Best Bread Machine Reviews: Top-Rated Home Makers To Buy

Bread machines are both some of the most gratifying and some of the most frustrating appliances you can buy. They might be the most polarizing kitchen gadgets, period!

When they work well, they make home baking into an easy, reliable task that puts fresh loaves on your table in just minutes of your time. When they work badly, they waste pounds of ingredients, crank out misshapen lumps or charred bricks.

Since these can be some of the trickiest kitchen gadgets to shop for, we decided to put together this guide!

Our reviewers have been hard at work evaluating about a dozen models currently available. For this guide, we’ve chosen three star bakers, to get all Bake-Off on you! In our reviews, we’ll tell you why we think our picks are better than the competition, and we’ll help you figure out which suits you the best.

Here’s a peek at our winners:

T-fal ActiBreadZojirushi Mini BreadmakerZojirushi Virtuoso
Our Rating: 4.1
Popularity: Very High
Our Rating: 4.5
Popularity: Very High
Our Rating: 4.6
Popularity: Very High
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

Best Bread Maker Reviews

  • T-fal PF311E ActiBread Programmable Bread Machine
  • Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery 1-Pound-Loaf Programmable Mini Breadmaker
  • Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker

1. T-fal PF311E ActiBread Programmable Bread Machine

black bread maker

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“the most consistent performer we’ve found in the budget range”

The T-Fal is our top budget recommendation for a bread machine. It doesn’t have the kind of deluxe features you’ll find on our more expensive picks, but it’s the most consistent performer we’ve found in the budget range. The T-Fal kneads, proofs, and bakes evenly, and doesn’t take much effort to figure out.

We suggest it to anyone getting into baking with a bread machine.


It’s versatile, which isn’t something you can say about many inexpensive bread machines! You can make several different loaf sizes:1, 1.5, and 2 pounds, respectively.The T-Fal has lots of different modes, too:

  • gluten-free savory
  • gluten-free sweet
  • gluten-free cake
  • rapid whole-wheat
  • whole-wheat
  • salt-free
  • super rapid
  • rapid sweet bread
  • French
  • sweet
  • cooking
  • cake

That’s a wider range of presets than you’ll get on even the Zojirushi Virtuoso!

“this thing does a heck of a lot for the price.”

While you can’t do quite as much customization as you can with the pricier Zojirushi models below, the T-Fal gives you lots of room to experiment and try new things. It’ll even make pasta, jam, or mix dough for you! Those aren’t features we’d see ourselves using on a regular basis, but the overall point is that this thing does a heck of a lot for the price.

This one’s an excellent choice for folks who can’t have gluten, too! Most inexpensive options have one setting at most for baking without gluten, but the T-Fal is specifically intended to be gluten-free-friendly!

You’ll see in our list above that it actually has three different gluten-free settings, for both sweet and savory bakes. They all work very well, and we have no complaints about the results!

“an excellent choice for folks who can’t have gluten”

This one also lets you tweak the bake levels on each batch. Whichever setting you use, there are three darkening settings to choose from.

What impresses us more than anything else is that the T-Fal has more than enough power to go as hard as you like on the bake. That’s not the case on many machines around this price, which are mostly underpowered. If anything, this one’s slightly overpowered (we would suggest the lightest setting for most bakes, since the others can be a wee bit crisp).

Another big difference from other entry-level makers: it doesn’t have any paddle issues. Popular models like the West Bend use multiple paddles (leaving wonky results in many cases). The T-Fal has only one paddle, so it’s much less messy to remove.

The more severe issue on models like the West Bend and others in this price range is that the paddles can become detached easily. They’ll damage the machine and destroy your loaves. The T-Fal’s stay firmly in place. You wouldn’t think that’d be something to celebrate, but at this price, it very much is!

Ok, that’s most of the features covered: let’s talk bread! The T-Fal kneads evenly, rises evenly, and bakes evenly, if darker than others. Still, we’ll take a bit of extra power as long as we can turn it down! While this can’t quite measure up to the Zojirushi’s, it’s miles better than anything else for its price and for quite a way further up the price ladder.

