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Are you using a bread machine?

I'm interested in getting a bread machine and wonder if there are any models out there that preheat the liquid to the right temperature before the machine starts. The first machine I ever owned did that and it seemed like it did a better job than the second machine I owned which didn't preheat. Any body out there using a bread machine? Recommendations or opinions?

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  1. I used a Panasonic one for a while. In the first 7 months the bread was very nice and unfortunately after that the bread kept coming out flat (didn't raise a bit). Not sure what caused this because I didn't change any settings, ingredients or routine. Waste of £100 in my opinion. The bread was really small as well and it lasted less than a day in our household of 2 adults and one child at the time. Some of the recipes were hit and miss as well.

    My personal opinion is to put that money toward a decent stand mixer that you can use to make the dough yourself and bake as much bread as you please or need. Just as easy and a lot better results.

    1 Reply
    1. re: iliria

      We have a Zojirushi Bread Machine, which preheats.

      I have a relative in Brasil who still remembers being awakened ihere n the morning to fresh, hot bread and coffee. I only added the ingredients ( yeast, dough mix, & water) and set the timer.

      But as I take a break with an early morning Nespresso, that machine is still sleeping in the closet. I am at the moment letting my hand-made Gros Pain loaves reach point on tne first rise, before another kneading and then baking. I prefer to make it by hand, at least on the weekends.
      Should be ready by daybreak.

      Simple comforts !

    2. What happened to my family when we got a bread machine several years ago is that we quit eating much bread. We didn't wish to buy bread since we had a bread machine but for some reason we were not satisfied with the quality of the bread we made with the machine and/or we didn't wish to exert the effort to make bread with the machine so we simple stopped eating bread. So if anybody is thinking about going ona low-carb diet, I suggest buying a bread machine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John E.

        Pretty funny! I kinda wish that worked at my place with ice cream and the ice cream maker. But it doesn't. I still make it sometimes, and I still buy it sometimes! Sometimes in this particular case = fairly often = too often. ;-)

      2. I must respectfully disagree with the three answers so far. In fact, I could not disagree more strongly. I can't address the preheating issue (sorry), but to answer more generally: I love. love, love my bread machine(s). They are the fourth and fifth ones I've had (I could get by with one, but someone moving out of the country gave me hers).

        I make bread for sabbath in one every week; sometimes just the dough which I then braid or shape in some other way, and sometimes completely in the machine. I have been able to try dozens of recipes with all sorts of add-ins: olives, fresh herbs, nuts, dried fruit, millet, seeds (sunflower/pumpkin), and lots of other things, that I might not have otherwise tried. It's just so easy to throw everything in and push the start button. (For some mix-ins, I have to wait for the beep so they don't get too broken up, but that is far from onerous.)

        @ iliria--I have no problem with having a stand mixer, but there's no way that that is as easy as making bread in a machine. How can you beat dumping ingredients into a pan, pressing a button, and three hours later having fresh bread, without doing anything else? I understand that there are those that love to "get their hands dirty," both figuratively and literally, by actually kneading, shaping, etc., but you certainly can't use the word "easy" to properly describe that.

        @ John E.--There are literally thousand of recipes out there; I would think you'd try a bit harder to find one that would live up to the quality you are seeking, rather than just waste the money you spent on the machine. And "exert the effort"? Again, I can't believe people on Chowhound would call measuring out ingredients to dump them into a pan "exerting effort."

        2 Replies
        1. re: queenscook

          Actually, the main reason we no longer use our bread machine is that we found a commercial bakery that makes artisan bread loaves of various kinds that has an outlet store where they sell frozen bread priced at 3 loaves for $2. Some of the smaller loaves are .50 and ciabatta rolls at .10 each, so it doesn't pay to make our own bread, we just buy it.

