How to Make the Most of Your Bread Maker

Hand-kneaded dough has a certain romantic appeal, but the electric bread maker is a kitchen star that’s on the rise! The debate of artisan crafts versus machine making, tradition versus convenience, is an old one. Let’s look at what really sets these two bread-making techniques apart and review the best bread makers for budding bakers.

Bread Makers vs Handmade Bread

While one baking method involves getting hands-on and floury faced, the other needs only light touch involvement. With the press of a few buttons, you can have fresh, warm bread ready in time for lunch. All you need to do is add your ingredients into the machine and the bread maker will take care of the rest. Voilà, a golden bread loaf will emerge!

You can compare the two techniques here, in our guide to making bread. Even if you’re a complete novice and starting from scratch, our recipes, tips and bread machines will make it easy.

Making bread by hand can provide a more intimate and tactile experience, but how often do you do it? With a bread maker, the idea of rustling up a loaf won’t be such a commitment of time – or fuel. Bread makers are more energy efficient than ovens, so you won’t be racking up a bill as you experiment with new recipes. You’ll be much more likely to try different types of bread and have lots of new taste experiences!

Are Bread Makers Worth It?

‘Bread’ is a small word for such a huge variety of delights! Whether yours is a pre-sliced supermarket grab or you splash out on a more artisanal loaf, making your own bread will be a gamechanger.

The simplicity of bread makers is what makes them so appealing. There’s no need to mix messy ingredients, clean up multiple utensils or ferry the dough around from the airing cupboard to the oven. It’s all contained in one neat box, and takes only a few hours to prove and cook.

What makes bread machines really worth trying are the culinary possibilities they offer. Yes, you can enjoy the soft buttery bite of fresh bread, but did you know you can also make authentic pasta dough, indulgent cakes and even jam? We thought not! There’s a lot to explore beyond the loaf we know and love.

With tailorable recipes and a lower price tag than bougie bakery alternatives, bread makers are a very worthwhile additional the kitchen. Plus, the satisfaction of knowing you crafted that perfect loaf yourself is simply unbeatable – the best thing since sliced bread!

The Benefits of Homemade Bread

fig and walnut bread

We’re all becoming more conscious of how processed our foods are. When you make your own bread, you can keep track of your ingredients and be more confident in its nutritional value. That means healthier, more filling lunches for you and the family. Make a humble sandwich hearty with protein-packed walnut bread, or go for a kefir loaf that’ll keep your gut happy.

The best bread makers will give you an opportunity to get on the baking hype that you wouldn’t ordinarily have time for. Don’t be daunted by the sourdough starter, or have to host a brunch without homemade banana bread – all these gluten-goodies are now in reach! And, for celiac bakers and diners, it’s never been easier to produce delicious gluten-free alternatives. No one has to miss out.

Almost everything you create in your bread maker can be enjoyed fresh or frozen for another day. You can freeze loaves, cakes and even your sourdough starters. We recommend slicing bread and whole cakes beforehand so you can defrost them one portion at a time.

Which is the Best Bread Maker?

Did you know some bread makers have up to 32 pre-set programmes for you to choose from? One device can offer you a world of doughy possibilities, so there’s no need to limit yourself to a bog-standard bloomer. But, if that sounds like too much, we’ve also models that take things back to baking basics.

Let’s start simple. If you’re looking for a compact bread machine to rustle up some fluffy loaves then check out the Lakeland White Compact 1lb Daily Loaf Bread Maker. Designed to fit easily onto even the busiest of kitchen worktops, this model is small bit mighty. With the easy-to-use tactile buttons, you can use the delay start feature to control exactly when you want your bread to be ready! Imagine coming home or waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread…

Of course, it’s always possible to go more compact. For small kitchens with limited storage space, the Remoska Tria 3-in-1 Oven-to-Table Electric Cooker can tick a lot of boxes. You can bake, roast and grill on your hob, and keep an eye on how your bread or cake is doing through the clear glass lid. It’s another low energy alternative to oven baking and is compact enough to enable you to take your bread baking skills on the road!

At the more technical end of the scale, we have Panasonic’s Gunmetal Grey Automatic Breadmaker. With an impressive 32 pre-set programmes, you can create treats ranging from tangy sourdough to sweet brioche and even jams and cakes!

For more control over the size of your bread loaves, the Lakeland Bread Maker Plus is the perfect option. It has 15 easy to use programs and a delayed start timer. With 3 loaf size options, you can select between 500g, 750g and 1kg bread loaves.

If you want a bit more creative control, then you can use the Panasonic bread maker to support in only one or two parts of the process. There are settings for mixing, kneading, proving and even fermenting when making sourdough. That’ll leave you to have fun with shaping, baking and eating! Just make sure you’ve got suitable loaf tins and proving baskets to hand. We’ve got all the bread baking equipment and accessories you could wish for.

How Do You make Bread in A Bread Maker?

Making bread in a bread maker is gloriously easy. With just a few simple steps, you can enjoy fresh, homemade bread whenever the craving strikes – no knead for mess or stress!

First, gather your ingredients. With our bread making recipes, there’s scope to experiment beyond just flour, yeast, water, salt, and sugar. You can throw in nuts, dried fruit or cheese. All you need to do is measure things out according to the instructions you’re following and plonk everything into the bread maker’s pan. It’ll be mixed, kneaded and baked before your eyes!

Many of our machines, such as Panasonic bread makers and Lakeland models, come with instruction guides that feature starter recipes and baking hints and tips. You can use this as your jumping off point into the world of bread baking.

Once everything is in the bread maker, select your desired setting. Then, sit back and relax as your bread maker works its magic. Models like the Lakeland Touchscreen Bread Maker and More have a viewing window on the top so you can check on the progress of your bread.

When the timer goes off, carefully remove your freshly baked loaf from the machine. Many machines will keep your bread warm for up to 60 minutes after it’s finished baking, so if you’re running late, you can still enjoy the full experience.

slow cooked cranberry rosemary soda bread

Bread Recipes

You can explore our top tried-and-tested bread recipes at your own pace. Once you’re comfortable with the basics of how to make bread, here are a few other ideas to enjoy:

Slow-cooked Cranberry & Rosemary Soda Bread – This festive version of soda bread will look the part on your table spread, and tastes great served with cheese!

Focaccia with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes & Rosemary – Feast your senses on this fabulous focaccia, which takes its inspiration from the Italian tricolore.

Soda Bread Farls with Bacon – Use your freshly made soda bread absorb the salty tang of bacon – the breakfast of dreams.