Bread, for centuries it’s been one of man’s primary staples of life. Now, we have so many options of what to eat, bread is an afterthought. Those among us that are carb-conscious avoid bread like the plague.
Speaking of the plague, many of us who’ve been stuck inside have developed a need to expand our culinary prowess. Baking bread has been trending this year, and you probably noticed as much by scrolling through your Instagram feed. If you tried to make bread at home at any point this year, you might have been dismayed to find grocery stores out of activated yeast.
Trends come and go, but baking bread will always be an in-demand art form. When using a conventional oven, there can be a lot of trial and error before perfecting a method for the perfect loaf. If you don’t have that kind of time, luckily, bread machines exist. The companies that make these small-appliances do all the R&D for you, taking all the guesswork out of making a delicious loaf of bread. Since their invention, they have made considerable strides in the ability to make different types of bread. Most bread makers come with instructions on operating the machine and recipe books with dozens of detailed recipes.
So if you’re looking to make a lovely gingerbread this holiday season or just want a nice reliable multigrain, we’ve got this roundup on the best bread machines to buy.
Best Overall: Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus
This bread machine gets a lot of hype, and for a good reason. This gadget puts out the most consistently delicious loaves, thanks to its horizontal design and top heating element. The two-paddle-system really makes a difference in the bread texture, making it more like a store-bought loaf. It has 15 different bread settings and 3 customizable baking profiles that allow you to adjust kneading, baking, and resting times if you’re a bread pro. The price reflects the machine’s quality, but this may not be the best option if you’re just an occasional bread maker.
Best Bread Machine for Beginners: Hamilton Beach Premium Dough & Bread Machine
The Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread Machine is easy to use yet has many features if you’re still trying to get creative. The 14 settings range anywhere from multigrain to cake batter. Plus, it offers 3 different browning levels and 3 different loaf weights (1, 1.5, and 2lbs). The automatic fruit and nut dispenser is a nice touch if you’re looking for bread with a more complex texture.
Best Value Bread Machine: Hamilton Beach Digital Bread Maker
For the money, you can’t beat this Hamilton Beach bread maker. Like the model mentioned above, you get 3 browning options for your loaves, but only 2 size options (1.5lbs and 2lbs) and 12 dough settings. This machine is super quiet, and if you need a loaf of bread in an hour, the express setting delivers.
Best Large Capacity Bread Machine: Saki Large Bread Maker
Saki prides itself on offering a bread machine that can make the most enormous loaves (2.2, 2,7, and 3.3lbs) and on having the most powerful device on the market with an 850w motor. Like the Zojirushi, the horizontal design and double paddle system make for a consistent, well-shaped loaf. The user-friendly control panel is also a plus.
Best Compact Bread Machine: Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Maker
The Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Maker will save you some space on your countertop while producing a quality product. The Cuisinart trademark, brushed steel design will fit right in with other Cuisinart appliances you may own. Plus, it comes with the standard 3-year warranty that all Cuisinart products enjoy.
Most Versatile Bread Machine: Kitchenarm 29-IN-1 Automatic Bread Machine
When it comes to what you can make in your bread machine, the Kitchenarm 29-IN-1 Automatic Bread Machine tops the list. There are 21 different bread menus and 7 non-bread menus. Another nice feature of this bread machine is, it comes with a one-month free trial to test it out, a two-year warranty, and lifetime customer support.
Best Programmable Bread Machine: Breville Custom Bread Maker
This Breville Custom Bread Maker was narrowly beat out by the Zojirushi as the best overall machine. It didn’t make the cut because the loaves are slightly less consistent in both size and browning, likely due to the lack of a top heating element, which the Zojirushi offers. Otherwise, this machine is excellent, especially for experienced bread makers. The 9 programmable settings (aside from the 13 automatic settings) let you customize the knead, cook, and rest times. It also comes with all the other bells and whistles of the other machines listed.
Best No-Frills Bread Machine: Zojirushi Home Baker Mini Bread Maker
It’s crazy that you have to pay more for an appliance that does less, but this is the world we live in. The Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini Breadmaker still comes with pre-set options for different kinds of bread (8 settings) but not nearly as many as most. If you want a small bread machine where you don’t have to worry about loaf size, browning levels, or nuts being dropped in your bread, this one’s for you. And true to the Zojirushi name, it churns out a great loaf.
Best Convection: Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker
The Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker is an easy winner in this category because it’s the only one of its kind. If you’re unfamiliar with convection heating (commonly seen in ovens), heat is distributed by a fan for a more even, sometimes faster cook. In comparing this type of bread machine to those with standard heating elements, we noticed this can provide a slightly darker crust. However, in terms of loaf size and texture consistency, the convection heating feature didn’t seem to contribute.
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