What To Look for in a Bread Maker: 5 Things To Consider

Home » What To Look for in a Bread Maker: 5 Things To Consider

Sneak Preview: Wondering what to look for when buying a bread maker? Here are 5 tips that will help you match your needs and desires with the right machine for you.

picture of toddler picking his favorite bread maker
This is probably not the best way to choose a breadmaker.

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Are you thinking about buying a bread machine or bread maker but don’t know where to start? This reminds me of buying my first computer (years ago). The salesperson would always ask what I wanted to use it for. Answer: If you’ve never had one before, it’s hard to know.

When buying a bread machine, you could employ the “scientific” method seen in the picture above. But nobody would let a two-year-old select a kitchen appliance.

Yet, the people selling those appliances rarely have any personal experience or training about the machines they sell.

Addendum: Buying one on the internet can be equally frustrating. Don’t believe everything you read about “the best bread machines.”

Don’t waste your money buying lots of features you won’t use. On the other hand, don’t spend hard-earned cash on a machine that doesn’t do the job well.

A better approach might be to consider your baking habits, dietary preferences, and of course, your pocketbook when looking to buy a bread maker.

Have you ever wondered which bread maker is best?

Preaching the virtues of a bread machine as I do on this website, is almost as easy as eating this Honey Whole Wheat Bread.

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On the other hand, advising people which bread machine they should buy is not so easy when you consider all the choices available.

bread machine with sliced Honey Whole Wheat Bread sitting in front of it
Get the recipe for this Honey Whole Wheat Bread.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 5 ideas to get you started.

Five factors to consider when choosing a bread maker:

#1

Do you need a timer?

If you like to wake up or come home to bread dough raised and ready to shape, pay attention to the timer. Nearly all machines have a timer on the various mix and bake cycles, but I like a timer on the DOUGH cycle because I almost never bake in my machine.

It’s possible to manually calculate when to set the timer on a bake cycle. However, you must arrive at just the right moment to pull the bread out of the machine. Otherwise, it will preheat and bake the bread.

Considering I’m not the best at math, the hand-calculated method doesn’t always work. More than once, I’ve walked into my house to the smell of a loaf of baked pizza dough. Ugh!

In the event you are home most of the time, you may not need or care about a timer.

#2

Consider the size of the bread machine pan.

If you have a large family, like to share with your friends, or want to make bread when you entertain, get a machine that will hold a recipe containing at least 3-4 cups of flour. Some bread makers will hold up to 4 to 4-1/4 cups or even 6 cups.

On the other hand, if you want a smaller loaf for just 2-3 people, you may want a machine with a smaller pan.  Remember, homemade bread has no preservatives and can stale quickly. Therefore, consider how fast you can eat a loaf of bread at your house.

3 pans different shape
*

The main thing to remember is that you can always make a smaller loaf of bread with a larger pan (especially if you’re using only the DOUGH cycle) but you can’t make a large recipe of bread with a compact machine.

bread machine crash course sign up

#3

Why do the shape of the pan and the number of blades matter?

At the beginning of bread machine history, most bread machines made a loaf that was long and tall–see the pan on the left above. It’s not the traditionally shaped loaf consumers are used to. Furthermore, the odd shape gave away the fact that it was baked in a bread machine.

However, manufacturers soon figured out how to build a machine that made a horizontally-shaped loaf that looked more like loaves sold at the grocery store.

Unfortunately, horizontal pans don’t always knead the dough as well, leaving unincorporated flour in the corners of the pan. Incomplete mixing is a huge negative!

In my experience, the upright configurations enable a better mixing job. HOWEVER. Since I’m not using the machine for baking the bread, the shape of the pan doesn’t matter.

Conversely, some of the newer machines (see picture above) are horizontally shaped but have two blades. Two blades instead of one are more effective in mixing all ingredients thoroughly and fully developing the gluten.

Choosing the Right Bread Machine--Oster mixing
See the flour in the corners? This happens more often with one blade. Keep a small rubber spatula handy to clean out the corners.

#4

What about the number and variety of cycles?

Bread machines with lots of different cycles do not impress me.  I want a bread machine to mix and knead the dough with a motor powerful enough to do it well.

Whether or not it makes jam or quick bread is immaterial to me.  Whole wheat cycles can be useful if you plan to bake whole wheat bread inside your machine. Consider your baking habits.

If you are looking for a machine to make gluten-free bread, consider that there is no gluten to develop. It would be like buying an oven to store extra cooking pots. Yes, you can use it for that, but that’s not what it does best.

Bread machine paddles are not designed to mix heavy dough like most gluten-free bread. A heavy stand mixer will do a much better job of mixing the batter. Bonus: no holes in the bottom when you use a stand mixer and bake your loaf in the oven.

One more caveat: Bread machines that advertise that you can use them for sourdough can be misleading. If that is something you want to do, investigate and be aware of the limitations.

For example, my favorite machine has a cycle for sourdough starter. You don’t need this if you have a warm place in your house to place a starter while it grows.

If you are making a sourdough recipe that also contains commercial yeast, you can use a regular bread cycle.

However, if you want to make a classic sourdough recipe with no commercial yeast, that is not something you can easily put on a predetermined timer of a bread machine. The timing for these loaves is different every time.

What you can do is use the DOUGH cycle to mix and knead your classic sourdough. After the DOUGH cycle finishes, then you only have to complete a couple of stretch-and-pulls, the bulk rise, shaping, and the final rise. Of course, you’ll want to bake such a loaf in a very hot conventional oven.

#5

Does price denote quality?

The more you spend, the better the machine. That’s my experience that is also echoed by my readers. Anybody with two bread makers will most likely tell you the more expensive model makes better bread.

Things that can go wrong, seem to happen sooner with a cheaper machine. The belts are the first thing to go in my experience.


Should I buy a machine if I’ve never made bread before?