          1. re: queenscook

            I agree!! I love, love, LOVE my R2D2 bread maker! I haven't used mine in a while (he's up in the cupboard, but only temporarily because I needed counter space for something...), but am getting a jones again for some home made bread. It's so expensive at the store to find decent bread, and yeah---how easy is it to just dump a bunch of stuff in the machine, push a button, and Voila! Instand bread! I've had the DAK R2D2 unit for years--I love it because it's simple and also because the shape is so darn cute. ♥ Kinda' like having a little friend sitting in my kitchen... :D I've made pizza dough in it (great, because I suck at kneading) and it's been really good, and several different types of bread. I'm now looking for a brioche recipe on here that is easy since I suck at actually having to knead stuff without it getting too rubbery. I made sourdough once and took the dough out and used a pizza stone to bake it on in the oven; most of the bread I've made from R2D2 has been really good. :) Love my R2D2!!!

          2. The BEST homemade bread I ever had - by a wide margin - was just done in an enamel cast iron piece in the oven - one of those Le Creuset french oven pots. The dough was very simple - something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JguDf1...

            I didn't make the bread - a friend did. It was ... AWESOME. Just as good as some of the best store bought artisan bread. I still have a Panasonic bread maker and it's been sitting in it's box for several years ... I really should just give it away! The stuff it produced was "ok" but nothing to write home about.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PepinRocks

              I own a West Bend twin-paddle horizontal bread machine, but I've also tried no-knead bread similar to what PepinRocks had. I like the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" method (make enough dough for several loaves at once & store in the fridge, then pull off enough for a loaf or two and bake - I use a pizza stone with an inverted disposable foil roasting pan over it); however, I've also tried the "Kneadlessly Simple" method (good for a loaf or two at a time, if you can plan ahead far enough to allow sufficient rising time).
              That said, however, I make bread-machine bread more often than the no-knead stuff - largely because a) I don't have the right kind of flour on hand for the ABi5 Master Recipe & b) there's still a certain amount of advance planning involved for even the ABi5 no-knead bread, and I often get busy & forget to get a batch of the dough started the night before.

            2. I've had a Zojirushi for over ten years, and it's as good as they get. I also like it that the loaf shape is horizontal rather than tower-like.

              Some posters here compare artisan loaves to bread machine loaves. That's two very different things. No bread machine can approximate the conditions of artisan baking. But they make several other kinds of breads pretty well and conveniently. Plus you can program them to work at night (though I seldom do that--cooking smells at night wake me up too early).

              1. I don't use a bread machine because I don't like having all of my breads shaped the same. I know. Some people make the dough in their bread machine and bake in the oven. I can do that with my Kitchen Aid (very old, very strong, all metal made by Hobart!) and not have to give up more counter space to a bread machine. But if I were forced to buy a bread machine, I'd probably go for one of those vertical cylinder types that make the loaf look like you baked it in a large tomato juice can. At least then I'd be able to bake Boston brown bread and have it come out shaped right. ANd for the record, I've never seen a decent English muffin that came from a bread machine, let alone a baguette.

                1. have used it a lot since owning 20 years. but have a Welbilt and I wouldn't even think of jam making in it. never heard of that. but do use the machine several times a month for making the dough timor first rise then take it out and go from there.

                  1. We have one and use it sporadically. Works great when time gets tight but doesn't replace doing it by hand. I compare it to dashing off an email vs handwriting a love letter. Goofy comparison, I know.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: slowshooter

                      I love your analogy.
                      I use mine primarily to mix the dough if I'm in a hurry and need to get somewhere.
                      Love how it does it all for me, kneading, rising etc. But often times take dough out of and incorporate other stuff into the mass and like to finish the loaf by putting olive oil on my hands then massaging it into the ball and letting it rise again. Gad we love bread, we're breadaholics.

                    2. Another very satisfied Zojirushi user here. You can make a 1.5 or 2 lb loaf. The machine does preheat the ingredients on most automatic settings. Also you can program the machine to suit your own preferences, including length of preheat. I use it both to make dough and bake bread. It performs flawlessly and I've had it for years.

                      1. How do you know who owns a Zojirushi?

                        Don't worry, they will tell you. ;-)

                        I own a $ 60 bread machine and use it about 2 to 3 times a week. I even make real sourdough in it using separate Dough and Bake cycles. I've used bread machines on and off for over 20 years. For just making a loaf of bread I prefer the bread machine, even though I own 2 Kitchenaid mixers (a tilt head and a bowl lifter).

