Certain health conditions prevent people from consuming ingredients like salt and gluten but this is not the only excuse to make your own bread at home. Who wouldn’t like the smell of freshly baked bread, especially if it’s coming from your kitchen? A bread maker will give you amazing options for you to experiment with the ingredients you wish to use. You will have your own recipe without the concern over the contents of a bakery-made bread.
Use and Key Features of Bread Makers
Most bread makers have similar features but their programmable options are what differs them from each other. Programmable bread makers give you more control over your dough. You can decide whether you’d like your dough kneaded without baking it or bake it without kneading it. The crust can be made darker or lighter and the time of the kneading and baking can be adjusted. Some models come with pre-settings for gluten-free, sweet, and whole wheat recipes. Recent models also give you the option to program your own cycle if the machine doesn’t have the cycle that meets your needs.
- If you like spicing things up, some models come with pizza dough, noodles, and cake-making options. In addition to that, you can use such ingredients as nuts and seeds for your bread in which the bread maker tells you the exact time you need to add them in.
- Speaking of small-grained ingredients like seeds, nuts, and fruits, adding them later is crucial otherwise they will be crushed by the mixing cycle. Some models have alarms that will let you know the exact time you need to add them.
- Consider the amount of bread you will be making. Average bread makers can bake a one-pound loaf but larger models can make two pounds or more.
- Bread makers do make some noise since they do some heavy dough kneading. Even though the noise is inevitable, you will be glad to know that the noise intensity differs between machines. Sleazy ones will make much more noise and they also have the potential of moving and shaking around on your countertop, resulting in a not-so-graceful fall. Good quality ones are quieter and don’t have the possibility of moving around.
- Depending on the model, kneading paddles come in different shapes. Dough and pasta paddles have their own paddle replacements to give an example. Although most machines come with at least one paddle, dual kneading paddles are recommended to knead the dough well since they are as efficient as kneading by hand. Some models notify you to remove the paddle before the baking process starts if you don’t want to have a hole at the bottom of your loaf. Make sure to look for removable paddles.
- Removable paddles mean easy access during a clean-up. There are removable bread pans too, which allows you to put it in the sink to wash rather than making you go through the trouble.
- Without a doubt, one of the coolest features of a bread maker is the delayed timer option. Not every machine has this feature but the ones that do allows you to set a timer to start making your bread. For example, you put the ingredients at night and set up the timer for an early hour in the morning. You will be greeted by the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning.
Safety and Cautions
Bread makers are safe to leave unattended but there are still some precautions you can take for possible accidents. These are also on the manufacturer’s guidelines as well, but it’s always better to be prepared than sorry.
- The cord should be tucked away so your pet or children can’t pull at it. Make sure the cord isn’t dangling over the edge of the counter or the table. It’s also advised that the cord is plugged in a place out of the way to prevent people from tripping on it.
- They shouldn’t be placed on an unsteady or cloth-covered surface.
- After baking, use oven mitts when handling the bread pan or paddle just in case they are still hot. Always allow metal parts to cool off before taking the parts off or cleaning.
- Once you are done with the baking, stop the machine by the button first, then grip the plug and pull from the wall outlet. Pulling on the cord is highly dangerous.
- The ventilation openings shouldn’t be covered or blocked. It will lead up to overheating and can damage your machine.
- While working, bread makers shouldn’t be near any source of gas or fire.
- You shouldn’t use the ingredients or the attachments that are not recommended by the manufacturer as they may cause electric shock or injury.
- If you suspect that your machine is broken or malfunctioning, don’t try to repair it yourself.
The More You Know: You will see the bread spindle shaft at the underside of your bread pan. This requires oil on a fairly regular basis. Oiling your bread pan, spindle shaft, and paddles now and then will extend the life of your machine.
Best Bread Maker Brands and Reviews
- Hamilton Beach 2 Lb Digital Bread Maker: This bread maker features settings such as gluten-free and whole-grain for your taste preferences or dietary needs to be satisfied. You can bake wholesome loaves of bread using a variety of flours. Just add ingredients of your choice, select the cycle, and press start. The delay timer lets you add ingredients and begin the baking process later while the audible reminder gives you a heads up when it’s time to add fruits and nuts. You can choose 1.5 pounds or 2 pounds loaf size while the crust settings let you choose from light to dark. All the removable parts are dishwasher and user-friendly.
- KBS Pro Bread Maker Machine: What sets it apart from most bread machines in that price range is an automatic, detachable fruit and nut hopper and a non-stick bread pan that is not coated with Teflon. The 3-loaf-sized ceramic pan is designed to make the bread evenly baked after you choose a setting amongst 17 pre-settings. The control panel allows you to not only select the setting but a 15 hour delayed cycle timer so you can wake up to freshly baked bread in the morning or when you get home from work. Apart from a viewing window in the lid to check the progress of various cycles, this model also has an internal light so you can see better without lifting the lid.
- Sunbeam 2-Pound Programmable Bread Maker: This compact model has a 600 Watt unit designed to produce 1.5-pound and 2-pound loaves and a small size that will save you some space. The window on the top helps you check on your dough’s progress or the consistency. Make sure to wash the unit by hand since it’s not dishwasher safe.
- Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Bread Maker: Baking a traditional-shaped 2-lb loaf of bread automatically, Zojirushi ensures a thorough kneading experience with dual kneading blades. Apart from the pre-settings, there are 3 homemade memory settings that allow you to customize the knead, rise, and bake times. Large windows give you a nice view to watch the process as your bread cooks. A small book of 50 recipes comes with alongside a measuring spoon, liquid measuring cup, and nested measuring cups.
- Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Maker: As well as nine other settings for different products that include a gluten-free setting as a healthy option, it is also equipped with a 13-hour delay timer if you want a more customized cooking time. Even though the bread maker is designed with a large glass window for you to see inside easily, you can also rely on the signal notification tone to let you know from afar if your bread is done.