The Fresh Loaf

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Which Bread Machine should I purchase? Help!

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Danalovescarbs's picture
Danalovescarbs

Which Bread Machine should I purchase? Help!

Hello!  This is my first foray into this forum.... I am a new user of bread machines.  I borrowed a BreadmanPro from a friend to see if I liked "baking" my own bread - and found that I loved it!  This machine is at least 15 years old - I have decided to purchase my own.  I enjoy making all kinds of whole wheat breads and dough - would prefer a smaller machine.  This current machine produces bread that is just OK - not looking to spend lots of money, but want to find good quality for my family!  We love waking up to fresh, warm bread in the morning!  Thank you all in advance - I look forward to learning from you all in your posts!

Dana

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Hi Dana,

It is fun, isn't it? I did a long and involved search a little more than a year ago. We ended up with the big Zojirushi, but I strongly considered the more reasonable Panasonic SD-YD250. The two-paddle design and horizontal loaf in the Zojirushi ended up appealing to me more, and I also had an opportunity to get it at a discount, so I went with that one. From what I understand, both machines are quality built, and built to last.

To be honest, though a lot of people love the Zo, I wasn't super happy with the way the bread turned out. Loaves came out too dark on the bottom and sides for my family's tastes even on the light setting (a common bread machine issue), and it was necessary to remove the dough and shape it into a loaf before the bake cycle to achieve a normal-looking loaf. I ended up using it mostly on the dough cycle.  It would have been much more reasonable to pick up a used bread machine at a thrift store or yard sale just to use for dough! (It seems there are kajillions of bread machines in thrift stores.) Zojirushi has since come out with a model that features an element in the lid, which might make a difference, but not having tried it I couldn't be sure 

We ended up buying a heavy-duty mixer (Bosch) late last year, and I've been SO much happier with the quality of the bread. I think a mixer allows easier, more visible control over the amount of flour you add, and that makes a big difference. It's more hands-on, but not really that much more work for the quality of bread. And then, of course, there are lots of ways to make bread by hand, including the stretch and fold method. You might want to do a search on that here before springing for a piece of equipment. 

If a bread machine does make the most sense for you (because sometimes they do), both the Zojirushi and Panasonic earn high marks from most users. However, I'm sure others will have lots of good suggestions, and it will be fun to hear what they are! :)

All the best,

Marguerite

afrika's picture
afrika

Why buy a breadmaker at all?  The joy of breadmaking is the involvment and all the variables that make a good loaf of bread. You cannot control these variables in a machine. There is nothing like baking numerous frisbees and doorstops, plus feeding the racoons and squirrels in the neighborhood. It is a great feeling of accomplishment when through your efforts, research, education, blogging and interplay with other TFL members that you finally make that great loaf of bread.

GOOD LUCK

Jerry

bunnieluv's picture
bunnieluv

Jerry,

I agree with you, why get one at all? However, I had to break down and get one. My health has been declining for several years (I am only 39). I just had face it and deal with the nature of this illness. I concluded it might be best not to eliminate my favorite things to do (as that is very disheartening)- rather, modify how I did them. Kneading bread is exhausting, the standing, the pushing and pulling. The whole "kneading element" for one who has little strength, an injury, arthritis, no time, or is elderly is VERY DIFFICULT. I know for myself, having a few things that I love to do which are fundamental to who I am, keeps me going. I think that using the machine as in was intended with those miserable recipes in the booklet- is LAME ( sorry, it is just the best word here). Using it to knead heavy breads or large batches is a great thing for those who love to bake but just cannot anymore.  :)

cp3o's picture
cp3o

Hi Dana, my recommendation is the Zojirushi.  I've tried others but this is the best.  I  use the Dough Cycle , letting the machine mix, knead and take it through the 1st rise.  Then I remove it, shape, place in banneton, loaf pans,etc. rise, and bake in a regular oven.  This method takes about 3 hours. so it's great when bread is needed quickly.  Good luck!                 cp3o

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

handicapped - then by all means buy one.  Otherwise don't buy one, sqave a bunch of money and learn to make bread by hand.  Machines are not faster or save time, they are limited in the kinds and size of bread they can make, they do not make better bread, cost too much money, are environmentally unfriendly to make and operate and are not as fun or nrewarding as making bread by hand. They are better than buying what they call bread at the supermarket though.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Aren't you being a little, shall we say, positive in your opinion? A bread machine offers an inexpensive intro to bread baking. Even amortizing the cost of the machine, loaves will come in at a tremendous saving over store bought. Besides, not everyone is really interested in 'gourmet' baking. Then there are those with no baking background; how better to get ones feet wet while avoiding being drowned in detail or buried in bricks?

Don't make better bread? Of course they do, just not the best. Isn't superior good enough for many?

Please expand on your statement that [they] are environmentally unfriendly to make and operate. In what ways are they environmentally unfriendly? To my knowledge they have no toxic elements, unless you're concerned about the little bit of plastic, and that's a trivial worry. Being a single purpose appliance, they are very efficient consumers of energy (gas or electric) compared to a standard kitchen oven. In no way do they pollute the atmosphere compared to the particulate pollution of a WFO.

cheers,

gary

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I'm glad we agree that bread machines are way better than buying supermarket bread for many reasons, cost, quality and no preservatives are but 3.

