Bread Makers – Buyers Guide

There is nothing to compare to homemade bread. It is cheaper, tastes a hundred times better and it’s healthier for you as you can control what actually goes into your daily bread.  However, making bread can be very daunting and time consuming, and using a bread makers or bread machine can make the whole process of making bread easier as it does every stage of the preparation,kneading and cooking.

Inside the bread machine is a detachable non-stick bread pan which allows the bread to be easily removed from the bread maker when finished. There is a removable “kneading paddle” which does all the work, mixing and kneading the ingredients to form a dough. In most bread makers the paddle remains in the machine during baking, which leaves a hole in the bread. However,some machines are available where the paddle lowers whilst baking, stopping a hole being left in the finished loaf.

After the initial mixing and kneading, the appliance will slowly warm for a first rise, followed by more kneading. In the next stage the machine will warm again for the final rise. Then the appliance will bake the bread.

bread makers-Panasonic SD-256WC Automatic Bread Maker0

Bread Makers Settings:

When choosing a breadmaker you should consider your needs, and the cost of the bread maker.  The bread capacity will be shown as a weight, and bread machines generally make loaves ranging in weight from 450g to 1 kg. Commonly there will be a choice of three sizes of loaf.

Some bread makers have a choice of crust settings which allows the bread to be baked light, medium or dark (not burnt).  Many machines have pre-programmed functions with cycles designed to prepare different types of bread. These will include white and wholemeal loaves and other breads such as Multi Grain, Rye, French, Gluten Free, Soda Bread, Sweet or Fruit Breads.  Most loaves will take about three hours to bake, but some bread makers have a fast setting, which can bake a loaf of bread in around one hour.

A couple of the higher end, and more expensive bread makers give you the option to pre-program your own bread recipes, which may be a useful option for the more experienced bakers.

Additional Bread Maker Features:

On some machines there will be a beep to indicate when extra ingredients need to be added, such as when making Fruit Bread, while some appliances have an automatic ingredients dispenser. The dispenser will be attached to the lid of bread machine that you fill with your ingredients, it will then automatically add them into the bread at the correct time, which allows you to leave the machine doing it’s thing until the end of the baking.

Most bread machines include a recipe guide and sometimes measuring spoons and cups, which makes it simpler to add the correct ingredients.

Many machines have a Delayed Start Time, with the maximum delay of about 13 hours. This is ideal for waking up in the morning to fresh bread.

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