There's nothing quite like freshly baked bread. However, making bread from scratch can be time-consuming and take a lot of work. Bread machines make the bread-baking process easier by doing the kneading and blending for you, resulting in a well-baked loaf of bread. This shopping guide will help you select the bread machine that best suits your needs.
Two major types of bread machines are available on the market today. Which one you choose will depend on your needs and bread shape preferences. These two types include:
Producing a brick-shaped loaf with a fluffy top, vertical bread makers are widely known as the first type available on the market. These bread makers tend to be very affordable and feature settings for several different types of breads.
Vertical bread makers create excellent results when you use high-quality bread ingredients when bread making. These machines often require the use of fresh active yeast and bread flour to yield great-tasting loaves. They also tend to blend ingredients well. Most models come with a simple recipe book so you can get started on bread baking right away.
Modern vertical bread makers usually feature several bread settings, timers, and a host of other useful features. Their ease of use makes them perfect for those who are new to bread making. Shoppers on a budget who do not require a supermarket-style loaf of bread may find that a simple vertical bread maker is sufficient for their needs.
A newer style of bread maker, horizontal bread makers produce a supermarket-style rectangular loaf of bread. These machines often include two internal mixers instead of the single mixer you'll find in most vertical machines. This means that your loaf will have two "holes" on either side of the bread, as opposed to one.
Horizontal bread makers allow you to use all-purpose flour, making them convenient to use. Most models feature a wide variety of settings for whole-wheat breads, sweet breads, and much more. These bread makers bake loaves more evenly than their vertical counterparts.
When shopping for a horizontal bread maker, you'll find many different options on the market. While often more expensive than vertical machines, these bread makers often have many more advanced features. A bread lover looking for a perfect loaf at home may enjoy using a horizontal machine.
There are several factors to consider before purchasing a bread maker. Here are some important things to look for during your search.
The bread maker's pan will make all the difference when it comes to cleaning. While non-stick pans are widely available now, it's important to be sure your bread pan has a non-stick surface. Bread machines with removable pans are also easier to clean.
In the past, bread makers were only able to produce square, vertical loaves. Today, you can find horizontal bread makers that create similar loaves to what you'd find at the grocery store. However, traditional vertical bread makers tend to be less expensive.
It's important to determine which types of bread you wish to make before purchasing a bread maker. Many models can produce whole-wheat, artisan, sweet, and even gluten-free breads using programmable settings.
One of the most important aspects of bread maker is their loaf size. Today's brands offer several sizes, from small round loaves to large rectangular varieties. If you're feeding several family members, you may opt for a larger machine.
Those wishing to enjoy freshly baked bread in the morning or when returning home from work will prefer a bread maker with a built-in timer. This is a common feature that you'll find in both high-end and economical models.
Many bread makers can do more than bake bread - they can make pizza dough, cake, and even jam! These multitasking models are typically more expensive, so it's important to be sure you will actually use the additional features.
When shopping for a bread maker, you'll find high-end and budget-friendly horizontal and vertical machines from some of the top names in appliances. These brands include:
A popular brand in bread making, Breadman offers a diverse line of mid-priced vertical and horizontal bread makers with useful features, such as convection-style baking.
A well-known mid-priced small appliance brand, Cuisinart features a variety of stainless-steel bread makers with custom bread settings and convection heating.
Great for making flavored breads, Kuissential's square-shaped vertical bread makers feature convenient automatic fruit and nut dispensers.
An affordable brand, Oster offers the Expressbake line of bread makers, which are simple vertical models with multiple bread settings.
Known as a premier bread maker brand, Zojirushi offers a high-end line of horizontal bread makers, which create multiple flavors of large supermarket-style loaves.