                        Usually during a bread machine thread someone will pop up and say, "I prefer to knead the bread manually." I wonder if they pop into mixer discussions and to let everyone know they prefer using a wooden spoon? I wonder if they pop into auto board threads and let everyone know they prefer walking? When it comes to bread machine discussions, a lot of luddites seem come out of the woodwork to let you know how much they hate bread machines. Well, I love them.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: Antilope

                          Zojirushi products are really good. It's not snobbery when you are using a tool that really works well.

                          1. re: Sid Post

                            I have owned a few bread machines over the years, but for the last 11 have had a Zojirushi. I love it. It is worth it's weight in gold. When I find something that works head and shoulders above the compitetion, I let people know. :)

                            Oh, and I bake bread at least twice a week. It preheats, and is wonderful. Half the time I do a full cycle, half the time just a dough cycle and bake it myself in the oven. Both turn out beautifully.

                            In fact, I'm off to start my challahs for tonight right now. :)

                            1. re: tzurriz

                              Not everyone is happy with their Zo. Here are some threads on King Arthur Flour with some of the complaints and some of the praise (it's not all rosy):

                              http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                              http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                              http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                              http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                              http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                              http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                              http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                              1. re: Antilope

                                Not everyone is happy with gold, unicorns, and ice cream either. ;)

                                1. re: Antilope

                                  No problems with myy Zojirushi in the 10 years that I have had it. Love this machine. But I make bread by hand, too. Just depends on what the recipe is, and what I am after.

                            2. re: Antilope

                              Love the analogies!

                              1. re: Antilope

                                Antilope--
                                Any chance of getting the sourdough recipe?

                                1. re: queenscook

                                  I use "Carl Griffith 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough". They send out free dried samples for a self-addressed stamped envelope. Goggle the part in quotes for mailing address and details.
                                  The url is carlsfriends.net

                                  Sourdough bread in a bread machine

                                  1 cup active sourdough starter (bubbly and the thickness of a thick pancake batter)
                                  3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (sometimes I substitute 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 3 cups A.P. flour)
                                  1 1/2 tsp table salt
                                  1 cup warm water

                                  Start Bread Machine on DOUGH CYCLE. As needed, add flour or water a tablespoon at a time to create a firm, non-sticky, smooth ball of dough. Sometimes I help the early stages of mixing with a small rubber spatula, pushing dry flour into the moist ball of dough as it mixes.

                                  Allow DOUGH kneading cycle to complete. Remove kneading paddle (this makes a neater loaf without blade shaped hole in the bottom).

                                  Allow sourdough to rise to the top of the bread basket. For my sourdough, it usually takes 4 or 5 hours to rise.

                                  When it has risen enough, start the MANUAL BAKE CYCLE.

                                  Lately, I have been removing the sourdough after the DOUGH CYCLE and placing it in a 3-qt stainless steel mixing bowl (sprayed with non-stick spray). I allow it to rise until double and bake the sourdough in the mixing bowl in a toaster oven, Convection Cycle, 400-F, 45 minutes. This method makes a nice boule-like loaf.

                                  1. re: Antilope

                                    I was afraid you'd say that you used a starter from some outside source. The problem is that anything I use has to be certified kosher; I'm sure theirs is not. According to other threads on CH and elsewhere, many kosher-keepers have been looking for kosher starters. Once or twice I tried to start my own, but it was not really successful . . . very little tang to the bread. Thanks, though.

                                    1. re: queenscook

                                      I live 75 miles from San Francisco and I can't start a successful sourdough starter on my own, either. ;-)

                                      I think that most "sourdough" breads that people buy from supermarkets are artificially made sour with sour salt or vinegar. After tasting that, people expect natural sourdough to be that sour and in most cases they are disappointed.

