Who has never dreamed of making their own bread, with the flour of their choice, fresh yeast and gourmet and tasty ingredients?
With the rise of homemade bread and different diets, it has become much more economical and fun to make bread using an efficient machine.
When the time comes to buy your device, it is important to take into account certain key elements.
Capacity of the tank, power of the machine, functions and programs… So many factors that really influence the finished product.
In this article, we give you our 13 tips for choosing the right bread machine, and enjoying fabulous creations.
The classic bread machine has a single tank in which it performs kneading and baking.
The most complex machines are often made up of two tanks, allowing two kinds of bread to be baked simultaneously.
It’s perfect to meet the different expectations of the family!
Bread machine: 13 tips for choosing the right one
Regarding the size of the tank, it must be adapted to the number of people in your household.
In general, on the market, they are available for baking from 500 g to 1.5 kg of bread (the latter is suitable for households with more than 4 people).
Small or big appetites will inevitably find their happiness.
It should however be noted that it is not useful to acquire a large tank if the consumption of bread is not important.
Indeed, when the bread dough is placed in the bowl and cooked, the dough swells and takes up all the space.
If you make a recipe for a loaf for two people, while using a large capacity pan, the dough will spread out on the sides to fill in the gaps, and will not rise.
In addition, make sure that the bowl can be easily removed from the machine, to facilitate washing and unmolding.
Who wants a tub with bread residue in the bottom?
The power of the device is very important, because it will directly influence the cooking time of your breads, brioches, milk breads, wholemeal breads, etc.
In general, there are devices on the market with a power between 500 W and 1600 W (especially for professional equipment).
However, it should be remembered that a powerful machine can bake your bread faster, but also consumes more energy.
Thus, we advise you to invest in a machine around 650 W and 780 W.
At this power, the machine is efficient, without being too energy-intensive.
All the machines are equipped with a kneading hook or blade, which guarantees the dough good flexibility and homogeneity.
If you have the choice between a tank with one blade or one with two blades, we always advise you to go for the second option.
The double-blade system offers fast and efficient kneading, although it is found more on large machine formats, for types of 1kg bread.
Bread machine tubs are no exception to household appliance standards.
They usually consist of a piece of stainless steel, covered with a non-stick coating.
However, this non-stick coating (the same as in frying pans and cake pans), is the subject of controversy from the point of view of its harmful effects on health.
Thus, consumers sensitive to this subject have two alternatives :
- Metal tanks with guaranteed bisphenol A-free and Teflon-free (PFOA) coatings;
- Ceramic tanks, which do not require an additional coating layer. The advantage of ceramic is that the material is scratch resistant.
We also recommend a tank that can be easily cleaned by hand, with hot water and washing-up liquid.
If you’d rather avoid the chore of cleaning, choose one that’s dishwasher-safe, but that might ruin the coating.
Who has never dreamed of a MAP, or bread machine, equipped with ultra-practical features, which save time and offer a great user experience?
The delayed start program
If your day seems busy, and you think you don’t have time to bake your bread, the delayed start program is a great option.
It also works if you want to program the baking of bread during the night, to have a good hot and fresh bread the next morning, for breakfast.
This feature allows you to program the start of baking of your bread, after its kneading phase.
Often, you have the option of choosing the start of cooking up to 12 hours after the kneading phase.
You can finally keep your bread warm, fresh and crispy.
If you’re not home by the time the cooking is done, no worries!
Most bread machines are equipped with the keep warm function, which activates automatically as soon as the baking is finished, to keep the finished product warm.
The duration is longer or shorter depending on the model, so that the crispness of the crust always remains optimal.
In our opinion, this is a key criterion when buying a bread maker.
The automatic ingredient dispenser
For lovers of creative cuisine, you can add cranberries, chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, bacon bits, etc. to your preparations!
This is an opportunity to create gourmet and original recipes that will please the whole family!
To do this, you can either add them by hand when pouring the ingredients into the pan, or use the programmable automatic dispenser function directly on the bread machine.
This option allows you to automatically incorporate your additional ingredients at a desired time, during the kneading of the dough.
Please note: do not use the vending machine function when you choose the delayed start programme.
Indeed, they risk being crushed and losing their freshness during kneading.
Cooking progress indicator
On some appliances, you can follow the progress of the baking of your loaf of bread.
This is a useful feature when you want to plan to leave the house, or do activities.
This is not a crucial functionality in the quality of the bread, but it is a plus that can appeal to consumers wishing to keep control over the process.
Bread recipe book included
If you are new to making homemade bread, it is always good to be guided with a recipe book, which allows you to master the basics.
