Fresh bread is always a treat – choose the right bread maker, it’s hassle-free. The recipes are simple & it only takes a moment to chuck the ingredients into the pan. Set the timer and wake to the smell of fresh bread. Perfect for breakfast, a lunchtime sandwich or a quick snack.
How to choose a bread machine
Making an informed choice isn’t easy. A bewildering number of models, manufacturer claims & umpteen reviews only make choosing the right machine harder. Clearly, not all bread makers are equal.
Here at Verum, we’ve checked manufacturer claims, compared specifications & scrutinised owner reviews to sort the wheat from the chaff. Above all else, a good bread maker must consistently turn out a great-tasting loaf with the right texture, shape & density. The best options must also be easy to use, easy to clean & have a wide range of programmes, to suit all tastes.
With hours of research & long term tests Verum has identified the three best bread makers available to buy, right now.
Wake to the smell of fresh bread
A bread machine is great for anyone who wants fresh bread at home but doesn’t have the time or inclination to make it by hand. Measure out the ingredients, press a couple of buttons and leave the machine to do the work. It really is that simple. A good bread maker is perfect for a busy household. And the wonderful smell of fresh bread may just help coax the family out of bed, on those winter mornings.
Use Your Loaf
For anyone with a food allergy or on a special diet, a bread maker offers complete control over what goes into each loaf, with minimum hassle. If you desire a loaf with reduced salt or less sugar, this couldn’t be easier. If you want a gluten-free loaf, that’s easy too.
Each bread maker comes with its own suggested recipes. This is definitely the best place to start, as generic recipes don’t deliver the same result from different machines. Beyond this, it’s worth trying different flour and yeast options to find the perfect loaf for your family. Using similar flour from two different brands or supermarkets can give very different results.
The perfect loaf for your family
The best bread machines make the best bread. But what’s right for one family, isn’t right for the next. We can all agree on the merits of a freshly baked bread, but what’s important is that you get a machine that will make the perfect loaf for your family. Standardised comparative tests don’t work here. What’s the right recipe for one bread maker isn’t necessarily the right recipe for a different machine. Plus, we all have different tastes.
How good is the bread?
‘How good is the bread?’ is clearly the most important question. This is followed by durability, programmes, physical size, loaf size, recipes, ease-of-use and flexibility. Choose any one of the models below and you will soon be enjoying fresh bread…
Best Cheap Bread Machine
Russell Hobbs Compact
Perfect for the small kitchen – this model from Russell Hobbs is cheap, compact and best of all, it makes good bread. The footprint is similar to the Panasonic models below, however, at only 30cm high, this bread maker is far more likely to fit inside a cupboard, when not in use. It’s also much lighter than the Panasonic, again, making it easier to store.
Both first-time bread makers and owners who have purchased this machine to replace a previous device, rate it highly. Both in terms of how it works and most importantly, the bread it makes.
Why is there a hole in my loaf?
As with every bread maker, a kneading paddle turns to mix the dough which leaves a small hole in the underside of the bread. If the paddle comes out with the loaf, leave it to cool before attempting to extract it. This is far easier and will result in a smaller hole. Perhaps not ideal, but a small downside of a freshly baked loaf from a machine.
Wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread
The Russell Hobbs Compact is a little noisier than some models, according to a few owners. A good option is to set the timer, meaning that it will do its work while you sleep. And the best bit is that you’ll wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread.
Aside from the advantage of being small, this model has a window on the lid allowing you to see your bread baking. Plus, the pan and paddle are dishwasher safe, meaning there’s no extra washing up.
If you like the idea of freshly baked bread and need a compact model for your kitchen, choose the Russell Hobbs Compact.
SPECIFICATION: Russell Hobbs 23620 | SIZE: 32D x 29W x 30H | LOAF SIZE: 500g to 1kg | GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Yes | FAST BAKE 55mins | MAX DELAY: 13 hours | PROGRAMMES 12 | WARRANTY 2 Years |
Russell Hobbs Compact | Verdict price £80 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Bread Machine
Once you own a bread maker it’s near impossible to go back to shop-bought bread. Get the right model coupled with the right recipe and you may wonder why you didn’t buy one earlier. You certainly won’t regret the purchase!
This Panasonic bread maker does everything well. It makes great bread, has a non-stick pan, comes with a wide range of programmes & has a nut/raisin dispenser.
