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Best Bread Maker Buying Guide

Nothing quite beats the smell, or taste, of freshly baked bread. It is hard to resist picking up a baguette, or loaf of bread when you are in the supermarket, or walking past a bakery. You can almost taste the deliciousness of it as the smell wafts past.

But, there is one thing that beats buying freshly made bread. And that is; making your own at home. You can make it by hand – or you can make it super easy by using a bread maker.

Morphy Richards 48280 Fastbake Bread Maker

MAIN FEATURESMorphy Richards Fast Back Bread Maker

  • 3 loaf sizes
  • 12 settings
  • 13 hour time delay
  • 3 crust settings
  • Can bake a loaf in under 1 hour
  • Settings for jam and cakes

The Morphy Richards Fastbake Bread Maker wins our top budget buy for offering premium features for an economical price. You can choose between 3 different loaf sizes, 1lb, 1.5lb and 2lb. As well as a choice of loaf sizes you can also choose the colour of the crust setting, light, medium or dark (for certain settings only).

A really useful feature is the ability to delay the start of a bread program – you can get everything ready and program it so that it finishes baking when you are ready to eat it – meaning you can eat lovely warm bread when you want to! Please note this can’t be used with the Fastbake feature.

The bread maker comes with a measuring cup, recipes and a spoon.

The Settings 

  1. Basic White – can be used for basic white and brown bread as well as flavoured breads such as raisin bread and herb bread.
  2. French – for lighter bread.
  3. Wholewheat – for bread containing high amounts of wholewheat.
  4. Quick – white bread can be made in 1 hour and 40 minutes (produces denser bread).
  5. Sweet
  6. Fastbake I – make bread in 58 minutes (1.5lb loaves)
  7. Fastbake II – make bread in 58 minutes (2lb loaves)
  8. Dough – for making bread rolls, pizza
  9. Jam – make jam from fresh fruits
  10. Cake – mix and bake
  11. Sandwich – make bread for sandwiches with lighter texture and softer crust
  12. Extra bake – used for increasing the baking time on selected settings

There is a very useful keep warm function that will keep your bread warm for a further 60 minutes before is starts to cool down.

Unfortunately there isn’t a raisin/nut/seed dispenser so if you want to make this style of bread you will need to manually add them during the baking cycle.

The Fastbake feature with the ability to make a loaf of bread in under an hour is useful but the bread isn’t nearly as tasty as the bread made on the full length cycle. This is because the loaf will require much more yeast, sugar and salt than a normal loaf and is much denser. It is handy though if you need some bread in a hurry.

However, despite these 2 minor negatives, the Morphy Richards Fastbake is a definite winner if you are looking for a cheap bread maker that still produces quality results.

Panasonic SD-ZB2502BXC Stainless Steel Bread Maker

MAINpanasonic-sd2502 FEATURES

3 loaf sizes

27 settings

13 hour timer delay

Rapid bake

Gluten Free

Raisin and Nut Dispenser

Yeast Dispenser

Dimensions: 24.9 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm

It’s hard to choose which Panasonic bread maker is best – they have made so many great ones! This particular model is our top pick due to not only the sheer amount of features it offers, the amazing bread it makes but also how stylish it looks in the kitchen. Stainless steel is always going to look good on any kitchen counter top.

But it’s not just about looks. On the inside the Panasonic SD2502 performs. Like many other models it has the ability to bake 3 different loaf sizes with 3 different crust colours (dark, medium and light). During the baking cycle, the control panel shows what stage the program is at (rest, knead, rise and bake) as well as the time left until the bread is ready. There is also the ability to set a delayed timer so that your bread can be timed to be ready when you want it to be.

This Panasonic model comes with a measuring cup, measuring spoon and some bread recipes to get you started.

The extra features that really set the SD2505 apart from other bread makers are the fruit and nut dispenser and the separate yeast dispenser.

The fruit and nut dispenser means you can include dried fruits, nuts, seeds or herbs when you are adding the other ingredients (any of the raisin settings). The appropriate bread program will then add the ingredients at the appropriate time without you having to intervene. This means you can set it off and go out/get on with other things without having to hang around to wait to manually add the extra ingredients.

panasonic-sd2502-dispenserThe yeast dispenser is a fantastic feature of this bread machine. The yeast is placed in it’s own dispenser and added by the machine at the optimum time during the baking cycle.

