Is it really worth it to buy a bread machine?
There are many reasons why you should invest in a good bread machine, some of the reasons are; it lowers the cost of producing your bread by half, you can customize your recipe and add healthier ingredients and lastly, you can cook in batches so that your family gets a week-long supply of fresh bread. Making that choice can be difficult, but before committing to buy a bread machine, you should answer the following questions.
Why do you really want to buy a bread maker?
The most obvious reason is to bake bread. Some people buy a bread machine so that they can try out new interesting recipes on their own like Gluten-free bread recipe. Or maybe some of you are just tired of buying bread from the store. You should be having more than one reason for buying a bread machine for you to make optimal use of the bread machine.
How often will you use it?
The frequency of baking is an important consideration when buying a bread machine, if you bake frequently, then you must be tired of mixing and kneading the dough. This process increases the urgency to get a bread machine which does all this process for you in addition to the baking.
Just how busy are you?
For those who have a busy schedule and you still need to bake bread for your family for breakfast, you need to invest in a good bread machine. Some bread machines come with delay timers which you can set overnight and wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread without any hassle. Other models come with rapid settings that bake bread in n hour or less.
What kind of budget are you working with?
The prices of bread machines vary depending on the quality and also the features. There are lowly priced bread machines of inferior quality, and also premium models with lots of automatic features. Your budget will determine if you can afford it or not. In this article, we will discuss some budget-friendly bread machines which will give you value for your money in the long run.
We all expect bread machines to bake better bread than what you can bake yourself. Otherwise, what’s the point of buying it? To help you make the right decision when purchasing a bread machine, we included this section of some of our top picks, their features and also the price. This information will help you pick a model with the right features and at a budget-friendly price.
What we look for
We came up with two or three bread machines on Amazon which are priced differently. We had to read other bread machine reviews and also cookbooks when narrowing down the recommended bread machines. You can also read this cookbook for more information on our selection criteria, “The Bread Lovers Bread Machine Cookbook.”
Kneading and Baking
Good bread machines knead the dough evenly with no patches of flour at the very ends of the bread pan. That means that the paddle should be thorough. The baking temperatures should also be even, making the bread turn golden brown in medium heat setting.
Don’t go for bread machines with a single paddle as they produce oddly shaped bread because the bread pan has to be taller. Opt for bread machines with two paddles as they do a great job when kneading and shaping the dough.
Choose a bread machine with a strong motor, to prevent stalling when kneading the dough. Every bread machine wears out after some time but the durability of each machine varies.
Capacity and Settings
Some bread machines come with 15 or more different settings and dough cycles. Also, check the capacity and go for bread machines with a 2-pound loaf capacity. You can bake two loaves at once, saving you on energy bills and also time.
Our Top Picks
These are some of our bread machine top picks.
Why we like it; we found the Zojirushi bread machine to be sturdy and it also makes standard shaped loaves measuring 9*5 inches. This feature is unique to the Zojirushi bread machine. It is a reliable machine. It comes with 14 programs and you can customize your recipe using this bread machine. Zojirushi bread machine costs around $338, making it an expensive but worthy investment. If you can’t afford it, we have more budget-friendly picks below.
Why we like it; the T-fal is a good bread machine since it bakes and kneads well. Plus most people can afford the price tag of around $90. The only setback is that the loaves are oddly shaped due to the tall design of the bread pan. One good feature on the T-fal is that you can make Gluten-free bread.
Exotic Foods Pick
Why we like it: you can customize your recipe to any length, as it comes with an automatic fruit and nut dispenser to add ingredients like yeast, dried fruits, and raisins to your dough. It can bake Japanese bread-like Brioche, Mochi and Red bean bread. If you like trying out new recipes, go for this bread maker which goes for $340.
Best Inexpensive Pick
Why we like it; it comes with multiple programs and settings that allow you to make different types of dough and bread. It has a price tag of around $59, which is a good bargain for those features. At this price, you have no reason not to get yourself a bread machine.
