Bread Machines - the good, the bad, and the ugly

OK, folks … I’d love to hear all opinions (good, bad, and ugly, just as the title says) on bread machines.

*]Do they work well (or at least, turn out a halfway decent loaf of bread)? Or do you end up with half-burnt, half-soggy lumps of dough? :banghead:

*]Are they an absolute ‘bear’ to clean? :eek:

*]Are there certain brands/models that you’d recommend (or, that you’d recommend I stay away from? ;))

I was given a gift certificate at work and I’m thinking of using it to buy one of these … if they’re not more trouble than they’re worth, which is my big worry. :hmmm:

Please share as much as you’d like … I’m all ears! :smiley:

My wife and I have two breadmakers. Those machines ROCK! My wife uses them to make pizza dough, wholewheat bread using wholewheat flower, garlic bread, sourdough, cheesebread, cinnamon rolls, you name it. We only use it here and there. Why? Because the bread is TEN times better than normal bread and it’s addictive it’s so good!

My wife was using it recently and I told her, “you know, when Jesus says man cannot live on bread alone? This is one time I have to disagree with Our Lord. This stuff is addictive!” :stuck_out_tongue:

With the ingredients put in, all together, a loaf is SO CHEAP to make and over time you will save a lot of money with a bread machine. Our breadmaker is a Sunbeam. Love it! we have a recipe book for it and every kind of bread known to man…good stuff!

Thanks, GH, sounds great! :slight_smile:

One question though: how difficult are they to disassemble and clean?

Well, I had one years ago and tried this and that and always wound up having a great looking loaf on the outside… but when you got to the middle of it… it was still a lump that looked more like play doh!

I had had it with the machine, that found a nice place to collect dust on a shelf in the garage until it was donated years later. I turned to making bread by hand. Yes… like the old fashioned way. Flour, yeast, salt, sugar and oil. I read and made so much of it my family couldn’t keep up. I was making up my own recipes and slinging together all kind of soups to go along with them. Then it happened! I blew out my wrists from so much kneading. Well after a couple of months of “just store bread” I got the OK from my “banker” to buy a food processor. WOW! With the plastic dough blade you can knead a whole loaf of bread in 60 seconds!!!

Well… long story short… I love making bread. You can’t get that artisan look or crunchy crust with all the great airy holes throughout with a machine.

I’m glad mine didn’t work out cause I would never have discovered that I have a talent for bread and I love making it for friends and family. (and I did get an 11 cup kitchen aid food processor out of it too :D)

If you have trouble making a loaf give me a PM and I’d be glad to help if I can.



LOVE my Zojirushi. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. Unique features are the longer shaped bread pan than most others - still not the same shape as what you’d use to bake in the oven, but a much better shape than the others. The other feature is that it has 2 paddles. Mixes very thoroughly. They’re also small paddles, so the impression doesn’t go as far up the bread as some bigger paddles do. It also has 3 custom settings, so you can tweak the process.

Even with the great machine, I still prefer to bake the bread in the oven. I just want a loaf that doesn’t have any paddle impressions and that is shaped well for sandwiches. I also like having control over the baking temperature, which you don’t have when it bakes in the machine. So I usually use a dough setting - either the pre-made one for Italian, or a custom setting for whole-wheat dough.

The only other bread machine I’ve used worked terribly - but I don’t remember what kind it was. So I don’t have much to go on for comparison. But if I had to buy another one, I would definitely get another Zojirushi.

Oh and the cleaning…mine (zojirushi) is very easy to clean. the paddles and the baking pan are non-stick, so it doesn’t require any scrubbing. There’s not really anything stuck to the pan, sometimes just some gooey dough on the paddles or the paddle shafts. I usually just fill the pan with soapy water, and let it soak for a few minutes and then wipe it down. Really simple.

Wow, Paul, I would never have thought of using a food processor to knead dough … pure genius! :thumbsup: I’ll keep that in mind … a food processor would be a lot more versatile, too.

Thanks for a great post! :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the info, TKC. :slight_smile: I knew that Zojirushi makes excellent quality rice cookers, but I didn’t know that they also make bread machines.

Those were good points about the shape and the lack of flexibility in temperature settings and such. Thanks very much! :slight_smile:

Our neighbor gave us a bread machine, and we wore it out! We would put in the ingredients and take out the dough and bake it shaped like baguettes because the loaf from the machine would only last a few minutes!

I would use a food processor, but our budget wouldn’t handle one of the strength we would need to knead dough.

The bread machine cleaned up very easily–I actually let the leftover dough dry then just scraped it out with my fingers before washing it. But the couple of times that I let the dough rise too long and it went over the sides… disaster!!! But not catastrophic.

I would totally recommend one–you save a lot of money on bread, and the bread is soooo much better.

They’re a joke easy to clean, seriously. The bread doesn’t stick in the slightest. It comes clean out and the paddle, too. It’s a five minute wash job. Total joke. Non-stick metal.

