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Don’t you just love the smell of homemade bread baking? And it’s not just the smell – bread-lovers are quite attached to the unforgettable taste of a freshly baked bread, as that makes this whole endeavor worth it. That being said, baking bread is messy and time-consuming, which is why most people buy bread at the local supermarket. But this is all about to change, thanks to bread machines.
The best bread machine will take all of the work out of baking bread. All you’ve got to do is put in the bread mix, or add in your flour mixture if you prefer, and then turn the machine on according to its instructions. In just a few hours or later in the day, you’ll have fresh, warm bread! But not all bread makers deliver mouth-watering results, which is why we hand-picked the best products on the market and wrote honest reviews about each of them.
Make sure to also read our essential buying guide at the end of the article, where you can learn a lot more information on how to choose the best bread machine for your specific needs and preferences.
The Best Bread Machine
Best Overall: Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker
We believe that the breadmaker that can satisfy most people is the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus. It’s a great model from a very reputable brand that exceeds most people’s expectations by baking the perfect loaf of bread each and every time. The unit features a bunch of advanced functionalities while still being straightforward to use, so it would be a good pick for both experienced bakers and newbies.
We especially loved the double kneading blades and dual heaters because we believe they’re responsible for the impeccable results the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus model delivers. The device has a longer loaf tub, which makes a more typical-sized loaf bread. It can make a 2-pound traditional rectangular loaf in its inner cooking pan, but because of the dual heaters (top and bottom), the dough will be consistently browned on all sides.
Versatility is another aspect where Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus shines. The unit has 15 pre-programmed both fixed and custom settings. You can also choose between three crust shades: light, medium, and dark. On top of that, the machine has a few rapid courses for fast results – you can have a whole bread in just 2 hours and 25 minutes.
When it comes to personalization and custom settings, the Zojirushi model allows you to create three custom profiles on which you can adjust the timing for each phase.
The best of its higher-end functionalities is the timer with a delay setting, which means you can set to delay the end of the baking cycle by up to 13 hours! There’s no better feeling than coming back home to a freshly baked bread after a hard day at work.
Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus comes on top as the best bread machine for most people because it’s user-friendly, which makes it an excellent choice for beginners, and it’s a high-quality model that does its job. The unit features a large, easy-to-read LCD display with a convenient keycode on the lid, which simplifies course selection.
When it comes to loaf sizes, the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus comes behind our other recommendations. Even though you’ll get a lot of versatility when it comes to bread type, you are limited to one size.
If you want to invest in a top-of-the-line bread machine that delivers flawless results every time, you should choose the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus. It’s a high-quality unit, designed to make bread-lovers very happy. By buying this machine, you’re getting exceptional performance, excellent versatility, and a user-friendly interface.
Best Quality: Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme
The Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Supreme is our highest-quality pick as it has the same features and functionalities as our best overall pick, and offers a little bit more. The unit is also quieter, more comfortable to maintain and clean, as well as pricier. It’s the right choice for people who don’t mind spending some extra bucks for that added level of convenience.
Just like the Virtuoso Plus, Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Supreme delivers a fantastic performance. It’s a little bit more potent than our best overall pick, and it also features dual functionality for making 2lbs rectangle loafs.
The device is versatile and very easy to use as it comes with ten pre-programmed settings and three crust shades for baking a variety of different bread types. And when you realize that you can use it to cook meatloaf, strawberry jam, chocolate cake, and so much more it becomes even more impressive.
You can also delay the baking time for up to 13 hours, so you can wake up or come home to a homemade bread, baked to perfection.
The Zojirushi BB-CEC20 features a large viewing window that allows you to observe the baking process.
As an added convenience, the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 has a removable nonstick bread pan, which makes the maintaining and cleaning process a piece of cake.
The unit also has a 10-minute power failure back-up and an auto shut-off system for added safety.
It’s hard to find a downside to a model like this one, but one thing some customers complain about is customer service. This isn’t directly related to the device itself, but it’s something you should consider when investing a lot of money into a product.
In our opinion, the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme is the best splurge, as it delivers impressive quality and performance with an added level of convenience and comfort to ensure impeccable results. Professionals and homemade bread enthusiasts will be most happy with how easy to use, maintain, and clean this device is, as well as its versatility.
Best on a Budget: Oster Bread Maker
Simple and affordable, yet powerful and versatile – the Oster took our best-on-a-budget spot. The unit is a perfect choice for people looking for a cost-effective and pretty straightforward device that they can use to make some healthy loaves.
The best quality of the affordable Oster model is its versatility. The unit features 12 bread settings and three crust settings, just like most higher-end models. Plus, it can make loaves in different sizes – 1-pound, 1.5-pound, and the maximum 2-pound bread loaf.
Best of all, it’s super fast. While both of the Zojirushi’s models have rapid settings, their fastest option is somewhere around two hours. On the other hand, the Oster’s express-bake setting bakes bread in under an hour – 45 minutes according to the brand.