Indeed, even if the steps are relatively easy to follow with the buttons and the LCD screen, it is always a plus to have the advice of the manufacturer.
If your machine includes a recipe book, it’s always a real plus when you want to diversify your recipes and test the full potential of your appliance.
And if you want advice on how to use your bread machine, check out our article!
The temperature sensor
This feature clearly marks the difference between a standard machine and a much more upscale model.
This very practical and professional feature (in our opinion), allows you to have the same consistency in baking your bread, regardless of the outside temperature or the type of ingredients used.
Overall, the basic operation of a bread machine is to heat the pan to a set temperature.
The sensor, on the other hand, takes into account the inside (the tank) and outside (your kitchen) temperatures, so as to adjust the temperature of the resistance throughout the cooking process.
The cooking will then never be influenced by the external elements, a real plus!
The control panel makes it possible to select, using buttons or tactile keys, all the parameters of the cooking cycle.
This is where you can choose the cooking program, the degree of browning of the crust, the different options (delayed start, ingredient dispenser, etc.).
It is, therefore, an important piece of equipment for your machine, which we also recommend that you choose in French.
The Moulinex brand is recognized for providing a dashboard in French, ideal for people who are not very comfortable with English.
Gluten-free bread has the distinction of being much less elastic than traditional French bread, due to the non-bread-making flours that are used to make it.
This bread, therefore, does not need to be kneaded much for as long.
Thus, on certain types of the bread machines, there is a “gluten-free” program, which allows rapid kneading, then rising and finally cooking.
Nothing exceptional, but it seems to be a good program for this type of bread.
Don’t panic if you bought a MAP without this program: the normal programs are quite effective for gluten-free bread.
It is, therefore, in our opinion, not an essential functionality.
If you like to take a look at how your delicious baked goods are cooking, you’ll love having a transparent window to follow each step.
You can thus check that the dough has risen and is cooked, without ever having to open the lid of the machine.
Moreover, we recommend that you never open it immediately after cooking: you risk burning yourself with the vapours.
Buying a bakery appliance is not just about preparing traditional bread balls, right?
If you have a creative soul, and want to try new recipes, this is the opportunity to invest in a versatile machine that gives you the opportunity!
Thus, some multifunction models, high-end or not, offer several baking programs: wholemeal bread, bread with old flours, brioche, milk bread, bread rolls, cake, pastry, pizza dough, bagel, ciabatta, focaccia, etc.
These programs are specially designed to make all types and sizes of bread, whether in terms of kneading time, rising time, baking time, etc.
However, if you are more into traditional fresh bread, there is no need to invest in a machine like this.
When a power failure occurs, your machine can automatically shut down.
In this situation, it is important to have a function allowing recovery of the cooking program that was running.
With this option, you can resume the cooking cycle where it left off, without having to start over from the beginning.
However, the duration of the memory can vary from one machine to another: from a certain moment, it is possible that the machine does not recover the information, and that you need to start all over again.
This is a significant factor in your choice of machine, since it must not become a constraint.
A machine that is too heavy can quickly become cumbersome and a burden on your desire to cook.
In general, most MAPs weigh between 4 and 5 kilograms, which is a very reasonable weight for a good machine.
Others, on the other hand, can weigh up to 9 kg, which is very high, in our opinion.
Many consumers end up with a machine that takes up a lot of space in their kitchen or counter.
When you already have a microwave, toaster, coffee maker and other appliances, it’s not easy to make room for other newbies.
The size is important, which is why we always advise you to choose a compact and ergonomic device.
So check well in advance that you have enough space in your kitchen and in your cupboards.
Might as well favor a machine that harmonizes well in your kitchen, right?
Well we grant you, it’s more a question of aesthetics than an absolutely vital function for your machine, but some people attach a lot of importance to it.
- Cube -shaped devices , with more or less rounded corners. They generally look like fryers (as at Moulinex);
- Appliances with a sleek style and design, with less massive shapes, like at Riviera & Bar or Kenwood.
For formats, there are 3 main ones:
- Cubes of about 30 cm on each side (the size of a fryer like at Moulinex);
- Rectangular machines about 40 cm deep by 25 cm wide (as at Riviera & Bar or Kenwood);
- Formats rather elongated in height (like the Panasonic).
Question color and material, we find the two great classics of household appliances:
- All-purpose white or black plastics;
- Stainless steel or aluminum style metal, with a shiny or brushed finish. These metal-coated bread machines have a trendy and sleek look, which goes very well with the rest of your household appliances (fridge, oven, etc.)