How to choose a bread maker
Increasingly, bread machines are becoming a common attribute in modern kitchens. And this is no accident – because now you can get freshly baked fragrant bread quickly and easily, right at home and at any time – you just need to fill all the ingredients in the machine and select the program-everything, in a couple of hours you can already enjoy the wonderful taste. Isn’t this every person’s dream?
If everything is so simple, then why is there such a large variety of models on sale, and how do they all differ from each other? Why do I need all these features and options and should I overpay for them? Let’s try to understand the features of different models and consider their differences from each other, advantages and disadvantages. We will be interested in the practical side, so we will deliberately not go into the theory of physical, colloidal and biochemical processes occurring in the test, and we will also leave without consideration the detailed technical details in the device device.
Characteristics and options of bread machines
Choosing a bread machine should start with viewing its technical parameters and available functions, and then correlate them with the practical need.
Available baking weight
One of the main characteristics of the device is the volume of the bucket and, as a result, the weight of the bread baked in it. The range of this parameter in common household models varies from 0.5 to 1.5 kilograms.
To correctly determine the maximum weight to choose the stove, you should take as a basis the typical consumption of bread in the family. If this is a daily trip to the bakery for a couple of varieties of bread plus sweet pastries, then the best option is a model for 1.5 kg. If this is infrequent visits for two or three loaves a week, it is better to choose an average oven for 1 kg. With even less consumption, it will be small enough for 0.5 kg.
Despite the fact that in most models it is possible to vary (within certain limits) the weight of the bread produced, it is still worth paying attention to this parameter. The fact is that small amounts of dough are usually poorly kneaded in large buckets, and the bread may not turn out. And if you still bake normal full-size loaves, then with a small consumption of the product, they will either become stale or moldy, depending on the storage location. If you do not calculate in a smaller way and try to make several loaves in a row with a small stove, then the built-in thermal protection will not allow this, and you will have to wait each time until the device completely cools down.
The bucket (form / container) in which the bread is baked is usually removable and has a non-stick coating, the durability and quality of which determines the period of use of the entire device.
The shape of the container most often resembles a rectangle, which can be oriented differently by different manufacturers. In vertically arranged containers, baked bread is unusual to cut, but they are more compact. In the version with a horizontal bucket, it is convenient to cut the loaf, it is more evenly baked in height, the dough is better mixed, but such furnaces are usually large in size.
Sometimes, in addition to the main capacity, the oven is equipped with a container for two compartments with the ability to bake a couple of loaves at once, including different in composition. Also some manufacturers are producing buckets are round in shape.
Individual models are equipped with an additional baking tray for baking baguettes, bagels, bread sticks, rolls, pies, buns, tortillas,croissants, and so on. However, these bakery products are not prepared automatically, they will have to be formed manually, after removing the dough from the bucket, which does not differ much in labor costs from baking in a gas oven.
Number of Kneaders
For pre-kneading the dough, models are available with both one blade (blade/agitator/knife/dough mixer/) and two. Each option has advantages and disadvantages:
– One spatula often does not mix the corners of
the bucket well, and there may be pure flour left, which eventually redistributes the balance of dry and liquid components in the remaining part and the bread may not turn out.
– Two spatulas, first, stir well in the corners only the full volume of the bucket, and small-volume koloboks are sometimes even worse than single-blade ones. Secondly, in bread machines, the engine connection node with the kneader is most susceptible to breakdowns – that is, in models with two stirrers, the vulnerability points are twice as large.
Budget models of bread machines are usually equipped with plastic blades, and expensive – metal, and some even several for different types of dough.
This option is used for automated loading of additional ingredients that are not subject to grinding. If all the components fall asleep at once, they will RUB into a mess and will not allow the dough to rise, so they fall asleep later.
Most often, recipes include the addition of raisins, dried apricots, dried apples, slices of sausage, cheese, nuts, olives, candied fruits, and so on. The bread obtained with such components is so delicious that it is usually eaten immediately and” just like that ” without additives. Models of bread machines without this option emit a signal or a series of sounds to attract attention when additional ingredients are added. Dispensers are available not only for dried fruits, but also for yeast.