You might consider looking in your local thrift shops or visit a few garage sales for a used bread machine. They are so cheap to buy, easy to find, and most of them have barely been used because most people don’t know how to use them to make good bread (DOUGH cycle only, of course). Even then, buy a brand you recognize.

What bread maker do I use and why?

My personal favorite is a Zojirushi, BB-CEC20(I do make a small commission from Amazon if you buy this machine through this link. However, I am not affiliated with Zojirushi in any way.) It has a timer on the dough cycle and two blades to mix and knead the dough thoroughly.

The pan will hold up to 4 1/4 cups flour or do smaller batches as well. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive bread machines out there. But it’s worth it to me since I use it nearly every week.

You may already have a bread machine you don’t like or don’t use. Don’t chuck it yet. Your bread maker may not be perfect, but a little practice and a good recipe that utilizes the dough cycle can make a huge difference. Stick with me.

Over to you: If you own and love your bread machine, please share what brand you own and what you like about it.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

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122 Comments

  1. Just the right post at a great time!!! My daughter picked up that five dollar bread machine for me and unknowing a friend of mine picked up one at her church sale. Now I have two. Paula you have inspired me. One of the best things on your post today is that sweet little grandson of yours. He would really like to help make your next loaf. Thanks for all the wonderful knowledge on bread machines.

    1. Sandy, Two machines are a great idea for holiday parties. Hang on to it.

  2. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    I use my bread machine mostly for pizza dough, but your bread recipe is calling me. My machine is pretty old, and I’m not even sure what brand it is. I do know it has a tall pan. Like you, though, I never bake in it- I just use it to make the dough. Can’t wait to find out how to make my mom’s dinner rolls in the thing! thanks for all the info!

    1. Betty, I have probably made more pizza dough in mine than anything else.

  3. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Love the “scientific method.” Bread is a dicey proposition at this altitude, so I leave it to the pros. Sounds like you get good use out of yours, though!

    1. I live in the Rockie Mountains. I make all of our breads and buns. No problem. I recommend you give it a try. You will be amazed. Plus you know exactly what is in it! No preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. And the types of bread you can make are endless.

  4. Thanks so much for the recipe, Paula. I just printed it out and I’ll give it a try.

    1. My only advice is to allow plenty of time for the dough to rise.

  5. Great post. I’m hoping to buy a bread machine for my daughter this Christmas.

    1. Sounds good. Hope this helps.

  6. These look fantastic! THANK YOU!

  7. cute little man in the pictures! good info on picking a bread machine. my current one I received as a wedding gift 7.5 yrs ago…it’s just starting to not work as well.

    1. Hm-m-m. Sounds like a good Christmas idea.

  8. Thanks for the info since you now have me thinking of owning a bread machine.
    Mimi

  9. Okay, I just unpacked my bread machine yesterday (from our move in June). This post sure makes me want to pull it off the shelf tomorrow and bake some bread!

    1. Katrina, I can only imagine all the variations you could come up with when making your own bread!

  10. I, like you, rarely make anything but dough in my bread machine. Mine has a horizontal pan and I actually prefer that. I hardly ever have to scrape the sides and I get a much better rise on my dough than my vertical one. Plus, I find it easier to clean. Another thing I like about mine and would recommend when choosing one is a pizza dough cycle. It is only 55 minutes long! Great post, I think everyone should at least try out a bread machine!!!

  11. Elizabeth McQuinn says:

    Excellent article. I borrowed my aunt’s machine last year to try a recipe for Jalapeno Bread. Sadly, I had to return her machine to her — but, at her garage sale last month, I GOT IT! It never occurred to me to not bake in it. The main reason I love it is that I just don’t have the upper arm strength to do a good job mixing and kneading. Thanks for all your great recipes and tips!!!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, Wonderful to hear from you. You bring up an excellent point about arm strength. No arm strength is needed with a bread machine so it’s perfect for older people or anyone with compromised muscle function in their arms. Even though I personally have strong arms, a bread machine STILL does a better job than I can do with the kneading. Hope all is well in your life. Fun to follow you on Facebook occasionally.

  12. So I am completely new at this. I got a bread machine for my mom many years ago and since she never used it I asked for it. Now, I want to use it. But, being the rookie that I am, the yeast and different types of flour confuses me. I want to arm myself with the right products so what would you suggest and maybe what is the difference? rapid rise yeast, bread machine yeast….. bread flour, whole wheat flour, white flour….. Help!!

    1. Kim, Wow! You have quite a treat awaiting you. Once you get the hang of making bread, you will be the most popular person in your family.

      Here is my advice. START SIMPLE. I recommend you try my pizza dough. Here’s the recipe. https://saladinajar.com/family-recipes/my-favorite-pizza-dough

      Buy yourself a jar of bread machine yeast. That’s the only kind you need for a bread machine. Once you have mastered the pizza dough, try my monkey bread or my favorite dinner rolls. Stick with plain white bread flour or all-purpose unbleached flour in the beginning. The other flours are more challenging–doable but harder so don’t try those for awhile.

      Then, write me back. Let me know how it goes and what questions you have. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences. paula

  13. Kristi Kearl says:

    I’m very excited to try the whole wheat bread recipe. We got a bread machine for Christmas from my parents, and it is incidentally the same Zojirushi that you so highly recommend! Do you have any bread machine recipes that call for 100% whole wheat flour? Thanks!!

    1. Kristi, I don’t have a favorite 100% whole wheat recipe. I’ve seen them but I’m not a huge fan of 100% so have not tried them out. Check King Arthur’s website.

  14. Kristi Kearl says:

    This recipe is great. It hardly lasts a day at our house between my husband and me!

