Smelling freshly-baked bread is one of the most beautiful yet simple experiences one could have. If at some point in your life you have considered the possibility of baking your own bread then you are definitely not alone. Especially nowadays with the general population having more time at home, baking bread has become a global social media trend. However, baking bread seems like a tedious and detailed process that might not be for everyone. It is fortunate that decades of technological development have provided us the convenience of bread machines which simplify the process and make bread making possible for just about anyone.
The bread machine, also referred to as a bread maker, is a popular kitchen appliance that is used specifically for making bread. There are different types of bread makers such as vertical or horizontal bread makers and will vary in size depending on its features and its bread making capacity.
Components of the machine are usually a timer, a tin, the oven where the tin goes in, and the preset option buttons which you can choose from for the baking process.
Though these machines are designed for its namesake, depending on which machine you get, they are also capable of making other pastries like cake. For those with a dietary restriction most especially on gluten, there are some products out there that have been made to handle gluten-free bread making.
Making Bread From Scratch or Automating?
While it is true that you can never truly replace the experience of creating food products from scratch, you will also have to consider the skill and time to produce certain food like bread. Unlike simple meal preps, bread making requires time, precision, and mastery. In the branches of culinary arts, pastry is one of the most particular with the exact amount of ingredients used and the timing of their use. This is where bread machines take over. You simply follow the instructions provided by the product manual and using the existing presets in the machine you can achieve that fresh loaf of bread without the hassle.
Quite simply, bread machines save you the time it takes to make bread from scratch. Kneading the dough in a hand-made process takes around twenty minutes or more while the machine takes care of that kneading process. From bread makers and users of the bread machine, there is a common agreement that machine-made bread comes out finer, and even rises higher than hand-made bread.
Breads Made From Bread Machines
There are several kinds of bread that you can produce because the bread making process and principles is similar to most kinds of bread. You simply have to change a few ingredients and then you will have variations in your creations. Below are a few examples of what can be made with these appliances:
- White Bread Loaf
- Honey Whole Wheat Bread
- Sourdough Bread
- Banana Bread
- Pizza Bread
Now as exciting as these possible creations may be, it is important to first check with the product specifications to ensure that your bread machine is indeed capable of making these food suggestions because not all bread machines are created equal.
Using A Bread Machine
As promised, the convenience that comes with using the machine is as simple as taking the ingredients, placing them in the tin that comes with the bread. And letting the machine do its magic.
What’s happening inside is that the kneading paddles knead the ingredients together and this is where you will hear some sort of sound where this is all happening. Then there will be a period of silence where the machine allows the bread to rise before it begins the actual cooking process.
After the timer sets off, you will be able to pull out the tin with the freshly-made bread inside. Vertical machines will often have a thin handle that swivels and you use this to pull. Horizontal machines have the bread laid out similar to what you have in a traditional oven.
Is It Easy To Clean A Bread Machine?
In general, cleaning the machine should be easy because the part that gets wet or dirty is the tin and this is easily removable. However, like most appliances you can expect that the oven component itself can get breadcrumbs inside or you could also have the machine’s heating component dirty.
For breadcrumbs and other bits of ingredients, turn the machine to its side and while using a fine paintbrush, you can brush it off gently. If you have dough sticking to the machine, do not aggressively remove these. Wait for the dough to harden before picking them off.
Liquids can be cleaned off using a microfiber towel to absorb them. No need to rub heavily to dry off liquids inside the machine.
Bread Machine Size and Storage
Considering that you might be frequently baking bread, you might want to ask yourself first how much bread you need to make in one session and from there you can decide if you want to buy a machine that makes a two-pound loaf or something that can produce larger quantities of bread.
General principle that goes with bread-making quantity is that bigger machines make more bread. The bigger the bread machine you are getting, the larger the bread loaf it can produce. The bread pan or tin of the machine determines just how big a loaf you can make.
As for size, there is no one exact uniform size that different machines have but to give you an idea, they are larger than most toasters, but they are significantly smaller than a stove top oven. You can simply place it on a table or on your kitchen countertop.
Choosing The Right Machine
Knowing that there are several brands out there to choose from, it would be good to figure out first what you really need for your own cooking habits before letting the machine’s features and pricing decide for you. Here are some questions that you need to ask for yourself:
- How much bread do you need to make?
- Do extra recipe features matter to you?
- Do I need a separate timer feature for the dough kneading?
While online reviews can give you a better idea of how everyone else’s experience is with a certain machine, it is also helpful to find a friend who currently has a machine to try for yourself. This is especially helpful if you have never tried using a bread machine before.
Bread Machine Pricing Differences
It goes without saying, and this is a common principle in most reviews out there, the more expensive the machine the better the performance. Good brands out there also have a year warranty that comes with the purchase so you are guaranteed a quality machine that will not break down from frequent use.
There are bread machines that can cost as low as a hundred and fifty dollars and can go up as expensive as five hundred dollars! If you want to be on the safe side while not spending a fortune on higher-end machines then try considering a price in between the range listed above.
Final Thoughts on Buying Your First Bread Machine
With any appliance that you would like to purchase someday, there is a greater sense of confidence in choosing when you have actually tried a device or machine in that particular category. Try using one from a friend so that you can see for yourself what limitations arise from using the machine. There is also an expectation-setting that needs to be established. It is best not to compare hand-made bread to bread machine outputs because there will be significant differences. Lastly, choosing a machine is brought about by the need for convenience so double-check the features of the machine that will answer that need.
Our team has considered all the factors outlined in this buying guide, along with their expertise and knowledge in Bread Machine, to recommend the top choice for you. You can shop being confident that someone has considered all relevant information and you will get the best Bread Machine to meet your needs. Happy shopping!