It’s very affordable. One of these will cost you less than half the price of the Zojirushi that we recommend as our ultimate bread machine pick.

This is a very accessible entry point to bread making at home! And since it’s a consistent performer with all the basics, it could also work for someone who’s experienced but can’t afford the Zojirushi.

For something that’s so inexpensive, we appreciate how much effort has been put into making the T-Fal easy to use. The controls are simple and clear to navigate, and all the modes are listed with corresponding numbers on the housing.

T-fal PF311E controlsThere’s really nothing complicated. Granted this is a simple machine compared to our top pick, but it’s still much more user-friendly than other inexpensive options!

Although it’s a relatively simple, basic machine compared to the Zojirushi’s, the T-Fal still has a few conveniences. There’s a non-stick pan and handle to get loaves out easily. There’s also a 15-hour timer so that you can wake up or come home to a fresh loaf. The top-loading door has a window for you to see what’s going on, and after a bake finishes, the machine keeps loaves warm automatically for up to an hour.

bread maker top viewIt looks good–not an essential feature for an appliance, but always preferable! The T-Fal has stainless steel and black finishes, and it blends in nicely with a range of decor styles. It looks and feels anything but cheap.

You get all the basics in the box. It comes with a measuring cup, spoon, kneading blade, hook (for removing the loaf), and a recipe/instructional book.

One of the best things about the T-Fal over the long term is it’s one of the only inexpensive options which doesn’t have nonstick coatings that peel. We haven’t had any issues with the coating coming off in loaves or in the wash. The West Bend and other cheap options do that a lot.

The whole machine is much more reliable than the budget alternatives, too. It’s not as rock-solid as the Zojirushi’s, but it’s quite sturdy and has a good reliability record. The T-Fal is covered by a 1-year warranty, and key replacement parts are available for fairly cheap.

While some other reviewers haven’t given this one top marks due to its higher-than-normal loaves, we like that it saves counter space! The whole thing is quite light and relatively compact, so it’s a breeze to take in and out of cabinets. It’s ideal for folks who don’t have a dedicated space to keep it.


Overall, the T-Fal definitely bakes on the harder side. The crust on its loaves is rather thick and hard, which is why we’ve found that the lightest setting is probably the only one you’ll use. Even the lightest settings might not be satisfying to everybody. If you want to be able to fine-tune the bake further you’ll have to spend more for a Zojirushi.

The recipes aren’t the best in this one, and neither are the instructions. They’re serviceable, but you’re better off using recipes from a bread machine cookbook.

The one downside to the T-Fal for folks who don’t eat gluten: the gluten-free programs don’t work with the different loaf sizes. You can only do the 2-pound loaves. It’s not a huge downside, though, and the setup is still better than the competition.

It’s noisy. Again, not a deal-breaker, but something you notice compared to pricier options.

The T-Fal has plenty of options for most people, but it’s not as versatile or adjustable as the Zojirushi Virtuoso model which tops our rankings. There are simply fewer adjustable criteria, so it’s a more limiting system.

We’ve found that it’s fairly hard to get a very light browning on this one in particular. On the lightest setting, it’s a robust color. So, if you like a more delicate crust, you’ll need to spend more. Overall, while it’s consistent in proofing and baking, it cranks out denser bread than the Z’s.

As with most of these things, the paddle can get stuck despite the nonstick coating. You’ll definitely want to keep the hook tool handy.

Since the loaves aren’t your standard shape, they don’t fit in all toasters. That’s typical for bread machines, but definitely not what you’re used to from the supermarket. On the other hand, the benefit of taller loaves is that you don’t need as much counter space!

2. Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery 1-Pound-Loaf Programmable Mini Breadmaker

white bread maker

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“a phenomenal bread baker for one”

This Zojirushi model is highly underrated, as far as we’re concerned! Many reviewers (like The Sweethome and Consumer Reports) knock it and leave it off their rankings because it only makes small, 1-pound loaves.

