. These settings reduce the number of kneading and rising cycles in order to produce a loaf in about 1-2 hours (rather than the 3-4 hours for a typical loaf). The bread won’t be as tasty as the loaves made from the longer cycle but they will be ready quickly.
A dough-only setting is a very helpful function. You can use it to make things like pizza, pita bread, cinnamon rolls, scones and dinner rolls. You can even make bread dough to bake in your oven if you want to make a peasant-style loaf.
You can also use these machines to make more than just bread and dough. Bread machines can function as a multi-cooker. You can make soups, stews, casseroles and even meatloaf in a bread maker.
If you want to wake-up to the aroma of freshly baked bread, be sure your machine has a delay timer of at least 10 hours. This allows you to prep your dough in advance and set the machine to produce a finished loaf automatically at the time you set. That way, you can have a hot loaf waiting for your family in the morning or right after you get home from work.
There is a slight limitation to using a delay timer. You can’t use a recipe that contains any perishable ingredients such as eggs or milk. Since they will be sitting out at room temperature, these ingredients could spoil before the bread bakes. Luckily, there are plenty of recipes that don’t contain these ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need to use special flour in my bread machine or can I use all-purpose flour?
A: You may be able to use all-purpose flour. For the best results, you want to use a flour high in protein. The gluten formed during the mixing and kneading stages support your dough and lead to a higher rise on your finished loaf than a lower protein or whole grain flour. Some all-purpose flours are high in protein while others are not. You may just need to try out a few brands until you find a winner.
Q: Does it matter what order I add my ingredients to the bread pan?
A: Yes, it matters. Most bread machine manufacturers recommend adding the liquids to the bottom of the pan first, followed by the dry ingredients and ending with the yeast. You want to prevent the yeast from getting wet and activating too early, so make sure it stays dry on the top of the pile.
For additions like fruit, nuts or chocolate chips, you will want to add them later in the cycle so they don’t weigh down your dough while it is rising. Your instruction manual should be able to direct you to the appropriate time to add these kinds of ingredients.
Q: How can I get the best results from my bread machine?
A: It will take some practice but it isn’t very difficult. Be sure to read your machine’s instruction manual and familiarize yourself with its operation and programs. Follow their directions exactly, and start by using their recipes. Make sure your ingredients are fresh, especially your flour and yeast, and add them in the correct order. The ingredients should be at room temperature for the best results.
Q: Can I start the dough in my machine and then freeze it before it is baked?
A: Yes, you can, but you will want to do the final baking in your oven. Once your dough is kneaded and has finished rising, you can remove it, shape it into a loaf (or rolls etc) and then wrap it well and freeze. To use your frozen dough, remove it from the freezer and bring to room temperature. Then, you can finish baking it in your oven. You should use your frozen dough within 3 months for best results.
Q: If my machine does not have a dough-only cycle, can I still use it to make dough to bake in my regular oven?
A: Yes, you can. All you need to do is get the timing right. Once your machine has finished the final kneading and rising cycle, stop the machine and remove the dough before it begins to bake. Then you can refrigerate, freeze or bake the dough in your oven.
Q: Will using a bread machine save you money?
A: It might save you money. If you use it frequently and make loaves at home instead of buying bread then you will likely save a decent amount of money in the long run. Generally, making a loaf of bread at home costs about half as much as buying a loaf at the store. For more expensive types of bread, such as gluten-free, the savings could be even bigger.
Q: What else can I use a bread machine for?
A: Bread, dough, jams and cakes aside, there are a lot of things you can make in a bread machine. Think of it as being similar to a slow cooker, since these machines usually bake at around 300°F. You can easily make meatloaf, casseroles, soups and stews. Some people use theirs as a rice cooker or to make oatmeal. The folks over at Instructables have a great post with some interesting ideas for using a bread maker as a multicooker.
Q: Should I buy an extended warranty for my bread machine?
A: Maybe. Depending on the price you paid for your bread maker, it may be worth the extra cost. Most machines comes with at least a 1 year warranty. If you spent more than $100 on your machine then it may be worth protecting that investment for the long term. For bread machines under $100 it is usually not worth the extra expense.
Q: Should I measure or weigh my dry ingredients for the best results in my bread machine?
A: Weighing your dry ingredients is far more accurate than measuring them. Flour especially is best weighed, since you can easily compact too much flour into a measuring cup, leading to a hard loaf that doesn’t rise as it should. You will get more consistent results if you weigh your dry ingredients.
Q: My bread machine doesn’t have a program for gluten-free bread. Can I still make GF bread in my machine?
A: Maybe. Check with your manufacturer for advice on what setting to use for GF bread. Many times the whole grain/whole wheat program will work for GF bread but your manufacturer will know what program to use.
Q: What kind of yeast should I use in my bread machine?
A: Use the yeast recommended for the recipe you are making. Rapid-rise or quick yeast will often work for recipes that have a short program (around an hour). For recipes that have multiple rising stages, regular active dry yeast typically performs best. Check with your machine’s manufacturer and see what they recommend.
Bread machines have come a long way from the early days when they were cost prohibitive and almost as labor intensive as traditional bread making. Nowadays, bread makers come fully automated in a range of prices suitable for most household budgets. They are equipped with a variety of features that offer unmatched versatility to the home baker.
With programs for artisanal and gluten-free bread, you can save money by making specialty loaves at home. You can also use a bread machine to make dough for pizza, pasta or treats like cinnamon rolls. Bread makers can even be used to make casseroles, stews and meatloaf. The possibilities are endless.
If your family eats a lot of bread, then buying a bread machine is a good idea. We hope that after reading our detailed reviews and comprehensive buying guide, you’ll have all the information you need to select the best bread machine for your kitchen.