Types of Bread Makers
Bread makers come in different sizes and offer different features, and each type of bread maker offers different benefits. There are three main types of bread makers:
- Programmable bread makers
- Vertical bread makers
- Horizontal break makers
Programmable Bread Makers
With a programmable bread maker, you can set the amount of time you want the bread to bake when you set the machine up. They are particularly useful if you want to set up a batch of bread to bake before you go to bed and wake up to a freshly made loaf in the morning. These are probably the easiest bread makers to use.
Vertical Bread Makers
Vertical bread makers make bread that is vertical, tall and square in shape. They also have one kneading blade. Though vertical bread makers used to be the only option, today, they aren’t as frequently used, but they are still available and are the preferred choice for some bread bakers.
Horizontal Bread Makers
Horizontal bread makers are more common than vertical bread makers. They produce loaves of bread that are longer and have a more rectangular shape, much like the type of bread you would buy at a bakery. Unlike vertical bread makers, horizontal bread makers typically have two kneading blades.
Bread Maker Considerations
If you are on a quest to find the best bread maker to suit your needs, then there are several factors that you are going to want to take into consideration. We think that the following factors are very important points to consider when buying a bread maker.
Bread makers range in price from less than $100 to a few hundred dollars. The most top-of-the-line models can even run upwards of $1000 or more! Generally speaking, the larger the bread maker is and the more features it offers, the more expensive it is going to be. Make sure you know how much you are willing to spend before you start shopping so you don’t overextend your budget.
The Size of the Bread
What size bread do you want to make? Generally, bread machines make loaves that are 1 pound, 1.5 pounds, 2.5 pounds and 3 pounds. Because home baked bread should be eaten in about two days after it is made (that’s about how long it stays fresh for,) if you aren’t going to be feeding a large group, or you don’t plan on consuming a lot, you probably aren’t going to need to make a large loaf. However, if you do plan on eating a lot or feeding a large group, a bread maker that makes larger loaves will be a better option for you.
The Shape of the Bread
Do you want to have a traditional rectangular loaf of bread, or a loaf that is round or square? Or, perhaps you would prefer a loaf of bread that is long and vertical. Different bread machines make different shaped bread, so knowing what shape you want is an important consideration.
Kneading pads come in vary shapes and sizes. Most bread makers will come with at least one kneading blade; however, two blades will do a better job of kneading the bread because they work as well as kneading the bread by hand or with a stand mixer. You should also check to see if you can remove the kneading paddles after the kneading cycle, which is important if you don’t want to bake the bread with the paddle in it, as it could leave a hole in the bottom of the loaf.
Because bread machines mix and knead dough, they can make a lot of noise. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t make any noise; however, you can find bread makers that make less noise than others.
If you plan on using your bread maker to do more than just make bread, you are going to want to opt for a more versatile model. Many bread makers can also be used to make pizza crust, pasta and other bread-related products.
Bread Maker Features
Bread makers can offer a wide variety of features. From alarms to special attachments, these features are designed to improve the function of your bread maker. Depending on how you plan on using your bread maker, some of these features may interest you.
Some bread makers feature alarms, which notify you when the bread is finished baking. If you plan on baking bread with fruits and nuts, an alarm is an important feature. Adding these extra elements at the beginning of the cycle will cause them to get crushed during the mixing cycle. An alarm will let you know when to add in the fruits and nuts so that you don’t end up having them crushed.
If you plan on using your bread maker to do more than bake bread, you should consider one that offers extra settings that allow them to make other items, like pizza dough, noodles, different types of bread (wheat, sour dough and gluten free, for example, and even jams!
Adjustable Loaf Size
If you want to vary the size of the loaves of bread you make, look for a bread maker that features an adjustable loaf size. With this feature, you can modify the size of the loaves of bread that you bake, making smaller loaves for everyday use and larger loaves for those special occasions.
If you really want to simplify the task of baking bread, an ingredient dispenser is a feature that you will love. Add the ingredients to the dispenser and they will automatically be added later in the baking process.
Perhaps there are days you want darker crusts, and days you would like lighter crusts. With a crust setting, you can adjust the type of crusts your bread will have, allowing you to make the ideal loaf of bread.
Convection settings allow the bread to bake faster and more evenly. Many bread makers automatically feature this type of setting, but not all do, so be on the lookout for this feature if baking bread quickly and more evenly is important to you.
A good quality bread maker will come with at least a one year warranty. This feature certifies that the manufacturer believe in their product and wants to ensure that you get the most out of using it, therefore will replace it should something go awry.
Best Bread Maker Brands
We have tested and reviewed every bread manufacturer out there. After conducting a thorough assessment, we have concluded that the following brands are the best of the best because they offer high quality bread makers, they offer a variety of features, and they meet various budgets.
Since 1924, Oster has been manufacturing high quality small electrical appliances, including bread makers. We love how easy to use and easy to clean their bread makers are. We also love the added features that many of their models come with, as well as the varying price ranges.
For more than 50 years, Panasonic has been one of the most trusted names in home electronics and appliances. Their bread makers are truly cutting edge and feature the most innovative technologies. We particularly liked that this company offers so many options for their bread makers.
Since 1918, Japan based Zojirushi has been creating high quality cooking products. They use the most advanced technologies and cutting edge equipment to make truly outstanding bread makers. We found that their bread makers consistently receive excellent reviews.
This Australian based company has been making appliances for the household since 1932. They were the inventor of the original sandwich maker and their bread makers are nothing short of amazing. We truly love the many features that their bread makers offer, such as an automatic fruit and nut dispenser.