Instead of buying specialty bread from the store, why not invest in a good bread machine? Some models even go for less than $60 making them good investments. Baking your bread is cheaper than buying it from the store. The decision to buy a bread machine rests entirely with what you are looking for and why? We hope this information was helpful in your search for a good bread machine.
All about the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuosso Bread Machine
Zojirushi, a Japanese company that manufactures appliances ranging from bread machines to rice cookers. It’s one of the top-selling bread machine brands out there. For those looking to make traditional 2-pound loaves, you should go for this bread machine.
- Quick baking cycle of less than 2 hours
- Menu settings for gluten-free bread and more
- The heater on the lid helps bake the bread evenly
- Large viewing window
- There is a 13-hour delay timer
- Bakes your bread in 2 hours
- You can make a horizontal 2-pound loaf
- It comes with a wide range of pre-programmed bread-making settings
- There is an instruction manual, a recipe book and DVD in the package to help you kick-start your baking process.
Zojirushi bread machine is one of the largest bread machines, if not the largest. The dimensions are 10.5*18*12.88 inches, and it weighs 24 pounds. Before purchasing it, make up some good space on your kitchen counter to accommodate its large size.
The size makes it possible for the bread machine to make rectangular loaves. We found the baking pan large with two paddles for the kneading process, on top of it is a large transparent window. We found this window great for watching how the dough moved from one paddle to the other.
The bread pan itself is heavier than most pans in similar bread machines since the metal used is heavier. In addition to that, two large and looped heavy-duty handles make it easier to remove the pan and also push it back when adding the ingredients. One feature we liked the most is its ability to stop the kneading process when we open the lid. We like touching our dough to ascertain its texture and this bread machine automatically stops the paddles, so we don’t have to worry about the paddles injuring our hands.
You’ll find 13 different programs on the Zojirushi bread machine, which enables you to make jam, dough, and bread. For those in a hurry to bake bread, you’ll be happy to know that this bread machine comes with two rapid settings for making white and wheat bread. These settings knock off an hour of the baking process.
Those users who like special settings like vegan bread and salt-free settings, you have to adjust the ingredients to accommodate those added variables as there are no special settings. Alternatively, towards the end of the kneading process, you’ll hear a beeping sound, and that’s when you can add the special ingredients.
You’ll find the setting descriptions and numbers largely printed in the front lid, it makes reference easy when you are in doubt.
The control panel is good and easy to use as it comes with an LCD Display.
One setback is that the LCD is not backlit, so if you place it on a dark kitchen corner, or if the room is dimly lit, there will be a problem when keying in the settings.
The delay timer is a great addition, especially if you want to step out of the kitchen for a while. Add your ingredients then schedule the exact time on the machine’s clock.
The shaping option is the other convenient feature; you can remove and shape the dough before baking when the machine beeps.
Another unique feature of the Zojirushi bread machine is its resting time. After adding the ingredients, you might think that the machine is resting and doing nothing. But, the machine is heating the ingredients to kick-start the kneading process. The importance of this feature is to make all ingredients like refrigerated butter at room temperature before the actual baking. You can also choose different crust settings on the machine’s customizable settings.
Another convenient feature is that you don’t have to go fishing for the bread in the pan; the bread stays in the paddle at all times. In other bread makers, you have to shake bread pan up and down.
The Zojirushi Bread Machine allows you to make everything ranging from pound cake, wheat bread, and pizza dough. For those who love trying out new recipes, you’ll be more than happy to learn that the machine comes with customizable settings for that purpose.
Those who like making the traditional loaf are not left out either, Zojirushi gives you the best standard-shaped loaves in the market.
The performance was impressive, we tried out the bread settings on the machine and the results were good. The settings come in handy for adventurous bakers, for example, we used the wheat setting to bake whole wheat bread and the results were as expected. The basic white bread is easy to bake because of the included recipe in the cookbook, which is easy to follow. Now, for the herb bread, you must use the European setting. When adding the ingredients, strictly follow the order suggested in the bread machine’s manual like adding liquid ingredients first, then adding yeast last. This order helps the enzymatic action of the yeast for the best results.
