If you are the least interested in your health and well-being, you need to make an effort to eat less processed foods, starting with the bread. Store-bought bread is highly processed and it contains numerous synthetic ingredients. But you don’t have to eat store-bought bread. You can make your own bread at home, with minimum effort. All you need is a good bread maker. However, since there are so many bread machines on the market, it can be quite difficult to find the one that would best suit your needs. But don’t worry, as we can help you make the right choice. In the following lines, you will find everything there is to know about these appliances, from the best brands, all the way to the features that make the difference.
Brands and prices
The prices for these appliances can vary greatly from one machine to another. A cheap bread maker won’t necessarily make a bad loaf of bread, but it will be limited to a basic bread recipe, and you can’t expect the machine to last a very long time. While you can find bread machines that cost as little as $50, we advise you to spend at least 100$ on this appliance, especially if you plan on using it very often. There are also machines that cost over $250. As for the brands, the best bread machines are produced by Panasonic, Zojirushi and Breville.
Bread shape and size
The size of the bread is very important, because homemade bread will only last for a couple of days. As such, you need to look for a machine that will produce a loaf big enough to last your family for about two days. You can choose between 1-pound, 1.5-pound, 2-pound, 2.5-pound, and 3-pound loaf sizes. Generally speaking, a 1.5-pound loaf should be enough for a family of three. As for the shape of the bread, the main choices are vertical and horizontal loaves. The machines that make horizontal loaves can have either square or round pans. There are also some bread makers that feature special pans for different bread specialties such as baguettes. Moreover, make sure to opt for a machine with collapsible kneading paddles, so you don’t end up with a giant hole in the middle of your loaf of bread.
Major features and cycles
To make a basic loaf of bread, you will need a machine with at least two cycles: a dough cycle and a basic cycle. Most machines also feature a fast cycle which can save as much as an hour from the baking time, but they don’t usually deliver a very fluffy loaf of bread. If you have special dietary needs or preferences, you should invest in a machine with special cycles for gluten free, whole-wheat or sweat bread. There are also some machines which allow you to create your own custom cycle for personalized bread recipes.Moreover, if you like your bread loaded with extra ingredients like fruits and nuts, look for a machine with either a beep signal for special ingredients or an automatic dispenser. Obviously, it’s better to opt for a machine with an automatic dispenser, so that you don’t have to wait by the machine to add the extra ingredients at the right time.
Ease of use and durability
Like it goes with all appliances, a bread machine should be easy to use. As such, the machine must feature intuitive controls, a non-stick pan, and an instructions manual (be careful when shopping online from other countries, because you may get a manual in a different language). As for the durability, you can never know for sure for howlong an appliance will last, so try to find one with a good warranty coverage. Another way to get some insight on the durability and the ease of use of these appliances, is to read some bread maker reviews. We advise you to check out some reviews of the best breadmakers on BreadMachineMom. This website covers the most popular bread making machines and it can help you narrow down your choices to the most efficient appliances.
There are some features that don’t actually dictate the quality of a bread machine, but they can make your life easier from time to time. For example, a peak window is not particularly useful, but it can be a nice addition if you like to peak on the baking process. Moreover, a programmable timer can be very useful, especially if you like to wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread.
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