  15. I came across these bread articles from your greek yogurt article (can’t wait to try that one tomorrow – picked up a yogurt maker at a garage sale for $2). I agree with basically everything you’ve said. I never bake bread in my machine. I do make egg roll/dinner rolls, italian loaves, wheat bread (2 cups wheat to 1 cup white), cinnamon rolls, danish, pizza dough…… need I say more. I can make a lot of stuff in this thing. I can’t really comment on the type because I’ve only used one. The Hitachi that your grandson chose. I buy them everytime I see them at garage sales ($5). I have 4, currently. My daughter took one, I have one in my house, 2 in my guest house as backups. I make cinnamon rolls for friends/family at Christmas and 3 machines are going at the same time. I have a worn out one for parts in the garage. Ha! Funny thing is we are on a lower carb/whole grain diet, so that has drastically cut down on my bread making. Wheatza(wheat pizza) dough and wheat focaccia bread are my staples these days. Thanks for the great articles, I’m enjoying reading through the site.

    1. Lori, What fun to read about all your Hitachi bread machines. That was the first machine I ever had. When it broke, I bought another one off EBay. My second one is out in the garage but it still works. If I saw one at a garage sale, I would definitely buy it.

      Wheatza?? Sounds interesting. Do you have a good recipe for whole wheat pizza crust? I get lots of requests for that but I have never played around with it. Would love to have your recipe if you want to share.

      Meanwhile, good luck with your diet. That’s why I eat a large salad-in-a-jar everyday for lunch and nonfat Greek yogurt everyday as a snack. Otherwise my bread and dessert habit would take its toll. pr

      1. I use basically the same pizza recipe as you only substitute out 2 cups of the bread flour for wheat. (Do watch, because different wheat flour is heavier or lighter depending on the mill – watch your dough and adjust accordingly)…
        1 cup lukewarm water
        1 teaspoon sugar
        2 tablespoons olive oil
        1 tablespoon honey
        1 teaspoon salt
        1 cup bread flour
        2 cups whole wheat flour
        2 1/4 teaspoons fast-rising or bread machine yeast

        1. Thanks Lori, Can’t wait to try it.

  16. Just out of curiosity how come you don’t bake the bread in your machine?

    1. Melissa,
      Glad you asked. I wrote about it here. https://saladinajar.com/family-recipes/5-reasons-why-i-use-a-bread-machine
      Besides the reasons listed in that post, bread baked in a bread machine does not usually have the best texture and the loaves are just plain ugly. The behavior and actions of yeast is not predictable enough to be controlled with a preset timer. If I’m going to eat those kind of calories and serve them to people I love, it better be worth it. More often than not, bread baked in a bread machine does not measure up.

      On the other hand, dough mixed, kneaded, and allowed to proof in a good bread machine is fabulous. I highly recommend it! pr

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been baking bread (almost daily) for the past 3 years. For the first time I read on your site what I suspected… that even in the bread machine it can turn out different each time! I live in Colorado and was so frustrated that the weather makes such a difference in my loaves! So now I do what you say and I watch the dough to get the right consistency and then I watch it rise until it is perfect! It is so yummy and I love this recipe!

    1. You’re welcome Katie. Thanks for taking the time to write. Enjoy the recipe. It’s a goodie for sure. pr

  18. My former mother-in-law bought me a bread machine about 18 years ago…around the time they first came out. I fell in love with it! I used it all the time and then when I just got too busy, I put away. I just recently pulled it back out, and my younger children that didn’t get to eat the bread the first time around got to try it. they love it and begged me to start making bread in it again! Of course, now I’m even more busy than before so will be teaching them how to make their own bread!

    My mother bought me another bread machine a few years later that had the rectangular pan and I only used it a few times because I didn’t like that it couldn’t get the corners incorporated. I put it away, but still have it!

    1. Monica, I have a bread machine like that. I try to make sure the liquid spreads all the way to the corners before I add the flour and that helps the whole corner issue.

  19. I am still using the kitchen aid mixer mainly because that is what was here when I got here
    ( and because I have a bum shoulder that can no longer find the “joy” in kneading). I have used a bread machine a number of times but after the first time try I tried to bake in it, was the last. Mainly because I hated the way it looked ( I don’t like ugly food) and I didn’t like the crust and the crumb wasn’t what I like either. I see bread machines in the thrift stores all the time… better there than the land fill,but then I wonder if the people that buy them end up throwing them out for the same reason they were discarded in the first place. Just something to ponder:-)

    1. Hi Joy,
      People who throw out their bread machines either don’t really want to bake bread or they don’t realize what fabulous bread they can make if they only use it to mix, knead and raise the dough. Baking it in the machine will usually ruin it so I don’t recommend it. Bake it in a regular oven.

  20. Linda & Mike Black says:

    Hi Paula

    My wife and i are getting into bread making; have other family members that make their own. As far as purchasing a machine; we’ll try to use the one’s our family uses. We got a loaf of white from one of our family members and it was great! You have a great web site; thank you!

    1. Thanks Mike. Appreciate your kind words. Let me know how your bread-making goes. pr

  21. Hi Paula, I wrote back in January and I’m still loving your honey whole wheat bread. I wondered if I could use less honey and substitute with some sugar. I’m realizing that I’m going through a lot of honey and it’s pretty expensive so I wondered if I could save a few pennies with sugar. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!

  22. Hi Paula,

    My new bread machine just arrived and I’m ready to get started! I am going to start with your dinner rolls, but as I was reading through some of the other receipes I realized that you refer to “bread flour” and “unbleached flour”. Can you please explain these better to me? I’m new at all of this! Thank you for your help and your blog. We already love our homemade Greek yogurt, Salad in a jar and I’m sure we’ll love our bread as well!!

