There’s probably nothing more comforting and appetizing than baking fresh bread in your own home. There’s the
smell that fills the house, the warm doughy interior when you first cut into it… the whole experience is pretty
magical. But when was the last time you actually made bread at home? A year ago? Five years ago? Never?
The fact is, making bread from scratch is a demanding and time-consuming process that involves the correct
amount of yeast, kneading, waiting for dough to rise, and a fair amount of expertise. If you don’t have time for that, a bread maker may be the answer. But which one? We looked at three of the best – from the top of the line to the most affordable to the quirky.
The Fancy-Pants Breadmaker
If you want bread with whistles, bells, and a kitchen sink, go for the Panasonic SD-ZB2502BXC. With a raisin
dispenser, a gluten-free mode, jam programs, and 11 presets, this bread machine has about as many features as your iPhone.
In all seriousness, many customers say this isn’t just the fanciest bread machines around, it’s also one of the best. People say it delivers consistently good loaves, as well as turning out pizza bases and cakes as needed. The only downside seems to be the slight weight gain due to increased bread consumption. Oh, and the £175.99 price tag, which makes this the most expensive bread maker on the market.
The Budget Option
If you want to skip a dizzying array of options and get straight to the breadmaking – without spending too much while you’re at it – the Russell Hobbs 18036 is probably the best bet. At £45-£50 it’s definitely one of the more affordable bread makers you’ll find.
But most people report it also turns out great loaves. It bakes loaves in three different sizes, from half a kilo to a kilo, and still has 12 presets, including French bread, whole-wheat, and cake. And it’s quick-bread option is one of the quickest around, churning out a fresh loaf in just 55 minutes!
The whole point of having a bread machine is that you can make fresh-baked bread at home without the laborious and timely process of kneading your own dough. But what if you aren’t satisfied with the the preset options most bread makers offer? What if you want a little adventure, still want to live on the bread edge? Then the Kenwood BM450 is probably for you. That’s because it lets you set the time for the various bread-making steps – pre-heat, kneading, rising and baking – and then program these into your own recipes that the machine will remember. The Kenwood also has 15 pre-set programmes for when you’re feeling lazy.
It has an attractive stainless steel and black glass finish, and most of the standard features of other bread
machines: an oven light, delay start, and a rapid bake option. It costs about £90, toward the high end of the market, but still reasonable.
Three very different breadmakers – how will yours fare?