A breadmaker takes the hassle out of baking bread while giving you control over what goes into your loaf – just pop your ingredients into the pan, then set and forget.
Why buy a breadmaker?
Control over ingredients: handy if you want to make breads for a certain diet, e.g. gluten free.
Convenience: a breadmaker handles all the mixing and kneading. Just pour in the ingredients and set the timer.
Secondary uses: can also knead pizza dough and bake cakes. Some machines have settings for making jam or even fermenting yoghurt.
Features to look for
Loaf size: smaller loaves are easier to cut. Most breadmakers offer a choice of two or three sizes. Some make fairly small loaves ranging from about 450g to 900g; others make larger loaves of about 750g to 1.25kg. Supermarket loaves are about 700g.
Loaf shape: tall “vertical” loaves can be trickier to slice because the crust on the sides is often softer.
Loaf colour options: most models have light, medium and dark options for crust colour.
Recipe booklet: check the recipes are written for New Zealand’s market and not Australia’s. Some measures – such as tablespoons – are different, and Australian ingredients might not be available here.
Programmable settings: some models let you programme cycle times and baking temperatures.
Timer display: this indicates how many minutes are left before the bread is done. Most machines also beep five minutes before the bread is cooked.
Progress indicator: this display shows which stage your loaf is at. It can help you time when to add ingredients or glaze the top of the loaf.
Power-failure protection: this is useful if the breadmaker loses power for a short period. The machine remembers where it was and restarts from there. If the power is off for more than a few minutes during baking, it’s best to throw out your half-baked loaf and start again.
Cost: if you prefer artisan or speciality breads, you’ll save money by baking your own. However, if you buy basic white bread from the supermarket, a homemade loaf might cost more. Either way, buying ingredients in bulk helps to cut costs.
Size: a breadmaker can take up a lot of cupboard and/or bench space. Do you have somewhere to put it?