The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

bread machine recommendation

flourgirl51's picture

bread machine recommendation

My daughter wants to make homemade bread but doesn't have the time to do it by hand. She wants a bread machine. As I don't use them I was wondering if there are any suggestions for a bread machine that she could use with whole grain flours that would rise nicely.

asegal0000's picture

I have been using the wolfgang puck, several months 4-7 times a week.

it has cycles for whole wheat,white,jam dough etc. It makes up to a 2 1/2 lb loaf.

(don't use recipes from included manual, get them online).

I think HSN has them for $49 now, a great buy.

They are refurbished, byut I have had NO problems with mine.

sphealey's picture

When it comes to bread machines there is the Zojirushi, and then there is everything else.  The Zos are built like tanks, they run forever, the 2-paddle machine makes a reasonably-shaped loaf, and Zo actually sells spare blades and buckets.  They cost 3x as much as other bread machines but you won't have to replace them every 18 months either. 

That said, while we generally make at least one loaf/week of soft sandwich bread in our Zo it is also true that soft bread is about all you can get from any breadmaker.  Much better soft bread than you can get at the store for a reasonable price, but still soft.  Making the dough in the breadmaker and baking it out in the oven is a good way to move toward more advanced breadmaking though.


leanna's picture

Would you be willing to share your soft sandwich bread with me?  I've been trying and just can't find one we like.  I have a Zo and usually bake mine in the oven in a pullman pan, but am not extremely happy with the flavor.



Janknitz's picture

They are great for the serious baker who will use it a good long time, but I wouldn't recommend it as an "entry level" machine, just because it costs so much. 

Starting with a  bread machine, one of several things will happen:

1)  Your daughter will love using the machine for all her bread baking needs (in which case it makes sense to move up to a Zo).

2)  Your daughter will love making dough in the machine but baking it in the oven (in which a Zo might be needed IF she is going to be making large quantities of dough or dough with a lot of special timing considerations that the Zo is best at handling).

3)  Your daughter will get the bread bug and move beyond a bread machine (in which case a Zo is too expensive to sit on a shelf and collect dust)

4)  Your daughter will get bored with bread making and the Zo will sit on the shelf.

I think it's best to buy an inexpensive machine and see which way things are going.  You/she can always invest in a Zo if you find it will be really useful over the long term.  But it's a lot to spend for an "entry level" machine. 

flourgirl51's picture

Thank you.. I am hoping that one day she will have the time to make bread by hand. She has a family of four so I think a machine that bakes a larger loaf would work well for her. She only eats whole grain breads though.

jannrn's picture

I have used a bread machine for almost 15 years and NONE of them are a Zo. I would love to have one but as was pointed out earlier, they are wicked expensive! I am just now looking into getting one!! I totally agree that for an entry level baker, a simple machine would be best. Most of them on the market now make up to 2 lb loaves and will easily handle whole grains. I almost NEVER use just plain white flour...I am always using whole and exotic grains. Trust me, she will love it!! Also, there are alot of great bread machine cookbooks and one of my favorite sets is the set written by Donna Rathmell German because she gives ALOT of information about ingredients and technique.

I hope this helps!!

dosidough's picture

Every point. I use my bread machine when I'm very busy, the temp in the house is really low in the am the machine keeps a constant temp for the 1st rise, or I'm busy with a sour dough but need a sandwich loaf as well. I have a Breadman Ultimate Plus but I hesitate to recommend this model. Like some of the reviews on it state the bucket can jump out of alignment and needs to be reseated. I can handle that but it just not good for a new baker. I understand their other models don't do this. I have heard good reports on other Breadman models as well as the Wolfgang Puck and Cuisinart. I always do the 2nd rise out of the machine and bake in the oven for a good loaf shape, no paddle indent, and a much better crust. That's my two cents on machines.

Important to your inquiry is my recommendation of Beatrice Ojankangas' excellent book "Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand" (Amazon..$13.57) The breads are great and each recipe has directions for making them by hand, in a stand mixer, or a bread machine. With these instructions she could easily move from one method to another.   [Then on to the worlds of sour dough and the artisanal vortex...LOL]

Whatever you choose, grab her hand and bring her on this bandwagon! She'll love it.

Bake on...




Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Bread baking and Woodworking is like falling into a vortex! Once bitten, there's no getting back out! I got into cooking after my wife passed in May, and haven't bought a loaf of bread or anything at the store that I can bake my self sense August. I just love getting the oven up to temperature and keeping it there all day with breads, cookies and cinnamon rolls coming out of it. Can be a little warm in the house though with the higher humidity and temperature at the usual 81* mark most days!The neighbors and friends just love MY new passion!!

tananaBrian's picture

We have a Zojirushi (sp?) and I have mixed feelings about it ...mostly due to cost.  We got it for free when a friend, who'd received it as a gift, never used it and then gave it to us.  My cost complaints are for the paddles and the mixing 'bowl'/baking pan (what do you call that thing?).  We go through a set of paddles each year and they cost $15 each ($30/set), plus shipping, to get them to Alaska.  The mixing bowl/baking pan is showing a little age now too.  3 years old and the teflon is wearing through.  They cost about $60 plus shipping to replace.  That means that in 3 years, we're talking about $150 in replacement parts, plus shipping.  Even with a free machine, I'm not so sure the economics are very sound, and while the bread that it produces is better than store-bought, it's nowhere near as good as the bread I make by hand.



knit1bake1's picture

Brian, why do you need to replace them? Just curious. I have a zo. I started with a Sunbeam (I bought it because the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book recommended a bread machine for better rising.) Both the first Sunbeam and its replacement several days later didn't work - I couldn't make the dough cycle work, and that's all I use. Because of the frustration, I then went ahead and bought a Zo. Sometimes I don't use it much, but lately I'm so busy I'm very glad to have the machine, as I can still make whole grain bread easily. I do always bake it off in the oven, though.

tananaBrian's picture

My wife (since I don't use any bread machine!) bakes about once a week on the average.  The paddles start out slippery (teflon) and work well, but the teflon gradually degrades.  After awhile, it becomes discolored and starts to get 'peely' looking.  About that time, it gets harder and harder to shake the loaf out of the pan and the paddles start tearing chunks of bread out rather than releasing and letting the bread come out unharmed.  In other words, the teflon on the paddles is good for about 50 bakings and then fails.  I would estimate that you only get 30-40 bakings out of them before they start performing more poorly, not letting the bread come out of the pan.  My wife feels the trade-off is worth it since she can just dump the ingredients in, walk away, and there is fresh bread waiting when you get home.  Oh, the bread sticks to the paddles whether you take the bread out right away, or if it sits in the pan for awhile.