A bread-making machine automates the whole baking process by kneading dough automatically and then baking it for a predetermined period to give you freshly baked bread.
While bread machines are efficient in preparing and baking numerous types of bread, they come in different designs and sizes, making it hard for you to pick one that suits your household.
However, in this post, we will guide you on what to look for when buying a bread maker to help you select the ideal one that can bake white bread, whole wheat bread, butter bread, sweet bread, and gluten-free bread.
Different Bread Maker Designs Suitable for Making Bread
Vertical Bread Makers
As the name hints, vertical bread machines have a unique tall design, making it easier for you to save on space.
Horizontal Bread Makers
Horizontal bread machines are designed to rest in a horizontal position. Due to its design, a horizontal bread-making machine can produce normal loaves of fresh bread.
Different Sizes of Bread Maker Machine
Since bread machines are designed for baking a wide variety of loaf sizes, they come in a wide array of sizes. The size of a bread machine is indicated based on the size of bread it can bake. Not to mention, the size of the baking chamber might differ from one bread machine to another. Due to this, the loaf size might be different, depending on the machine you are using.
Here are some of the common sizes that can help you prepare a basic white loaf of bread:
Small bread-making machines can bake different bread recipes to give you about 400-500 grams of home-baked bread.
Medium- Medium-sized bread machines come with a large baking tin that can bake dough to give you a 900-1000 grams loaf of bread.
Large- Large machines have large baking tins, which can bake 1200-1500 grams of fresh bread.
Factors to Consider While Buying a Bread Machine to Bake Bread
The Number of People in Your Household
Since bread-making machines bake different loaf sizes, you should choose a bread maker that can bake the right size loaf of homemade bread that can feed everyone in your household.
For instance, if your family is big, you should opt for the large bread-making machine. It can produce about 1200-1550 grams of freshly baked bread that can be sliced so that everyone gets their share.
On the other hand, if you live alone, a small or medium-sized bread-making machine might be ideal for you.
Furthermore, some bread-making machines can be adjusted to bake different loaf sizes. Such machines might be ideal for you if you like baking different loaf sizes based on the number of people visiting your home.
Purpose of the Bread Maker
Before you get a bread maker, you list the basic bread recipes you plan to bake using the machine. If you are planning to bake different kinds of bread from different recipes, you should choose a machine that offers you various baking functionalities that can handle such loaves.
Moreover, it would help if you chose a bread machine based on your personal bread preferences. For instance, if you prefer gluten-free bread to normal bread, a bread maker that comes with a gluten-free setting might be ideal for you.
A bread maker should fit perfectly in your kitchen cabinet or compartment and leave some space for other appliances and equipment.
If your kitchen doesn’t have much space, a small bread maker might be suitable for that space. Better yet, a vertical bread maker saves on space and might be ideal for small kitchens that do not have a lot of space.
On the other hand, if your kitchen is spacious enough to accommodate various appliances, you should choose a horizontal bread machine.
Apart from that, it would help if you opted for a bread maker that can be stored easily in your cabinets and kitchen drawers.
Energy Consumption Levels
You have to opt for a breadmaker machine that does not use much energy while baking bread. While a bread maker might take about 3 hours to prepare and bake a loaf of bread, it consumes energy during the baking process. However, a bread maker might not consume a lot of energy during the preparation and kneading process.
A breadmaker consumes 0.5 kWh while baking one loaf of bread. This is about 20% of the energy that an oven consumes while baking one loaf of bread. So while a bread maker might look like an inefficient appliance, it saves a lot of energy while baking bread.
Ease of Use
The best bread makers feature tons of features and functionalities that help you bake high-quality loaves of bread. Due to this, a breadmaker should come with user-friendly features and functionalities, making it easier for you to bake loaves of bread.
Furthermore, most breadmaker machines often come with user guides that give you some insight into operating different parts while baking bread.
Noise Levels of the Bread Maker
While some bread-making machines might produce a lot of noise while baking bread, some machines are subtle and quiet. A simple bread maker should be quiet as it is preparing, kneading, and baking bread. In short, the bread maker noise levels should be low, especially during the morning. Avoid other bread makers that might produce a lot of noise while preparing a finished loaf of bread.
Bread machines have different price tags, depending on the features that they pack. However, an affordable bread maker offers you basic features that make it easier to knead the dough and prepare your loaves. Not to mention, many bread machines have an affordable price tag. On the other hand, expensive bread machines might offer you tons of features compared to most bread machines.
The Most Necessary Features That Should Be Included in a Bread Maker
These are some of the fundamental features that should be included in a basic bread maker:
As the name hints, dough settings are used to prepare, knead bread flour, and bake different types of bread. Some of the ingredients that might be kneaded include whole wheat flour.
Such settings make changing the kneading procedure easier, depending on the bread you plan to bake. Dough settings can also change the kneading cycle based on the bread that you are baking.
Moreover, bread makers might also come with various crust settings that let you bake bread to a level, giving you the crust that you like the most. For example, you can bake bread with a light-coloured crust or a dark crust, depending on your personal preferences.
The baking cycle is the maximum amount of time that a certain bread maker might take to bake the bread dough to give you a freshly baked loaf of bread.
