This Is Why Your Kitchen Needs a Bread Machine

With a handy bread machine, you can make homemade bread and other dough-based dishes in just a few hours.

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We’re all about the ’90s coming back in the kitchen. This means blue and white Corningware, farmhouse-inspired decor and, yes, the bread machine! But if you ask our Test Kitchen, these gadgets are always in style. Here’s why you’ll want to dust yours off—or invest in a new one.

What can a bread machine do?

Bread makers are an all-in-one appliance. To make bread, add your ingredients and select the program for your recipe; from there, the machine will mix, knead, proof and bake the bread. It’s really that simple.

You can also use a bread machine for more specific tasks or portions of your favorite bread recipe.

Mixing and Kneading

The paddle inside a bread maker is designed to fully incorporate ingredients. This goes for basic bread recipes as well as ones with added flavors or mix-ins. In fact, many newer models come with a chute and alert you when to add in those extras. This feature is especially handy when making recipes like our Test Kitchen’s favorite panettone.

Bread makers will also knead the bread dough for you so it’s just the right texture. It works the same way a dough hook does when you use a stand mixer to knead dough.

Proofing

Getting the right proof on your bread can be tricky—especially when you’re kitchen isn’t particularly warm or humid (musts for the yeast inside the bread). A bread machine will gently heat the dough so it gets the right lift.

Custom Bakes

Some bread recipes are more challenging than others. Breads that use whole wheat, rye or other nontraditional flour can be tricky to get just right in terms of kneading and proofing. Bread machines make creating these loaves so simple. Most models come with a whole-grain loaf preset.

You’ll also find that some bread machines have settings for other popular bread styles like rustic loaves with a crusty exterior, sourdough or even banana bread! You can even use a bread machine to make pizza dough.

Time

Bread machines are an asset for busy folks. Instead of lingering in the kitchen all morning to mix, knead, proof, shape, proof (again) and bake, a bread machine tackles all that for you. With a bread machine, you can have fresh bread with only a few minutes of hands-on time.

Plus, many models have settings that allow you to schedule your bakes to start when you see fit. That means you can set up this gadget to have a loaf of bread ready the same time you’re pulling dinner out of the oven.

The Best Bread Machines You Can Buy

Our Test Kitchen knows that bread machines are incredibly useful—when you choose the right one. That’s why our pros put 10 different models to the test. In the end, these models got our pros’ stamp of approval.

Get Started with These Bread Machine Recipes
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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.