Why Buy a Bread Maker?
Bread makers are a great addition to your kitchen for a number of reasons. The cost of ingredients is often less than store-bought bread. Homemade loaves are also fresher, with no preservatives, and with thousands of recipes available, your choices aren’t limited to what you can find on the shelves. Automatic bread makers have come a long way, with more traditional, horizontal loaves, faster cooking times, and a better taste. If you’re in the market for a bread making machine, you should consider the design, size and settings. Three of top Bread Makers on the market are the Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme, Panasonic SD-YD250, and the Oster CKSTBRTW20.
Bread Makers: What to Look For
The best bread makers vary in price, from as low as $50 to more than $300. If your goal is simply making white bread, a lower budget bread maker will work. One important feature that is worth the extra money is a timer. A bread machine that has a programmable timer will give you the option of waking up to the smell of hot, fresh bread. Also, before you consider purchasing a bread maker, keep in mind the amount of counter space you’ll need, as they tend to take up a lot of room.
Bread makers use to only produce tall, square loaves that weren’t convenient for sandwiches or toast, but machines now offer horizontal loaves similar to what you’d find at your local bakery or supermarket. The newest machines offer two kneading blades, producing evenly mixed and kneaded bread with a consistent taste and texture throughout the loaf. If you want to save money, the vertical designs are available at a lower price.
Bread makers vary in size depending on how much bread you need and how much space you have. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a bread maker is how much bread your family will eat. Fresh bread in a bread machine doesn’t have the preservatives in store-bought bread, so you can expect it to go bad within only a day or two.
You’ll find different machines that range in size from 1-pound loaves to 3-pound loaves. A family of two to four people should be fine with 1.5 pounds, though some of the best machines will give you the option of varying the size. The larger machines are also a nice option because they work with a wider range of bread recipes. There’s nothing worse than finding a great recipe that only has measurements for 3 pounds of bread. Be careful with trying to change the recipes to fit your bread maker – simply halving the ingredients won’t work.
Almost all bread makers offer at least a small amount of programming. The most basic options include crust color (light or dark), knead dough without baking and bake dough without kneading. The more complex bread machines are incredibly smart, with specific settings for French bread, artisan loaves, gluten-free, whole wheat and sweet breads. You are even able to tell the machine the kind of flour and other ingredients used to vary rising, baking and kneading times.
The higher-priced bread makers aren’t only for simple bread. Some automatic bread machines have settings for jam, cakes, pizza dough and even homemade pasta. Some even make meatloaf. If you are looking for versatility as well as convenience, it might be worth it to spend a little more.
The most important feature you should consider may be the delay-start timer, however. This is the bread maker feature that gives you the ability to set it at night and wake up to warm, baked bread in the morning. Some of the more advanced machines offer a rapid cook setting, which cuts cooking time in half. A loaf can take anywhere from two to four hours depending on the grain. The rapid cook setting delivers cooked bread in less than an hour, though there is a sacrifice in taste.
Consider how much bread you plan to eat and the variety of recipes to find the best bread maker for you. Even the less expensive automatic bread machines offer you great-tasting bread with minimal effort. If bread is a staple in your diet, a bread maker is a convenient and cost-effective option.