Nonsense, we say! Bread machines are as enjoyable for single people as for households, and there’s no reason not to give the Zojirushi its rightful place. While it’s true that this does make small loaves which will vanish quickly in a house with several people, that doesn’t affect the fact that it’s a phenomenal bread baker for one.


It’s compact. The dimensions make it ideal for smaller living spaces, and for easy storage when you’re not baking. The whole thing measures just 8-1/2 x 11-1/4 x 12-1/4 inches (W x D x H). There’s even a little carrying handle for storage!

Zojirushi handleThe Zojirushi’s small size and smaller loaves are absolutely perfect for singles and couples. While a loaf from this machine obviously won’t last as long as larger ones, you won’t be wasting any, or having to eat bread that’s a few days past its prime.

“absolutely perfect for singles and couples”

The mini Z’s loaves are less tall than the T-Fal’s, even though it doesn’t take up a larger footprint on the counter. Of course, that’s because they’re of a lower volume. Still, the benefit is that slices from these loaves will always fit in the toaster!

While the compact design does come with some limitations, it’s still a versatile setup. Most of the bakes you can do on a larger machine are perfectly doable on this one! Just be sure to tweak proportions to fit the smaller loaf size.

Like the T-Fal, it has an onboard delay timer (up to 13 hours), plus options for firmness (3) and crust texture (2). That’s actually more customization on the bake than you can get on the T-Fal, although the T-Fal has more built-in modes.

Zojirushi timerAs with the T-Fal, you can also use this as a mixer for fancier baked goods or pizza dough. It has a jam mode as well, though we can’t see much use for that.

Alright, let’s get to the bread! The mini Z is surprisingly similar to the T-Fal, in that it’s hardly underpowered. Again, we found that the lightest setting produces the best results in most cases.

Zojirushi bread resultsThe Zojirushi kneads evenly, and bakes more consistently than anything but the Virtuoso below. There are fewer specific settings on this one, but you can get good results on most breads with practice!

“by far the best small loaf design available”

We think it’s by far the best small loaf design available. It takes about as long to bake as the T-Fal, at 3hr. 40 for the basic mode (the quick course takes 2 hours).

One nifty feature is that the paddle stops kneading when you open the lid. That makes it easy to make modifications before the bake cycle starts, since you can knock-down the bread dough without fighting the machine.

The Zojirushi Mini includes lots of the same features as the T-Fal:

  • a carrying handle
  • nonstick coatings on the paddle and pans
  • a secure single-paddle design for even loaves
  • an easy-to-use LCD control panel
  • a clear viewing window on the top

Like our other recommendations, it’s quite user-friendly. There aren’t any real design inconveniences to speak of, and it comes with a helpful DVD, as well as an instructional booklet with recipes.

Zojirushi has a great reputation for reliability. It’s primarily because of the Mini’s excellent reliability ratings that we suggest it over less expensive small bread machines. It’s covered by a 1-year warranty, but you can see by looking at buyer reviews that these usually last 5+ years with care!

This gives you a good entry point for the quality and refinement without the massive price tag on the full-size Virtuoso!


As we’ve mentioned, Zojirushi bread makers have by far the best reliability on the market. That’s true of this model. Still, it doesn’t quite have a perfect track record for longevity. Quality control issues are the main problem. Some units are lemons, while others work perfectly for years.

In the vast majority of cases, these little troopers have no issues. Just be sure to test yours thoroughly during the return window, since the company isn’t super helpful when things go wrong

This one is the most limited of the three when it comes to adjustments and options. There are fewer adjustable settings and modes than either the T-Fal or the Virtuoso. Plus, given the small footprint of the machine, it’s no surprise that there’s only one loaf size available.

You’ll have to convert most bread machine recipes to use them with the mini Z, since most writers are assuming you’re baking a 2-pound loaf. And while the included recipes are a bit better than what you get with the T-Fal, you’re still better off using a real recipe book.

