We all know the type - the person who’s only just discovered breadmaking, and just won’t keep quiet about it. But breadmaking doesn’t have to be some artisanal skill - with the right bread maker anybody can be the breadwinner of the family! The best bread makers are truly coming into their own now. Everyone is self-isolating and social distancing, and even if you can find bread on the shelves of the local IGA, you may not want to leave the house to go check every few days.
Far better to make your own at home.
However, with everyone having much the same thought, the sales of bread makers have skyrocketed. So what to choose? While you may not find every model below in stock online, this selection should offer a good starting point for budding bakers.
When bread makers work well, it really is as simple as chucking in a load of ingredients and then going away to do something more productive, like home-schooling your kids. There's no kneading, no stirring, no pouring in of mixed seeds: the best bread makers do it for you.
When it's available, we think the best bread maker you can buy is the Panasonic SD-ZB2512. It's reliable, advanced, and incredibly simple to use. We love it, but it might not be right for you, so we've collected, reviewed and ranked five other excellent bread makers.
How to choose the best bread maker for you
Obviously, the most important thing to look out for when buying a bread maker is how well the machine can actually bake bread. Luckily, we've done that part of testing for you, and ranked the machines on how reliably they pump out a quality loaf.
You'll also need to decide what type of machine you want - most on this list are pretty simple to operate, just add the ingredients, press a few buttons and let the machine do all the work for you. Some, like the Custom Loaf Pro, are a little more complex, and aimed at more experienced bakers.
Bread makers have health benefits as well, don't ya know: a number of our selections here have gluten-free modes. And weirdly, you can usually use them to make jam, giving you an entire breakfast from one device. What's not to like?
With fresh, healthy loaves on demand and the waft of a boulangerie in the T3 test room, we tried out six of the best baking 'bots to discover the ultimate all-in-one miniature bakery.
Stop loafing about, it's time to meet your (bread) makers…
The best bread makers you can buy today
If there's one brand that's pushing the ancient science of machine bread making forward, it's Panasonic. This latest model comes with more features than ever, including a two-stage, 'rustic sourdough' function.
We tried our hand at this most artisan of bread-types and some of the other 33 programs on offer.
It's an unusually tall machine because built into the hinged lid are not one, but two dispensing compartments, one for nuts and seeds and another for yeast. The latter innovation ensures the active ingredient is timed for maximum effect. That means there's no room for a window, through which to peer at your dough, but it seems a sacrifice worth making for the increased reliability.
This continuity also owes something to the sensors that monitor the temperature both inside and outside of the machine. In a cold kitchen, the initial rising stage is extended to get your ingredients up to speed before the baking stage begins and ensure it finishes bang on time with the same results as in a hot kitchen.
The other unique feature is the rustic sourdough cycle. That's the especially tasty artisan loaf that requires a fermented dough starter to rise. With the SD-ZB2512, you get two plastic containers in which to mix your yogurt and yeast starters and a setting that heats them (without stirring) in the tubes before storing in a fridge overnight ready for baking the following day.
With no kitchen skills whatsoever, we managed to turn out a plump and satisfying sourdough. It feels like real baking, albeit with a machine to take care of the boring bit.
Alternatively, if you're buying a bread maker for the convenience and that still sounds like harder work than you can deal with, the Basic Rapid Bake setting is for you. Simply load up the ingredients, press 'go' and your loaf will be ready in 1hour and 55 minutes
In short, we suggest you buy this bread maker. There are, however, other options…
A non-stick coating in the bread-pan makes this bread maker particularly easy to clean, but the Sunbeam BM2500 Compact Bakehouse’s best trick is that it’s dead simple to use. Just toss in your ingredients and you can leave overnight to do its thing.
This is also one of the cheapest bread makers you’ll find in Australia, but it does come with caveats. For one, results can be a little inconsistent compared to more expensive machines, and it is rather noisy during operation.
If you’re looking for a relaxing bread-making time, it might be worth your while spending just a little bit more.
Kogan’s bread maker offering has been on the market for over five years now, but in that time it’s made a name for itself as being one of the easiest to use models you can find. An internal light makes it easy to track how your load is going, and the bread it produces is as good as anything you’ll find on supermarket shelves.
You can even turn the bread maker to use as a jam or yoghurt maker, and a timed delay of up to fifteen hours means you can set it to come home to the delicious smell of freshly baked bread.
One of Breville's two offerings in this buying guide, and easily the over-achiever of the class. Not only can it make bread, this multi-function cooker can serve as a deep-fryer, steamer, or even sauté pan.
Loaves can be baked in three different sizes, and 12 programs let you choose between normal bread, yeast-free, French-style, and more. The 9 in 1 may be versatile, but being the jack of all trades it does tend to be the master of none, and it can be tricky to clean. But with a bit of effort, you’ll never visit the bread aisle again!
This bread maker looks better than the competition, costs somewhat more, and is that bit more 'serious' – it’s so high-end that it’s sometimes sold as a Heston Blumenthal-branded machine!
Rather than being a time-saving toy, we can glean that this machine is a tool for the keen baker who wants to perfect their own artisan loaves.
So there's a manual override of the automatic preset baking cycles, and instead of a recipe book, you're given blank spaces in the instruction manual to fill in your own 'custom recipe charts'. We found said manual heavy going, but if you read it cover to cover, you'll come away with some understanding of the art of bread making, which isn't something you can say about the Russell Hobbs.
Unfortunately, our attempts at actual bread making with it were a disaster. Given the price, it's hard to recommend a machine with so few features – there's no separate yeast dispenser and no bundled accessories for example. We'll leave this bit of kit to the professionals.
No, it's not as good as the Panasonic SD-ZB2512, but this is cheaper, and another really tech-fuelled machine that delivers high-quality loafage.
A tray ensures the yeast is not entered into the cooking process before it's suitably ready – another dispenser adds fruit and seeds - and Panasonic's gently maturing bread maker is also capable of churning out three sizes of loaf, as well as jam.
Again, there's a 100% gluten-free setting and the Speciality Mode helps you experiment with a variety of interesting grains. Lovely.