Yes, I am always positive about my opinions.  If not well thought out and based on reason, they are not opinions - just hot air and smoke not worth breathing.  If someone has an opinion that they are not positive about and haven't considered carefully but still blurt it out, than make sure you can spot it so you pay no attention to them.

When it comes to bread baking, nothing is cheaper or more rewarding than making bread by hand unless someone else makes it and gives it to you - hopefully they made it by hand.

I didn't say anything about gourmet baking.  I'm not even sure what that is.  I'm pretty sure that most home bakers like me aren't into gourmet baking or can do Artisan baking though.  They are like me, who for 40 years made bread, even sourdough in my case, without a thought of gourmet.  I just wanted good bread, that was inexpensive and easy that I could make at home without a huge cost of mixers, bread machines or any other specific appliance that can only be used for one thing.  I do bake what I would call 'artisan'  even though it isn't really artisan bread but even today, it is a very small portion of my bread baking.

Some people get the cart before the horse.  They get a bread machine to bake bread before they try to make it by hand - like so many I know.  Many end up giving their bread machines to Goodwill, where I see 10 new ones (some still in the box) every week for $10 or less.  My point for new bread bakers is to give making bread by hand  a go first - even before they buy a mixer of any kind, much less a bread machine.  I did without mixer or machine for all those years and was quite content - they might be too - especially if they are new to bread making.  But if they end up wanting a bread machine, fine with me as I could care less if they have one or not, I will tell them to buy it at Goodwill for 95% less than new and Goodwill does great work helping the disadvantaged and they need the money badly plus they don't want all those bread machines - even though they want you to donate yours to them.

They say the best things in life cannot be bought and the things you can buy in life are not worth owning.  Bread making is like that.

Machines do not make better bread than ones made by hand.  Some may want a bread machine when they find out they personally can't make a better bread than a machine can - but they won't know that till they make bread by hand will they?  For most home bakers like me, neither method may make the 'best' bread - which is subjective anyway.  The best bread I know of is made by professional artisans who are well trained, with years of experience, who have perfected their craft, recipes and source the highest quality ingredients not available to anyone else.  They usually bake commercially in WFO.

But I didn't mention WFO either.  I can't bring myself to build one even though I have a highly efficient one designed that uses 80% less wood than a similar sized traditional one.  The reason is I could never make it cost effective for just me and my wife.  I don't have 40 acres of trees that supply free wood and the environmental impact is sever.  Plus, in Maricopa County where I live, almost every weekend and winter day is a no burn day because of the other pollution.  I also don't care if anyone has their own personal WFO for any reason either.  It is just a personal opinion of mine and no one else's.  I want artisan bakers using their wood fired ovens to make bread on a commercial scale because I want to buy and eat the very best bread in the world now and again and that is one way, not the only way, to get it.  I do know that I can never make the best bread - not ever - because I'm not that talented as a bread maker and can't get the ingredients they can - and likely will not have a wood fired oven.

The environmental impact comes in the making of the appliance not necessarily in its operation even though it does there as well.  I'm guessing most bread machines will use way less energy in their operation, since many don't even get used, than they did in the manufacture of them.  The finding, assembly, mining, development of the materials used to make the bread machine is quite staggering alone.

You assume that without a bread machine one has to make bread in a large oven or WFO.  This assumption is totally incorrect as well.  I do all of my summer baking in my tabletop Cuisinart  electric oven that runs on nclear power from Palo Verde.  It uses less energy to make bread than a bread machine.  The only time I use my oven in the winter for making bread, or anything else, is if it is too big to fit (never the case for bread), or if I am making multiple loaves where a bread machine or any other method would be silly, more expensive and time consuming.

I say buy a Cuisinart oven instead of a bread machine. I use it all the time and save a ton of money not cranking up old Betsy for make a loaf of bread or some other baked good.

I don't mind splaining myself Gary and I am still positive about my opinion which is mine and you are welcome to yours.   No harm intended.

I hope new bakers will make bread the old fashioned way before taking an expensive, step they may regret later.  Almost all find out that it is easy, rewarding and delicious to make bread by hand - two loaves at a time if necessary.  If you are heating up old Besty, bake bread and something else too to make it a wise bake.

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

dabrownman wrote:
Yes, I am always positive about my opinions.

I have delayed responding because your reply p****d me off, and I needed to calm myself. Let me say that by positive I meant smug and supercilious; especially your inane blathering about only the handicapped need use a bread machine.

g

julienned's picture
julienned

Some of us just don't have the time to make bread. 

FYI- homemade bread can be considered gourmet by today's standards since it doesn't have any extra additives in it, and it tastes good.

I get up at 6am, cook breakfast and lunch for two, leave for work with my hour-long commute, work 8 hours, go to the grocery store (yes almost every day), and I don't usually get home before 6pm, by which time I need to cook dinner for two, eat, and pretty much go to bed.

Plus, my arms get really tired kneading the dough, and I don't really have mixing bowls big enough to make a decent sized loaf. So I am also looking to get a bread maker. I see no shame in that. I do make some things from scratch (the occasional cinnamon rolls, for example), but having something to work the dough for me (or bake it while I'm at work) would be a tremendous help.

I see lots of good things about Zojirushis. I found an Oster one on Amazon for maybe $50, it had decent reviews but not quite as much functionality as others. But you get what you pay for.

