HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Breadmaking machines ?

Am considering purchasing a SMALL one,counter space very limited.

Anyone have experience with this,any recs? pros & cons?
Is it really easier,how about the taste and consistency of the bread?

Any info greatly appreciated*

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. In my experience, the small ones aren't much good. I had a small one (don't remember the brand but it was supposed to be good) and it made very tasty but very dense loaves, regardless of the order of ingredients or what kind of yeast/flour you used.

    You might be better of with a good mixer (Kitchenaid with a good sized motor) and a good breadmaking book if you're very limited for space.

    1. Can you say what you want from a bread machine? What kinds of bread do you wish to make? Is a cooking timer function and your own home schedule crucial?

      1. We got one as a wedding present. Used it a few times then sold it in a garage sale. One of the more useless gadgets I've ever owned. The bread was fine but had no shelf life. Fine also wasn't good enough. Clean up was a bit of a pain too.

        All in all, my advice is to buy a loaf pan and some yeast.

        DT

        1. Thanks to all for input.
          After researching sizes,prices and most important-reviews----
          I think I will try my hand(no pun intended)at bread making the
          old fashioned way.
          Thanks again!

          1 Reply
          1. re: grangie angie

            Yes, unless you need the timer function or really just hate baking, it's better to go old school. That said, I have a bread machine and sometimes use it for kneading alone (I don't have a stand mixer). Then there's also no-knead bread approaches, if you have a good, tight-lidded pot.

          2. I don't have a bread machine, but I did look into one recently. I have done my bread by hand for years and will probably stick to this method for the time being. Maybe I will get a kitchen aid mixer one day to help out.

            Anyhow, I was going to buy/use the Zojirushi machine to prep the bread dough and then bake it myself. It is kind of a nice hybrid approach that gives you more control.

            The people at King Arthur Flower are also pretty helpful when troubleshooting this brand of bread machine. You can read reviews and post on their site questions, and they will help out to improve the product.

            Zoj also has a mini version (Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery Mini Breadmaker). I didn't research this, but it is a smaller version and also seems to get good reviews at King Arthur.

            1. I have a Kitchenaid mixer and a bread machine. The Kitchenaid mixer is fine for a day when I have all sorts of time to mix dough and watch over it. There are a couple of multigrain bread recipes that turn out better when done in the Kitchenaid. However, I'm often very, very busy and love measuring things into the bread machine and walking away until it beeps to tell me the dough is ready to put into pans. Much more convenient!
              I didn't know if I really wanted a bread machine or not, so I got one at Goodwill for under $10. It was a small one and did an ok job. I traded up to a Panasonic Y250 when I found a used one on Craigslist that was a good buy. It does a better job on whole grain doughs, but I still prefer to use it for dough only and bake the bread loaves in my regular oven.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lotsofscots

                Thanks again to all for more info.Craig's List a good idea,will
                look into it.

              2. I have been using a bread machine for at least 20 years. And, amazingly, I've had the same National (not sold anymore) for 19 of them. I use it all the time even tho I have rarely let it do the shaping and baking for the last 12 years or so.

                The reason I replaced the first year-old machine is because it was too small. I'd recommend something that will do at least a 1-pound loaf. 1 1/2-pounds is really much better. My "three cups of flour" machine will do a 6 cup recipe at the holidays so long I keep the top open, monitor its creating geysers from flour and don't use it for the rise. Having it turn out a whomping amount of dough for gifts is a godsend at that busy time of year! I also recommend one that will do a conventional rectangular loaf. When my 20yo machine broke down during the era when there were only chimney-shaped machines on the market I paid a fortune to have it rebuilt from the motherboard up. I'd do it again if I had to! That machine has earned back every dollar I spent on it from purchase to that single repair.

                One other thought about going big instead of small is there's no reason a bread machine has to take up space on your counter. They're not heavy so lifting them up to a counter or down from a shelf is no biggie.

                If I were buying again -- given that National no longer makes a machine (they were bought out by one of the big electronics firms but I can't remember which now) -- I'd get the Zojirushi that King Arthur recommends. There aren't many more knowledgeable about bread making or more devoted to expanding the art to American kitchens than King Arthur. You can't go wrong with their advise.