The mini Zojirushi has a durable non-stick coating like the T-Fal, but it’s not perfect. We haven’t run into problems, but some long-term owners tell us that the bread pan coating can start to flake after a few years (2-5) of use. Be careful only to use wooden or silicone tools on these coatings!

The larger Virtuoso adds a clock, so you can program regular baking times.

The mini Z has no dedicated gluten-free settings, though you can still use it for those breads. The Virtuoso adds some more finesse with those loaves, since it has specific settings intended to compensate for the different ingredients.

If we’re being honest, it’s a bit ugly. The plain white casing definitely isn’t as sleek as black or stainless steel. The older control panel design also sticks out among today’s appliances. Still, assuming you’re not going to keep this thing on the counter every day, it shouldn’t matter too much.

Finally, of course, it makes small loaves. If you’re baking for more than 1 or 2 people, and eat an average amount of bread, this isn’t a practical choice. That is, unless you simply prefer to have more, fresher, loaves through the week.

3. Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker

black bread maker with gluten free option

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“the ideal workhorse for an ambitious home baker.”

Our ultimate bread machine recommendation is a model you’ll see at the top of virtually every ranking that’s every been done. While there are quite a few premium bread makers on the market these days, the Zojirushi Virtuoso has one close to unanimous approval from professional reviewers and average buyers alike.

While the Virtuoso’s big footprint and bigger price tag make it overkill for the average person, it’s the ideal workhorse for an ambitious home baker. This machine cranks out the best loaves we’ve seen from a bread maker, period! It browns very evenly, and its loaves are standard-sized for easy toasting.


To people like us, who prefer to spend all our free time in the kitchen, the Virtuoso’s many adjustments are a delight. You can customize virtually every aspect of bread making on this machine! You can control the knead, rise, and bake times on your cycle, and select from 3 levels of crust control, just like the T-Fal.

While you can also use the preset options with some latitude, this setup really suits someone who’s more hands-on and perfectionist. You can easily experiment with new recipes on this one, and find exactly the right setting for your ingredients and your own preferences.

The presets cover all the basics:

  • Basic
  • Basic Wheat
  • Quick
  • Quick Wheat
  • Gluten Free

More importantly, you can tweak the presets for each cycle!

The best part to the passionate home baker is that you can create as many as 3 custom cycles on this one. Sure, the popular high-end Breville machine will let you do a few more, but 3 is as many as you’re actually going to use in real life (we’ve also got other reasons for recommending the Zojirushi over the Breville, which we’ll get into in a moment).

“superb degree of adjustability”

This superb degree of adjustability is excellent for those who use special ingredients, and take a lot of interest in tweaking and perfecting bakes. While there are fewer presets than the T-Fal, there are more options for you to customize! So, this ends up being better for the perfectionist and tinkerer.

There are also lots of little conveniences and design touches which make this one feel as premium an appliance as the price tag suggests:

  • Even though it makes twice as much as the mini Z, it has pretty much identical bake times!
  • It has a built-in clock, which means it’ll tell you when your bake will be done, rather than counting down the minutes like so many other machines. That’s surprisingly handy when you bake often.
  • The Zoji also stops kneading automatically when you open the lid, keeping you safe and making it easy to add ingredients or push down the dough mid-knead.
  • It has the same keep-warm feature as the T-Fal, which activates for an hour after the bake cycle finishes. That’s something the Mini won’t do.
  • It makes full 2-pound loaves, and they’re the standard shape you’ll find in a store or from a bakery. Slices will always fit in toasters. There are also workarounds for 1.5 pound loaves, if that’s more up your alley.

“as premium an appliance as the price tag suggests”

Ok, those are the key features. What about the bread, you ask? Does it justify paying hundreds of dollars for a machine? In short, yes!

It’s the only two-paddle system we’ve found which kneads and mixes evenly, to start. That’s a key reason why our other recommendations make taller loaves. This is the only machine on the market which reliably produces wide loaves which are consistent all across.