-C

proth5's picture
proth5

opinion there.  I have taken the bread making process to the point where I have the equipment and knowledge to grind my own white flour by hand - and I own - and occaisionally use - a bread machine.  Not just to mix, but to bake.

And not only that, I occaisionally lust after a Zojirushi - because 1) I love me my toys and 2)the thought or waking up to freshly baked bread just waiting for me or to not have to heat up my house in the summer or have the early morning coordination to load an oven prior to my coffee is pretty attractive. (And being able to put the thing outdoors in the summer and bake a loaf without heating up the house was something I hadn't thought about before.  Hmmm...)

Save time?  Well, they are freeing.  Because I can get some bread baked without having to check in on the process except at the start and the finish.

I don't expect to see a Zo on the podium at the Coupe, but some folks just want some bread for a sammich. 

And that's just fine...

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

with anyone buying, owning, using or not using a bread making machine of any kind.  There are all kinds of good, really great, reasons to do so.  If they want Sammich bread it is as good a reason as any - but pretty tough to beat a decent store bought one with a machine - as many have found out.  My Dad made Wonder ( by far the greatest Sammich bread of all time by most any measure) at Continental bakers and I can't make it better or cheaper by hand or machine - at least not yet :-).  Store brands of similar Sammich quality a can be had for 99 cents a loaf.  Still, anyone that wants to make some in a machine at home for any reason is fine by me.  I'm a libertarian when it comes to bread and most everything else in life.

I just want folks to make bread by hand first to make sure that they really need and want an expensive bread machine.  My daughter wanted, and had to have by the way,  a Audi TT for her 16th birthday.  She got a Nissan Sentra, 3 months after her birthday and had to walk, bike or beg a ride for 3 more months.  Next thing you know she found out that she could do some really, really good traveling , quite well indeed, with much, much less.  She loves the Sentra now and will never buy an Audi most likely, unless she can talk someone into buying it for her -  but she would want a Ferrari  now:-) 

She, I'm guessing she,  asked which machine one to buy and I said - none at this time but, you might want or need  to later.  

 That is as good advice as any.

proth5's picture
proth5

This thread added to the unseasonably warm March we are having at the base of the Rockies and the thought of being mostly breadless during a long hot summer has got me to thinking that I need that Zo' so I can bake me a loaf and not heat up my house. (I do have an electric water bath canner - which I bought mostly because it could be used outdoors - a big vat of boiling water can heat the place up on those summer canning days...) 

My own car story is the opposite of your daughter's.  I waited a long time before buying the car of my dreams and I love it every time I drive it and can't see why I would want any other car (and I've had it 12 years now).  Of course, I'm the one putting up the money...

In my mind there is always a balance between buying a tool that's not quite the best for the job in case you don't stick with the hobby long term and being discouraged in the hobby because you tried to do the hobby with inferior tools - or buying a lesser quality tool and then feeling the need to buy the high quality tool at a later time.

Point taken on the hand mixing of bread - a bowl and a plastic scraper is all it takes (plus some sort of oven).  But I'm sorry, that oven does heat up the place in the summer and a little bread machine plugged in outdoors would not.  And that's a factor worth considering on the "to buy or not to buy" debate.

I have absolutely adored every Zojirushi appliance that I have ever met although I acknowledge they are a tad on the luxury side of the price range. 

Like  I said, dang it - now I'm thinking about that toy... And I have to save up for the sheeter :>)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Hands are the best tools and they are free and you can't buy them.  The best things in life you can't buy no matter how rich you are and the things you can buy aren't worth owning.  Buy a Cuisinart Convection oven man or any other brand and skip the one trick ZO.  Take the oven outside and bake bread with it and then make a nice roast beef and steam some tamales, followed by an apple pie, some bagels a flan and two kinds of cookies.  Tomorrow you can bake or cook  5 other things in it - forever.  All  for way less than a ZO anything and at a higher quality.  My Cuisinart weighs less than 5 pounds and is about 18" in the longest direction and cost 89 bucks on sale - new.    It is about the size of BM but you can toast, broil, bake regular or convection - set temps  to 500 F get baking stones for them ( got mine at good will for a buck) dehydrate....the list is endless.  I just hate one pony appliances.  Once you've seen their one trick they get boring real fast and end up at Goodwill as they should.  It is their rightful place.  Like electric can openers.  You never hardly ever see a tabletop convection oven at Goodwill (I never have)  for the same reason - it is not their rightful place.  Folks seem to get rid off them only when they blow up or die some other way.  A tragic loss.

I've never driven a car less than 10 years usually after getting it used.  Mine is only 11 now and good for at least another 10.  I don't get attached to them or any things at all really - they are just a way get from here to there.  For me, wanting things just get in the way of living life well.  I don't care if other people do though.  Without them, few would have jobs making stuff they want. It's a free country and variety is the spice of life.

proth5's picture
proth5

Or – “Oh no, dabrownman – didn’t…” (Apologies to the TFL’ers who know I can go from a joke to a long essay in an instant…)

Well, well, you took a light hearted comment from me and had to give me a lecture on values. And because right now my situation gives me time to reply and because events of this week have put me in the mood – unfortunately I will.

