If you’re at the point of only just dipping your dough in the bread-making pool but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge into fully fledged star-baker status, bread machines are the way forward. They still give you that freshly baked, additive-free taste of bread made by hand, but are a fuss free and far less time-consuming.
In fact, analysis by Technario on the impact of Covid on the bread maker market revealed it is expected to grow by $4.18 billion over 2020-24, so it certainly looks like it’s time to jump on the band wagon.
We’ve got the lowdown on the best bread machines out there to start you off on your baking journey. Whether you need gluten-free, want something a bit fruity or are just looking for a plain and simple white loaf, there’s a machine for that.
Sage custom loaf bread maker
The award for the most attractive machine definitely goes to Sage. With a sleek, brushed stainless steel design, it will sit nicely alongside all of your other kitchen appliances in a very aesthetically pleasing way – this is a bread maker you’ll want to be leaving out on display.
One of my favourite functions is the light button, which illuminates the inside of the machine to allow you to see the progress of the loaf, as well as the process of bread making, through the small viewing window.
The collapsible kneading blade is also an excellent addition, folding in automatically before the baking begins to prevent that annoying hole that you usually get in the bottom of bread machine bakes.
The automatic programmes include gluten free, yeast free and crusty loaf, and there’s even a setting to make your own pasta dough. Need I say more?
Buy now £249.95, John Lewis
Lakeland touchscreen bread maker
Lakeland’s touchscreen bread maker is very easy to use and has all of the functions that you’d expect of a machine that bakes bread… and more!
The LED touchscreen display allows you to choose between 12 functions, including quick (so there’s no waiting around for hours while it cooks), cake and basic. As well as bread, the double-paddled machine also makes yoghurt and jam – the perfect accompaniment to that freshly baked loaf.
You can also choose between three different sizes and crust colours to be sure the bread is made just to your taste.
What I love about this lightweight machine, unlike many others, is that it comes with a recipe book included in the instructions which tells you exactly the ingredient measurements needed for your chosen bread, thus eliminating the inevitable faff of trying to find a suitable recipe online.
Buy now £139.99, Lakeland
Progress EK4219P digital bread maker
If you have limited surface or storage space for something that can often be quite bulky, Progress’s digital bread maker provides all the efficiency of machine-baked bread but in a compact size.
The 11 settings include sweet, French and gluten free and the bread maker can even make scones. The buttons are very easy to use, especially for the more technophobic among us, meaning baking your way to the perfect loaf is simple.
One of the best features of the bread maker is the 13-hour delay timer, which allows you to time baking around your schedule. After all, what could be better than waking up to a freshly baked loaf?
Buy now £44.99, Amazon
Salter EK4189 digital bread maker
For those who are looking for a more comprehensive bread machine, Salter’s is definitely worth considering.
A choice of 15 functions (including sandwich, whole wheat and gluten free) means there’s nothing you can’t do. For the time-poor among us, the ultra-fast I and II settings give you quality loaves in around 1hr 40mins – a fraction of the time of a standard bake.
The gluten-free setting works really well and actually gives you a tasty, good-looking loaf that is a far cry from the supermarket variety – you’ll be left wondering why you didn’t join the baking cult sooner.
Buy now £47.99, Currys
Panasonic SD-YR2540 automatic bread maker
Panasonic has been voted the UK’s favourite breadmaker brand and with this machine, you can see why.
With 32 dough programmes, designated brioche, rye bread and four gluten free settings, and accessories including a sourdough cup and starter spoon, their bread maker is chock-full of tech specs that you probably didn’t even know were possible – it really is next-level advanced.
One of the best features of this bread machine is the separate fruit and nut dispenser, as well as yeast dispenser. It cleverly drops the yeast in automatically when it’s at the optimum temperature to ensure you get the best-risen loaf and that additional ingredients are spread evenly throughout the bread.
The fully automatic technology with clear, easy-to-use buttons also makes for very user-friendly baking, especially for those new to the bread-making realm.
Buy now £219.99, John Lewis
Russell Hobbs fast-bake bread maker 18036
If making delicious loaves in a fraction of the time of normal is top of your agenda, put Russell Hobbs on top of your bread maker list. Its fast bake setting gives you fresh bread in just 55 minutes – a third of the time of most standard functions.
But if you end up getting distracted in that time and are not (like the rest of us) hovering around waiting for the delicious aroma of baking bread to waft through the air, there’s no need to worry, the machine keeps warm for up to an hour after finishing so you’ll always get the loaf at its best.
With 12 settings (including cake and jam) and three sizes and crusts to choose from, getting freshly baked loaves is as easy as pie!
Buy now £59.99, Amazon
Morphy Richards Homebake bread maker
One of the best aspects of the Homebake is its sleek design, meaning it will fit easily in most cupboards and saves precious surface space.
The 14 settings, which include gluten free and bread mix, are listed on the top of the machine to save you time searching for the instructions and what’s more, the touchscreen buttons are clear and simple to use.
In a world filled with complex technology, the Homebake wastes no time in revealing that less is sometimes definitely more. This is an extremely user-friendly bread maker that is perfect for baking novices.
Buy now £45.00, Amazon
With an automatic fruit and nut dispenser, 60 minutes of backup power and a multitude of settings, Sage’s custom loaf bread maker offers all you need and more to bake the best bread possible. Its simple design and ease of use also ensures that it brings more to the table than your average machine. Is there anything this bread maker can’t do?