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Does Anyone Have a Bread Maker?

I'm thinking about getting a bread maker...anyone have any feedback?
Can you get creative with them? Can you do a baguette? Bread flour readily available?
Is it worth it?

Thanks in advance for any information you can give me!

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  1. It depends on how often you will make bread. If it's only on rare occasions (like Thanksgiving) then I would not buy one. The cost/benefit ratio needs to be evaluated.

    You can get creative once you get used to the recipes, they aren't necessarily the same as a regular loaf.

    Bread flour is easily available in almost any grocery store. I've seen King Aurthur bread flour in Walmart.

    You cannot do a baguette... at least not a real one. A baguette is long skinny loaf of bread, not a square.

    9 Replies
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      I agree. If you are going to make bread often, I would go for the breadmaker. You can have it start so there's a nice fresh loaf in the morning. Ingredients are pretty available and there are a lot of varieties out there.

      1. re: bnemes3343

        Thanks for the info so far. I am guessing if I did have the breadmaker it would be on an every-other-day basis. Yeah--that was pretty dumb of me to think I could possibly do a baguette with some sort of attachment! CAN you get a decent crust on the breadmaker breads though? Perhaps a bread strong enough to withstand being on a panini maker?

        1. re: jarona

          I don't know about a panini maker, but I make a pretty good crusty loaf. As I said, I let the machine do the mixing and then I have a cple of those perforated pans that are specifically made for french or italian bread. I also have some old tiles that were leftover from a bathroom remodelling project that I line in the oven. Finally, I have a spritzer bottle of water that I hit the loaves and oven every 2 minutes for the first 10 minutes or so.

          The recipe I use starts with a "polish" and is pretty sticky. Need well floured board and hands to roll the shapes out.

          Perfect? no, but still pretty darn good with a nice crust and airy, chewy insides

          And, if you are doing bread every other day, I'd definitely spring for a machine. Fill it, set it and forget it. Four to five hours later, a really nice loaf!

          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

            Thanks FriedClamFanatic! I like the way you work. I also like that you use the breakmaker for mixing then do a bagette in the oven. Also--I had no idea that old bathroom tiles can be put in the oven. This is good--very good, as I live with a Frenchman who has gotten me into the habit of going into the grocery store and sniffing and squeezing every bagette until I find the one best-suited to his needs! He is very skeptical about my purchasing a bread maker--but I do think it would be fun!

            1. re: jarona

              If you like the way I work, wait until you see me dance! Seriously, if you have a French purist in the house, he will never be satisfied with the bread machine baguette. You really need a steam oven for that. But he should be happy about all the other amazing breads you can create quickly and easily with these things

              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                Hey. I'm the mother of a competitive Irish Dancer--I'll betcha you can dance:)
                Thanks for that last sentence. He does need his fix of bread--perhaps I can broaden his starchy horizons the way he's broadened my wino horizens!

                1. re: jarona

                  If you go to the King Arthur site and get one of their Hamburger pans, you can make some really exotic rolls for things like sandwiches as well as hamburgers. Try a cornmeal and molasses roll with sliced turkey, bacon and cranberry sauce!

      2. re: HaagenDazs

        We used to have one. My husband used it to create the most perfectly shaped, golden, fragrant bricks.

        Then one day the d@mn thing died while kneading a load of dough and DH had to finish the bread by hand. The hand finished bread was not perfectly shaped. It was also not a fragrant, golden bread shaped doorstop. It was glorious. It was the best household appliance death ever.

        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I use mine constantly. But not home during the day and love fresh bread for dinner. I use my own bread flour and yes you can get very creative.

          I have also made a baguette. Well the mix while I was at work. Came home put in on some parchment on my cookie sheet and presto. A nice baquette while I grilled chicken. Now .. it may not be perfect or a qualified recipe of what a true baguette was. But it was pretty good and none was left. For me. I'm gone alot during the day and like fresh bread. Yes could do the grocery store but the bread maker is more fun, can put some interesting ingredients in mine and it is fresh and cheaper.

          I love mine.

        2. Funny you should post this just now. As I'm typing, my loaves are on their second rising.

          I have two machines, both Zojirushi, judged the best just not by me but the folks over at King Arthur Flour.