The Oster bread machine matches Zojirushi’s 13-hour delay timer, which is pretty impressive. You can set the timer up to 13 hours later and enjoy a freshly made bread anytime.
One of the drawbacks of this model is that it’s very loud, which doesn’t affect the bread quality, but it can be very annoying.
Additionally, some customers didn’t like the quality of the mixing paddles.
When budget is a priority, the Oster model comes to the rescue as it’s a high-quality device that makes a lot of different, delicious bread loaves. Everything that you’ll ever need in a bread machine and more can be found in the Oster model. The unit bakes different sized loaves of bread, offers 12 pre-programmed settings, three crust shades, and a 13-hour delay timer. The product is a real bargain, considering its price.
Most Versatile: Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker
Aside from the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus, the Breville BBM800XL is another exceptionally well-rounded bread machine that came very close to being our top choice, but because of its superior versatility, we believe that it absolutely deserves the ‘most versatile bread machine’ title.
With 830 watts, Breville BBM800XL is the most potent bread machine out of all our recommendations. The unit is more than capable of delivering a perfectly baked loaf, regardless of the recipe.
One feature that you won’t find in the other recommendations is the automatic fruit and nut dispenser. What this means is that you can add nuts or fruits in the beginning, when you add the other ingredients, and the device will release them at the right moment during the knead phase, so they spread evenly within the dough.
On top of that, the Breville BBM800XL features 13 different pre-programmed settings, three crust shades, and four loaf sizes. Sizes include a 1.0-pound, 1 ½ -pound, 2-pound, and 2 ½ -pound bread loaf – perfect for large families.
When it comes to personalization and custom settings, the Breville BBM800XL comes out as an absolute winner. While the Zojirushi model allows you to create three custom profiles in which you can adjust the time, Breville enables you to create nine different profiles. You can customize not just the time, but the temperature for each profile, too.
If you buy the Breville BBM800XL, you’ll also get 46 step-by-step recipes for different traditional bread types, and the ability to create custom recipes too.
Breville is made of thin, unpolished brushed aluminum, which dents very easily, so you need to be extremely careful while operating with the device.
Also, the kneading paddles can be hard to clean.
Professionals and experienced bread-makes will probably be most pleased with the ultimate versatility and the custom features of the Breville model. With Breville, not only are you creatively unlimited in the recipes you can create, but the whole process is designed to perfection. You can add all of your ingredients in the beginning, including your special nuts and fruits, and the device will add them when the time is right.
The popular Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus model is our best overall pick. The unit is expensive, but considering its performance, high-end functionalities, and versatile settings, we say it’s a purchase that you can’t go wrong with. Zojirushi as a brand has outdone itself with this model due to the second heater on the lid, which will surprise you with how evenly it browns the bread.
Our highest-quality pick comes from the same brand too – the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme model. Just like the Virtuoso Plus, the Supreme model has double-blades, a 13-hour delay timer, and a decent amount of pre-program settings. However, the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 is more powerful, easier to use and maintain, and more durable.
Zojirushi is an amazing brand, yet for many people, it’s out of their price range. Fortunately, the Oster bread maker offers similar quality and advanced functionalities for a price that’s three to four times lower. The unit is straightforward, compact, versatile, and incredibly fast. It’s the perfect choice for most people with a busy schedule.
Breville BBM800XL can easily compete with our best overall pick, considering everything it has to offer. Although we believed the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus was a little better overall, Breville knocks the competition out of the park when it comes to versatility. Aside from the fixed 13 different pre-programmed settings, the unit allows for nine custom profiles where you can change the time and temperature. Although beginners might be overwhelmed at first, professionals will certainly appreciate the flexibility.
Everything You Need To Know About Bread Machines
How Do Bread Machines Work?
One of the most significant issues to the average home cook in regards to baking bread is making the time to get this task done. You first have to create the dough and work in the yeast so that it can adequately rise. You also have to find a way to wrap up the dough and place it in a warm environment so it can finish the raising phase – and all that before you even begin to bake the dough. The worst part is – you have to repeat this process once, twice, or more depending on your recipe. That’s an all-day process just for a loaf of bread!
When you own a bread machine, all of these processes are automated. You don’t have to do anything at all – except add the ingredients. Simply throw the ingredients into the inner baking tin and let the bread machine do all of the work for you! Bread machines have built-in paddles that are responsible for the kneading process. The inner tin also doubles as a baking oven, which bakes the loaf of bread evenly, after the kneading and rising phases are done.
The cycles or phases are different for different bread types, which is why bread makers come with pre-programmed settings customized for specific bread types. Some higher-end devices even allow you to customize the process so that you can have control over the mixing and rising phases, as well as the timing and temperature.
Types Of Bread Machines
There are two basic types of bread machines that are available right now.
- Vertical breadmakers.
