You will certainly agree with me on one thing:
There is nothing more romantic and healthy than making bread at home.
But not every day we have the time to prepare it.
The solution exists, it is called bread maker.
There are those who prefer to always buy it from bakery or from supermarket, while there are those who remember when his mother or grandmother did it at home and now he wants to embark on making his own bread, either for fun, or for convenience.
Follow me in this guide to find out everything you need to know about these machines, how they work and how you can even use them to make excellent jams.
You may also be interested in our guide on FRESH PASTA MACHINES.
Click here to scroll directly to REVIEWS OF THE BEST BREAD MACHINES
ARE YOU CELIAC? CLICK HERE.
The thousand uses of the bread machine
Don’t be fooled by the name, as you can also create these machines snacks, rustic cakes, savory plum cakes, braids, country-style pizzas, donuts and breakfast cakes, and also take advantage of the possibility of handling complex flours to « tame » by hand such as cereal or durum wheat.
Personally I’m crazy about these kneading machines, at the beginning I was very skeptical and I never imagined it would be possible to get results comparable to those of Giulio’s bakery, my trusted baker, at home.
But to tell you the truth now from Giulio I buy less and less bread, because I prefer to make it at home. No, don’t worry, the car has not stolen his job, I go back to his bakery often again, but only to buy those delicious brioches that only he can do.
Making bread by hand is certainly something that must be tried in life at least once, it is an activity that carries an almost magical ritual for what is ancient and present in many different cultures.
It is almost impossible, however, to always find the time necessary to prepare the dough and to make bread, finally thanks to God the bread machines come to our aid.
Many have heard of it but do not really understand how it works, once the only alternative was to carry out all the steps patiently by hand, but today it is enough to insert the ingredients into the machine and the game is done … or almost.
Let’s discover together the secrets of these machines, starting from their use, and we also learn some tricks to make a perfect bread.
Is it possible to make jam from it?
Yes, not many people know that the bread maker, despite its name suggests otherwise, is also excellent for making excellent jams.
I’ll explain how I do it:
- First I cut the fruit into very small pieces.
- Then I dress it inside the basket, in small portions, alternating with layers of sugar.
- I add the aromas, such as vanilla or cinnamon.
- I select the program « jam » or even written « jam » in Italian on some models.
- I avoid using the timer function since cooking is usually much shorter.
- I avoid opening the lid during processing to avoid splashing.
- After two hours the jam will be ready, if I don’t like the consistency I wanted it to be creamier, so I start it again without any problem.
- Then pour the still-boiling jam into the jars to keep it hermetically sealed.
How does the bread machine work?
Many of you will be wondering if it is actually as simple as it seems to use the kneading machine to make bread at home.
The bread maker is based on a very simple operation, let’s say it’s one synthesis between an oven and a kneader, with an electronic control unit to manage and facilitate the whole process.
To make bread we know we need first knead, then wait for yeasts and at the end proceed with cooking, and it is these three steps that are taken care of independently by the machine, in a program that is usually around three hours to complete.
You will understand that three hours may seem like a lot but if we consider the convenience of always having fresh bread at home at a very low price, with the possibility of doing all the experiments we want in preparation, well then the bread machine becomes one irreplaceable tool.
It is very easy to use, first of all it will be necessary insert all the ingredients needed to make the bread inside the device. Taking good care of course follow the instructions in order not to miss the order and the quantity for each ingredient.
Then it will be enough only start the procedure and wait, as if by magic you will have your bread.
To proceed with bread-making, it is first necessary to pre-heat the ingredients, because it is clear that the refrigerator temperature would be too cold for a correct preparation.
Then the kneading occurs in which the blades of the machine will provide to melt the ingredients in a precious mixture.
Then there is the leavening: the machine will be positioned at a temperature that allows the bread to finally rise.
Then the cooking, with the integrated oven which will actually make the dough become edible and fragrant bread.
The bread making machine consists of the supporting structure, the basket for holding the bread and the blade.
The basket it is used both as a bowl to prepare the dough and as a pan for the actual final cooking, while the blade it obviously serves to mix all the ingredients together.
The basket and the blade are the removable parts, made so that they can be washed whenever you want.