                                      1. re: Antilope

                                        I live in Austin and have a pretty robust sourdough starter of water,flour and a little sugar now and then. It does not taste remotely like San Francisco sourdough (I still miss Larrabaru's). It is more of a nutty taste like a European loaf. I have never used a breadmaker (I have nothing against them and I admit to some Luddite tendencies). I wonder how a breadmaker would accommodate a starter like mine. It rises very slowly. I use a KA and make a fairly wet dough, knead once, flour lightly, and leave it to rise...most of the day. Can breadmakers be programmed to do things like that? Also, how hot can they bake? My bread is noticeably better if I do it on a stone in a really hot oven ( I can get my Weber to 800). The idea of letting a machine give me nice loaves with initial work is pretty attractive. My bother shared James Beard's oatmeal bread made in a breadmaker and it was heavenly, fresh baked just before breakfast.

                              2. No bread machine here. I use a KitchenAid Professional 600 Stand Mixer that I've had for more than 30 years, and my hands which I've had even longer. When I took up breadmaking again a few months ago, I looked into bread machines fairly seriously, but didn't see the point.

                                If you have your heart set on a bread machine, so be it. Several people here are devoted to theirs, you've owned several yourself, and that's fine. But I really enjoy making the bread myself instead of having a machine make it for me.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: John Francis

                                  I really enjoy using a wooden spoon to mix my dough. The great joy of stirring and sweating is exhilarating. I'm not going to have some cold metal mixer make my dough for me.

                                  1. re: Antilope

                                    If the mixer gave poor results then you might go back to the spoon. You like analogies but this is a poor one. There are people who use bottled alfredo sauce because they think it's good enough. And so easy -- just open the can. It's all about whether you care about the results. I have no problem with someone who just wants it to be easy and can accept the results, but your attempt to suggest that it's backward to use simple methods (like no-knead bread) to get excellent results is misguided. And I notice that your lack of information on no-knead is no obstacle to having an opinion on it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but some are much more useful than others.

                                    1. re: bkling

                                      I think you missed both the satire and the fact that Antilope said above that s/he loves his/her bread machine.

                                      1. re: queenscook

                                        I think you didn't read my comment very carefully.

                                2. I use a bread machine that I had given to me. And it's one of my favorite small appliances!
                                  I couldn't even tell you what brand it is without going to look at it.

                                  I had a happy dance in my kitchen when I discovered I could make Brioche loaf in my machine rather than kneading sticky dough.
                                  Once in awhile I get on a recipe hunt to see what fun breads I can make next; pumpernickel, onion/cheese, panettone, pumpkin/spice, potato.

                                  I have had 2 bread machines in my life and don't think the preheat cycle is necessary. I just use cold milk and or eggs from the fridge or cold tap water whether I use a bread machine or make bread by hand.
                                  If bread isn't raising the first thing I would try is buying some new yeast.

                                  I used to make bread several loaves at a time. But what is the most wonderful to me about a bread machine is that all I have to do is measure the ingredients and forget about it.
                                  It's also probably cheaper than heating the big oven.

                                  The only issue I would have with it are those bottom slices that are kind of odd because of the paddle. Often I just turn that part into bread crumbs or croutons.

                                  1. Can someone with a preference for machines explain their appeal?

                                    I had one years ago that made decidedly mediocre (and ugly, and short-lived) wrinkled loaves. But frankly, other than waking up to the *smell* of oven-fresh bread I never saw any real advantage over just making bread.

                                    Now with the proliferation of very simple and fantastic no-knead recipes, I see even less reason to have one. Maybe if you have an oven without a timer-actuated bake cycle?

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      I will cut and paste from my post above. If you disagree, so be it.

                                      I make bread for sabbath in one every week; sometimes just the dough which I then braid or shape in some other way, and sometimes completely in the machine. I have been able to try dozens of recipes with all sorts of add-ins: olives, fresh herbs, nuts, dried fruit, millet, seeds (sunflower/pumpkin), and lots of other things, that I might not have otherwise tried. It's just so easy to throw everything in and push the start button. (For some mix-ins, I have to wait for the beep so they don't get too broken up, but that is far from onerous.)

                                      @ iliria--I have no problem with having a stand mixer, but there's no way that that is as easy as making bread in a machine. How can you beat dumping ingredients into a pan, pressing a button, and three hours later having fresh bread, without doing anything else? I understand that there are those that love to "get their hands dirty," both figuratively and literally, by actually kneading, shaping, etc., but you certainly can't use the word "easy" to properly describe that.