What adds to the credibility of this machine is the high number of people who have owned a Panasonic bread maker for years and then, in time, replaced it with another Panasonic.
Never eat shop-bought bread again!
Panasonic made the first commercially available bread maker in 1986. Over the last thirty-odd years they have continually updated and improved the basic machine to make sure their customers keep coming back for more. This is a great testimony for Panasonic and a good reason to buy the SD-2501. This is the best value Panasonic breadmaker with nut/raisin dispenser.
Paying more for a Panasonic machine gets a host of additional features. But for most of us, the standard programmes on this model do everything we need. This machine has all the normal modes for every type of bread, including programmes for pizza bases, jam and gluten-free. Plus, if you like fruit or nuts in your bread, it will do that too.
In terms of flexibility, there are three loaf size choices and light/medium/dark settings for your preferred crust.
Nonstick bread pan
If you’ve previously owned a Panasonic bread maker, the big upgrade you will get here is the nonstick bread bin. Older models suffered over time. The bread pan surface would wear out, meaning it was often difficult to extract the loaf. However, the new coating means that the perfect loaf will simply drop out of the pan onto a cooling rack.
Owners of this Panasonic bread maker continually rave about the bread it makes. The long-term Verum test echos the same. In short, if you want a no-fuss bread maker that makes hassle-free, superb bread – choose the Panasonic SD-2501.
SPECIFICATION: SIZE: 39D x 26W x 37H | LOAF SIZE: M L & XL | GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Yes | FAST BAKE 2hrs | MAX DELAY: 13 hours | PROGRAMMES: 10 | WARRANTY 1 Year
Panasonic 2501 | Verdict price £150 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Premium Bread Machine
This Panasonic bread maker is a significant step-up from the basic model. Yes, it costs more but this is the ultimate bread maker! Not only does it have numerous extra programmes it also works differently to make the very best bread.
The best bread maker you can buy
A dedicated yeast dispenser may not sound exciting, but adding yeast at precisely the right moment means you will consistently bake a better loaf of bread. Owners of this bread maker report that this machine bakes a superior tasting loaf to the standard Panasonic model (which doesn’t have a yeast dispenser). Plus, with 27 programmes you will never get bored with the same bread.
Gluten free bread & more
Pretty much every type of bread can be baked in the Panasonic 2502. A long list of additional modes includes Pizza, French, Rye, gluten-free and many more. Adding to the versatility, you have three levels of crust colour and three sizes to choose from. Plus should you want to add nuts or fruit, well there’s a dispenser for that too. And the standard rapid programme will give you freshly baked bread in only two hours.
There’s everything to like about this bread maker in terms of functionality, ease of use and ultimately the great tasting bread.
SPECIFICATION: SIZE: 39D x 26W x 38H | LOAF SIZE: M L & XL | GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Yes | FAST BAKE Yes | MAX DELAY: 13 hours | PROGRAMMES 27 | WARRANTY 1 Year
Panasonic 2502 | Verdict price
£220 NOW £173 | Check best price on Amazon
Is a bread maker worth it?
The short answer is yes. Making your own bread is cheaper than buying it from the supermarket. The cost of all the ingredients (yeast, flour, butter, salt, sugar & water) for a typical home-baked loaf is 54 pence. This is approximately half that of a supermarket equivalent. However, taste is the real reason for using a bread maker.
Five reasons to buy a bread machine
The standout reason for buying a bread maker is better tasting bread. But it’s not the only advantage.
- Much tastier than a shop-bought bread
- Healthy option. You know what’s in it
- Save money. Each loaf costs around half that of shop-bought bread
- Convenience. It’s easier to store flour than the equivalent number of loaves
- Wake up to the smell of fresh bread
Recommended Bread Makers
Small & compact
Russell Hobbs Compact | Verdict price £80
See price on Amazon
Panasonic 2501 | Verdict price £150
See price on Amazon
The ultimate bread maker
Panasonic 2502 | Verdict price
See price on Amazon
Why spend more?
The SD-2501 makes good bread. It’s tried & tested, loved by its owners and won’t let you down. However, if you want to bake the very best bread, a dedicated yeast dispenser does make a difference.
The Panasonic SD-2502 may cost a little more, but with a dedicated yeast dispenser, it delivers the ultimate home-baked loaf. Plus, with additional programmes, stainless steel finish & a truly non-stick pan, there’s everything to like about the Pansonic SD-2502 bread machine.
Once you’ve decided on the perfect bread maker
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