If you are looking for your first bread maker, or your 5th, here are some tips to make sure you get the machine you want. We have had 5 machines in 15 years so know a fair bit about them, using them 3-5 times a week, for doughs, our sandwich and toast bread, pizzas, you name it.
It is exciting to see all the innovations and features that have come about in the last 2 or 3 years, since the machines being essentially the same for ages.
So pay attention and see what you can get for your hard earned money. We have other articles on the site with our top picks, but this is just to give you an idea of what is possible.
What is the loaf size and weight?
Even if you have a smaller family, having a larger loaf capacity means you have a greater dough mixing capacity. So if you anticipate using the dough function for making pizza dough or cinnamon buns and other freezable doughs in large batches, a larger capacity may be a great idea.
It is not just for making extra large loaves of bread. If you do choose a larger capacity, you can extend the life of your loaves of bread by making bread recipes that have oil in instead of butter and, those with milk powder rather than just water, as is slows down the them going stale.
Does the bread maker have a timer?
If you want freshly baked bread in the mornings or in the evenings after work, you might want to choose a bread make that has a delay timer. These are useful for people who are very busy and know they may get some quiet time at night while the kids are in bed to set up the machine for when they are ready to eat fresh bread.
They are also great for setting up sourdough sponge or poulash to you can have it souring overnight, ready to make bread the next day.
Does it make dough?
Most breadmakers have a dough setting, and you can select a machine that makes dough if you want to make dough for pizzas, rolls and other baked goods. Breadmakers that do the lions share of mixing and kneading can save you a lot of hassle. Then you can use your energy making the end-product unique and fancy whether is is bagels, dinner buns or pizzas.
Even just making normal looking bread for potlucks and parties becomes simpler too when you have the gadget make the dough then you put it in the regular horizontal pans.
Does it have a yeast or fruit and nut dispenser?
If you make a lot of fruit breads and doughs for fancier European coffee cakes and breads or if you like nutty or large whole grain seeded breads, having a machine that has yeast and nut dispenser or one that rings an alarm when it is time to add them is ideal.
Really there is no difference except aesthetics, because if you just add all the ingredients at the beginning then run it, usually the raisins get mangled up and spread evenly through the dough discolouring it and you have no intact dried fruit. So if you like fancier breads, they are a good feature.
Does it have a keep warm feature?
If you have ever left your bread in the maker too long after it was done, you know how damp, tough and wrinkled the crust can get. You can avoid that with the keep-warm feature. This keeps your bread warm for you after it is baked, and you will walk into your home to the fantastic smell of freshly cooked bread.
Does it have crust control?
Some breads that are higher in sugar, like fruit breads, tend to get over-brown or burnt tasting on the top so it is nice to be able to lower the amount of cooking that area gets.
If you like to bake French breads, whole wheat or gluten-free breads, you can opt for a bread maker that has the ability to bake different types. These different breads with their different ingredients and consistencies, required varied timing, wait intervals and beating equipment, so bear that in mind.
How much does it cost?
Keep your budget in mind but do not pick a machine just because it is cheap. It is best to get a bread maker from a reputed company and is well rated by consumers and users, even if it costs slightly more, or costs the same, but has less features.