    1. Hi Kristin,
      Congratulations on your new bread machine! In answer to your question about bread flour and unbleached flour, they have different amounts of protein. It is best to use the flours specified if you want to have good quality bread with texture more like what you get in a bakery. Protein levels affect the elasticity you can get out of your dough. Bread flour has the most and is generally used in loaves and more sturdy rolls. Unbleached flour will produce a softer texture that is perfect for soft dinner rolls. I never use bleached flour any more in my bread but some people do and think it’s good. Stick with whatever the recipe calls for to get the best results. Write back if you run into any difficulties with your machine. pr

  23. Wow, just found your website on Pinterest with salad in the jars. And reading about your bread, I borrowed my friend’s bread machine not long ago and didn’t like the baked bread and now will try to bake it in our oven instead. Here’s my question, I’ve never used bread flour. I would love to try the recipe above and it asked bread flour. Can I use AP flour instead? If so, add vital gluten or anything to make up? Thank you!!! Loving your blog!

    1. Jenny, yes, you can use all-purpose, preferably unbleached flour. You may need to add a tiny bit more flour to get the right texture. The texture will be a little softer but still delicious. Keep experimenting and you’ll be a pro in no time. PR

  24. Paula, wow, quick reply. Thank you!!!

  25. Hi Betty,
    I love my Zojirushi. It works perfectly for me and nobody has paid me a dime to say that. However, I cannot say ANYTHING about the way it bakes bread because I can’t remember ever doing that. I simply do not like bread baked in a bread machine. Not any bread machine. I nearly always make bread recipes using 3 cups of flour. Hope this helps.

  26. Judy Laaper says:

    Hi Paula, I just started to make bread rolls in the bread machine, and I loved it and so did my husband. There a photo of all your bread machines and boy is poking at one of them, is that a ” Hitachi 101 bread machine” ? I have that one I think it was made in 1993 and mine is still working fine. I would love to get a brand new one but its hard to just go out and buy one when my Hitachi 101 is still working well. Love your blog.
    Judy Laaper.

    1. Judy,
      Yes, you are right about the Hitachi. I have had two of them. Bought the second one used. But it doesn’t work so well anymore. If I was you, I would keep what you have. If you get tired of it, I’ll buy it. 🙂

  27. Hi,

    Wholewheat bread.
    I make bread for 12 years and every time I enjoy it again.
    My wholewheat recipe:
    1 1/2 cups water (I add some milk in the water)
    3 table spoons oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar
    4 cups of wholewheat flour
    3/4 teaspoon yeast

    I add half a cup of nuts, chopped almonds sesamy seeds. (altogether 1/2 a cup) when the machine tells you to put it in.

    Pizza from whole wheat flour:

    1cup water
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons oil
    3 cups of whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon yeast

    I freeze half the dough and always have some ready.

    1. Thanks for the recipe Irene. If you’ve been making it for 12 years, it must be a favorite. Can’t wait to try it.

  28. Hi,
    I have a Russel Hobbs breadmachine and I take the blade out one hour forty minutes before it starts rising.(After the final turn)The loaf looks lovely. Very easy to cut nice slices.

  29. I just found your website through a comment on King Arthur Flour website. I was thinking of purchasing a larger machine and wanted to read your thoughts. I currently have a Zo mini which I love. I make bread 1 or 2 times per week and make pizza dough also. I want to try baking in oven but am not sure what size pan to use with dough from my machine. Do you have any recommendations. One thing I have never seen mentioned is the placement of control buttons. I have an older large machine with controls on top. I am on the short side and in order to see control buttons I have to use step stool to see top. After having stroke this is not a good idea. This is one reason I love the Zo mini as the controls are on the front and very visible. I love your site and will check back often.

    1. Hi Yvonne,
      Interesting thought about the controls. I like them on top but I can see how it would be better for you on the side.

      If you use my recipes, I usually suggest what size pan to use to bake your bread. Since you are using smaller recipes, I would suggest you experiment, possibly starting with an 8 x 4-inch pan or even slightly smaller. It’s worth it to take that dough out and bake it in a regular oven. SO-O-oooo much better! Size of pan can vary according to the kind of flour you use and also, how you want your bread to look in the end. I like my loaves to have a dome and stand high (more like what you would get from a bakery) so I go for a bit smaller pan than others might use. Good luck.

  30. Hi there. My loving husband got me Zojirushi supreme and I tried using it to bake bread. They were Ok TILL I found your Blog. It’s great. Dinner rolls were perfect ! I am making the dough for your Whole wheat bread and will bake it in the oven as suggested by you….hope it comes out good. This Blog is unbelievable. I want to bake everything listed here ONCE. A question is there an easy way to slice bread at home? Thanks.

    1. Hi Sangeeta,

      An easy way to slice bread at home? Hmmm. I don’t think so. I have purchased two electric bread slicers. They work the best but take up too much room and are a lot of trouble to use. I would recommend the best serrated knife you can afford. Other than that, waiting until the bread is completely cool helps, but who wants to do that when you can smell it baking. 🙂

      1. Thanks. All your recipes are great. I tried your dinner rolls they were super soft. Today I am making a pizza but with whole wheat flour & just 3/4 c of all purpose flour. Hope it’s yummy. Do you have a recipe for Pita bread? and good Easter Buns?

  31. Dear Paula,
    I have made Honey Whole wheat bread as per your recipe and it’s highly appreciated by my husband. It comes out so good. I want to know if you have any recipe to make English muffin? Thanks.

  32. Hi Paula,

    Your recipes are amazing. In the Honey Whole Wheat recipe, what do you mean when you say “Roll up from short side and pinch seam to seal?” How do you acquire a seam if you roll the dough? By rolling do you mean folding? This part confuses me….and I DEFINITELY want my bread to look like yours after it finishes in the oven- and I think this is an important step.

  33. Dear Paula,
    Hi! The bread used to come perfect but lately it sinks in? Any suggestions from you the master maker please.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Sangeeta,
      Are you baking it in your bread machine? If so, I don’t recommend it because your bread sounds like it is rising too much. This seems to happen more often in the summer when the temperatures in the kitchen may be higher than normal. See this post about baking bread in a bread machine.