The manufacturers thought about every detail and added some accessories for precise baking measurements. In the package, you’ll find;
- Dry measuring cups
- Dual measuring spoons
- Liquid measuring cups
- Instruction manual
The measuring cups are in millimeters and the measuring spoons have marks halfway when measuring half-spoons. We noted that the spoons are marked as L and S to denote teaspoon and tablespoon.
Things we liked
- The top is heated for even browning of the bread
- Easily customizable settings
- It gives you flawless baking results
- It heats the ingredients during its rest time for an even baking temperature
- Easy to remove bread from the pan as it stays on the paddle
Things we didn’t like
- The LCD Display is not backlit, making the selection of settings at night harder
- Compared to other models, it is much more expensive
We have no doubts when recommending this bread machine to adventurous bakers out there. The rapid settings give you a short baking time and the results are of high quality. Thought the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuosso 2-Pound Bread Machine is a bit pricier than similar models, we think the price is consistent with its quality. Check out our blogs for more bread machine reviews.
All about the Wolfgang Puck Bread Maker
The Wolfgang puck bread maker is a low price model but still gets the job done. Its entry into the market received mixed signals in terms of its quality when compared to recent brands. For those in doubt about purchasing this bread maker, don’t worry, we’ve come up with its best features and also the setbacks to help you make an informed decision.
- A loaf capacity of 1.5-2 pounds
- 12 programmable settings
- 1-hour keep-warm function
- Fruit and nut dispenser
- A 13-hour delay timer
- 3 crust color setting
- The overall weight of 12 pounds
- Dimensions 12.9*11*12.75 inches
- An LCD screen
Ease of use
In terms of operating this bread maker, you only need to gather all your ingredients, put them in a bread pan and key in the preferred settings using the LCD screen. The bread maker takes care of all the details like kneading, mixing and baking. The buttons are easy to understand buttons and you cannot go wrong with this bread machine.
You can make a wide variety of bread using these customizable functions. Some of the settings you can find on the Wolfgang Puck bread maker are;
- Rapid bake
- Whole wheat
These settings are good for adventurous bakers. Besides, there are three crust color settings, medium, dark or light crust setting depending on your preference. Another feature is the keep warm function, which is convenient for those who are busy. If you can’t pull out the bread pan on time when the bread is ready, this function has you covered. It keeps the bread warm for up to an hour.
Fruit and Nut Dispenser
One feature that stands out in the Wolfgang Puck bread machine is the automatic fruit and nut dispenser. We found it convenient to use while adding mix-on ingredients like chocolate chips, dried tomatoes, and seeds. Similar machines produce a beeping sound to alert you when adding these special ingredients, but this bread machine comes with an automatic fruit and nut dispenser which can be preset to add these ingredients at a specific interval. It makes it convenient to use.
This setting is mostly reserved for more expensive models; the Wolfgang Puck packs this feature at that price. It comes with a gluten-free setting for those who love gluten-free bread.
Weighing only 12 pounds, you can move this bread machine around your kitchen counter with ease. Plus it doesn’t take up much of your kitchen space with those dimensions.
The Wolfgang Puck bread machine leaves a small indent on the bread when removing it. While this doesn’t affect the taste of the loaf, it affects the quality if you bake bread commercially. You have to pull it up and down when removing the bread, especially if you exceeded the flour limit, despite it coming with a non-stick bread pan.
We noticed the manual doesn’t provide any baking times information, which would have been better for beginners. Some instructions were also unclear, for example, there are no instructions to remove the bread pan. We figured it out ourselves that to remove the bread pan; you have to twist it counter-clockwise. If this instruction was in the manual, it would be much better for first-time bakers.
Small LCD Screen
For its size, the manufacturers could have done better with the size of the LCD; this screen is small for its size. It becomes a problem when keying in settings for your preferred bread type. Those with vision problems, wear glasses when operating this bread machine.
General Design and Customizable Features
In terms of the design, the Wolfgang Puck bread machine stands tall, with small LCD and black menu pads. When compared to other brands out there, this design is not good for the market. The customizable options in this bread machine are less compared to what other premium brands have to offer. But for the price, you can’t expect more.
