If you enjoy the taste of freshly baked bread but don’t have the time to knock up a loaf by hand, then a breadmaker that does the hard work for you is the perfect choice as your next kitchen gadget.
Deciding which breadmaker to buy may be harder – there are lots of models available with a wide range of features. The most important consideration is how well it bakes bread. Check out user reviews to see how each breadmaker fares in this department. There are, however, other features that can help you decide if a breadmaker is right for you.
For a full list of essential breadmaker features read How to choose the best breadmaker features.
What to consider when buying a breadmaker
Price You can pick up a basic breadmaker for as little as £30-40, but expect to pay around £100 to £150 for one that has plenty of features and produces a wide range of breads. With more expensive models, you’ll typically get delay timers, several loaf size and crust colour options, programmes for different breads, along with the ability to make jams and cakes. Dispensers feature on some, automatically adding in extra ingredients such as fruit and nuts at the appropriate time.
Shape and size Most breadmakers have a significant footprint that can eat up worktop space. If space is a premium, look for a compact or narrow, tall model – though be aware that may have an impact on the size and shape of the loaves you can make. And if you plan on moving it around, say in and out of a cupboard, look for a model weighing less than 5kg.
Loaf size and shape Many breadmakers offer a choice of three loaf sizes, although compact models may limit this to two. This means you can bake small loaves for everyday use and larger ones when you’ve guests. If you’re after a shop-style, horizontal shaped loaf, check the interior bread pan before you buy. Many breadmakers produce slightly square loaves.
Programmes and settings Choose a breadmaker with a dozen or so programmes including standard white, brown and wholemeal loaves as well as French and Italian loaves. If you’ve dietary requirements, look for a breadmaker that works with gluten-free bread mixes and speciality flours such as spelt and rye. Dough-making programmes are worthwhile addition, allowing you to make everything from pizza and pasta to croissants. Some breadmakers offer cake and jam-making programmes too.
Fast bake Many breadmakers offer a speed setting that produces a white loaf of bread in just under an hour. The result may not be as tasty as bread that takes longer to make, but it’s a handy option when you’ve run out of bread.
Timer delay Waking up to the aroma of freshly baked bread is one of the pleasures of owning a breadmaker, so avoid those that don’t have a timer delay. You can set the breadmaker to automatically start working up to 12 or 13 hours ahead so you can enjoy fresh, warm bread whenever you need it.
Ready to choose the perfect breadmaker for you, read our guide to the Five best breadmakers.