Imagine a freshly baked loaf of bread. Golden crust, warming dough, mouthwatering aroma wafting through the house. One of life’s simplest pleasures is waking up to freshly baked bread. Sadly, few of us are able to enjoy it on a regular basis. It may sound drastic, but you can solve that problem much easier by buying a bread maker.
What is a bread maker?
Basically, a bread maker consists of a pan (mostly non-stick) with paddles for kneading the dough, mounted in the center of an oven.
With a bread maker, you do not have to have overly sore arms afterwards, since it mixes the ingredients, kneads the dough regularly for the yeast to rise and bakes the bread to perfection when it is properly raised (based on the model).
As soon as the loaf is baked, it just slides out of the pan, ready for slicing and eating.
The History of Bread Makers
In 1986, The Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. which is now known as Panasonic was released the first Bread Maker ever. This company claims that the first auto bread making machine sold as Raku-Raku Pan Da in Japan.
It also says in the USA it sold the Dak Auto Bakery Model FAB100-1.
Then after few years Breadmaker had become admired in other countries like the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Bread machines are never a good option for the commercial purpose because of its loaf shape but always suitable for home use as it bestows good result with kneaded dough.
Different Types of Bread Makers
Currently, there are two types of bread makers available in the market.
Vertical Bread Makers:
These bread makers bake bread which is tall with brick like shape, unlike the conventional bread shape. Vertical bread makers are affordable, occupy less space and give a loaf of bread with a fluffy top.
They bake good loaves of bread if you use good ingredients, instead of using all-purpose flour use bread flour, and recent, active yeast.
Horizontal Bread Makers:
If you are someone who is particular about how your loaf looks like, then I would suggest you go for horizontal bread makers. The bread baked in these look like the conventional store bought ones.
These bread makers are provided with two mixers instead of one like vertical bread makers. Horizontal bread bakers bake all-purpose flour loaves well and gluten-free bread can also be prepared.
Key Features of a Bread Maker
Here are some of the useful settings and features that you would want in your bread machine:
You can place your ingredients in the machine, start a delay timer depending on when you want the bread and voila! You can have your bread served freshly right out from the machine.
This allows you to knead any kind of dough which can be used to make pizza or pasta or buns to bake in your oven. Some much less work for hands especially during those really tiring days.
Quick-Bake or Express Cycle:
If you are in a hurry most of the time then you should definitely buy a bread maker with express bake cycle. So that you can bake your bread faster, say in an hour or in just 58 minutes (express I say!).
Pre-programmed bread cycles:
If you want to make a variety of bread then this feature would come really handy. You can bake anything from whole wheat bread to artisan bread and some bread makers also have features to control the crust color.
Microprocessors: Few of them are provided with microprocessors that make slight changes accordingly while the bread is baking producing consistent bread quality.
A viewing window:
Some of us like to see their bread baking if you are one of them you might want to purchase a bread maker with this feature.
Non-stick paddle and baking pan with wire handles:
You don’t have to worry whether you would be able to de-mold your bread without any damage or not. With the non-stick ones, the lovely loaf would just glide out smoothly out of the pan.
Automated addition of nuts, yeast, etc:
You don’t have to worry about the optimum time to add the yeast or nuts. Just put them in the compartment provided and let the bread maker figure out the rest.
Things to consider before purchasing a Bread Maker
You don’t want to waste your money to buying something which will cost you more than what you get. If you are an initial buyer, it is better to take a cheap one with the basic settings to see if you are comfortable with its use and the bread it makes.
In this way, you don’t have waste your money buying something expensive and then not using it again because you aren’t comfortable with its usage. As I already mentioned that high degree of programmability means a higher price tag, so choose options wisely depending on how often you would use those features.
Keep in mind that a high priced bread makers don’t always mean better bread, your bread quality also depends on the quality of the ingredients used. Check out various online stores like Amazon and EBay to get the best deals as few of them offer a great discount (don’t forget our beloved Wal-Mart).
Another main concern would be the size and capacity of the bread maker. Typically in the market, we have bread makers with a capacity to bake bread from 1 lb to 3 lbs. 1-1.5 lbs loaf size would be ideal for couples and small families.
If you are someone, who bakes bread very often and for a large number of people then choose a bread maker with bigger capacity. There are bread makers which give multiple size options, so depending on the occasion and number of people you can bake bread of different sizes.
Keep the size of your kitchen and space you can provide in mind while choosing the bread maker. Choose the one which fits in your kitchen, if you have cabinets think about the height clearance. If you are tight on space, then go for the compact ones.
Overall quality of the product is very important as it determines the quality of the bread baked. Look for bread makers with a good quality heating element and non-stick pan which are essential to make good loaves of bread for many years to come.
Some of the buyers have complained about an oil leak which is caused due to a defective pan, so make sure you check the quality of the entire product.
Any appliance which isn’t made of durable materials would not last long and you do not want to spend your money on something which isn’t going to last for a while.
Check the non-stick pan carefully, the surface coating of it, whether it will be able to withstand the regular usage without ruining the coating and posing any health risk in future or not.
Also, go for the ones which offer at least a year warranty and service options.
Using a Bread Maker
Every Machinery product needs maintenance for long run use. When you are choosing the highest rated bread machines which are normally costlier, then you need proper maintenance. So we are going to discuss some of the essential maintenance points for you.
Use Plastic Utensils
At the maintenance point of view, you should always use plastic utensils for the scooping your bread loaf ingredients. Why so? It’s only because metal utensils can damage the non-stick pan surface.
Our website will guide you everything regarding bread makers also give you the best bread machines reviews with details.
Dishwashers are the main enemy of non-stick surfaces. Never use any dishwashers on your bread maker pan. Use your hand and soft soapy clothes with warm water to clean the bread maker pan.
Sometimes you may find hard substances on your pan so in such case soak the pan with warm soapy water then wash it gently after few times.
Safety and Cautions
Many people take safety caution as the boring chapter but in reality, it has great value for the user’s point of view. Here we will give you some best safety tips which you need to follow during the use of the bread maker.
Always keep away your children from the bread maker it can risky if you will use bread maker near the common walking place.
Always take care of the Breadmaker cord and keep it away from any kind of hot surfaces.
Never touch the hot surface of the bread maker with a bare hand.
After finish, the bread baking process always remove the plug from the socket for the safety purpose
Before cleaning the bread pan always let it be properly cool
Don’t use wet hand during operating your bread maker
Never keep the bread maker near the electric burner, hot gas and heated oven
Never disassemble or repair your bread maker if in case you face any mechanical or electrical issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time does it take to bake a single loaf?
One of the main concerns of any average buyer would be the time taken to make one loaf of bread. Nobody likes longer cooking time, especially when you are in a hurry.
A regular white bread cycle with a mix/knead, rise, punch down, rise and bake take about 3 to 4 hours. Depending on the type of bread the bake time would vary, whole meal bread takes longer time than the white bread.
Some machines with an express cycle option would bake a loaf of bread in just 58 minutes.
How messy can it be? (Absolutely, none)
No one wants to deal with a huge mess, so it is good to choose a machine with a decent pan, especially a non-stick one as the baked bread would slide out clean.
Buy the one with wire handles as they would help in removing the bread easily without any damage. It is always suggested to buy a bread maker with removable pan and kneading paddle as they are easier to clean.