Members of my family have clucked at me for buying a car new from the showroom.  But if no one ever bought a new car – there would be no used cars.  As we saw during the past few years, when people stop buying new cars, the cost of a used car goes up – sometimes almost to the level of a new car. I think of this from time to time.

I tend to sense a feeling of – I’m not exactly sure what to call it, but shall we say – moral superiority – from folks who often buy things used.  And in a sense they are being individually thrifty – and I know that this is often required – and for some their situation even makes this practice fun.  But again, without the people to whom they feel superior – they would have nothing to buy.  We are nothing if we are not economic beings – we manufacture (in one way or the other) – or we die.

You say it is a free country, and so it is, and you say you do not care what I do - but I sense in what you say that other people are free to be stupid or somehow morally inferior. (Remember your original post actually said that only physical handicap was justification enough to buy a bread machine.)  I prefer to think that we are free to have different lives and priorities without all the judgment you seem to bring to the party.

I don’t expect anyone who does not do what I do for a living to understand the rigors of my life and career, but your description of all the things I can do on a daily basis with a toaster oven tells me that you are at your home for at least some part of most of the days of the week and you leave only when you wish it.  That is not my life.

As for shopping Goodwill (and you mention it and specific prices so often, it makes me think they have great importance to you), again, because you have no way of understanding my life, you would not know that I hardly ever darken the door of any retail establishment.  I do not have the time at home that I wish to devote to retail endeavors.  The thought of spending the time to make daily (which is quite impossible for me) or weekly trips to Goodwill is absolutely abhorrent to me. For me, it would be the wholesale waste of the most precious thing that I have – which is my time at home.

So be careful how you speak, for everyone is fighting a difficult battle.

Although thoughts of a toaster oven have danced in my head (and I hardly need one for cooking as in my climate a grill supplies those needs quite well, and I cannot eat most daily meals at home) the poor uni-tasker of a bread machine has one wonderful advantage – I can load ingredients when I finally arrive at home late at night at the end of the work week and while I get my much needed rest, it will produce bread for me to eat the next day.  No mixing method that I know will do that – they will all take some attention from me before the bread is made. (And frankly, now my tiny, contrarian mind is considering that I should do some formula development for bread machines…)  It may be one thing – but if it does that thing well, it may be of value given the constraints under which I operate.  It is not junk and its righful place would not be a cast off.  Might it be replaced some day by something more innovative?  Why yes.  But I work in a profession where I myself will become obsolete in a very short time if I do not learn and grow. Someday I will choose obsolescence for myself. I cannot bring myself to declare a thing worthless today because it will walk the same path. If it has produced utility beyond the price I have paid, it has done its job well.  But surely you admit to buying that toaster oven – so in your own words it isn’t worth having. Curious indeed that you should act in that way.

But further to the point of bread – why post on these pages at all?  Why strive for wonderful bread?  It is, after all, just fuel.  Does it matter how it looks?  Does it matter if the crust crackles?  It is just meant to fill us up – to get us from one place (hunger) to another (satiety) – nothing more.  According to you, there needs be no pleasure in a journey – the journey is simply to be accomplished (and, may I add, as inexpensively as possible.)

You tell me that things don’t matter – and in many ways they do not.  However in other ways they do.  Why shouldn’t I strive for beautiful bread?  Why shouldn’t I push the limits of that beauty?  Why should I not be surrounded by things that are beautiful, well crafted, and serve my needs well?  Those ears – those ears on the loaf – should I not care about those?  Even if home baking optimizes nutrition do ears really matter? Functionally, I could do with the most battered of equipment – but somehow to surround myself with things that don’t matter to produce things that do seems wrong.  The forces oppose – these things matter greatly – but these not at all.  Are they not all just things in the end?

Must I also obsess about giving other people the very least in exchange for those things I want, when I insist on better treatment when others want things from me? Again, this seems to be a virtue – until (as we find) it isn’t.

There is a level of happiness that does not rely on things – but to deny the delight in a well crafted thing I think denies one of the best parts of our humanity.  Even prehistoric humans made adornments for themselves – toys  - as it were – useless except for the delight they brought.

Art – craft, even – these are things that I do not wish to see eliminated from life and to keep them in life, it means that things matter. For some of us – who take joy in a well crafted chair or car or loaf of bread they matter more, to others they matter less. The heart wants what it wants.  You seem to promote that while I am perfectly free to feel as I do, my feelings are somehow not valid.  You can tell me many things, but not how I should feel.

If I wanted things in the sense that I felt my life totally incomplete until I had - Just. This. One. Last. Thing - then things are not in their proper place in my life.  But I find pleasure in thinking about some day owning a thing that is useful and beautiful. I consume mindfully and never get the feeling of "well, now I have that - what is next?"  (Although I will admit to slowly building a collection of tools that get used on a regular basis.) Every new "toy" I get, I "play" with for a long, long time.  I know, more than most people, what I really need in terms of material goods.  Why would you even consider telling someone what they should do without?

So be careful how you speak because sometimes people pay attention to what you say.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Excellent, Pat. Simply excellent.

jcking's picture
jcking

It amazes me how a poster asks a question and a few responses later the thread goes arwy. I'm with you on developing some good formulas for the machine. As an aside earlier today, after reading this post, I used Reinharts formula for "Portuguese Sweet Bread" and put in in my Zo. The top crust was light yet it tasted fine.