The Settings

  1. Basic
  2. Basic Rapid (2 hours)
  3. Basic Raisin
  4. Whole Wheat
  5. Whole Wheat Rapid (3 hours)
  6. Whole Wheat Raisin
  7. Rye
  8. French
  9. Italian
  10. Sandwich
  11. Brioche
  12. Gluten Free
  13. Speciality
  14. Speciality Raisin
  15. Bake Only
  16. Basic (dough only)
  17. Basic Raisin (dough only)
  18. Whole Wheat (dough only)
  19. Whole Wheat Raising (dough only)
  20. Rye (dough only)
  21. French (dough only)
  22. Pizza (dough only)
  23. Brioche (dough only)
  24. Speciality (dough only)
  25. Speciality Raisin (dough only)
  26. Jam
  27. Compote

The ‘dough only’ settings are as the name suggests, the bread machine will mix your ingredients until they become dough. You can then remove them from the machine and shape them according to what you are making.

This model is also very able at making gluten free bread, with recipes included with the machine.

Although this Panasonic model is at the high end of the price range for bread makers it is highly recommended if you are planning on making bread on a regular basis.

Best of the Rest

Whereas the above bread machines are my top picks, the following makers are worth considering. They are all from trusted brands with good reviews.

Panasonic SD2500

 

MAIN FEATURESpanasonic-sd2500

3 Loaf Sizes

25 Settings

Timer Delay

Rapid Bake

Gluten Free

Dimensions: 33 x 28 x 37 cm

 

The Panasonic SD2500 is a solid bread machine that produces good results. When comparing it to the Panasonic SD2052 Stainless Steel model reviewed above it has a few differences that are worth considering. It doesn’t have a fruit and nut dispenser meaning you will need to manually add any extra ingredients when the cycle beeps to signal you can. It also doesn’t have a separate yeast dispenser but great results are still achieved by adding the yeast in with the other ingredients, in the order shown in the bread recipes.

There are still most of the usual settings including a timer delay, rapid bake and the ability to make jams and compotes.

You can also choose between 3 different loaf sizes and crust colours (not on all programs).

The Settings

  1. Basic
  2. Basic Rapid (2 hours)
  3. Basic Raisin
  4. Whole Wheat
  5. Whole Wheat Rapid (3 hours)
  6. Whole Wheat Raisin
  7. French
  8. Italian
  9. Sandwich
  10. Brioche
  11. Gluten Free
  12. Speciality
  13. Speciality Raisin
  14. Bake Only
  15. Basic (Dough Only)
  16. Basic Raisin (Dough Only)
  17. Whole Wheat (Dough Only)
  18. Whole Wheat Raisin (Dough Only)
  19. French (Dough Only)
  20. Pizza (Dough Only)
  21. Brioche (Dough Only)
  22. Speciality (Dough Only)
  23. Speciality Raisin (Dough Only)
  24. Jam
  25. Compote

The Panasonic SD2500 offers enough of a variety of different bread settings to get good value from the machine. If you don’t mind about the lack of fruit and nut/yeast dispenser this bread maker will be perfect for your needs.


Panasonic SD2501

panasonic-sd2501

MAIN FEATURES

3 Loaf Sizes

27 Settings

Timer Delay

Rapid Bake

Gluten Free

Fruit/Nut Dispenser

Dimensions: 33 x 28 x 37 cm

The Panasonic SD2501 is essentially the same model as the SD2500 except it has the fruit and nut dispenser and 2 additional settings (Rye & Rye Dough). Everything else is the same.


Panasonic SD2511

panasonic-sd2511MAIN FEATURES

3 Loaf Sizes

33 Settings (including a sour dough program!)

Timer Delay

Rapid Bake

Gluten Free

Fruit/Nut Dispenser

Dimensions: 38 x 25 x 38cm

The latest Panasonic bread maker is the lovely looking Panasonic SD2511. It comes in both white and a glossy black.

This model has everything that the other models have, including the quality, as you would expect from any Panasonic bread machine. The SD2511 does have some extra settings, including a popular sour dough program.

The Settings

  1. Basic
  2. Basic Rapid
  3. Basic Raisin
  4. Rustic Artisan
  5. Whole Wheat
  6. Whole Wheat Rapid
  7. Whole Wheat Raisin
  8. Rye
  9. French
  10. Rustic Sour Dough
  11. Italian
  12. Sandwich
  13. Brioche
  14. Gluten Free
  15. Speciality
  16. Speciality Raisin
  17. Rustic Scone
  18. Bake Only
  19. Basic (Dough Only)
  20. Basic Raisin (Dough Only)
  21. Rustic Artisan (Dough Only)
  22. Whole Wheat (Dough Only)
  23. Whole Wheat Raisin (Dough Only)
  24. Rye (Dough Only)
  25. French (Dough Only)
  26. Rustic Sourdough (Dough Only)
  27. Sourdough Starter (Dough Only)
  28. Pizza (Dough Only)
  29. Brioche (Dough Only)
  30. Speciality (Dough Only)
  31. Speciality Raisin (Dough Only)
  32. Jam
  33. Compote

Another high quality and popular bread maker from Panasonic. If you are going to invest in a bread maker I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of the Panasonic range. They do cost a bit more than other brands but the extra cost is well worth the investment.