Of the features of operation, it should be noted that recently washed dried fruits tend to stick together both with each other and with the walls of the dispenser, which eventually leads to a dilemma – do not wash them at all, as they do in bakeries, or additionally dry them, which is still not suitable for cheese and sausage. Alternatively, you can monitor the emptying in person, which is equivalent to the same actions as in models without a dispenser.
This feature allows you to delay cooking for a specified time to get fresh bread for a specific hour, whether it’s lunch or guests arriving. Sometimes it is used as a kind of alarm clock-the smell of fresh baking in the early morning invigorates as well as the aroma of coffee. As a rule, the delay is counted from the final preparation.
This option can be called in different ways: “timer”, “start”, “time”, “delay” , etc.
The window on the top cover provides a visual representation of the stages of the entire process. In addition to educational and entertainment purposes, the viewing window has a practical benefit – correction of the bun for those who are able to distinguish by appearance: where the correct one is, and where it is too dry/wet. This is often necessary if the flour is measured in volume values, not in weight, or if you are experimenting with new types of bread, adapting third-party recipes for your oven.
It should be borne in mind that transparent plastic always has a different heat loss coefficient from the rest of the body, which leads to a local decrease in temperature in the immediate vicinity of the hatch. The larger the volume of the resulting loaf (that is, the smaller the distance from the roof of the loaf to the hatch), the more pronounced this effect will be, up to the appearance of defects and defects on the surface of the bread.
The baked crust of bread, especially at the bottom of the loaf, is so strong and hard that the spatula is baked to it and often remains inside it when unloading. In order not to accidentally damage the kneader when cutting the finished product, a hook will be useful.
Bread machine are available with a full plastic enclosure and partially with metal. The latter are usually more expensive and more branded than the former. The case does not make any difference when baking bread.
Making a heating device safe is a fairly complex engineering task, but the designers ‘ efforts to assemble the main parts and use materials were not in vain – the body in most models is well insulated and, regardless of the material, does not heat up as much as the container.
Advanced ovens, as a rule, as part of their programs, have a stage of bringing all the ingredients to one uniform and optimal temperature for activating yeast. In simpler ovens, this has to be done manually, otherwise milk, eggs, butter, and so on from the refrigerator, and tap water in the cold season will lead to a slowdown in all the biochemical processes in the dough and, as a result,the marriage of all the baking.
In bread machines, unlike multi-cookers, there is no task to heat the ingredients quickly, rather the opposite, so the power of the device is mainly determined by the volume of the form and varies from 0.5 to 1.5 kilowatts, where a device with a small capacity usually has a small power, and a powerful one, respectively, a large one.
The main energy consumption is spent on heating, while the engine consumes an order of magnitude less. Thus, if the electricity in the house is not taken from solar panels or a generator, then you can not pay attention to this parameter.
The more expensive furnace and the more famous the brand, the more well built product, durable non-stick coating in a bucket, reliable rotating mechanism, more advanced features, a wider list of available programs, or rather verified the attached recipes, clearer defined terms (a Cup of flour, teaspoon and tablespoon, handful, etc.). The price of the device has little effect on the baking itself, and most failures are more likely due to the inattention of the novice bakers themselves or the poor quality of the ingredients.
Top 5 best bread makers
Cuisinart CBK-110P1 Bread Maker, Up To 2lb Loaf, New Compact Automatic
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, White
Hamilton Beach 2 lb Digital Bread Maker, Programmable, 12 Settings + Gluten Free, Dishwasher Safe Pan + 2 Kneading Paddles, Black (29882)
Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker, 2 lb. loaf of bread, Stainless Steel/Black
KBS Pro Stainless Steel Bread Machine, 2LB 17-in-1 Programmable XL Bread Maker with Fruit Nut Dispenser, Nonstick Ceramic Pan& Digital Touch Panel, 3 Loaf Sizes 3 Crust Colors, Reserve& Keep Warm Set
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