  34. My family loved your French bread recipe! It’s definitely added to our regular rotation. I actually prefer to bake in my breadmachine since I have three sons under 7. I bake all our bread (a loaf a day or more), and it can get time consuming! I think in a few years, Ill have more freedom to do. Tings like dinner rolls and monkey bread, but right now, the convenience is worth giving up a small bit of thickness in the crust. I do a loaf out of the. Machine now and then though. I wanted to say that I really love my Breadman Ultimate. The mixing and baking are consistent, all the cycles are highly customizable, and it was very easy to learn on but still presents opportunity aft years of use. The price is a fair bit less the the Zojirushi. Isn’t a double paddle, but I never have an issue with anything stuck in corners as long as I have checked dough consistency. I hope that helps someone looking for a machine. Bread making is enjoyable and rewarding!

    1. Thanks so much Amy. The Zoji is pricey so a recommendation for a good machine that doesn’t cost so much is highly appreciated.

      I don’t blame you for baking in the machine if you do it every day. Wow! I doubt if the boys really care either. Mine didn’t when they were young–especially if the bread was hot. Happy bread eating!

  35. I just bought a bread machine at a sale.. Paid $8.00 for it.. not knowing if it works and never having used one before I thought I would give it a go. I made Nut bread following the recipe from the manual. There were only 2 things that bothered me about it. The top did not get as brown as the sides and of course the hole in the bread. The recipe I used called for 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup sugar. I thought it was not sweet enough. So question… if adding more sugar to make it sweeter would you reduce the milk? Here is the recipe used.
    Milk 10 ounces
    Large egg 1
    Vegitable Oil 3 Tbsp
    All Purpose Flour 2 3/4 cups
    Sugar 1/3 cup
    Brown sugar 1/3 cup
    Baking Powder 3 1/2 tsp
    Salt 1 tsp
    Chopped Nuts 1 cup

    Good bread… just not sweet enough to suit me. Any tips??

    1. Hi Tina,
      I have never used a bread machine to make quick bread although I’ve heard it can be done. So, I’m not an expert on the subject. I only use my bread machine to mix up yeast bread.

  36. Hi, I want a GOOD inexpensive bread machine to mix & knead and that will give a good rise to my dough.. Do you think the Sunbeam 5891 2-lb. Programmable Breadmaker will be a choice for me?

  37. Paula I’m having a problem with my wheat bread. I have used a bread machine since December with no problem. I’ve noticed a couple of times lately, after the bread sits for 3 or 4 days that I have a alcohol smell and a bad taste. I realize the yeast may be a problem but I’ve used the same brand and the same method for both making and storing the bread. Any suggestions.

    1. Homemade bread doesn’t have preservatives so it will not keep like store-bought bread. I’m wondering if your flour is as fresh as it could be. Whole wheat flours go rancid very quickly so I always recommend you keep them in the refrigerator or freezer.

  38. Paula, I read in an earlier comment that you have an old Hitachi Bread Machine. Mine is a B301. It doesn’t have a dough button. Can you tell me how to use it for just the dough cycle? I’ve had it for years and now I cannot find my owners manual.

  39. Paula,
    Please disregard my last comment. I found my bread machine book. Yea!! I am new to your blog and am really looking forward to your rolls and many other breads. I have been doing the “Salad in a jar” for quite some time now. Saw that on Pinterest. My lettuce stays fresh at least 2 or 3 weeks now. I signed up for your newsletters today and can’t wait to find out all of your future tips & recipes.
    Thanks so much!!

  40. Lucky me, I walked in to bed bath and beyond last year and on the display they had a zojirushi cac20 50% off + I had a 20% off coupon which made the bread maker 96$, I use it everyday sometimes I bake the bread in the machine with the timer and other times I use the machine to make dough and then bake the bread in the oven, it can make dough with 7 cups flour if you dont rise it in it too long .I think it saved me 100$ of dollars alredy (i have 10 children and we eat a lot of bread), unfortunately – last week my new cleaning lady washed the pan with grease remover (she sprayed it on all the dishes for whatever reason) and the pan got damaged, where can I get a new pan for a reasonable price?
    Tnxs

  41. Paula, I was wondering what kind of bread pan you use when you bake….metal versus cast iron… I also would like to know if you have any tips on how to store your loaves….plastic bag or a hard plastic bread keeper like in King Arthur’s catalog. Thank you for this post!

    1. Cheryl,
      I use metal for my yeast breads. I occasionally use a cast iron skillet for corn bread. I use both plastic bags and a hard plastic bread keeper–just depends how much I have and what I grab first.

  42. Hi!

    Thanks for the tip on heating the water for the bread. I have been making your honey wheat bread recipe with huge success at our house! My boys love it and it’s also more filling for them compared to the store bought. I also make the yogurt and it has become a new staple at our house since we all love yogurt. My question is this: do you have any complete whole wheat bread recipe for the machine? I’ve seen some online but it’s for bigger machines than mine (it bakes a 1 1/2lb loaf) but I follow what you do and bake it in the oven.
    Another question. Can I freeze my yogurt starter? If I’m going on a trip, can I freeze it and use it to make more yogurt after it’s thawed? Will this kill the bacteria? Thank you so much for all your help! Have a great day, and God bless you!

    Sincerely,

    Gloria

  43. I was hoping you might be able to help me out. I have a dairy allergy which is why I got my machine, so I could eat bread without dairy in it. I have only used a couple recipes that do not call for dairy so far (or at least not milk, I use vegan butter). I was wondering if doing an equal swap of milk for a non-dairy alternative would work. Any tips on this matter?

    1. Rachel,
      You can always use water but it will change the character of the bread–not as tender–which is great for some recipes but not for others. I have not tried any non-dairy alternatives in my favorite recipes so I can’t advise you on that.