The ingredients necessary to proceed with the creation of the bread are: yeast, flour, salt, sugar, liquids and fats.
The yeast in this case must be in powder form and of the instantaneous type, they sell some types designed specifically for bread machines.
It is important not to use fast-growing yeast, it is not necessary in this case.
It is also advisable to prefer bread flour, because it will allow us to obtain more fragrant and tasty bread, since it is obtained from durum wheat, with more gluten than flour used for making cakes.
Obviously if you don’t have bread flour you can use the common one as an alternative, but the final effect will obviously be different and the bread obtained will be very different from the one you can buy at the bakery.
In addition, the common flour needs to be used in proportionately larger doses.
It is important to adjust the leavening in such a way that the dough eventually never exceeds the basket.
Salt can be added at our discretion, as we well know, in fact there are areas of Italy where bread is strictly eaten without salt.
You can use sugar or other sweeteners to soften the consistency of the dough.
It is good to always add a touch of sugar or honey to give the bread that extra something, the dough will also rise much faster.
It is also good to use liquids at room temperature for best results. For example, you can use tap water, even a little hot, but if you prefer yogurt, for example, it will be better to remove them from the fridge long enough to give them room temperature.
Then there are the fats that add the softness factor to our bread.
There are those who love to use oil, others directly to lard, pork fat or butter, it is clear that if you have vegetarians or even vegans in your family you can obviously do without these animal compounds and leave the product totally free from products derived from living beings, so that it can be eaten by everyone.
The ingredients will then be added in the exact order:
- Liquids first;
- Then the flour;
- Then the other ingredients like salt, sugar and spices;
- Dulcis in fundo the yeast.
The steps are these:
- pour the ingredients into the bread basket and let it spring;
- choose the preferred cycle;
- choose the appropriate time;
- close everything and press the Start button.
The machine will do everything by itself and will usually alert you with a completed task sound, there are also models that also keep the bread warm for half an hour or an hour so that you don’t have to be close by when the realization is finished and you can same to have fresh, hot and fragrant bread as soon as it comes out of the oven.
The vinegar added to the liquids helps keep the bread fresh for longer, it is a trick taught to me by my grandmother and I am happy to share it with you friends and friends of Pro Contro.
While milk and yogurt provide our bread with an extra softness.
There are no limits to the experiments that can be done to chase after one’s personal recipe of perfect bread, unfortunately I am very jealous of my achievements and no, I will not share with you my super secret recipe 😀 but know that in this guide I have already delivered to you enough suggestions to be able to invent for yourself the ideal bread adapted to your tastes and those of your loved ones.
Best bread machines – Reviews
1. Kenwood BM450, the one I use at home
Here is my favorite bread machine, after having tried so many.
It distinguishes itself from other models already by its decidedly futuristic design, which looks good in my futuristic kitchen.
Very robust and complete, a bit expensive perhaps, but quality is known, has its price.
I always remain of the opinion that it is better to choose something that promises to last over time than
When working a kilo of bread the yeast unfortunately tends to reach the insertion door. But sincerely in the family we are only four, so we never need a quantity of such bread.
I always prefer to opt for the 750 grams, which perhaps allow you to keep some bread for breakfast the next morning, the bread remains fragrant and tasty and it is possible to keep it for a couple of days if you wish.
This aspect will obviously also depend on the quality of the yeast and the flours used.
I also love making pizza at home and I must admit that with the same ingredients the difference feels all right, in fact it never comes out as good as when I make it with the Kenwood BM450.
The use is very simple and pleasant.
I also like to use it to make wholemeal bread with quinoa, a real delicacy, the so-called « special breads » are very difficult to handle by hand, and a kneading machine can help us significantly when dealing with these ingredients making life easier.
It is possible to choose the preferred program and set the desired proving and cooking times.
The control panel is very simple and intuitive, it also dissipates very little heat, making it very good in terms of performance compared to consumption, quality not just at a time when electricity is expensive and running out on our planet.
I advise you to use the recipe book only for an initial indication of the proportions between water, flour and yeast, but once you take your hand it is better to do it yourself and follow your own recipes for better results.