The machine also achieves more consistent browning on the crust, since there’s an extra heating element in the lid. It makes for much more even bakes than the competition, where the sides and bottom will be much darker than the top (the Breville is a big culprit, despite all its fancy features).

Since the machine isn’t trying to compensate for the lack of a top heating element, you don’t have to worry about the bake being overdone, either!

The results on the Virtuoso are as perfect as you can get in a bread machine: an even rise, an even bake, and excellent texture in the crumb and crust alike! It works with a whole range of ingredients, too. That’s where all those adjustments come in handy.

“an even rise, an even bake, and excellent texture in the crumb and crust alike!”

Most of the Mini’s key features carry over to the full-size Virtuoso:

  • nonstick pans and paddles
  • viewing window
  • jam and cake cycles
  • pizza and pasta dough cycles
  • sourdough starter cycle
  • nonstick paddle/pan
  • user-friendly control panel
  • 13-hour delay timer

Aside from the excellent baked goods it produces, the Zojirushi’s big advantage over the competition is its much sturdier build quality. It’s better-made than other premium options, and you can tell the difference as soon as you get it out of the box.

It looks excellent, too, which is a big difference coming from the 1-pound model! The Virtuoso has a classy black and stainless finish.

Having a heavier build means it’s quieter, too (especially compared to the Breville). That’ll definitely be noticeable if you use the delay timer overnight!

“it’s the best long-term investment we’ve found to date!”

On the whole, while this might be expensive, it’s the best long-term investment we’ve found to date! It’s covered by a 1-year warranty, but it has a lifespan generally around 5 years (judging from pro users like Marsha Perry, who writes the amazing Bread Machine Diva blog, and average buyers). PJ Hamel, who does recipes and writing for King Arthur Flour, also swears by this setup.

You can get additional coverage plans, too, depending on where you buy your Virtuoso. Since it’s so expensive, we do recommend getting one of the extended protection plans that are optional at the Amazon links in our review. They’re pretty reasonable, and they give you some extra insurance for the long term.


The Virtuoso’s controls are definitely not as sleek or modern as some other premium options ( such as Breville’s latest). Dated is putting things mildly. They’re still serviceable and easy to use, but we’d love to see a more sophisticated update.

It’s big and bulky, especially compared to the T-Fal (which makes the same size loaves). The Virtuoso weighs more than 20 pounds, and it’s comparable in size to a microwave.

That poses a bit of a dilemma: you probably don’t want to be taking this in and out of storage, but it’s so large that you need to sacrifice quite a bit of counter space to find it a permanent home. Make sure you have a dedicated space for it before you buy!

The only durability complaint we’ve found for the Virtuoso has to do with the paddles. The design uses stainless steel posts, which drive aluminum (nonstick-coated) paddles. Aluminum is a softer metal, and will wear out over time. We wish the company had used stainless for both components. Still, replacements are quite cheap, and they should last a few years.

You’ll also find that the Virtuoso has some quality control issues, much like the mini Z. It’s Chinese-made, and like so many imports from China, a percentage of units will be lemons. Again, be sure to test yours when you get it, so that you can deal with things in your return window.

The manufacturer isn’t all that helpful with customer service and warranty issues, either, so that’s another reason to grab an add-on warranty.

It’s quite expensive. This costs more than twice as much as the T-Fal, which is a steep price for the average person. We don’t think it’s worth it if you don’t bake frequently or if you won’t use the extra adjustments. The casual user would be just as well-off with the T-Fal.

Despite the fact that there’s more room for tweaking on this machine, there aren’t as many presets as the T-Fal offers.


Now that you’ve read our in-depth reviews, let’s get down to brass tacks: which of our recommendations is the best choice for your kitchen?

The T-Fal is the best option here for home baking on a budget. It’s half the price of our other picks, but offers all the key features. In fact, it has the most presets of the three! This is also an excellent choice for those who need to bake gluten-free recipes, since it has several dedicated presets just for that.