          Mostly, I use the machine to mix. I like baguettes and Italian style loaves, so I let the machine do most of the work and then I shape and bake. But I do make a lot of sandwich type bread that i let the machine do the whole thing. Including a 100% whole wheat loaf. (What I do, is let it go through the first knead, then shut it off and start the whole process over)

          The Zoji's make really good bread, but as the folks said, if you don't make bread that often, they cost a lot upfront. When my 2 kids were home, I was making one or more loaves a week. Now it's more like 2-3 times a month.

          And I definitely recommend King Arthur BREAD flour for the machines. In fact, King Arthur has a catalog and website for all sorts of tips and goodies to add in to bread. it's KingArthurFlour dot com

          1. If I had more space and bread pans, I would use mine more. I got it as a gift and it works just great, but I don't like the large, square loaf sizes it makes. Most of the bread we buy and eat is artisanal and odd shaped with various ingredients so I find it would require not only me buying a bunch of things I don't have, but then stopping the cycle after the rising and before the baking has started to take the dough out and shape it and put it into some pans or on sheets or whatever. I don't have the time or space do to that so I rarely use the bread maker. But it does work great. I think if I was a conventional wheat or white eater, it would be very handy.

            1. I have a Zojirushi mini, which I LOVE. The French bread setting, which takes about 5 hours, gives you a very crusty bread that does hold up to my panini press. The other great thing about this machine is that it has a timer.

              If I want baguettes (husband is from Italy), I make the ones out of the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day -- fantastic and very, very easy.

              1. I used it more back when we didn't have an acceptable bakery around here, but still haul it out a couple times a month to make pizza dough.

                1. We got one as a wedding present. We used it a few times and stowed it. We ended up selling it at a garage sale. Which is a good place to look for one if you're just getting into it. You'll spend a lot less and if you don't like it, it's no big deal.


                  1. I have one and most of the time I use my stand mixer with the dough hook instead. I may break it out for the Thanksgiving rolls though since I'll probably be using the mixer for other things.

                    1. I have an old Zoji that I bought at a thrift store for less than $20. It has a dough cycle, so you can shape the dough anyway you want and bake it in the oven .. Mostly I use it for pizza dough and breadsticks. But it also comes in handy for loaf bread especially since I like heavier breads, rye-buckwheat-whole wheat with some bread flour for gluten, and adding seasonings, seeds, oats, etc. Also we've made marmalade in it (jam cycle) which is a snap.

                      1. In the "Baker's Catalog" King Arthur Flour says its test kitchen uses the Zojirushi mainly for kneading and proofing, not baking. Does a better job of kneading than the stand mixers. I used my Zoji at least once a week for six years and wouldn't be without it. But I don't think in all that time I've baked a dozen loafs of bread in it. When I first started I also bought a Baker's Couche, two covered porous clay bakers (oblong and round) and a Triple Baguette Pan. Tried each a couple times and stopped using them. Didn't see much difference in the crust with the bakers and always ended up with pieces of the crust sticking to the baker. All i do now is take the dough out after the final rise, punch it down, shape it, let it rise and pop it in the oven. Also use the machine as much for pizza dough as for bread.

                        For a chewy crust, I use King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour. For a bread like pizza crust, I substitute a quarter to half a cup of potato flakes in a 3 cups of flour pizza recipe (for that I use either KA bread machine flour or regular KA flour(.

                        1. I use ours a couple of times a week. I purchased a Breadman/Williams Sonoma model that can do a 2# loaf. It has a rectangular pan so the bread is more of a normal loaf shape. I dislike the odd round or square loafs some of the cheap breadmakers create.

                          I use the dough cycles quite a bit for pizza dough, focaccia, rolls and baguette. I have a baguette pan and use a recipe from a bread machine cook book. I can get a pretty decent "french" loaf baked in the breadmaker. It has a nice crisp crust and can hold up to being grilled. I have also made jam in our breadmaker and it turns out great. I have not tried the ketchup recipe yet.
                          It was well worth the purchase.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: blackpointyboots

                            I have the same machine. The ones with the rectangular 2# pan are worth the extra money. Mine also has a wide variety of settings. I have a french bread pan for use in the oven with unglazed tiles with machine made dough. Ours frequently gets used every day. We make sandwich bread, pizza dough, focaccia, quick bread, jam and ketchup. I am not thrilled with the over spiced ketchup recipes but the consistency is amazing. So I am working on a better spice blend. It was worth the money.