                                      1. re: queenscook

                                        Hi, queenscooks:

                                        All I get from your response is "It's just so easy..." Which is completely fine. Does that mean you consider the no-knead breads (which require dumping and manually stirring the same ingredients for 20 seconds) difficult?

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo

                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                          I know absolutely nothing about no-knead bread. After you dump the the ingredients and stir, how does it get to be a shaped loaf of bread, ready to eat? With a bread machine, you push the "on" button.

                                          And how long does it take? My machine takes 3 hours, 5 minutes for my preferred darkness.

                                          And if you don't knead it, how do you incorporate the kind of things I mentioned (olives, herbs, nuts, dried fruit, millet, pumpkin seeds, etc. It seems to me that if you just put them in the bowl with the flour and water and such, they'd just sit there in the middle.

                                          Really I've never read anything about this technique, but if it's not going to give me anything similar to the dozens of breads I make now, in the time I make them, it doesn't sound all that tempting to me.

                                          Oh, one other thing. My NY kitchen is very small. If the bowl of dough has to be around for significantly more than three hours, it's going to get in my way on my countertop (or does it sit in the fridge? If so, I certainly have no room there.). I can put the bread machine up for Sabbath three hours before Sabbath begins, after I've done the rest of my cooking, and then have it out of the way when it's done.

                                          1. re: queenscook

                                            Hi, queenscook: "I know absolutely nothing about no-knead bread."

                                            Well, you should try it. The following recipe has been plagiarized and tweaked so many times, I don't know to whom to attribute it. The recipe will answer most of your questions.

                                            ==================
                                            4.5 cups bread flour
                                            3/8 teaspoon dehydrated yeast
                                            1.5 teaspoons table salt
                                            2.25 cups warm water

                                            1. Mix all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl just until the dough makes a uniform shaggy mess, literally under 1 minute. (If you want olives/extras in the dough, now is the time). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 12-20 hours.

                                            2. Turn sticky dough out on floured board, and fold over itself 3 times, return to clean bowl, recover, and let it sit another hour (I have omitted this step entirely and it still works).

                                            3. Set rack so that a round cast iron dutch oven fits squarely in center of oven. Preheat oven, dutch oven and lid to 450F for 1/2 hour.

                                            4. Remove dutch oven from oven, dump dough ball into it (shake if it's not centered), cover and return to oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes.

                                            5. Remove lid, and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes until crust is ideally browned (internal temp should be +/- 190F).

                                            6. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.
                                            =================

                                            I usually err on a 12-hour rise, which means that I mix the dough as I'm cooking dinner, and then bake first thing in the morning. But you could just as easily plan a 20-hour rise. I'm not Jewish, but I'd think you could do the rise in the DO in the unheated oven and have your Sabbath timer on your oven set when you need to start or stop cooking.

                                            I was astounded the first time I made this bread. Another surprise is that it seems to keep an inordinately long time before going stale. Just the opposite of the machine-made loaves I've made.

                                            Have Fun,
                                            Aloha,
                                            Kaleo

                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              I am going to resurrect an old discussion here

                                              One lament of my hipster-hood is that due to gluten phobia while we have plentiful yoga, and fair trade coffee we have no bread bakeries (cupcakes apparently get a pass on gluten phobia) the corner market only has commercial chemical laden bread and frozen "spouted" health bread - neither my thing and the major supermarkets have over priced "artisan" bread that I suspect is full of preservatives as well so onto homemade bread

                                              traditional kneaded methods are a luxury I generally do not have time for

                                              I have found that the no knead and refrigerator slow rise dough methods are great although my results remain inconsistent and I use old Dutch ovens and roasters for them - but what's nice in winter - warm oven and baking aroma is oppressive

                                              I just picked up a bread machine and while it does not make art of bread it does make a handy loaf of bread that I can control the ingredients on, this is super useful to me - there is no work and little cleanup and it is consistent

                                              it is definitely not elevated baking but it does produce a useful product

                                              the one thing that is definitely true is the staleness - it definitely goes stale very fast - where no knead lasted much longer - not sure why on this but it will yield the other product I refuse to buy - breadcrumbs so I am ok with that.