Jim

proth5's picture
proth5

that the new Zo has a heating element on top so that the top browns better.

Although I am balancing priorities right now - the upcoming weather and now the challenge of the whole thing makes me consider that bread machine formula development is in my near future.  It feels like a good challenge with maybe some good timing.

Because we do one thing does not mean we cannot do another.  There is some humor to be found in taking grain that is ground on a hand turned mill and then putting it in a bread machine... :>)

The world is vast.  I understand many things, but I do not understand those who seek to make it small.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I have the Breadman Ultimate Plus that I got from Amazon just shy of three years ago.  It's less than half the price of the Zojirushi, and I could find no reason to spend more. While most of the denizens of TFL, including myself, prefer to be more hands on, the bread machine does a credible job of making bread. I used the Breadman for nearly two years (the machine impressed me with its reliability, baking twice a week for almost 100 weeks) before making the jump. Remember, you can choose to use a pre-ferment and do your own shaping and baking if you wish.  Sometimes I miss the convenience of measure, set, and forget until time to dump the finished bread onto the cooling rack.. :-)

cheers,

gary

Crider's picture
Crider

And based on the discussion here and my own observations, look at the second-hand stores and shop there for one for so little money, rather than going for a particular model. If it turns out to be a dud, you can always give it away and get another one or move into hand-made bread.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

You have 2 weeks to bake and see if it works like you want - or you can take it back to Goodwill.   They won't give you your money back but they will give you a gift card for the full amount that you use can use to try out another one until you do find the one right for you - or buy something else like the (2) brand new 4x4X18 Pullmans with lids that I let slip away for $1.99 each a couple of weeks ago when I was waiting to get them half off that price on half price Thursdays :-)  What a dummy!

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

What's interesting is the number of members who started out with bread machines and graduated to the more "esoteric" forms of making bread.  The argumentation over bread machines is somewhat similar to the discussions regarding mixers. I think it's healthy for the TFL community at large providing an entry point to bread that might not otherwise be tried. In short "any which way is good" as long as it sparks the curiosity to explore the wide options that this food category offers...,

Wild-Yeast 

Danalovescarbs's picture
Danalovescarbs

Wow!  Thanks everyone!  Believe me, if I didn't work and have lots of other things going on, I would be at home baking bread.  I agree - there is nothing better.  However, right now, I am just wanting my family to start their day with warm whole wheat bread (filled with wheat germ, oatmeal and flax seed) instead of eating white bagels or sweetened cereal.  My teenagers have LOVED the bread from the bread machine, and when a teenager will choose to eat something that is healthy, I make it readily available as much as possible!  I think I will go to goodwill today to check out the selection - that is a really good idea.  And then, if I am hooked, I might go for the more luxury item.  I must confess to everyone here that I am, in fact, LAZY.  I love shortcuts.  I like to sit on my screened porch with a glass of wine and visit with friends.  And now, I love the idea of putting my bread machine on the screened porch, instead of heating up my kitchen, and having all who walk by think that I am superwoman!!  :)  I really appreciate all the suggestions!  I look forward to more interaction with you on this forum!

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

I started making bread in a machine purchased at a yard sale, learned more and started using it only to knead. Never did like the shape of the machine loaf or the big hole from the paddle. Then I could make hot dog/burger buns, hoagie rolls, baguettes, bagels, english muffins, etc.

Sold the machine at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago since I hadn't used it at all in a couple of years. All my breads are now made either in my Bosch compact mixer or using just stretch and folds as described in Tartine Bread (and many other places). I am still fascinated and amazed at the gluten development I can get with just a few "turns". I use the mixer for stiffer doughs and when softer, fluffier crumb is desired.

Even if you really do end up using the machine regularly, I would recommend starting out with a used one. Then if you are happy with the limitations, go ahead and buy a cadillac.

By the way, if warm bread in the morning is important you have a couple of options. One is to re-heat or toast previously made items including bagels and engish muffins. The other is to use techniques that mix, rise and shape in the evening, proof in the fridge overnight and just take out and bake right away.

wayne

teefay's picture
teefay

There are many different kinds of bread machines withdiffetent settings as well.

I preferthe new Zojirushi bread machine but there are many other less expensive models that also works well such as the Panasonic bread makers.

This website has good info on the different bread machines.

Www.bestbreadmachinereviews.com

Hope that helps,

Tee

jcking's picture
jcking

The problem I see with bread machines, and I have one and use it on occasion, is the way recipes are written for them. Greater success can be achieved if one were to also purchase a decent scale and weigh the ingredients.

Jim

finman's picture
finman

Hi,

My personal favorite are "zo's" (Zojirushi). I own one and it works great. Although the zojirushi bread machine runs on the high side for price, you do get what you pay for. Zojirushi has a reputation for quality built machines.  Check out some of the bread machine reviews here.

Best of Luck In Your Search

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

for a used one.  I also have the Zojirushi, I love that you can program it to your own taste (so to speak). But, as someone here said, I, too, started out with the machine, now it sits ignored in a corner, but it is there in case I am in a hurry and can't spend the time I do on a "real" bread, grin...

anna

middlesexman's picture
middlesexman

Hello fellow dough-heads!

