Different machines have different maximum loaf sizes, usually ranging from 700g (half a loaf) to 1.2kg (full loaf). If you're making bread for the whole family, look for higher maximum loaf sizes.
Get with the programme forme
Most bread makers can make white, brown and wholemeal loaves but if you want to bake different types of bread, such as rye or gluten-free, then you'll need a machine with the correct programme.
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.
Choose a range of crust colour options from very light to very dark. Some machines also allow you to change the crust thickness and a few come with an inbuilt air circulation system for crispier crusts.
Keep warm settings
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.
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.
Gluten-free bread with lemon and poppy seeds
- 350mls water
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 4 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium eggs
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp caster sugar or honey
- 450g gluten-free flour
- 1-2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 1/2tsp fast action easy blend yeast
- Place water, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, oil, eggs, salt and sugar into the bread pan.
- Add the flour, poppy seeds and yeast and set your bread maker to the gluten-free setting with the dark crust.
Focaccia with red onion, olives and rosemary
What you need:
- 1tsp yeast
- 600g strong white flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 340mls water
- 1 red onion
- 12 pitted black olives
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- A good drizzle of olive oil
- Sea salt
- Put the dough ingredients in the bread pan in the order listed.
- Select the pizza dough programme for 45 mins.
- When the dough is ready, tip out onto a floured work surface and dust with flour. Roll and pat the dough into a 34x25cm rectangle and place on a generously greased baking tray.
- Make indentations over the whole dough using your finger tips, then drizzle with olive oil.
- Place the 1 red onion chunk on top of the dough, 3 across and 3 down, so that there are 12 altogether and each square will have something of everything.
- Next to the red onion place a pitted olive (press it down slightly) and a sprig of rosemary.
- Drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Allow to prove in a warm place until doubled in size (approx. 30mins).
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 25-40 mins. When cooked, it should feel firm in the centre and golden brown on top.
- Drizzle with olive oil before cutting into squares to serve.
The perfect cut
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.
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Keep it fresh
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.
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Check your space
Bread makers can take up a lot of room in the kitchen so think about how much space you have. If you're going to be moving your bread maker around a lot, look for a lighter model less than 5kg.
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