Things we liked
- It takes up less space on your kitchen counter as it’s lightweight and small
- Easy to use
- There is a gluten-free bread setting
- You can try out a few recipes and customizable options with it
- The keep-warm function keeps your bread hot for up to an hour
- It has a medium-sized viewing window if you like watching the mixing and kneading process
Things we didn’t like
- The LCD Display is small for its size, making it challenging when selecting your preferred settings
- Few customizable options when compared to other brands
- The manual is not clear and lacks vital information for first-time users
- The kneading blade sticks to the bread leaving indents which affect bread quality for some users
- Most users are concerned with the overall unattractive design
Looking for an alternative to the Wolfgang Puck bread machine?
If the Wolfgang Puck bread machine lacks critical features and you want another bread maker in the same price range. Here is a good alternative to the Wolfgang Puck bread maker.
Hamilton Beach 29882 2-Pound Bread Machine
This bread machine allows you to prepare a wide variety of bread like Gluten-free bread or French bread. Plus it costs less than the Wolfgang Puck bread machine.
It’s Features at a glance
- It has a delay timer
- The non-stick pan which is easy to clean
- It has an extra paddle for kneading
- If you intend to add special ingredients like nuts, there is an audible reminder
- There are 12 bread settings
- A large LCD screen
The Wolfgang Puck Bread Machine is reliable and great for family use. It comes with a fruit and nut dispenser which can be set to release ingredients at specific intervals. But it lacks serious convenient features compared to other brands. If you are looking for an alternative in the same price range, we recommend the Hamilton Beach 29882 Bread Machine which offers the same features as the Wolfgang Puck bread machine and more. It is a great alternative for its price.
All about the T Fal Actibread Bread Machine
One of the striking features of the T-fal Actibread bread machine is the blacktop and the stainless steel housing. It offers you up to 15 pre-programmed menu options plus 3 Gluten-free options to choose from. Here are some of its features at a glance.
- You can use 15 different programs to make bread
- There is a viewing window on the lid
- The LCD screen shows you the crust color selection, timer, program number, and the loaf size.
- Dimensions: 16.1*12.5*14 inches
- One kneading blade
- The bread pan comes with a non-stick coating
- Three crust color setting
- You can make 3 loaf sizes of 1, 1 ½ and 2 pounds
- 15-hour delay start timer
- 1-hour keep-warm convenience function
- Power consumption; 700 Watts
- It comes with various accessories
This bread maker has a stainless steel body with a blacktop. From its dimensions, it can fit in any kitchen counter without taking up much of your space. It only weighs 13.2 pounds which makes it lightweight so that you can carry it around easily. The LCD screen is backlit, suitable for kitchens with no or dim lights as you see the program you wish to select. Also, the control panel has big buttons with clearly printed letters on them. It makes it easy to differentiate the purpose of the buttons. There is also an indicator light when the bread maker is on.
Unlike other T-fal models like the T-fal Emeril model which come with a baguette tray, the T-fal Actibread comes with a non-stick bread pan. The baguette tray doesn’t fit in the baking chamber of this model. The T-fal Actibread comes with 15 pre-programmed menu options; here is a list of the menu options available in the T-fal Actibread.
- Gluten-free cake
- Rapid sweet bread
- Whole wheat bread
- Salt-free bread
- Rapid bread
- French bread
- Bread dough (Kneading and Rising)
- Cooking only (10-70 minutes)
- Gluten-free sweet bread
- Rapid whole wheat bread
- Gluten-free bread
You have plenty of programs to choose from when making your bread using this bread machine. There are three rapid settings for making bread; rapid bread, rapid whole wheat bread, and rapid sweet bread. These programs reduce the baking time by an hour, very convenient for those in a hurry to bake bread. One clarification is that it has two automatic settings for making whole wheat bread. We found out that in the manual, there is only one recipe for making whole wheat bread. This issue might confuse those who want to make rapid whole wheat bread and normal whole wheat bread. The loaves can be of three sizes; 1, 1 ½ and 2 pounds.