I read with interest the many posts here while I listen to my Panasonic SD-YD250 wind up another masterpiece. I have used it daily for the past 8 years and I am mostly happpy with what it does.

So that's 99% happy HOWEVER what annoys me greatly (so gee that's some 1%) is when at the end of the paddling part of the cycle the paddle haoppens to fall longways to the loaf and so spoils many piecs of bread from being (I use a rotary slicer to create even slices and make each loaf go a little bit further).

Can anyone point me to a machine where the manufacturer has though of this and on completion of the paddling part of the cycle parks the paddle perpendicular to the long edge of the loaf so only one or max 2 slices are affected? 

Kind regards.

Heartbelly's picture
Heartbelly

I'm new here and I too am looking for a bread machine that will last and is easy to clean. I bought a Breadman on sale (reg. $149.00 for $100.00) at Canadian Tire on impluse. I did not take it out of the box. My plan was to continue reading the reviews on Amazon. Yikes!  I've read many so many conflicting reviews so I came here for expert opinions. I will need to make gluten free bread and  diabetic recipes. Which brand number of the Zojirushi is the best? Any information will be gratefully appreciated.

sammarshall's picture
sammarshall

I bought an Oster bread machine 10 years ago. I am always attracted to things, buy them and never use them. I have used this Oster quite a bit over the last 10 years and never had a failure. The bread is better than store bought and it has given me lots of info on flours. yeasts etc. I have loads of recipe books for the bread machine and have never had a failure.  I have toyed around with baking bread from scratch but it never caught on. My father said I have the attention span of a gnat. The Oster is still reasonably priced and I highly rcommend it. Recipe book was included to get you started. I found I like recipes for bread machine from England very much.

bettyshere's picture
bettyshere

Bread machines make bread, but they are built to do so much more. My background: We just celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary so I've been cooking (mostly from scratch, including breads) for a long while. I'm on my second Sunbeam breadmaker, and it works mostly OK for yeast bread. But it has a really big flaw. The quick-bread cycle is just a miniature yeast bread cycle with several mixings and time for rising. Yeah right, since when do you let quick bread rise once, mix a second time, and let rise again?! So I figure there must be a machine that's smart enough to know you bake quick bread quickly, after the first mixing with no waiting around. Ah, you say, why use a machine for this? Why not the ol' fashioned way? Well, there's more than one reason to use a bread machine, only lightly touched on in the discussion threads. The biggest for me is the environment of my kitchen. We live in the desert near Tucson, AZ. We have no central heating/cooling. Either the room is very chilly in winter-- and where do you find a nice warm place to let yeast bread rise in a chilly kitchen? I used to put a pan with boiling hot water in the oven and put the dough in there. Or, when it's not winter, the ambient air is very hot (sometimes as much as 115 degrees just outside the west-facing door), so we have a window air conditioner blowing its little mind out, thus making cold drafts which is the same as the chilly room in winter. Another factor is that age creepith up whether we like it or not. Things are getting to be too heavy to handle. Elbows and shoulders do not take kindly to twirling spoons around. So why not take advantage of modern techology? That's a rhetorical question. Now my second Sunbeam is starting to make funny noises. After 9-10 years, it's to be expected. This second machine has a lousy book, doesn't tell you the timing of each setting. I will need to replace the machine. I'm looking for an intelligent machine with an intelligent manual. But, again that age thing, we're on a fixed income and so multi-hundred dollar machines are out of the question. I'd love some feedback from yo'all (or youse, another form of the plural for "you").

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I bought the Breadman TR2500BC Ultimate Plus nearly four years ago. While I have used it seldom of late, for the first two years, I baked twice a week. I think it does a great job, and is less than $100. at Amazon.

Regarding many of the negative reviews, most are due to operator error; the user simply failed to follow instructions, or mistreated the machine.

It is programmable, and the settings are saved. It would be trivial to have it mix and go straight to bake. This may not even be necessary, as there is a "batter bread" setting.

cheers,

gary

jannrn's picture
jannrn

I have been baking bread off and on for 35 years and let me tell you, as a single mom working full time, I was SO grateful for my first bread machine...a Toastmaster that would also churn butter! My girls LOVED waking up to fresh bread in the mornings! It also opened a new world to me where I could try breads I wouldn't have tried otherwise...bagels, English muffins etc.....Now, I have a Zojirushi...it is my 7th bread machine! I love the way it makes dough....it does it much better than I can...and since I have Fibromyalgia and Arthritis, I can still have the breads I love and are healthier for me and my husband, without the pain. There are alot of opinions here, and tons of help! If it helps you and helps you to get going in bread baking....Baby...jump right in!! I LOVE having mine! I also have 4 others....one will also make cakes, one jams and jellies, and they ALL do a great job on the dough! I am a travel nurse and am in Alaska right now....I went to the Salvation Army store and found a brand new looking Toastmaster (just like my first one but new!) for a whopping $5! The only thing it didn't have was a paddle which I found on Ebay for $10! I have 3 loaves to take to the hospital! It is very therapeutic for me and we LOVE it at work! You do what you need to do for you! I love that my breads have what I put in them....no funky ingredients that I can't even pronounce!! I say take the plunge! But before you buy one....go to Goodwill and the SA and see if you can find one there. If you like it....buy another if you want....if not...make it by hand. I also bought Bread Machine cookbooks by Donna Rathmell German that were GOLD for me! She explains the ingredients and have wonderful recipes! You can find those on Ebay as well!!