                          2. Probably not what you're craving, but if you just want a crusty loaf to go with dinner, nothing beats the simplicity of beer bread (and you mix it in the bread pan!)

                            All you have to do is remember the number 3:

                            Add 1 bottle of beer to 3 cups all-purp. flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 3 tbsp. sugar, 1 1/2 (that's 3 halves) tsp salt. Mix with whatever you've got handy and bake at 375˚ for about an hour. I like using McAuslan's Apricot Wheat Ale to get a nice little flavour in.

                            Oh yeah, grease the bread pan first.

                            1. I had this question from my boyfriend before... should we get a bread maker. Outright I said no. I said we should get a stand mixer instead. My parents had breadmakers and eventually after some use, it no longer was being used...

                              I got my stand mixer this last month and I've been using it a ton. A lot of breads and some not. I've made a free form French Loaf, demi-bagettes (just two of us in the home), a round loaf. This weekend I went on a limb and made Naan and baked it in my enamel cast-iron skillet. It turned out awesome.

                              I'd highly recommend a stand mixer instead. During Christmas you can also make cookies easier. I've done a quick banana bread in under 30 minutes using the stand mixer too. If you do tire daily bread, then at least you can be assured that your appliance won't be obsolete.

                              1. I'm in the camp of bread machine likers. We have been baking our "everyday" bread for 7-8 years, using the same $99 Black & Decker machine (talk about a good return on investment!). We bought it when we got fed up to pay $6 for a not-even-so-great loaf of organic bread. Now, we buy organic flours and make our own. For baguette, we rely on bakeries. Our usual is whole wheat with flax seeds, or whole wheat and buckwheat. Very hearty and wholesome, and great with nut butters. We make at least one loaf per week, and toast it because we like it that way. The bread goes stale quickly, so if you prefer untoasted bread, you should make smaller loaves or buns, or even consider freezing half of the bread so it does not go stale so quickly.

                                1. I use mine every so often to make brioche. A slice of that loaf straight out of the machine... heaven. Then for the next few days I have the most incredible toast, french toast, and sometimes bread pudding. Though I've played with that recipe a bunch (adding vanilla, cinnamon, berries, chocolate, messing with the butter/oil ratio), I don't think I've ever tried making any other kinds of bread. But even with just that one type made a few times a year it's totally worth the pantry space.

                                  1. What a bread maker will get you that nothing else will is warm cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast. We've had ours for 15+ years (I kind of wish it would break so I could get a fancier one.) We use it a lot for pizza dough too, and again, you can have it ready when you want because of the delayed start/timer. You can get creative with your add-ins, though you've still got to respect wet/dry proportions.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: turqmut

                                      15 years! Wow what is the make please?
                                      I bought mine at a garage sale and then it sat in the basement four about 4 years before I started using it. I use the dough cycle and then bake the dough in the oven after I shape it.
                                      I also use "Flour for Breadmachines" for the white flour part of my recipes.

                                      1. re: Smachnoho

                                        The ancient breadmaker is a Hitachi.

                                        1. re: turqmut

                                          I shall have to look for it. I also have a 25 year old Hitachi TV that is still going strong. I still have it because the colour is so good.

                                      2. re: turqmut

                                        Probably 12 years old Breadmann, I think. Still works great. Yes square loafs, but great bread. I make pizza dough too. I add chilis, herbs, flavors, I love the cinnimon raisin bread I made. Love to come home to homemade bread. Can't bet it. Getting home at work, single, a kid to feed, both of us hungry 7 pm, dog to take out, cats to feed, plants to water and laundry to do. Still want to eat healthy. A nice salad, some quick grilled chicken, fresh grilled fruits and hot bread and butter. Or a nice home made soup that reheats in 5 minutes. Sometimes you just got to do things the easy way.

                                        I love my mixer and love making homemade breads without the bread maker, but sometimes it really helps.