  44. I made this and it was delicious!! I did substitute olive oil for butter and it worked fine.

  45. You said in this post that the bread gets stale quicker because there are no preservatives like store bought bread, my question is, how long would you say it generally takes for homemade bread to go stale?

    1. Aila,
      To me, homemade bread is usually stale after a day or two. Toasting can salvage it for another day or two. Adding potatoes will help bread stay fresh longer. I highly recommend my potato rolls, Hawaiian bread and sweet potato rolls for longer staying time–like 3-4 days.

  46. I got a brand new high quality bread machine from Goodwill for $20. Since then, I have bought and given away 5 machines. The most I paid was $6.00. The least, $2.49. Last time I was there, I counted 6 machines. I wanted to take them all home. Folks don’t realize what little workhorses these machines are.
    Like you, I use the dough cycle.

    1. Carol Marden says:

      @Val, I bought 2 Oster for 5 dollars each. They work great!

  47. I am a novice bread baker. I bought the Zo BB-CEC20 before I found your blog. Frankly, I haven’t used it much, bought it because I had a gift certificate and I couldn’t find anything better to spend it on. However, I have grown tired of spending $3 or more on a loaf of ordinary grocery store bread so I have been trying harder. The first few loaves were baked in the machine, then I found YOU! Bread is sooo much better baked in my oven. No more thick crust, no misshapen dents in the sides and no more paddle holes in the bottom! Thank you!

    Just made a loaf of your honey whole wheat and it is wonderful!! Almost gone, actually. Probably the best loaf I have made so far. I used the boiled water in the microwave trick to speed the rising. Still took a lot longer than white bread. Worth the wait though. Will be doing more whole wheat for sure!

    Thanks so much for your help.

  48. Hi
    You’ve encouraged me to try the machine again! Can I use all purpose flour if I dont have bread flour? Want to bake but lake effect snow here for a few days. Thanks!

    1. Yes, you can use all-purpose flour as a sub, preferably unbleached but bleached will also work. However, pay attention to the moisture content of your dough. Open lid and see if you need to add more flour (which you should always do anyway) because bread flour has more protein so you may need a bit more all-purpose flour than called for. Always check after machine has been mixing for 5-10 minutes.

  49. I have the one in the middle (Zojirushi). I have both the small (1 lb loaf), and the large (2 lb loaf) Zojirushi machines . They are THE best. Well worth the extra money. I’ve had the cheap ones, and found them to be a complete waste of money. I like your recipe, but wish you posted for what size loaf/machine to use.

    1. Hi Brigitte,

      You can know which size to use by how many cups of flour the recipe calls for. Consult your manual and then compare to the recipe. Lucky you to own two Zojis.

  50. Found an old Oster bread machine in the basement and been giving it a try but have thrown out several loaves. Heavy and no taste. Tried cinnamon rolls also, they rose to double but cooked up hard as rocks. Getting discouraged.
    Warming water/milk to 115 degrees, baking loaves in machine (won’t do that again, now that I’ve read your blog), using a bread flour (but tried partial all purpose also). Using rapid instant yeast that I proof before adding flour (but did put salt and sugar in it, so maybe that’s a mistake. Live in Colorado so it’s dry and cold (now), at altitude of ~5,000 feet. Any suggestions? I love bread and don’t want to give up yet!

    1. Hi Rosemary,
      So sorry to hear of your difficulty with the bread machine. A few things come to mind right off. First, I have an old Oster bread machine and it’s not my favorite. I use it only when I need lots of bread and NEVER, NEVER bake in it. Second, there is no need to proof rapid instant yeast. Just be sure it’s not old. That’s why it’s called “rapid instant”. Add to your recipe last along with flour. Third, high altitude is a game changer for making bread. Unfortunately, I have no personal experience with it but you will need to make some adjustments. Perhaps some googling about the problem would produce some help. My sister lives in Denver and makes good bread all the time with her bread machine so I know it’s possible. Good luck!

  51. Thank you for your sweet bread recipe!I have tried a lot of bread recipes but this one is the best!Love,love it. I also have the same bread machine as you do! And I like it the best out of others I have had. Thanks for all your information!

    1. You’re welcome,Joyce. It’s one of my favorites, also.

  52. hey! I want to give you a big thank because of after reading your post, I bought a bread machine which makes me very pleased. I will continue following your posts to widen my knowledge ^.^

  53. Hey Paula, I want to give you my big thanks because of after reading your post, I purchased a bread maker which has made me happy. I will continue following your posts to widen my knowledge

  54. can you suggest me a bread maker for small kitchen with highest quality. But not made in China.

  55. Anna, So sorry. I cannot help you. I have not done that kind of research.

  56. Ann Scheiern says:

    Paula,

    I just want to tell you how much I enjoy this recipe. I have started experimenting with different honey’s and am finding that the taste of the bread will be different depending on the honey that is used. I love this recipe and my biggest problem is how to not eat all of it when it comes out of the oven!

    1. I feel your pain about eating all of the bread. I have had to stop baking bread for awhile. 🙁

  57. Hi I just ran across your site and you have some great tips. I totally agree with you as I too do not bake in the machine. If making loaves I have enough dough to make two loaves and the machine would have baked it as one very heavy loaf. I never buy hamburger or hotdog buns anymore. The dough makes them so much better and I store in a zipper bag and freeze until needed. I thaw out In the microwave and its like fresh baked. I also discovered that my electric knife works better than a standard “bread” knife so glad you have this blog that we can share ideas. thank you

    1. Thanks for your input Myra. Good ideas!

    1. Anin,
      I learn so many things from my readers. This is the first time I’ve seen this. However, it’s clearly a bread machine without the baking function. Love it!!! I only use my bread machine to make dough so this would be perfect…and hopefully less expensive. I don’t see it on Amazon. Do they sell it in USA? When I search for “dough maker”, all I see are bread machines.