These bread machines often take up a lot less space, but in return, they give you a uniquely shaped loaf of bread. The bread ends up baking vertically, so there is often a very puffy top at the end of the dough, and the remainder of it looks a lot like a bread “brick.” These are often the most affordable bread machines, and they will do a reasonably good job if you invest in high-quality ingredients.
- Horizontal breadmakers.
This type of bread machine gives you more of a traditionally shaped loaf of bread. Many of the devices contain dual internal mixers instead of a single one like the vertical machines do, which means you’ll have two baked-in holes in your loaf of bread instead of one. On the other hand, horizontal bread machines bake all-purpose flour loaves more consistently and will give you better performance on most gluten-free recipes as well.
Tips For Making A Perfect Loaf Of Bread
For the most convenience in the kitchen today, you’ll want to look for a breadmaker that will make the bread from start to finish without the need of you babysitting it, or give you a timer so that you can include nuts, fruits, or spices into your mixture at the appropriate time. Just remember not to use milk when you’re using active yeast so that you don’t end up wasting your money as yeast and milk interfere with each other.
Don’t be shy about trying new recipes or adding your ingredients. Make your own sourdough starter if you wish or create a stunning loaf of Italian bread to go with your spaghetti that evening. Cinnamon loaves are incredibly easy to make, and with quick bake options, you can even have some banana bread ready in under an hour!
If you’re investing in a bread machine, you may wish to grab an electric knife to assist with the slicing of your bread. Some models can be had for less than $15, which makes this a minor investment for the comfort and ease this appliance can bring to slicing a fresh loaf of bread.
If you’re tired of paying $3 or more for a premium loaf of bread at the grocer, then investing in a good bread machine makes a lot of sense. It will often pay for itself within a couple of years, and in return, you’ll end up with better bread in a house that smells wonderful every time you turn on this kitchen appliance!
What Are the Advantages of a Bread Machine?
The primary advantage that bread machine users receive is an improved level of home nutrition. Although grocery store bread is healthy, many of the cheaper loaves of bread contain high levels of gluten or other allergy-sensitive ingredients that can develop digestive problems over time in some people. Plus, you can’t control how many additives, sugar, and other high-calorie nutrients you ingest. Bread machines can help you bake loaves from whole grains, create gluten-free wonders, or brilliant custom-recipe gourmet loaves that you would never find in a grocery store.
The second advantage of a good bread machine is that it will save you time since you’re not involved in the actual kneading and baking process. Instead of having to roll out your dough, ball it up, wrap it up, and remember to set the time correctly so you can repeat the process two or three more times, the bread machine does it all for you. The best bread machines will let you add in your ingredients, lock the baking container in place, and let you enjoy your day.
The final advantage that you’ll receive is an increased variety of the kinds of bread you eat. Imagine being able to enjoy a ham sandwich with jalapeno cheddar bread or waking up in the morning to the smells of a fresh cinnamon raisin loaf. With remote timers, dozens of different pre-programs, and the ability to use your recipes on the machine, you can eliminate all the preservatives from your diet, while adding creativity and pleasing your senses with new loaves of bread each time.
How To Find the Best Bread Machine?
The best bread machines have a few things in common that you’ll want to look for as you browse through our fact-based reviews. Here are some easy ways to differentiate the best ones from the ok ones.
The vast majority of bread machines have a couple of pre-programed settings for making different kinds of bread. Think about your preferences and needs. Why are you buying the bread machine? Do you only want to enjoy classic homemade bread, or you want to be able to experiment and try out a lot of different recipes? Depending on your needs, look at the pre-programs and the custom settings each device offers. More versatility is usually associated with a higher price, but you can surely find something that best fits your goals.
If you’re willing to invest a little more into the best bread machine, then automatic dispensers are one of the most important features that separate higher-end devices and cheaper models. Automatic dispensers are individual chambers or parts where you add nuts, fruits, or other ingredients that are usually mixed later in the process. Having this feature means that you need to add all of the ingredients in the beginning, and the device will automatically release the fruits and nuts when the time is right. Some models that don’t have automatic dispensers may beep, indicating that it’s time for you to add the rest of the ingredients.
Baking bread is a time-consuming job, which is why bread machines are trying to come up with rapid setting functionalities that will bake a loaf of bread in the shortest time possible. However, make sure you’re realistic – don’t sacrifice quality for faster results. The sweet spot is finding a balance, so compare a lot of different models. The bread machines of today have a timer and delay function to compensate for the long working hours.
Before You Go
Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot about bread machines through our practical buying guide, which you can use whenever you’re shopping for bread machines.
However, if you already know what you’re looking for, then we’re confident the best bread machine for you is among our recommendations. Make sure to follow the links to find out current prices, detailed product descriptions, and customer reviews for each product.
Want to see our favorite bread makers one more time before you go? Here they are!
Amazon product information last updated on January 24, 2021. Images, prices and links from Amazon Product Advertising API.