These Bread Machines Are Ideal for Beginners — and Surprisingly Versatile As Well
Making your own bread can be a soul-satisfying hobby that also saves you time and money at the grocery store. However, if you're new to the process, bread machines can be intimidating, especially because some come with novel-length instruction manuals.
The best bread machine for beginners will do the majority of the work for you, with presets that make baking a variety of loaf types foolproof enough to outwit rookie errors.
If you plan on using your bread machine frequently (rather than just testing the waters), it's worth investing a little more in a have-it-for-life model with extra bells and whistles that give you even more kitchen mileage.
Some models have "Quick-Bake" or "Express" cycles that bake bread in an hour or two, while others allow you to customize the bread texture to your density preference (think: regular, firm, or soft). Some models will allow you to make items other than tasty loaves, such as fresh pasta dough, jams, or even meatloaf.
Casual bakers who do not intend to use their bread machine frequently may benefit from a low-cost bread machine with a good number of programming options. (Even the cheapest bread makers on this list aren't slouches when it comes to presets, with a minimum of 12 available.)
And once you've mastered the ability to consistently produce a good basic loaf of bread with your machine, you can begin experimenting with your technique. You'll gradually improve your skill set and knowledge until you can make your own bread blindfolded.
Check out the list below to get you started on your bread journey. From a small bread machine that won't take up too much counter space to an industrial-strength horizontal model that bakes even vegan bread with ease, these four bread machines are highly rated on Amazon and perfect for beginners — whether you plan to stay that way or not.
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#1 Best Value: Hamilton Beach Bread Maker Machine
This bread machine is an excellent choice for beginners because it provides a plethora of features at a reasonable price. You can select from 12 different programs for various breads, and you can bake loaves in two sizes (1.5- and 2-pounds) with three different crusts (light, medium, and dark crusts). But that doesn't mean it's difficult to use; to get started, simply add ingredients, choose a cycle, and press start.
This popular model has an alarm that alerts you when it's time to add fruit or nuts, and it can also be used as a dough starter for pizza and rolls. There's a delayed start function so you can prepare ahead of time, and both the nonstick pan and kneading paddles (two are included) are dishwasher safe for quick cleanup at the end of the day. In addition, there is an express function that produces a 1.5-pound loaf in 58 minutes (if you use a quick-rising yeast).
"The machine is simple to use and clean. I turn it on and program it before going to bed. I have great warm bread for breakfast in the morning. Excellent machine. Definitely recommended "one fan remarked
#2 Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Mini Breadmaker is the best compact bread machine.
If space is limited, this small bread machine has the footprint of a sheet of printer paper and bakes perfect one-pound loaves, making it a better option for small households. It produces a variety of basic breads (in three textures: regular, firm, and soft), cookies, pasta, pizza dough, and jam.
You can program it with a 13-hour delay timer or use the "Quick Bake" feature to bake bread in as little as two hours. There's even a handle and cord keeper for more organized storage (essential in tight spaces).
Although it cannot bake as many different types of bread as other options on this list, it is a solidly multipurpose little machine for its size. "Very small and very functional entry level bread machine, great for a single or two people," one reviewer said, adding, "A little pricey compared to competitors, but it is all worth it."
It's unclear whether the parts are dishwasher safe, but the lid does come off for easy cleaning, and many reviewers said it was easy to clean — and quiet to boot.
#3. The Oster Expressbake Bread Maker is a fan favorite.
The Oster bread machine, which has over 4,700 Amazon reviews, can produce a family-size 2-pound loaf in under an hour on the express setting, making it ideal for busy households and last-minute loaves. There are 12 presets, including bagel dough, as well as a 13-hour advance timer that you can set and forget.
And the extra-long 40-inch cord is a godsend if you have outlets in awkward places. Despite the lack of gluten-free bread or pasta dough options, one reviewer commented, "As someone who is new to baking bread, I would recommend this to anyone who is just getting started. With its simple instructions and plethora of options, it covers the majority of what a beginner would want to do."
You also get a measuring cup, spoon, and kneading paddle to help you get started. This unit also has a cool "keep warm" setting, so you can always be sure to get a butter-meltingly good slice. The parts are not dishwasher safe, but the lid can be easily removed for cleaning.
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