However, it doesn’t offer the level of customization and fine-tuning you can get on the Virtuoso. Its tall loaves are also a bit irregular. If you want to have more control, and bake frequently enough to justify the price, the Virtuoso is a better machine overall.

The Zojirushi Mini is our top quality pick for singles, couples, and anyone else who simply prefers small loaves. It’s the best of the bunch when it comes to 1-pound loaves, and it offers enough adjustments to tackle most recipes. Within its territory, it has very few flaws!

Don’t buy this if you go through lots of bread, though. The small loaves will run out in no time in most households. This one also doesn’t offer as much room for adjustment as the T-Fal or Virtuoso.

The Zojirushi Virtuoso is our top overall pick, and our recommendation to passionate home bakers who use a machine. It’s the best on the market for folks who experiment with their own recipes! Plus, the additional top heating element means this produces the best, most consistent results we’ve ever seen from a bread machine.

You’ll pay a high price for the Virtuoso, though. It’s also quite a hefty appliance, so you ought to be sure you have the space for it. Don’t bother with this one if you only bake occasionally. It’s only worth it if you’ll get your money’s worth from it.

See also:

West Bend black bread maker

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West Bend: why we don’t recommend it

The West Bend bread machine is one of the most popular and well-reviewed options on the market right now. In fact, it’s The Sweethome’s top recommendation, which isn’t something to take lightly.

Here’s what we think their testers and plenty of other reviewers have missed: while the West Bend works well out of the box, we’ve heard from too many buyers whose machines went south in a hurry.

The key complaint from most buyers is that the paddles come loose. That’s fairly dangerous, it’s harmful to the machine, and it’s absolutely horrible for your bread results. It’s a common issue, as far as we can judge from buyer reviews.

One thing we try to do differently here is incorporate feedback from ordinary buyers as well as our own reviewers’ thoughts and analysis. In this case, we feel that the substantial percentage of buyers whose units developed serious issues outweigh the West Bend’s impressive performance.

So, while it does make some fantastic loaves for a while, it isn’t a good long-term buy. If you feel like the low price tag makes it worth taking a chance that you’ll get a sturdy, reliable unit, feel free to try this one.

Our suggestion is to make sure you wait for a sale, and to add on some additional warranty coverage at the checkout. Otherwise, we don’t think it’s a very wise purchase.

Model Name Cost Loaf Size Dimensions
T-fal PF311E ActiBread$$ 1, 1.5, or 2 lbs 12.52 x 16.06 x 14.02 in
Zojirushi BB-HAC10$ 1 lb 8-1/2 x 11-1/4 x 12-1/4 inches
Zojirushi BB-PAC20$ 2 lbs 10.5 x 18 x 13 in
West Bend 41410$ 1, 1.5, or 2 lbs 16.8 x 10.8 x 11.5 in

Buying Guide

Here are a few specific things we look for in a bread machine

While most people pay more attention to the baking components when they think about the quality of bread results, you’ll find that the kneading components are at least as important. You can always adjust the browning levels on your bread machine. There’s no way to work around uneven kneading!

So, we look for something which kneads dough evenly. A good bread machine will incorporate all the ingredients thoroughly. It won’t leave any lumps of flour or other ingredients, and it’ll spread the yeast evenly. That helps ensure that the dough is all risen consistently.

Even baking is also important, to be sure. You want each loaf to have a consistent color, texture, and crust density. After all, one of the most appealing things about a bread machine is that the results should be far more consistent than the average home baker can achieve by hand.

Another key feature is heating power. So many bread machines are underpowered, and can’t cook a loaf all the way through At the same time, you want the heating elements to be steady and controlled during the rise cycle, so that there’s no under or over proofing. It’s a delicate balance, which only the best bread machines strike.

How to choose your ideal bread machine

First, think about the loaf shape and size you want.

Different breads

2-pound loaves are the most common, though various machines can bake anything from 1-2.5 pounds in size. In general 1-pound loaves are the best choice for a household. Smaller loaves can be great for single folks and couples, or for households which don’t use bread all that quickly.