Certainly a machine that has given me so many satisfactions in these two years in which I own it, in the family we love bread and it is a real essential comfort to be able to make it at home autonomously experimenting with new recipes and adapting the ingredients to the tastes of family.
At home a real game is underway that sees every member of the family combined with their favorite bread, these are the strange consequences of using such a device every day.
Certainly highly recommended, but if you are going to spend a little less you can refer to other devices present within this guide, not everyone when they try a new appliance they immediately want to jump on the top of the range indeed.
2. Moulinex OW6101 Home Bread Baguette
Moulinex is certainly an extremely reliable brand when it comes to home appliances, and in this case it does not deny itself by presenting a highly competitive product.
Equipped with sixteen different programs, with a 1650 watt motor and a 1.5kg capacity.
Obviously as the name of this product already suggests, it is not only suitable for making bread but also for tasty alternatives, such as excellent baguettes or very interesting and special cakes.
The focus of this machine is clearly like on the baguette, in fact you will find inside the packaging of purchase of the very comfortable accessories suitable for the realization of this type of bread much loved by adults and children at all latitudes, it is not a case in fact that many supermarkets are nowadays equipped with a real baguette department.
All there is to do is select the ingredients you want and insert them into the mixer according to the right order, take a look at our guide above if you don’t know what I’m talking about, or refer to the very complete booklet instructions attached to this OW6101 from Moulinex.
I love using it to make bread with nuts, you’ve never tried it, it’s a delight!
It is important not to put too much yeast, otherwise you get the opposite effect, risking to have the bread deflate.
Equipped with a very efficient timer.
It is easy to clean.
3. Kenwood BM350, for those entering this world
Kenwood also produces a less evolved version of the BM450, which is the BM350, a cheaper machine with fewer features but no less effective in making excellent dough, be it bread, pizzas, tartlets or even jams.
Unfortunately it is a bit noisy in the dough, and it is not really easy to clean sometimes, but I assure you that it is an excellent machine to consider if you want to look out on the world of bread machines.
It is not suitable for very crispy bread, but excellent for all other types of bread.
However, it produces excellent bread, which will satisfy the tastes of all the members of your family.
However, it is essential to use well-made grains.
The recipe book supplied leaves a little to be desired.
There is also an interesting program to make long-fermented dough with sourdough, thus well over five hours of leavening. In this case, however, it will be necessary to start cooking manually.
The advice I give you is not to be discouraged if the first attempts will not be perfect, in fact it will be necessary as always when you buy such products, and especially if you are not already familiar with the making of bread, to do several tests before get the desired result.
My sister also had some difficulties at the beginning, and now she is a test baker. 🙂
It is always good to experiment and research new types of flour mixtures, to obtain surprising results for oneself and one’s family members, sometimes we do not know what a simple courageous attempt has in store for us, which is why I always encourage you to experiment in the kitchen, many of the dishes that we consider today « normal » come from « errors » or very imaginative attempts that were considered crazy at the time.
Given that there is the leavening and the times and the ingredients can be retouched to your liking there is always the possibility to try new tastes never explored before.
A recommended machine for those who don’t want to spend too much.
4. Moulinex Pain Doré, excellent price quality
Here is another great bread machine from Moulinex: the OW2101 Pain Plaisir.
This machine is really interesting because it has an excellent price and several positive aspects that we will now go along with examining.
First of all it is very quiet, unfortunately this aspect is sometimes overlooked but the kneading machines for bread can be really noisy and annoying, it is not an object that goes unnoticed.
This model, on the other hand, can contain the decibels produced to a minimum, preventing the kneading machine from feeling at work outside the kitchen when the door is closed. An advantage not just.
The bread produced is excellent, fragrant and tasty.
The programs are preset to minimize user intervention.
It is also possible to make gluten-free bread, but remember that if you choose to use the machine to pack bread for celiacs it will be better to dedicate it only for this purpose and not use it for normal bread as it could easily become « contaminated ».
It is also possible to select the dough only or cooking only mode if you decide to carry out only a passage inside the machine, for example, in this case it will also be possible to set the timer.
Consumption and space are also extremely reduced for such a machine.
It is also possible to prepare jam, but better not to follow the recipe in the booklet but to rely on your own experience.