Bread machines are great to use and clean. I’ve been through 3 machines since 1983 as I bake bread every alternate day. The one I’m currently using has 12 settings for various types of bread including bread or fruit cake baked with baking powder etc. The nice thing about a bread machine is that most come with timers, so on waking up, there’s a beautiful warm bread ready in a fragrant kitchen. Most of the time ‘flops’ happen as a result of not following instructions to the T. The more often the machine is use the better it bakes. Also, living in Africa, I had to make a few adjustments to the type of flower used as well as the amount of water used because the climate is different to that in The USA.

I have a Breadman, love it. I still make bread by hand but those lazy days or busy days the breadmaker comes in very handy. It has a delay feature so I can put in the ingredients set the timer and the bread kneads and bakes for the time I specify. So I can set it at night and have bread hot and fresh when I get up in the morning. Bread can be made light, medium and dark. It does pasta, jams (never used that feature), gluten free, whole wheat, just dough (to be bake a regular oven). It is a wonderful invention.

Words of advice -
They come in different sizes 1lb, 1.5, 2 and 3. Some come with varying sizes available, know which size works for you. If you have a family you might want to make sure the one you buy can do 3lbs.

Features, I have no idea how many different features are available but it would be a good idea to know what basic features you need and start there, don’t be distracted by the extra fancy ones. I almost was.

I have an Oster, and have generally been happy with the bread I get from it. I don’t use it as much as I’d like, as it takes up counterspace which isn’t always available.

The biggest problem I’ve had is that the temperature of the ingredients matters so much. We store the yeast in the fridge, so it needs to warm up before we can make anything, and getting water the right temperature to activate the yeast without killing it can be tricky. I think it gets easier the more you do it. When I get it right, the bread is good and we finish it off quickly. The crust is a little different consistancy than with the oven, but still better than store-bought. I usually use the time-bake feature, which is really handy!

I love my bread machine, it’a a Black & Decker that I have had for about 12 years now. It is very easy to use and to clean. Most of the time I use it on the dough setting and divide the dough into 2 smaller loafs that I cook in the oven. I do this becasue the bread machine I have makes a large square 2 lbs. loaf of bread and I personally prefer the smaller loafs. When I do let the bread machine do all the work the bread comes out great. It is completely cooked, has a great taste and texture.

I also use the bread machine for making dough for rolls and desert breads (like cinamon rolls). I have also made some awesome pizza dough in it.

To clean my bread machine I simply take the internal pan and mixing padle out and put them in the dishwasher (though they are also easy to hand wash) and I just wipe down the outer case as needed with a sponge. It really doesn’t make a mess at all, it is probably the easiest kitchen applicance to clean of any I have ever had.

I haven’t had this problem, my bread machine starts every cycle with a “pre-heat” time, the first 20 minutes of every cycle is the machine heating up the milk/water and other ingredients to the correct temperature. The manufacturer recommends that we add the yeast as the very last ingredient and not to dissolve it in water first, I have never had any problems with my bread not rising or over rising.

The other thing I love about my black & Decker bread machine is that it has about 8 different bread type settings and a dough setting and 2 different crust settings (light or dark). It also has the timer, so I can set it to have bread ready at a specific time.

Another vote for Zojirushi. I make gluten-free bread in mine and I LOVE IT. Gave me the ability to send fresh sandwiches to school with my kids, something most moms take for granted. You can use it to make meatloaf, jams, and “cakes” or quick breads.

They are workhorses and last forever. A very strong brand.

I’ve had an Oster bread machine for about 15 years. Generally, I never use the bread machine to actually bake the bread. Rather, after the first rise, I transfer the dough to long, smallish bread pans (which makes a more appealing loaf, than the brick-ish shaped ones that come out of my pyrex loaf pan).

Ten years after buying the bread machine I’ve gotten a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. At some point very soon I plan to see if my stand mixer will really knead bread dough as well as I’ve heard it should. If it does, I’m getting rid of my bread machine. They take up far too much space.

In the order of countertop appliances, I’d buy (first) a stand mixer with metal gears/motor, second, a good quality large food processor, and last, a bread machine. They just are not versatile. If I give my bread machine away, I’ll have somewhere to put a food processor.

In general, when we have homemade bread around the house, it gets eaten really fast. I have very mixed feelings about refined carbohydrates, so I try to reserve homemade bread for special occasions. I have not tried baking whole grain or multi-grain bread, which would be far healthier than what I usually bake.

I think homemade bread is beautiful and it is indeed a good talent to create artisan type breads. Yum!

We have a Toastmaster and love it. Easy to use, easy to clean. I use it to bake bread and to make dough.

I have the Zojirushi, too, & love it but recently after a move, the bread doesn’t rise properly.Different water supply maybe or something happened to the machine during unpacking? I’ve tried changing yeasts, too but no luck.
Anyway, prior to moving, it was a great bread maker but bread baked in the oven still works better overall.(If I had time to do that, which I don’t.)

There is NOTHING (except for new car smell) that can beat the bread machine smell, baby! :smiley:

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