Ok, we love bread, especially home baked bread. The smell of baking bread is the best thing on earth. It’s also really comforting to know that baking your own loaf of bread means you are making something wholesome and delicious, without all the non-essential stuff they stick into bread.
Granted, a lot of commercial made breads are pretty acceptable these days. They are tasty and there are many varieties to choose from.
But seriously, what is better than making your own bread and eating it fresh, out of the oven – slathered with butter? Nothing is better than that, don’t you agree?
But making up a loaf from scratch takes some time. Busy schedules, work and all that “fun” stuff doesn’t allow for anyone to bake fresh bread – unless you have a bread machine.
Oh my word, this has got to be the best invention ever. Who would have ever thought that baking bread would be so easy? With these machines, you can dump everything in at once, push a button and voila – fresh baked bread. Easy!
These machines are also great for making fresh dough for savory or sweet things. The dough-only feature on any given machine is so useful because once you make a batch of dough, you can do all kinds of things with it.
Depending on your mood, you can make pizza, stuffed breads, cheesy bread sticks, elephant ears or our favorite – GIANT cinnamon rolls.
You get the idea.
The Full Review
All bread machines do one thing – to make dough and bake bread. Our considerations were based on the size of the machine, crust formation, price and ease of use.
We took a look at 5 machines and here is our full review.
These products can be found in our cooking tools section as well.
Features: Oster can make 1 lb. to 2 lb. loaves of bread and has 3 crust settings to produce a light, medium and dark crust. It has settings for dough making and jam making. There is a 13 hour programmable timer to set ahead so you can have freshly baked bread at anytime.
Who It’s For: Beginning bread machine users who want a no-fuss straight forward, easy to program machine.
- Small machine that can be stored away. Doesn’t take a lot of space on the counter.
- Programmable buttons are intuitive. If you want basic, French, whole wheat or sweet bread, you just press that specific setting and it’s done.
- Easy to clean.
- The basic machine is priced practically. It isn’t going to break the bank to make some acceptable, fresh baked bread.
- 2 lb. loaves rise above the pan and stick to the cover of the machine. Sometimes, the 2 lb. loaves seem denser and not as fluffy.
- Machine likes to “walk” around the counter during the vigorous kneading stage. Make sure that it’s set where it won’t fall off the counter.
- The Express setting isn’t recommended. The bread at this setting, does not have a sufficient amount of time to rise and will produce a deflated and dense loaf of bread. Stick with the 2 1/2 hour setting for good results.
Features: A no nonsense machine that makes a 1.5 lb. to 2 lb. loaf of bread with a setting for express and gluten free. It has 12 settings for different types of breads and also 3 settings for light, medium or dark crust.
Who It’s For: For those who prefer something basic and simple to use. No bells or whistles and adequately priced.
- Quiet. Most machines that we tested were on the noisier side.
- Easy to clean.
- The crust settings were accurate. Crusts turned out nicely.
- A bulkier machine compared to the Oster CKSTBRTW20. Need to clear out a good space to store the machine.
- Paddle sticks to the bread and the need to pry it off ruins the look of the bread.
Features: A sleek, higher quality machine that has 19 settings, including one for Rye, Potato, Beer, Rice bread and Yogurt.
Who It’s For: Someone who wants a sleeker looking machine with more settings, but still easy to use.
- The 19 settings are great, especially the beer and rice bread setting.
- Has non-skid suction cups on machine’s bottom so it sticks to the counter and lessens the chance of it “walking” during the kneading phase.
- Comes with two paddles. This is a great feature for those times when you want to make an additional loaf of bread and you don’t want to wash the other one just yet.
- The sleek design takes little counter space. Easy to store away as well.
- This is the only machine that produced really consistent results for the basic breads and the whole wheat bread. The texture and the crust met our expectations.
- The price is a bit higher than the lower end machines but it’s well worth paying a little extra for the quality and performance of the machine.
Features: A machine with capacity to make a 3 lb. loaf of bread. 10 programmable features and 13 hour delayed timer. Also has a crust control feature for light, medium and dark crust.
Who It’s For: For someone (family) who wants to use the 3 lb. bread feature to make bigger loaves of bread or larger amounts of dough for pizzas, sweet rolls and the like.
- The 3 lb. machine size allows for a bigger motor, so this is a pretty robust machine.
- Browned beautifully and the bread was nice and crumbly.
- The pan bakes a more traditional shape of bread. It’s bigger pan allows more room to rise.
- Comes with two paddles.
- Control panel doesn’t show any settings. Have to push through to reach the setting of your choice.
- LED panel is dim and hard to read.
- The motor is bigger, therefore it is noisier than the smaller machines.
Features: For someone who would like a machine with higher end features for bread making. With a homemade feature, you can program it to your favorite recipe and set it for future use.
Who It’s For: Someone who wants a high end machine with more ability to personalize the settings.
- This machine truly baked a great bread, with a crispy crust.
- Only machine that baked a “normal size”, rectangular shaped loaf of bread. So, if that is important, this machine does the job.
- The best instructional package to be included with a bread machine. (Instructional DVD included for those who are visual learners.)
- Really robust motor to knead the bread and build up its good gluten.
- Produces a superb crumb.
- Pricey and may be on the expensive side for those who are just into baking a basic loaf of bread, minus all the bells and whistles.
- Since this machine bakes rectangular loaves, it is much wider than most of the other bread makers. Will probably sit on a counter top more so than having it stored away.
Our Final Opinion
For the most part, most of the machines had it’s own little quirks. The quirk that stood out for most of the machines involved the paddle. Often times, the paddle got stuck to the bottom of the baked bread, thus making the bread tear on the bottom when you are trying to remove it.
The other quirk involved the shape and size of the loaves. Most of the smaller machines produced a non-rectangular bread loaf. For those who anticipate using the bread to make sandwiches, the smaller machines (Oster, Hamilton Beach and SKG) are not the best for sandwich slices.
For rectangular loaves, Zojirushi is the best of the bunch for sandwich bread slices.
An important note to remember – measure out the ingredients accurately and make sure the ingredients are put into the machine in its correct order. This will ensure that the bread will be mixed properly in the machine, thus resulting in a good loaf vs. a dense, deflated loaf of bread.
Our choice – The one that stood out and met all our criterias has to be the SKG Automatic Bread Machine.
We really appreciated how easy it was to use the SKG. The control panel was very intuitive and we especially appreciated the sleek design of the machine, as that we want to store our machine away when not in use.
The non-skid suction cups is a great feature. It kept the machine in place while in the kneading mode, thus ensuring that it didn’t “walk” around and possibly fall off the counter. The other machines does not have this feature.
We also like to set our machine ahead and have it bake and kept warm until dinner time. This feature worked nicely and surprisingly, the bread didn’t get too crusty or hard while sitting in the machine.
The price was right. It wasn’t too cheap nor was it too expensive. It fell in the middle of our comfort zone for price.
Overall, the SKG was our favorite bread machine for size of the machine, crust formation, price and ease of use.
Hopefully, this review has helped you see some of the features and benefits of the top 5 bread machines. We hope it has been helpful and that you will have lots of success making fresh baked bread with one of these choices.