      1. It is a bread machine without baking option ?that’s why I feel the urge to tell you about it. I think its a common appliance in India, but at here where I live, it’s still a new idea. Not many brands are available yet and the price is almost equal to 70 USD, not so cheap compare to several bread machines available. However if I browse in Dubai, the price could drop to around 40 USD, which I think would be a good bargain if available in our home country.

  58. Brownbread says:

    Hello,

    I purchased an upright Cuisinart bread machine because of budget constraints. I wanted a horizontal Zojirushi with two paddles, but alas my budget didn’t stretch that far.

    I’m having problems making a 100% whole wheat loaf from start to finish in the bread machine; they keep on collapsing whilst baking. These are my observations from using the bread machine:

    1. The heat source is from the base, and whilst the base of the dough will bake the rest of the dough just waits until the heat rises to bake the top.
    2. Whole wheat dough is denser than white dough.
    3. Without an all over heat source the top of the loaf cannot cook and set at the same time as the base of the loaf.
    4. By the time the heat has reached the top, the yeast has died and the dough collapses, and the yeast cannot be resurrected to re-inflate the dough!

    Your tips and hints are great, and I’ve come to the conclusion that either I have to continue looking for my holy grail recipe, or there are too many variables that makes baking a 100% whole wheat loaf in my bread machine too temperamental, and that I might have to concede and bake it in a conventional oven.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Brownbread,
      I can hear your frustration. Are you using a recipe from the Cuisinart manual? I would recommend you stick with a recipe proven to work in their bread machine until you have some success. A 100% whole wheat loaf is always going to be an advanced bread-baking skill. As you might know, I don’t care for any bread baked in a bread machine, and would encourage you to “concede” and bake your loaf in a conventional oven. I prefer to let the machine do what it does best–mix and knead the dough. After that, I hijack the process because of all the variables that come into play when baking bread.

      1. Brownbread says:

        Hello Paula,

        Thank you for responding to me. I have successfully baked four loaves in the Cuisinart machine using the recipe book that came with the machine. I made the basic white bread three times and it looked great and tasted great. The recipe book has a basic whole wheat bread which is made with two-thirds whole wheat flour and one-third all purpose flour. Since I thought the bread would be dry I decreased the whole wheat flour and increased the all purpose flour to a ratio of half and half. It baked quite well but was a little shriveled on top. However, to my surprise it was still a little dry, but at least it didn’t totally collapse.

        I was determined to bake a 100% whole wheat loaf in the bread machine, but after my failures, I would once again like to see a beautifully baked loaf of 100% whole wheat bread. So after I’ve eaten my latest failure (yes I do eat them since I can’t bear the idea of throwing away all the ingredients that went into producing my frankenbread (Frankenstein + bread)), I will use the machine to do the preliminary stages and then I will bake it in the conventional oven.

        Once again thank you for your time and advice.

    2. @Paula, thank you so much for the information on bread machines. I recently purchased the Cuisanart convection, I had grandeur of making all these artisan breads. I was getting so frustrated, they came out like a little bowling and
      weighted as much, lol. Also what a pain to have remove the paddle after the bread is baked. My old machine removing the pedal wasn’t a problem So Glad I read this, very helpful

      1. Glad to hear it Janet. Can’t wait to hear about the wonderful bread you make.

  59. William LeGro says:

    I bought a Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA a few months ago after years of very reliable frustration with my Oster (which walked off the counter one day, but still worked). Frustrated with the Zoji too, but at least it turns out better loaves. I bake only whole wheat, and found the Zoji recipes almost useless in their measurements. Despite carefully using weight not volume I was getting dough that was so wet that it divided into two wet balls – I was often cancelling and starting over and having to add flour, and not just a tablespoon, more like a quarter-cup or more. so have had to experiment wildly, taking something from one recipe and something from another and something from the Oster book and my mother-in-law’s ancient Betty Crocker cookbook that my wife inherited and something I think I might have learned online maybe back when the Internet was like dial-up and a hard drive was 42 megabytes (or was that maybe a recipe for pulled chicken?), and a lot from my intuition (which is basically how I cook).

    I do add ingredients in the order recommended, most of the time, well, some of the time, depending on how rebellious I’m feeling or how well my CPAP worked last night, never knowing why the order is so vital because when I’ve forgotten something and have to add it out of order it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Nor does it make much difference if I go by weight or volume of ingredients – I’ve always fluffed up the flour before scooping it anyway. I think the people who create the recipes might have control issues.

    My dough may be a bit too dry most of the time – better than too wet for my purposes. I like that the Zoji has a homemade course where I can set the kneading up to 30 minutes and the rising up to I don’t know but I use 1 hour for each of the 3 rises. After the second I take the dough out and reshape it if the punch down has been too punchy and take out the blades.

    The machine wants me to wait till it beeps loudly like Manhattan taxi cabs to add seeds, but I gave up on that routine pretty quickly – it would knead only about 5 minutes after that and I just wanted the seeds incorporated more so I dump them in (about twice what the recipe demands) once the dough is pretty well mixed early in the kneading cycle – I found that the machine is happy if all I do is open and close the lid when it beeps, cutting the beeps way down depending on how fast I get to the machine – that’s all it really wants, subconsciously, doesn’t really care if I add the seeds whenever, just wants to be noticed.

    After several failed loaves (edible but not pleasingly so) and email exchanges with Zoji (very nice people, and patient!), the support lady – who actually talked with the makers of the sprouted whole wheat flour I use and was having problems with – she passed on their suggestion that since sprouted whole wheat is even heavier than regular whole wheat, I should try a dough enhancer. Which I’d never heard of. Well, it worked – once I learned that too much makes for a kind of fragile loaf, I’m now getting pretty good loaves every time. Now I usually mix some sprouted WW with white whole wheat and it tastes great, especially with all the flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds I throw in.