                                              It is a space hog so I will see how long it stays in use - for $7 I will get my fun out of it - I am wanting to try it just for kneading/pizza dough spare tha KA the mess and strain

                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                I believe my bread machine does a better job of kneading dough than my Kitchenaid stand mixer does, or than I can do by hand. It makes a silky smooth dough that I haven't seen created by any other method.

                                                I use it to help me make white, light wheat, 100% whole wheat, sourdough, French baguettes, Vienna bread, cinnamon swirl, Hawaiian bread, buns, rolls, english muffins etc.

                                                Sometimes I let the bread machine make the bread from beginning to end and sometimes I just use it to knead the dough, but form a loaf (pan bread or hearth bread) and bake it in the oven.

                                                For a bread that has a little longer shelf life, is more moist and that has a softer crumb, lookup "Tangzhong roux" on Google. It's basically like adding pudding to a pudding cake. You make a flour and water roux by mixing and heating the two ingredients to 149-F/65C. This forms a pudding-like roux you add to your bread recipe. You use ingredients from the recipe, you don't add extra ingredients. Just 1/2 cup of water and 3 Tbsp of flour. This unflavored pudding retains moisture during baking, resulting in a longer shelf life and softer, moister bread. You just add it to the remainder of liquid ingredients and then continue with your bread recipe. It works on pretty much any bread recipe, made by hand, in a mixer or bread machine.

                                                If I don't add the roux to my bread now, my family complains about the "rough" bread.

                                      2. re: kaleokahu

                                        I agree with Queen.
                                        First I gotta say I wasn't impressed with the no knead bread.
                                        Hard crust and large crumb just isn't my cup of tea, no matter how fashionable Artisan style breads may be.

                                        In years past I was all over the home made bread thing.
                                        Baked 8 loaves at a time.
                                        The first bread machine I had got used about a dozen times and that was it.
                                        Because I guess I had more time for the most part.

                                        Now if it's 5:00 pm and there's no bread in the house I can spend 3 minutes max to measure ingredients and spend the evening hanging out with my husband.
                                        1 half cup measure and a teaspoon and a tbsp go in the dishwasher.
                                        I also mentioned above that it's likely more energy efficient than heating up the oven and the kitchen.
                                        I understand people want different things in their bread making experience.
                                        And I'm really glad we have so many choices.
                                        I prefer my bread machine. That's all.

                                        1. re: Sparklebright

                                          It is 01:40 AM here and we are watching the closing of the Olympics.

                                          The Zojirushi breadmaker is going into the cooling cycle at the moment, so I can stay up late and not have to get up early to make bread by hand.

                                          Simple pleasures.

                                      3. Olympics over and still using the Bread Machine.

                                        I find the machine good for mixing and rising bread dough, on the raisin bread ( two rise ) setting. I then pull the dough out for a 3rd rise, adding seeds, etc. and then into the Brotforms, before baking.

                                        My wife and I bought a large basket of mountain strawberries and wild berries today from a farm up in the pastures, In the morning ( it is 23:48 here ) the berries, plus walnuts, fructose, lemon juice, and pectin will go into the Zojirushi on the jam setting. More than enough to last through Winter, depending on how good it is. If it is really good, then it won't last.

                                        The wheel of Alpkase we also bought today will not be used in the jam making. Some of that was cut up and enjoyed with the homemade bread tonight, with a salad, a pear, and a little wine.

                                        Kaleo my friend, I can think of another small reason for using breadmakers. In the Summer when it is hot, they do not heat up the house as the oven does. In our Winters of course, I do not mind.

                                        1. I use a T-Fal breadmaker, but only use it for the knead and rise. I don't have the patience or wrist strength to knead, and hate the mess. IMO breads don't taste good baked in the machine, but if you just use it for prep and then bake in the oven, you get awesome bread 99% of the time. I've tried no-knead and am not a fan; i prefer the versatility of the machine. For the OP, as others have stated the warming feature shouldn't be a make or break in your choice; lukewarm liquids almost always work fine (even 5 minutes out if the fridge should be ok).