Certainly a great quality-price compromise, for those looking for a low-cost kneading machine to enter the world of bread making and other goodies at home.
5. Imetec Zero Glu, a bread maker for celiacs
Being celiac can sometimes be a real problem, given that gluten-free bread that is normally found in supermarkets often leaves much to be desired in terms of flavor.
Well, this Imetec Zeo Glu really makes the difference, because it is one of the few bread machines for celiacs present on the market right now, and the results it achieves are nothing short of amazing.
I have my nephew who is celiac, and my sister at her house bought a Moulinex machine for normal bread and this Imetec for the gluten-free one.
At the first experiment with this mixer for the first time the child ate bread with pleasure, surprised by the goodness of the same.
Equipped with a wide variety of programs designed specifically for the use of special flours, it allows you to create breakfasts for your children with extreme simplicity, avoiding buying industrial ones.
A really comfortable solution to create not only bread for celiacs, but also tasty cakes, pan brioches or pizzas.
Equipped with a very interesting recipe book to make everything that goes through our minds, in just a few minutes you can get to the bottom of using this Zero Glu and you are immediately operational, like having a bakery at home.
Very easy to clean.
Awarded with full marks.
How to make bread for celiacs
If you intend to make bread for coeliacs it is first of all important to consider that the machine you will buy must be dedicated exclusively for the realization of this particular type of bread, for obvious reasons.
There are machines specifically designed to make gluten-free bread, such as Imetec’s Zero Glu, but in reality it is possible to adapt any type of bread machine.
But it is important to repeat this machine only and exclusively to create bread for celiacs, if at home you want to make two types of bread among which one for non-celiac with gluten you will need to buy two different machines.
The risk of contamination is very high, do not joke with these things if you have some celiac at home.
Be careful, however, because the dough for celiacs is thicker, so it is better to prefer a horizontal machine with two blades.
We also need more water, but this aspect makes the bread more susceptible to becoming stale and inedible, so it is necessary to consume it as soon as possible, we recommend the same day.
Obviously we will use special products for celiacs in the recipe avoiding gluten.
Nowadays, we are increasingly losing that slightly anarchic spirit of producing the things we want to consume.
I remember when I was little my mother and my grandmother practically did everything at home, even the soap.
I grew up with the classic foot in two shoes, on the one hand a great nostalgia and love for traditions, on the other an easy tendency to technological seductions, to the modern, to robots capable of anything.
I believe this attitude is the best, because it allows you to live while keeping certain habits intact and in this case certain flavors while at the same time giving us the opportunity to simplify and automate certain processes that we tell the truth forty and more years ago were really annoying and heavy .
Being able to equip yourself with the latest machines does not necessarily mean losing contact with the manual skills and flavors of the past.
I am well aware that in these unfortunate modern times it is very easy and inevitable to rely too much on machines and delegate them completely to everything.
There are people who dream of being able to stay in bed from morning to evening surrounded by robots waiters who can arrange the whole house and cook, provide for expenses, etc.
I, as a fierce advocate of progress, believe that it is now more important than ever to pass a hand on one’s conscience and to set in motion one’s willpower to rediscover what the important values of the past are and put them back into play to make them coexist with these new technologies , without allowing them to be sunk once and for all.
I am referring for example to the beauty of being together, of doing things with one’s own hands, of engaging in how to solve small daily problems to keep one’s mind always trained and functioning.
Making bread or pasta at home can be an almost religious moment, able to include and involve the whole family, helping us to return if it is possible a little more human.
Sorry for the digression but sometimes when I go down to take a walk in the streets of my city I happen to see young and not so young people grappling with these cell phones, with their heads bowed, unaware of the world around them.
It would be nice to rediscover the pleasure of getting our hands dirty, and there is no place like the kitchen to return to being creators of our destiny.
I hope this guide has actually helped you to find out which is the best dough mixer for bread and that you can finally launch into this new passion which, I assure you, is capable of giving so many satisfactions.
Now I let you go and cook dinner,
See you soon friends and friends.
A hug from your Antonella from Pro Contro.
OTHER ESSENTIAL GUIDES:
Best Machine for Fresh Pasta
Best Planetary Kneader
Best Induction Cookware
Best Ceramic Kitchen Knives
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