                1. Oops! Forgot the taste and consistency question.

                  In my opinion you will get the best "homemade" taste and consistency by shaping and baking yourself. Modern machines have all kinds of options now but it's still not the same as hand shaped and baked on a stone or in an enclosed hot pot (a la Jim Lahey's no knead method). That is, unless you want a conventional sandwich or toasting loaf -- those the bread machine do just fine and even on a remote delayed time basis. Nevertheless, even if shaping and baking by hand require some of your time, they don't require much after the machine has done the mixing, kneading and autolysing for you. And then you get the exceptional taste, crumb and crust of artisinal hearth bread. ...and I say that as someone who has been baking bread for 40 years and is equally at home with doughs made by hand, with a stand mixer, by the no knead method, with and without pre-ferments (which you can also do in a bread machine), with Peter Reinharts epoxy method and automatically with the bread machine. Bottom line: I wouldn't want to always have to use a bread machine and I wouldn't want to be without one.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rainey

                    Thank you rainey for much info,perhaps I will re-consider.I get the King Arthur catalogues
                    and will look at one's they offer.

                  2. Hi, I know I'm late to the game but I just saw this post and in case you (or anybody else) are reading this, I wanted to give my recommendation. I used my parents old Black & Decker machine years ago and I hated it--all the bread came out like heavy, dense bricks. It turned me off bread machines for years. However, I just picked up a Zojirushi Mini 1-lb breadmaker a couple of days ago, and I LOVE it. I've made 2 loaves of bread and 1 banana nut cake in it. All the loaves have come out wonderfully, and the bread tastes better than anything I can find in the store. It's very easy to use, I can just "set it and forget it", and have it automatically bake bread for the morning. Also, I really enjoy the small footprint of the machine, which will be great in my small kitchen in my next place (basement apartment). Plus, the loaves are nice and small, which is perfect for a single like me or for a small family; although the machine makes vertical loaves, since they are small 1lb loaves, they aren't awkwardly shaped like the tall horizontal ones (that are no good for regular sandwiches IMO).

                    The only "downside" is the cost of the machine, but, frankly, I would much rather have a quality machine than something cheap and useless like the B&D machine.

                    Best of luck!

                     
                     
                     
                    1 Reply
                    1. re: staub

                      I've got the big Zojirushi. I'd like to try to make baguettes (let it make the dough and the bake in the oven) but the last time I tried that, I mishandled it somehow and the loaves went all flat and came out like bats.

                      Even the dog wouldn't eat it. I do ok at most things, but bread and pies seem to be my nemesis.

                    2. We got one years ago, mostly because my SIL raved about hers. We used it a few times and then stopped eating bread. We didn't want to actually buy bread because we had a big jar of yeast, bread flour and a big box of dry milk that was needed for the recipe. But we didn't actually go to the effort of making the bread in the machine so we stopped eating bread. We even used it a few times just to make pizza dough. Now it sits in the basement instead of getting rid of it because the thing cost almost $100 and we want to get our money out of it. ha ha

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: John E.

                        Haha that's funny and I can sympathize, but I don't get what effort is needed, you just chuck in the ingredients in the correct order, select the mode, and press start. Easy peasy. Sure, you have to measure the ingredients, but it takes only a minute. And if you have a programmable machine with a timer, you just set it before bed and wake up to the fresh smell of homemade bread.

                        1. re: staub

                          There are several reasons why the bread machine is still in the basement. The bread was not as good as one would hope. It was a pain to pull the dasher out of the bottom of the loaf leaving a hole. The dasher eventually became stuck on the axle in the bottom of the pan (soaking in water wouldn't loosen it up), and the machine took up a lot of counter space. The biggest reason the machine has stayed in the basement is because several years ago we discovered a nearby commercial bakery that has an outlet store. This bakery makes bread and rolls for stores and restaurants. They apparently have a bit of an inventory problem so they have the outlet store. They sell artisan type bread for 3 loaves for $2.50. The rolls are usually ciabatta type and sell for $ .10 each. With prices and quality like that, I don't bake much bread anymore.

                          1. re: John E.

                            Bravo. I'd buy rather than bake also under those circumstances.

                            But you have to admit that artisan loaves dirt cheap and nearby is not the norm, and hardly incriminating about bread machines in general.

                            1. re: John E.

                              Well, in that case, I understand. Although I think if you have a quality bread machine (and perhaps don't have a cheap, decent bakery nearby), you'd be better off making your own, especially when a loaf of prepackaged Dempster's-type breads are in the $4-5 range like it is here.