For lovers of white bread, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the T-fal Actibread bread machine lacks the white bread automatic menu program, though we found a white bread recipe in the manual. However, the French bread program is a great alternative as it yields the same results when making white bread. The bread pan locks well into the baking chamber via locking springs and you only need to twist it when unlocking. It is made of non-stick material which makes removing the loaf and cleaning less of a hassle. When selecting the dark crust color setting, the dark crust color setting darkened the crust too much. We advise you to use the light and medium crust color setting.
The manual is vital for first-time users, as it contains information and recipes when using the bread maker. At first glance, we thought the manual was only in the French language, but when we scrolled further down, we got to the English version from page 18-31. To get the manual, you can download one from the T-fal website. There were 10 bread recipes in the manual, but the shipped package comes with 25 recipes, 15 more recipes than the downloaded version. They were clear and easy to understand even for beginners. The only setback when using the Gluten-free bread is that you are advised to use packaged pre-mixes. You cannot customize your ingredients when making gluten-free bread using the 3 gluten-free bread programs.
These included accessories are great for precise measurements when making quality loaves. Here is a list of all the included accessories in the package.
- A Measuring spoon
- A Kneading blade removal hook
- An extra kneading blade
- A book containing 25 recipes
- A Measuring cup
- A Kneading paddle
Most people are confused about whether or not to remove the kneading paddle when baking bread. In most bread makers, the kneading paddle bakes into the loaf. The kneading paddle is only removed when the baking stops. Always use the paddle hook when removing the kneading paddle from the baked loaf. The paddle hook is included in the package for that purpose.
The T-fal Actibread bread machine comes with a one year limited warranty period. During this period, your bread machine is covered for manufacturing defects. Only replacing and repairing faulty parts are in the warranty, any other damage voids the warranty agreement. Always keep your receipt or any other proof of purchase to claim the warranty.
Things we liked
- Easy to use and understand the control panel
- The viewing window on the lid is great if you like seeing the mixing and baking process
- The design looks modern
- The bread pan is firmly held in place by a locking ring instead of steel springs found in other models
- The automatic rapid settings reduce the overall baking time by one hour for those in a hurry
Things we didn’t like
- No automatic fruit and nut dispenser
- Because of the bread pan shape, the loaves produced are vertical in shape
We found the T-fal Actibread Bread Maker easy to use and operate via its user-friendly control panel. The included 25 recipe book in the package is a great addition. We highly recommend the T-fal 72110001527 Actibread Bread Maker bread machine to beginners. Plus it is lightweight and due to its size, it fits well in your kitchen counter. It is a great purchase for its price.
All about Breadmaker Machines!
A relatively new invention that has stormed the online market, especially Amazon, in recent years is the revolutionary bread maker!
The reason these machines got so popular is not simply due to the fact that they are new. They became a staple part of many contemporary households because of the various advantages they hold over traditional methods of making bread or even the convenience of purchasing a new loaf.
First of all, the new stream of bread makers are able to deliver fresh, quality bread the very instant you crave it.
For many, this beats out buying pre-made bread off the shelves of the supermarkets. Bread machines are especially useful for those who require or desire specialty bread.
In addition, all that is required for the bread maker to churn out your meal is some bread mix, water and yeast. The simple touch of a button is enough to get the bread maker into action and the convenience of it all is a huge draw for busier, working individuals.
Amazingly enough, the advantages of a bread maker don’t stop there. The ability to fully control the exact ingredients in your bread makes it wonderful for people who are allergic to certain foods or more particular about their diet. This same feature will also allow you to fully customize the taste of your bread. No longer will you be constrained to buying pre-determined flavors of bread.
Furthermore, a bread maker can make dough that is perfect for pizza and other culinary delights. With such a huge number of uses, you can be certain that you will never run out of uses for this machine.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that they do come in a wide selection and picking the right one is no easy feat. Each of them has its unique features and capacity and it is always good to find out more about specific machines so you know their advantages and drawbacks.
This allows you to make a much more informed decision in selecting the optimal bread maker for your personal use.
These machines are generally priced from $100 to $200, making them an great choice for bread lovers.
Take a look at one of our favorite breadmakers here.