Andrew James Fresh Bake

Andrew James Fresh Bake

MAIN FEATURES

17 Settings

Makes Jam and Yoghurt

Gluten Free Setting

3 Loaf Sizes

15 hour delay timer

1 hour keep warm function

Automatic Ingredient Dispenser

Dimensions: 24.6 x 31 x 34.7 cm

Andrew James make a variety of kitchen appliances, all of high quality with great reviews. The first bread maker we are looking at is the Andrew James Fresh Bake.

The LCD display with touch controls enable you to program the bread maker to your required size (choose between 500g, 700g and 900g sizes) as well as the crust setting (light, medium or dark).

There is a handy window so you can peek through and see the bread being kneaded or slowly cooking.

Above all else, the Andrew James Fresh Bake looks really stylish with a modern stainless steel finish.


Morphy Richards 48324

Morphy Richards 48324

MAIN FEATURES

3 Loaf Sizes

19 Settings

5 Crust Settings

12 Hour Delay Timer

Fruit and Nut Dispenser

40 Recipes Included

Dimensions: 29 x 37.5 x 33 cm

The Morphy Richards 48324 comes with the usual option of 3 different load sizes (1lb, 1.5ln and 2lb). You can choose from 5 different crust settings – very light, light, medium, dark and very dark. There are quite a few recipes included in the instruction manual (40 in total) from the usual basic white breads to sweeter breads such as brioche and mixed fruit loaf. The built in fruit and nut dispenser is useful here as it can add the extra ingredients at the appropriate time.

I really like bread makers that have viewing windows and this one not only has a the window, it also has a light that you can switch on the 20 seconds at a time to really get a great view!

The Settings

  1. Basic White and Brown
  2. Whole Wheat
  3. Sweet
  4. Sandwich
  5. French
  6. Dough (just the dough is made – perfect for pizza bases and bread rolls)
  7. Jam
  8. Bread Mixes (for shop bought bread mixes)
  9. Speciality
  10. Gluten Free
  11. Fastbake I (for making a 1.5lb loaf in 1.25 hours)
  12. Fastbake II (for making a 2lb loaf in 1.25 hours)
  13. Extra Bake
  14. Pizza Dough
  15. Quick
  16. Homemade I (customise your own bread making time and the bread maker will remember it)
  17. Homemade II (as above, but another place to store your customised program)

This Morphy Richards bread maker offers all the features you need to produce good quality bread.


Buying Guide

With so many different models on the market it pays to do your research before buying. Hopefully our reviews in this guide will be enough to help you decide which is the best bread maker for your needs. When reading through reviews and looking at model specs, consider the following guidelines;

Loaf Size

Most bread makers do allow you to change the size of the loaf of bread in the settings. Check the largest size is going to be sufficient for your needs.

Settings

All of the models discussed above have a variety of settings, some more than others. Consider how many different types of breads you will want to make. For example, if you want to (or need to) make gluten free bread then make sure the machine you have in mind has a program for this. How often will you be making raisin or another type of bread that requires ingredients to be added during the baking process? If it is a lot then you might consider investing in a machine that has a separate fruit and nut dispenser so that you don’t need to hang around to add extra ingredients midway through the cycle. Will you be making jam? Many machines have this setting now but double check your chosen one does.

Spares

If required will you be able to easily purchase the extra bread paddle or pan? All respectable manufacturers (which the above are), should provide the ability to easily buy replaceable parts.

Delayed Timer

If you love to wake up to the smell (and taste!) of just cooked bread then a bread machine with a delayed timer is a must. Just consider that most bread machines make some noise when the paddle is going round, some more than others.

The Price

Some of the bread makers can seem like quite an expensive investment. However, if you are planning on making your own bread on a regular basis (which you should!) it is well worth paying a bit more for a machine that is going to consistently produce good results. You don’t want every other bread to turn out well – you want every single loaf to be tasty!

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Martin

Thursday 6th of April 2017

Informative review! Crazy how advanced each maker looks like! :)

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