Good luck and Happy Baking!! Message me if I can help!!

Jannrn

sammarshall's picture
sammarshall

Unless you are really poor buy yourself a new bread machine from Amazon. Read the comments and draw your conclusions. Unless you are poorer than dirt this is not so expensive you have to forage for it. It will have a warranty, a return policy, etc. These machines by their very simple design last and last. I bought mine 12 years or more ago. I bake bread when I feel like it and I always  am satisfied with my product. The real fun with bread machines are the bread machine recipe books. I have many, from Basic Betty Crocker to British ones that are excellent. At 82 I have been doing the bread machine trick for a long time. All that time with my sweet little Oster machine. You might say I have a $50.00 machine and $400.00 in recipes for it. I hope I have helped your choices. There is just something so fulfilling about baking bread, no matter the method. Oh,  and the aroma.

BakerBrenda's picture
BakerBrenda

I agree Sammarshall re: Amzon as a great all around destination for looking at what's available in bread makers and of course, as a place to read over real user reviews. This is how I came to buy my Panasonic. Well, actually this helpful site eventually refered me to Amazon, but I also read stuff on her site because of her opinions on the matter. Here it is http://www.breadmachinereviewshq.com/. I hope you enjoy it.

mahhubbard's picture
mahhubbard

Hi guys I own a Zojirushi machine,  I paid too much for it, its the big double paddle Model.

But its been a fun learning adventure. I dont bake in it, I move the dough to the oven for that.

I have fun and enjoy the ease of the machine,  Just have fun Dana.

johnnylin's picture
johnnylin

my wife and I looked around for a while for a bread machine that we felt comfortable with, we read tons and tons of reviews online about what brand was the most durable and the highest quality.  We ended up finding this site http://www.squidoo.com/best-rated-bread-maker-machine-reviews so we were able to read about different brands what were able to decide on one.  We went with the west bend model, it's a little more expensive but we have loved it and it's been great so far!  I would definitely recommend a west bend bread maker.  

Bruce J's picture
Bruce J

I started off with a lower grade bread machine which was a present which I used until it broke down.  Then after looking I settled on the Zojirushu Bread Maker Supreme.  It cost a bit but it was a great choice.  It has two paddles and a larger loaf size than the cheaper models.  The Zo is a great choice it provides a high quality machine with a lot of capability.  The company also has an 800 number tech support actually answered by people to answer any questions including questions around baking.  It does have a long range timer so it will be a perfect choice for bread ready when you wake up.

 

Bruce J's picture
Bruce J

These replies seem to be devolving into a religious battle of sorts.  Either you are a purist and do everything by hand or you cop out and bake bread the wrong way.  It is not all about how much time it takes to bake the bread but the amount of time it takes the person.  Many people don't have the time to put into baking by hand.  However bread machines let them put stuff in and leave it.  How good the bread is reminds me of the audio battle.  MP3 may not be the very best, but it is good enough for most people.  The recipes supplied by the bread machine companies are lame so I always look for better ones. 

There is another important side, total knowledge.  I started in bread machines years ago.  It allowed me to start making bread and work toward better breads without needing to thoroughly understand baking.  Recently I have started to venture to making bread and bagels by hand.  However I doubt I would have attempted it if I hadn't gained the initial confidence using the machine.

Bread machines allowed people to recognize there is such a things called bread instead of the cardboard that is sold labeled "bread in super markets.

The Machine has it's place and it is an important one.  We should recognize that.  In fact I will go as far as saying the bread machine has played an important part toward the recent artisanal bread explosion so let's not knock it.  It helped us get where we are.

 

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Thanks, Bruce, for the terrific perspective. I got my start with a thrift store bread machine, and it was so fun! About a year and a half ago we ended up switching to a mixer and some  hand-kneading, but not before using a bread machine A LOT, mainly for kneading and rising, and being grateful for it. I have a goofy shoulder and know I couldn't make the bread I do without mechanical help of some sort most of the time.

We're in the midst of putting our house up on the market/decluttering, etc., so there hasn't been time for bread baking in the last couple of weeks. I miss it! I really am half tempted to buy another bread machine from the thrift store just to have quick and simple homemade bread in the house. :)

jannrn's picture
jannrn

Bruce I TOTALLY agree with what you have said. I used to make bread by hand....30+ years ago when I was single and didn't have any responsibilities to anyone but me....then I married, had children and cooked a few things from scratch, but with work, I couldn't do it all including being the main caretaker of mine and my (Thank you God) ex husbands daughters. So years after the divorce and I put myself through nursing school, one Christmas my precious daughters scraped together some money and with the help of my parents, bought my first machine. Oh My GOD what a difference it made for us! I now had control over the ingredients in our breads....not the fake stuff, flavorings and other chemical garbage in the breads sold commercially. We had fresh bread almost every day! It was WONDERFUL! With another failed marriage and a few moves, I found that waking the girls up to the smell of fresh bread became an important start to our new lives in a new place. It was HOME.....now, I am a grandmother and my passion for bread baking has not waned one iota....it has INCREASED! I make ALL of our breads....English Muffins, Sandwich bread, Hamburger and Hot Dog buns, Bagels, Cinnamon rolls.....ANYTHING I want to bake. And as you said....had it not been for that first Toastmaster, I probably wouldn't have been able to keep baking and make such an impact on my girls when we ALL needed it most. Now my oldest daughter bakes some for her 2 children...I made sure she had a machine because it is so hard to raise kids, work and go to school...and yes she is doing it mostly alone too...but her ex is very involved in the childrens lives. My grandson even loves to bake with me! There is something about home made breads....regardless of how they are made, that seem to be a thread in our homes, heritage and families! Whether it is a simple drop biscuit, or a huge pan of yeast rolls, the time we spend in the kitchen is the best part! I have so many memories of my daughters devouring my Peanut Butter and Jelly bread! My youngest is a proud Marine who also loves to be in the kitchen with me when I bake. It is family time....it is PRECIOUS time. 

