From timer delays and automatic dispensers to fast bake modes and jam-making options, there’s a bewildering array of features on offer that makes choosing the best breadmaker for you a challenge.
Typically, the more you spend, the more options you get – but there’s little point paying extra for features you won’t use. We guide you through the must-have features for creating the perfect loaf of bread and other bakes, so you can choose the best breadmaker for you.
For more information on buying a breadmaker, see How to choose the best breadmaker.
Best breadmaker features to choose
Bread pan All breadmakers have a non-stick coated pan so it’s easier to remove the finished bread. Most bread pans tend to be almost square in shape, so if you want your loaf to resemble a shop-bought one, look for a more rectangular-shaped pan.
Kneading paddle This mixes ingredients and kneeds the dough. Opt for a collapsible paddle as you want to avoid an unsightly hole left by a paddle that remains in the dough during cooking. Always make sure the kneeding paddle is easy to remove, so you can clean both it and the bread pan easily.
Control panel All of a breadmaker’s settings are accessed via menus and buttons on its control panel. Look for a control panel that’s easy to view and programme so you can get the best from your breadmaker.
Timer delay This lets you set the breadmaker to start working at a predetermined time – essential if you want to wake up to freshly-baked bread in the morning or have bread ready for dinner when you return home from work. Most breadmakers come with a 12 or 13-hour delay start option.
Automatic dispenser This automatically adds extra ingredients at the right time during the bread-making process – useful if you enjoy making speciality breads with fruits, nuts and seeds.
Viewing window While this isn’t a necessity, it’s a handy way to keep an eye on the progress of your bread without opening the machine.
Cool wall Breadmakers have insulated sides to stop them from getting too hot during cooking, though stainless steel models can still get very warm. Always use an oven glove or tea towel when opening and removing hot bread from the machine.
Programmes The best breadmakers have a dozen or so programmes that help you bake a range of breads, everything from white and wholemeal to French and speciality flours such as rye and spelt. A gluten-free mode is a useful option if you’re gluten intolerant, while pizza and pasta modes easily prepare the appropriate dough for use in your own recipes. Some breadmakers feature a ‘bake-only’ setting so you can cook a cake in the bread pane, though you’ll need to mix the ingredients first. Another useful programme is jam and compote making. Making delicious home-made jam safely and easily using your breadmaker is a cinch.
Fast mode Many breadmakers offer a fast bake option that produces a loaf of bread in around 55-80 minutes – useful if you’re in a hurry. However, this typically works only with white loaves, so this may not be a feature of interest if you only eat brown bread.
Ready to choose the perfect breadmaker for you, read our guide to the Five best breadmakers.