Our Buyer’s Guide – all you ever need to know about buying a bread maker!
It isn’t exactly one of the most difficult decisions you‘ll ever have to make, but there are still many factors to take into account when you’re looking to purchase a breadmaker. We’ll start with one of the most important ones – size.
For several reasons.
When talking about bread makers, it’s best to think about size in two ways; the size of the machine itself, and the size of the finished product.
First, the size of the machine itself. As well as being indicative of the size of the final, baked loaf, the size of the machine is going to affect whereabouts you place it in your kitchen. When buying a machine, think about if you’re going to be storing it in a cupboard, or underneath/ on top of something.
It’s also important to consider what size you want the size of the finished product to be. When shopping for a machine, looking at the pan size is the best way to determine the final size of your baked loaf.
Most machines will state the weight of the finished product also, so keep an eye out for things such as “1.0lb loaf” when shopping. Some machines may offer you the option to make different sized loafs.
To make it easier to relate weight and size, a 1lb loaf will give you eight slices of bread on average, while a 2.5lb loaf will give you 20 slices.
So how do I choose? If you’re the head of a family, or live with several other people who’ll be eating the finished product, it would be best to opt for a machine that can make larger loaves. If it’s you alone that’s going to be eating the finished product, or your family doesn’t eat a lot of bread, look down the smaller end of the scale.
What features do you want?
Some bread makers come with stand-out features that set them apart from other machines.
Here are some of the most common ones, and why they might be of benefit to you;
- Viewing window- as well as having novelty value, a viewing window on a bread machine gives you a visual indicator of how well your bread is coming along – eliminating the need for you to keep opening the machine, which can cause the inside of the bread maker to lose the temperature needed to bake your bread correctly.
- The ability to produce different types of bread– this is preferably what you want from a breadmaker. Even if you don’t live with other people who may each prefer a different type of bread to the other, it’s still nice to have some choice. Some machines are only able to make your average, run-of-the-mill (pardon the pun) loaves of bread, while others are pre-programmed to make everything from seeded loaves to gluten-free bread. Ultimately, it all comes down to if you’re going to be baking for other people. This feature is ideal if you’re planning on purchasing a maker for a commercial environment, if you’re part of a large household, or if you just really love bread.
- Dough cycle– some machines give you the option to just mix the dough needed, as opposed to baking it afterwards also. This is ideal if you enjoy making your own pizza or rolls, as you simply need to shape the dough by hand to be baked in the oven afterwards.
- Crust control– crust control allows you to decide how dark or light you’d like the crust of the bread, regardless of baking time. This is ideal if you have children (or adults!) that are fussy about the crusts on their bread.
- Delay timers– delay timers allow you to determine when you’d like your bread to be baked for at the click of a button. For example, if you want your bread made fresh for in the morning, all you would have to do is place all of the ingredients in the machine at night, choose this option, and then you’d be all set.
Delay timers are a great feature to look for if you tend to have bread on a morning, or if you’ll be using it in a business that requires you to have fresh bread every day.
- Dispensers– some bread makers come with dispensers which will automatically add the right amount of a certain ingredient to your bread as the dough is being mixed. For example, if a recipe required you to add an amount of nuts/seeds/fruit to your dough, all you would have to do is place the ingredients in the dispenser and then let the machine do the work.
These are just a few things to keep an eye out for, though. Some machines may come with all of the above features, or none at all. The machine you choose ultimately comes down to your individual needs and requirements, or your businesses needs and requirements. Which reminds us…
Where is your machine being used?
If your machine is being used at home, you pretty much have free reign over what features you look for on your machine, and what machine you end up buying. If you’re buying one to use in a commercial setting, there are several other things you’ll have to consider because, at the end of the day, you have to place your customer’s needs above your own.
If this is the case for you, here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping;
- You have to bake for a wider audience– it’s likely that you’ll have to bake different types of bread if you’re purchasing a machine for a commercial setting. Opt for a machine that has the ability to produce different types of bread, has a dispenser, or has the option to perform a dough cycle.
- Allergies and intolerances– if you work in a cafe or restaurant, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter customers who are allergic or intolerant to nuts or gluten, for example. You may find it a wise option to purchase two machines to avoid cross contamination.
- Delay timers– it’s important to remember that bread without preservatives in it, I.E. bread made in a bread maker, is going to go off much, much quicker. If you’re purchasing your machine for somewhere that requires a near-constant source of fresh bread, I.E. a cafe or restaurant, a machine with a delay timer may come in handy. This way, you can set the machine to bake the bread for a certain time to avoid any waste.
It’s a lot to think about, we know; but we’re nearly done!
The last thing you’ll probably want to think about is price.
How much are you willing to spend?
A good breadmaker can cost you anything between £50 and £250. How much you spend depends on your personal budget, how much you plan to use your bread maker, and what features you would like it to have.
We say that the more you plan to use your maker, the more you should spend. The more features you’re after, again, expect to spend more.
Last but not least…
If you’re still struggling to choose a bread maker, we recommend getting in touch with us. We’re a team of bread maker/ bread making experts, and will help you to find the right one in a flash.
Alternatively, if you know what you’re looking for, why not try reading our reviews? You could be a click or two away from owning one of the top bread makers in the UK…