Examples of the most common bread machine cycles include:
- Sweetbread cycle
- Whole wheat bread cycle
- White bread cycle
- French bread cycle
- Jam cycle
- Pizza dough cycle
- Gluten freecycle
Due to this, you should opt for a bread machine that features the dough cycle that bakes your favourite bread. For instance, if you love making pizza in the comfort of your home, a bread machine that features a pizza dough cycle might be the most suitable machine for you.
Furthermore, if you don’t like spending a lot of time baking bread, a quick bake cycle might be ideal. It can prepare and bake different types of bread within a short period, making it easier to save some time, especially when you are running late.
While the quick cycle bakes a loaf of bread within a short time, it doesn’t affect bread quality. Instead, this dough cycle prepares and bakes dough effectively, giving you high-quality bread.
A transparent glass gives you a clear view of the dough during different cycles. Not to mention, a transparent glass makes it easier for you to monitor the baking process until the bread becomes fully baked. In addition, it helps you know if you have selected the right settings based on the dough that you are baking.
Non-Stick Baking Tin/Bread Pan
A non-stick baking tin is manufactured from a unique material that keeps the inner surface clean and neat. It minimizes the adhesion between the tin’s surface and the dough, giving you a loaf of bread that has smooth sides.
Apart from that, a non-stick tin can bake the dough until it changes its colour to a deep brown colour. If the baking tin doesn’t have a non-stick surface, the dough might stick on the surface of the baking tin and produce a loaf of bread that has rough sides.
Plus, cleaning a non-stick baking tin is less cumbersome than cleaning other types of tin containers.
Shape of Bread
Since bread-making machines have different designs and shapes, they can bake loaves of bread with varying shapes. For instance, vertical bread-making machines produce tall loaves of bread that are more vertical than other loaves of bread.
On the other hand, horizontal bread makers produce loaves of bread that have a long horizontal shape. Due to this, you should opt for a bread machine that prepares and bakes the loaf of bread that you prefer the most.
While horizontal bread makers effectively produce horizontal loaves of bread, such machines might occupy a huge space due to their shape and design.
As the name hints, this timer adjusts the machine to prepare a loaf of bread during a certain period. For instance, you can use this feature before you go to sleep so that the bread maker prepares and bakes a loaf of bread in the morning. As a result, the bread-making machine will prepare and bake the dough during a predetermined period.
Apart from that, some bread machines might feature a fruit and nut dispenser that takes the functionality to the next level.
Kneading paddles can prepare different types of dough, giving you wholemeal loaves, gluten-free bread, and white loaves of bread. While some breadmakers might have more than one paddle, most come with a single paddle.
However, two paddles can knead bread ingredients more effectively than a single paddle. If the paddle isn’t installed in a suitable position, it might not knead ingredients perfectly. As a result, some ingredients might be deposited in different spots of the baking pan, especially the corners.
To get effective results, you have to opt for a bread machine with a nicely designed paddle, which can knead ingredients without depositing them in different spots.
Also, two kneading paddles might be ideal for mixing large quantities of baking ingredients. On the other hand, a single paddle may be suitable for mixing small quantities of bread ingredients.
An alarm makes it easier for you to bake high-quality loaves of bread. For instance, it can beep or ring at a predetermined time, alerting you when changes happen in the bread machine. The sound produced by bread maker alarms might vary from one machine to another.
A bread machine with a loud alarm might alert you more easily than a bread maker that produces a low sound. However, the sound produced by the alarm installed in the bread maker shouldn’t be too loud.
Why Should You Get a Bread Maker?
Here are some good reasons why you should get a bread maker for your home. It will be beneficial for the whole family for the following reasons:
For starters, a bread machine produces fresh bread within a few hours or minutes, depending on the baking cycle that you select. Fresh bread reduces the risk of getting sick as compared to store-bought bread. Plus, most machines have different functionalities for making gluten-free bread. More than that, freshly baked bread made at home offers more nutrients and fewer additives than store-bought bread.
Well, purchasing ingredients and homemade baking bread are more affordable than getting loaves of bread from the store. You can also prepare and bake a loaf big enough to feed everyone in your household at any time of the day.
Wide Array of Settings
Most breadmakers feature a wide array of settings that can prepare various types of dough to give you different loaves of bread. This makes it easier for you to prepare the type of bread that you love the most, using various ingredients such as milk powder, salt, flour, and sugar. Apart from that, you can prepare a loaf of bread with a fluffy crumb or prepare a gluten-free loaf based on your preferences.
Compact and Small
Many bread makers are small and compact, making it easier to place them on various countertops. Hence, the best bread makers usually occupy small areas as compared to large baking appliances like ovens.
Bread Maker for Fresh Bread at Home
You can get the best bread maker based on your personal preferences. Go for a bread maker that offers you a wide array of baking options so that you can prepare different loaves of bread that you can serve to your family and friends. The bread maker should also come with a strong paddle, which can easily handle different ingredients that you will toss in.
The bread machine should also be manufactured from high-quality materials, which can last for years with proper cleaning and maintenance. Not to mention, a bread machine should fit perfectly in different compartments, such as cabinets and drawers. Since bread-making machines come in a wide array of different sizes, it may be quite easy to find the size suitable for your kitchen compartments.