I have arthritis and fibromyalgia now and kneading is difficult for me. I let the machine do it for me. Like a good friend, it has a prominent place in my home and I am proud to say I use it. The point is that my breads are MY breads....even with a little help.....and they are Home Made! I think this whole argument about whether it is totally hand made from sourdough or not is insane. WHO CARES how it is made....as long as it is made!

God Bless you all in your Bread Baking....it is a wonderful thing to do for yourselves and those you love!

JannRN

BakerBrenda's picture
BakerBrenda

I am also a RN (but was able to retire early as my husband sold his business and our kids are out of college!)...So I am filling this empty nest with the smell of bread. Yes, everyone seems to love their "Zo" but I swear by my Panasonic SD-YD250. Honestly, I have never had the need to try any other. Yes, who cares if it is not "totally" hand made. Jann, I also have mobility issues and I just don't buy into that like of thought. I suppose I could spend money tryingv other machines out, but why bother? My husband is very happy that I make our own dinner rolls! I am actually thinks of which bread machine to buy for my daughter's birthday -- which is how I found this post! I want to thank everyone who has posted here all these wonderful comments. I still have a few months, so I guess I will read some reviews online about some of these machines. Thanks everyone! ~ Brenda

Robert J's picture
Robert J

Folks,

I'm new to TFL and just started making bread a month or so ago.  Like many of you I am trying to get away from chemicals, GMO and other pollutants in my food.  To my surprise, I discovered my son loves to make bread and over the holidays we went crazy...  That said, he's looking for a bread maker for two reasons, 1) he rents and the oven in his house is horrible and 2) so is his air conditioning...  So I've started my search trying to find him a bread machine...  I'm now thinking it would be better just to buy him a decent oven in stead...  BTW, he's only got 50 amp service, so he has to unplug something to plug in an electrical appliance.  After reading all of your input on this subject and knowing that he loves to hand kneed his bread, I'm thinking I should re-focus and start looking for a new stove/oven...  I'd love your thoughts????

r/Bob

ichadwick's picture
ichadwick

I started out wanting a bread machine, then discovered the artisan bread trend, started making bread by hand, was having great fun... then I saw a Black and Decker machine (the 1.5/2 and 3 lb model) on sale at Canadian Tire. $49. So I bought it. Works fine, although the whole wheat cycle waits too long for the kneading cycle, I think.

I've only used it three times - with mixed results. But my real justification was to help make dough. My house is cool in winter (62F most of the day), and sometimes dough doesn't rise quickly (or well). I thought I could use the machine to improve that. Also, it easily makes the sort of sandwich bread my wife likes for lunches, so I thought I could use it for those loaves while I played around with the crusty artisan loaves I like.

Nothing wrong with owning one. Can't say much about brands, since this is my first in 20+ years.

MikeK's picture
MikeK

like this in your discussion folks :) I would just like to ask two questions here. I just started college and I'm interested in buying a decent (not very expensive :)) bread maker. I would like to ask if anyone used this machine and is it a good machine?

Also, I've seen here some threads like this regarding the quantity of yeast for a certain machine and this one regarding recipes for Panasonic machine. I mean, does every machine have its own recipes and what brand has the easiest recipes? :P What should I look for when buying a bread maker?

Homemadebread's picture
Homemadebread

Panasonic is absolutely the best machine except for the fact that the baking pan is lined with Teflon non stick finish. And this is considered to be very unhealthy. Beem, a German company, makes the only bread machine without this lining. They use Bio-lon a ceramic non stick coating that is not harmful. I miss my Panasonic but the BEEM bread machine is the only healthy choice today. And it makes good bread it just takes a little more practice.

embth's picture
embth

Used bread machines are readily available….and a good thing to look for.   I have one that has not been used for 20 years.  My kids had fun with it when they were in grade school.   They would add the ingredients and set the machine so that they woke up to the smell of fresh bread.  It got them moving and the little loaf did not last long!   By high school, my oldest was very good at hand making lovely braided breads.  The machine went to the storage room and stays there because it makes me smile at the memories of the kids measuring bread ingredients into it years ago.                                                                                                     I imagine you too will quickly tire of fishing the little paddle out of the bottom of the little square loaves and your bread machine will move to storage as well.  Playing with dough is lots of fun, surprisingly relaxing, and there are so many types of bread to make by hand….my quandary is always what should I try next.   So find a bargain machine if you can, and happy bread making….whatever the method.