Bread maker buying guide
Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread. Bread makers take the hard work out of baking, reducing the time and effort needed to produce a delicious homemade loaf. This guide will explain the different functions and features of bread makers to help you find the right one.
Considerations before buying
How much room do you have?
Bread makers can take up a lot of room in the kitchen so think about how much space you have available to either store one away in a cupboard or display on a worktop. If you're going to be moving your bread maker around a lot, you may want to choose a lighter model that's less than 5kg.
How much do you want to spend?
Basic models will start from around £40 while more sophisticated bread makers are priced at over £100. Bread makers which feature more settings and programmes will naturally cost more than simpler versions. If you're going to be using your bread maker a lot, it's best to invest in a model that's reliable and durable.
How many people are you baking for?
Different machines have different maximum loaf sizes, usually ranging from 700g to 1.2kg. If you're going to be making bread for the family or entertaining, look for a bread maker with a higher maximum loaf size in order to produce enough for everyone.
What type of bread do you want to make?
Most bread makers can make white, brown and wholemeal loaves and some are programmed to bake speciality bread such as rye and granary. If you want to use your bread maker to bake different types of bread, then look for one with a selection of programmes.
All bread makers have a pan where the bread is made and a kneading paddle. If the kneading paddle is fixed, the loaf will contain a small hole in the base, however, some bread makers have a removable kneading paddle which reduces the size of the hole.
Bread maker programmes include white, brown, wholemeal, sweet, sandwich, French, dough, speciality, gluten-free and more. Some also have the function to make jam and knead pizza and pasta dough.
Most bread makers will have the option to change the size of your loaf. Select loaf sizes ranging from 500g to 1.2kg, ideal for two at breakfast or to feed the whole family.
Choose a range of crust colour options including very light, light, medium, dark and very dark to suit your personal preference. Some machines also allow you to change the crust thickness and a few come with an inbuilt air circulation system for crispier crusts.
If you're looking to save time, the fast bake setting is ideal. loaves are baked in a reduced time period, although sometimes this is only applicable to white loaves.
Ideal if you like to prepare ahead, this feature delays the start of the baking process so you can wake up or arrive home to freshly baked bread. If you're using this setting and your recipe requires additional ingredients to be added, these will need to be added with the rest of the ingredients at the start.
Keep warm setting
Many bread makers include this function to keep loaves warm after they have finished baking, just in case you're delayed in taking it out. The keep warm setting usually lasts for around 60 minutes.
The cool touch feature reduces the temperature of the bread to prevent fingers from getting burnt.
Allows you to check up on the progress of your bake without opening the lid of the bread maker and letting the heat escape.
Most bread makers come with a measuring cup and spoon but if yours doesn't then it's worth buying some. Measuring exact quantities is a really important part of a successful loaf.
For best results, leave your loaf to cool on a wire rack for 15-30 minutes before slicing. Use an electric knife or bread knife to achieve even slices.
As homemade bread doesn't contain any preservatives it tends to become staler faster than shop bought bread. Using a bread bin will help to keep your loaf as fresh as possible.