Loaves are also shaped differently from machine to machine. Most bread machines will make loaves much taller than your average supermarket or bakery. That can sometimes make them difficult to get in a toaster. Think about whether that matters much to you as you compare your options.

Always think long-term

We’ve taken care to choose the most reliable machines on the market to recommend to you. Like any appliance these days, though, no bread machine is perfect.

Even the best brands are importing their units from China, which is a recipe for spotty quality control. That’s why you’ll find that some very reliable models still earn a few poor reviews, as a few buyers end up with lemons. We strongly recommend testing your unit during your return window.

It’s also a good idea to get an additional warranty if you can. Bread machines are often covered for only 1 year, which is rather short for such pricey appliances. It’s better to pay a bit more, and get yourself some extra insurance. That’s why we’ve linked to Amazon in our product reviews. You can easily tack on an extra warranty policy at checkout.

Look at features and settings

Since all bread machines do essentially the same thing (mix, knead, and bake), you should look at specific features and adjustments which will make a machine more helpful to you. Look at things like delay timers, if you want to wake up to a fresh loaf in the morning. If you need to accommodate gluten intolerances, check for specific gluten-free presets.

Think about which features will actually make a difference in your day to day use of the breach machine. Don’t get distracted by gimmicky features! For instance, some bread machines have jam settings, or even toast sandwiches for you! Stay focused.

In practice, you’ll probably use the bread settings, and maybe make a batch of dough for something else. Even that’s pushing it for those of us with decent mixers, though. These extra features aren’t the point of buying a bread machine, and they rarely work well (if at all).

The important thing is for the machine to do everything you need it to, and to be user-friendly and intuitive when you work with it.

Decide on your budget

Finally, as with any kitchen purchase, you’ll have to decide how much you want to spend on your new breach machine. These appliances can cost anywhere from $50-$300+. Consider how often you’ll use your machine, and which features you really need to bake everything you have in mind.

Our Bread Machine Tips

Here are a few pointers to get you started with home bread-making using a machine:

If in doubt, tweak!

While there are undoubtedly some bad bread machines out there, our recommendations ought to work properly out of the box. If you run into trouble, or are getting poor results, tweak your ratios and ingredients. Baking is a science, and machines aren’t good at accounting for lots of variables. For instance, high altitudes can throw off a bake. Yeast can also be past its prime, or any number of other things might be at play. So, when your results don’t turn out as intended, try playing with the recipe before you throw out your machine.

Skip the recipes in the box

With a few exceptions, the recipes that are included with breach machines are serviceable at best. Most of them work alright, but they don’t taste all that great, and many will be underwhelming. It’s best to leave recipes to the food writers! With that in mind, check out the Bread Machine Magic cookbook. It’s a classic for baking in a bread maker. King Arthur Flour have lots of helpful recipes and guides on their site, too.

Use specific bread machine flour!

One of the biggest mistakes newcomers make with bread machines is using standard flour. It’s a no-go, and will throw off even the best machines. Make sure you’re using flour that’s specifically milled for a machine! King Arthur Flour is the best we’ve found. Their products are very reasonable, and they have organic, gluten-free and other specific options available.

Take care of your bread machine

There are lots of ways you can prematurely damage one of these machines if you’re not careful. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly, and follow directions.

The key thing is to learn the proper cleaning procedure. Always use wooden or silicone implements when you work with non-stick coatings, since metal will scratch or flake the pan. Avoid scratchy sponges when you clean the coated components for the same reasons. No bread machine that we’ve reviewed has dishwasher-safe components, so wash gently in the sink. Above all else, don’t get water inside the machine! It can damage the heating elements, cause rust, or seriously interfere with the electronics.

What’s Next

If you’ve enjoyed this guide and want to find more of our in-depth reviews, head to our homepage! We’ve got you covered with buying guides for all sorts of kitchen gadgets, such as water filters, sous vide machines, and induction cooktops.

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