                                        I wouldn't trade mine for anything. Nothing like Cinnimon Raisin on a Sunday am, honey butter and a poached egg ... not on the toast on the side. Good coffee and the paper.

                                      3. If you get one buy the active dry yeast in bulk and not the individual 1/4 oz. active yeast packets. Smart & Final *(western states) is kind of like a restaurant supply place and they sell Red Star Active Dry Yeast in 2 pound bags. Its about $5 and will probably go out of date (you can use it for a while after the "best use" date) before you use it all, but you'll still save money. I've seen it sold in smaller 4 oz jars too at grocery stores, but the 2 pound bag is the most economical.

                                        My mother stopped buying bread since she got one years ago. She makes all kinds of breads with it. Her latest thing is adding preserves (that people give her as gifts) to the bread before baking it.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: monku

                                          If you get a breadmaker, make sure ot train yourself top remove the kneading paddle from a loaf after you take it out of the machine. I ahve been through about five machines, because I keep losing teh kneading paddle. Staring at a Black and Decker all in one, without a paddle. Threw the heel of the loaf out into the snow for the birds. Hope it will be there in the spring, cause Black and Decker doesn't respond for parts.

                                          1. re: Danybear

                                            Yeah. I have to admit, I went dumpster diving once when I accidentally threw out my paddle. A real dumpster - I'm not kidding. Yes, I climbed in and sifted through garbage.

                                            1. re: paraque

                                              My paddle got left behind in the divorce, and it just occurred to me to use the bread machine for foccacia dough a couple of weeks ago. The ex says he still has it, so I just need to get it from him.

                                              I used to make his very high fiber bread on a regular basis, and make dough for pizzas and calzones.

                                              With the cost of bread these days, I might go back to making my own for the SO and I.

                                        2. I like doing it by hand. You can get thoughs dough makers which just make the dough (and that's where most of the effort is).

                                          That said, the genius of an all-in-one breadmaker is that none of the stuff that makes bread goes off, so you could just make a small loaf for cheap whenever you need it

                                          1. I just inherited my grandmother's Breadman Ultimate and her copy of Beth Hensperger's The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. Whatever Bread Machine you end up getting, if you do, make sure you read the instructions! I love my bread machine and use it at least twice a week between breakfasts and sandwich breads. The dough cycle has made it easy to make my challah. Working from home, I'm trying to work without distractions and the kitchen is the biggest one. Playing with my new bread machine is a toy that is too much fun.
                                            I found Bread Flour at my local Publix and Sweetbay supermarkets.

                                            1. I recently brought my old breadmaker up from the basement. I forgot how wonderful bread smells when it is baking. Some days I just use it to make dough and then bake it in the oven. Other times, I let the machine do everything. The folks at KA flour claim that breads that are kneaded in a breadmaker rise higher and better than those kneaded by mixer or hand.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: BelleJo

                                                Unmentioned on this thread is the bread machine's ability to help control the rise. My huge wonderful kitchen windows in winter let a lot of cold air radiate inward.
                                                The bread machine's heat cotrolled rise uses a lot less energy than heating the kitchen. (The refrigerator and water heater raising locations don't really work because both are better insulated than their predecessors were forty years ago.)

                                              2. I've never used one and wouldn't get one. I bake bread. I love bread. I'm sorry to say that the bread I've had from friends with bread machines is universally terrible.

                                                1. I talked to someone yesterday who said that they'd been looking for one for a friend who wanted one, and was having a terrible time finding them in the stores. She was told that they just aren't being made any more. I wasn't near a computer at the time to verify it, though.

                                                  1. Jarona,
                                                    You can get very creative when it comes to the different breads you make. Making holiday themed bread is my favorite. You can combine your favorite holiday flavors with the bread dough and produce your own new bread flavor. These are great for little Christmas gifts to your friends and family. The bread flour is usually available at the local grocery stores like Walmart and Publix. It can definitely be worth it if you buy a lot of bread on a regular basis. If you like trying different types of bread and find yourself buying it normally. You can buy the ingredients in bulk usually and store them in your kitchen and use them when you need to make some bread.
                                                    Hope this helps!