    I wish the machine had a countdown for each of the cycles because I invariably forget to set my own timer.

    whoa! didn’t mean to run on like this – I guess you can tell I don’t get out much…thanks for your site and I’m going to try the bake in the oven method – I bake bread every Sunday.

  60. I have a Panasonic bread machine and it has a basic dough selection that I use to make pizza dough. It has a yeast dispenser that adds the Instant yeast at the appropriate time. I notice that all the recipes for making bread here are putting the yeast directly in the pan. Is there a reason for doing this or can I just put everything else in and put the yeast in the dispenser as usual. Please advise.

    1. Linda, What a good question! Without having actually used a Panasonic machine, I would guess you can do either. As long as the dispenser works for you, keep doing it. Most bread machines don’t have a dispenser and they work quite well, too.

  61. Can you use a recipe on any cycle and pull it out to bake in the oven once you figure out when the baking is supposed to start ?

    1. Hi Caroline,

      Yes, you can. But, it’s best to use the Dough cycle. Whenever you pull the dough out of the machine, it will probably deflate. You will have to reshape it and let it rise again, then bake. If you use any other cycle and pull it out just before it’s ready to bake, it’s possible your yeast will run out of steam, depending on the recipe. This would lead to short, dense loaves.

  62. Ann McGuire says:

    I have a Hitachi that I’ve had for a very long time. I love it! I like that is made so you can set it to do the dough cycle only without baking.

    1. Hi Ann,

      My first bread machine was a Hitachi. When it bit the dust, I bought another one just like it on Ebay–very slightly used. I bet our machines looked a lot alike. That was a good machine! Thankfully, I think most bread machines now have a DOUGH cycle.

  63. Juanita Gresham says:

    Are Panasonic bread makers not sold in the United States? I would love to have one. I ordered one a few weeks ago on the internet then leaved that the website was a scam.

    1. Oh no, Juanita. I just looked and found this one on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2MRGOqt. If it was a scam, at least you would get your money back from Amazon.

  64. My very first bread machine was, I believe, a Wellbilt. Bought it in the early 90’s. It was a basic machine with several bread settings and it would automatically add the “add in” ingredients. It made the loaves upright instead of a loaf (horizontal). It finally quit heating which, of course, I found out in the middle of making a loaf. The paddle fixture also broke but a friend rigged it with screws and nuts so I could keep using it cuz back then they were expensive, even for this one.
    the next one I bought was a Breadman Ultimate. It’s sitting on a shelf in the garage, although I don’t know why. It quit mixing well last Christmas when I was making a fruit bread for Christmas morning breakfast. I searched the internet for a store that had one in stock without breaking the bank. I found one at Kohl’s. It is a Cuisinart compact. It makes larger loaves but it’s footprint is compact. Since I only use it for the dough cycle it was fine. I’ve actually used my bread machines as a dough maker for years as I didn’t like the shape of the loaves they make.
    I don’t go all out in price because 1. Out of my budget and 2. I’ve found the less expensive ones work just fine. I have a Kitchen Aid Mixer I could use but there is too much guess work that the bread machines take out.
    I’ve made tons of bread over the years. I have to say, I have made 2 loaves of the Ciabatta bread from this site (within 24 hours) because my husband was trying to find a recipe for an easy recipe that didn’t require a Biga but would give him the crusty crust and LOTS of holes. His recipes weren’t giving the desired results. I did a search and found this one. While it does use a Biga it also makes a great loaf of bread. I’ve made a Honey, buttermilk whole wheat that I adapted from one of the recipes on this site. It was absolutely DELICIOUS!
    I would say when it comes to buying a bread machine go with what is in your budget. It’ll be fine.

    1. Kathy,
      Thanks for weighing in on this subject. I concur with every word. Good advice for anyone looking to buy a machine. Thanks so much for writing.

  65. I have have the Zojurishi Virtuoso and love it. This is my second Zojurishi. My first one lasted 19 years, my current one is about 8 years old and works great. I loved everything about it, but I especially love that it has the preheating cycle so the liquids are the right temperature. I agree with you, I mostly use the dough cycle and then bake my breads in the oven. Occasionally, I get lazy and bake it in the bread machine. I love you website!

    1. Peggy,
      I’m so glad you wrote and left a comment. Your testimony can help other people who don’t have as much experience as you do. And thanks, too, for your kind words about the website. Readers like you make it all worth it.

    2. @Peggy, I also have this machine. I bought during the pandemic from King Arthur flour and I love it!

  66. I have a bread man and I loved until it broke and I can t get replacement part

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      I’m so sorry about your bread machine. If you don’t want to buy a new one, have you thought of checking out your local thrift shops for a bargain on a little-used machine? I see them all the time.

  67. Daina Janitis says:

    Paula- I “discovered” you only recently- and have printed out so many of your recipes for using the dough cycle only. Your detailed comments on your blog make me feel as though you are looking over my shoulder and really CARE about my achievement of a delicious homemade loaf. My last breadmaker bit the dust a few months ago and I acquired a Yedi machine- darling little thing with an elongated pan- but even that did not get the kind of taste, texture, and crust that I hoped for. Your website convinced me to use it for the dough cycle only – and I have shared the link with everyone I know. I believe you may be an effective agent for environmental protection. All of those slightly used bread machines at garage sales and in thrift shops will be rescued from the landfill! I’m grateful for your work.

    1. Hi Daina,
      I’m so glad to hear from you. Glad to have you in the “DOUGH Cycle Club.” I’ve never heard of a Yedi machine. But if it makes good dough, that’s all that matters. I have a friend who buys up some of those slightly used bread machines and gives them to people along with instructions to use the DOUGH cycle for everything. She has made several good friends doing this.

      I never thought of myself as an agent for environmental protection but it sounds good to me. Thanks for writing.

      p.s. If you ever have a question about one of my recipes, don’t hesitate to write to me: Paula at saladinajar.com