How to Pick the Best Bread Machine

In my main page, I explained simply how to choose the best bread machine before recommending some of the top rated bread machines in 2015. Here I will explain further, in more detail, about picking your best bread machine.

If you are looking for a bread machine to bake your own healthy, preservative-free bread loaves, read on to see what is important to consider in the bread maker you want to buy.

The bread machine is an appliance that evolved from a simple bread baking machine to some really advanced machines that can even make jam and other sweet desserts, but ultimately the bread maker that you want is something that will give you the utmost convenience in baking a delicious loaf of bread, right?

How to Pick the Best Bread Machine

The Shape of Your Loaf

Firstly, you need to decide whether you mind having a tall tower loaf. Many bread machines, in order to save counter top space, are designed to sit tall, so the shape of the bread pan will result in a tall standing loaf. If you must have a horizontal loaf like the store bought ones, get a horizontal bread machine, but you’ll have to compromise with the larger footprint.

A vertical bread machine may not be your perfect choice if you have low hanging cabinets over your counter top. The bread machine will need some space overhead for opening up the lid and more for lifting out the bread pan. Do take this into consideration when buying your bread machine.

Horizontal bread machine – Zojirushi BB-CEC20
Vertical bread machine – Zojirushi BB-HAC10

Sizes of Your Loaf

Other than the space your bread machine is going to take up, look at the size of the loaf it can make too. Some bread machines allow you to choose from several loaf sizes, which is good if you have a growing family.

For singles or couples, a bread maker that bakes a 1-lb loaf will do. On the other hand, a large family will need the largest loaf size at 2.5 pounds.

Homemade bread is simply yummy so you should be prepared to bake more often, but that doesn’t matter because it will be so easy with a bread machine!

1 lb small bread maker – Zojirushi BB-HAC10
2 lb bread maker – Cuisinart CBK-100
2.5 lb big bread maker – Panasonic SD-YD250
Multiple loaf sizes – Zojirushi BB-CEC20

Bread Machine Features

For buying your first bread machine, features may not seem very important, but once you’ve baked a few loaves in a bread machine, you’ll realize that you couldn’t do without some of the features. My first bread maker was the simplest ever, without any bells and whistles. After using the feature-packed models, now I feel that I couldn’t go back to my old bread machine anymore.

Here are some features that you may like:

Preset programs

Programs are really useful for new bakers or those who like different types of bread. You can bake plain white bread, multigrain, whole wheat, gluten-free, meatloaf and cake in one single machine if your bread machine has all these programs. Some bread machines even have programs for jam, mochi, udon, pasta and chocolate! See the Panasonic SD-BMT1000.

You’d certainly want a dough setting in your bread maker as well, so that you can make pizza dough (certain machines have a separate pizza setting) and dough for pretzels, dinner rolls, croissants and other stuff that you can bake in your own oven.

Custom settings

If you know pretty much everything about baking and would like to set the bread machine to run a program of your own, some bread machines allow for that, and even saves your program in its memory so that you don’t have to key it in again next time, such as the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 and the Breville BBM800XL.

Delay timer

A delay timer is important to those who like freshly baked bread for breakfast. Just time the bread maker to start baking before you wake up! You should know that different bread cycles take a different amount of time to complete though. Check your bread machine manual for the time needed for each cycle.

Auto dispenser

Fruits and nuts should always be added near the end of the cycle and before baking, so if you won’t be around to add them or if you are using the delay timer for baking, make sure your bread machine comes with an auto dispenser for the fruits and nuts. You can place them into the dispenser and they will be added to the dough at the right moment.

Easy-to-Clean Parts

Your bread maker has several parts to be cleaned after each use, and these are the bread pan, the kneading paddle and the lid. Most bread pans are non stick (so that the bread can come out easily) so I wouldn’t worry much about washing it. The important thing is to have a removable paddle so that I can make sure to clean every nook and cranny. The lid only needs a wipe down but some bread machines also let you remove it, which is nice too.

Warranty and After-Sales Service

Most bread makers come with a 1- to 2-year limited warranty. Read more reviews to find out whether a certain brand has good customer service, especially after sales service. The best brands will offer help if you call them to ask about their products, whether it is to find out how to use it, or to replace a faulty part.

Good luck picking your best bread machine! Find the best bread machines here.

Make French Baguettes with a Bread Machine

I always tell my friends, that basically any bread product that requires shaping (not into a loaf) can be made with a bread machine, as long as you have the bread machine recipe for it!

My ol’ mom loves French baguettes, and she’s always hand making French baguettes until she bought a bread machine. I persuaded her to buy one so that she could have more time to join various activities with her girlfriends.

She bought the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 because a veteran baker like her would love to have more customizable settings and sophisticated features.

Anyway, here’s the baguette recipe that she used; it’s from Zojirushi.

French Baguette Bread Machine Recipe

Put in all the ingredients, liquids first, into the bread machine. Remember to make a well in the dough for the yeast so that it doesn’t come into contact with liquids beneath. Set the bread maker for dough cycle.

When the dough is done, you can now shape it into baguettes. Place them in a greased or lined baking pan, cover them up with a clean damp cloth and leave them for about 40 minutes. This will allow the dough to rise for the last time.

The oven should be preheated to 470 degrees Fahrenheit. When the dough has risen, carefully make a few diagonal slashes on the face and spray a mist of water over them. Bake them for about half an hour and there you go, fresh and fluffy baguettes!

If you need a more visual guide, check out this helpful video.

Remember to look at my other bread machine reviews, recipes and tips too.

Bread Machine Tips

Do you own a bread machine? I know how a little help will come extremely in handy when you’re using a bread machine for the first few times. In fact, some of us veterans often scout for tips too! Here are my bread machine tips to help make your bread making experience more enjoyable and simpler. These are for beginners!

Pay attention to the order you pour the ingredients into the bread machine. This is a crucial aspect that some new users fail to make note of. Most, if not all, bread machines require you to start with the liquids and then put the dry ingredients on top. More often than not, the last thing that needs to be added is the yeast.

In the flour mound, make a little hollow where you put the yeast. This goes a long way in ensuring that the yeast doesn’t mix with the liquid until the machine begins to do its thing.

Do you know what your bread machine’s capacity is? Many bread makers come with settings for one to two-pound loaves. Some machines come with a fixed-size loaf. Before you start baking a loaf, make sure you know what size you’re baking, this will help you scale your recipes correctly.

The manual that comes with the bread machine is a great way of determining the capacity of your machine. You may also check it out on the Internet. Usually, a one pound machine handles approximately two cups of flours. The one and half pound loaf requires about three cups of flour while the two pound loaf needs four cups.

After five to ten minutes into the dough making cycle, open the lid of the machine. Don’t worry about disturbing the process, just open it up and check. See if the dough appears dry. If it is, add some more water – measuring one tablespoon at a time.

If your dough seems too watery, it’s advisable to add a pinch of flour. Do this sparingly until you see a nicely formed ball. The bread may taste okay with the wrong texture, but it will not be as beautiful as you would have expected.

An important tip is to get a good bread machine that kneads dough well, and read more bread maker reviews before you buy one.