Making your own bread is an activity that is on the rise again. But it’s not always easy when you’re just getting started. Dosages, kneading, cooking… So many opportunities to miss everything, and to have wasted a lot of time. The best bread machines allow you to keep only the nicest aspect: freedom, creativity, and good bread on arrival.
So how can you be sure that the bread machine you choose will be the most efficient so as not to waste time, not to worry – and above all, to obtain a satisfactory result? We explain everything and even more in the buying guide.
Our selection at a glance 🏆
- The best bread maker in all categories: Panasonic Croustina
- The best inexpensive bread maker: Princess 152007
- The best entry-level bread maker: Tristar BM-45
The best bread makers in 2021
1. Panasonic Croustina – The best bread maker in all categories
- Kneading power
- Regular cooking
- Ceramic coating
- Build quality
- A little big
Breadmaker manufacturers generally put forward a significant advantage. You put the ingredients in the bin, you start the machine, and you let it do its job. Sure, it’s practical, but sometimes you can feel like you didn’t make a special contribution to the final success – the only alternative being to spend 2 hours on the stove for a simple loaf of bread. The Panasonic Croustina is an excellent compromise, since it allows great freedom of use, but also perfectly calibrated programs: you, therefore, have the choice, depending on your mood, to be completely in control … or to leave the machine do from A to Z.
As you can see, the Panasonic Croustina took the gamble of innovating in a market that seemed to have reached its peak. And the first difference that we notice is its design. Everything is thought to offer a thick and crispy crust – where many models provide a result generally closer to that of sandwich bread. The artisanal inspiration of the process is therefore reflected in certain choices that may seem surprising. For example, the heat reflective properties of the hood, which mimics the effect of a baker’s oven … at the cost of a baking control window.
The other difference is in certain material choices. The blades, like the tank, have a ceramic coating: the thermal characteristics are excellent. But it is also a major advantage in terms of durability. The innovation we loved? The blade retracts after the end of kneading.
On most bread machines, the blades get stuck in the dough during baking. After unmolding the bread, we, therefore, find ourselves having to extract the blade from the crumb: that leaves a rather unsightly hole. Thanks to this improvement, the Croustina makes it possible to obtain regular and beautiful bread from all angles. And when you slice it, the crumb is not damaged!
These are the points that justify the relatively high price. Especially if we compare bread makers purely in terms of functionality – then we might get the impression that the Croustina is a bit behind. It does not offer ingredient reservoirs or control windows, and it only displays 18 programs. But if it is the build and firing quality that interests you, you will understand, it doesn’t really have any competition in this area.
This excellence comes at a price though, and it’s not just literal. It is considerably larger than its competitors and will take up more space on the work plan. This is because it took the gamble of a design very close to that of an oven. The round vat fits into a rectangular cooking tray: necessarily, at first glance, that means wasted space. But it is this design that allows a result so crisp and similar to that of a baker’s oven. So it’s up to you to do the math.
In terms of programs, its great strength is that it is very easy to configure. If you want to venture beyond the pre-defined recipes or want to tweak them a bit, the controls are very intuitive and cover just about everything, from kneading time to the intensity of mixing. the cooking.
This bread maker is just as suitable for gluten-free recipes as brioches, cakes, shortbread or pizza dough.
For purists, the Croustina bread machine has a few small shortcomings: the ingredient dispenser, for example. But if you are looking above all for the most basic functions, reliability and excellence in cooking, the Croustina does not have – yet – equivalent competitors.
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2. Princess 152007 – The inexpensive and compact bread maker
- Little price
- 19 programmes
- Delayed departure
Princess is a European brand of entry-level household appliances. Far from competing with giants like Philips, Moulinex or Russell Hobbs, Princess bread machines have an advantage: a very low price, and all the essentials. Without too much compromise on the result.
The Princess is one of the most compact bread makers in this review. You can compare its performance to that of a Moulinex, reducing most of its characteristics by half – the price too!
And for less than 50 €, depending on your needs, that’s not necessarily a problem. With its very small power consumption – less than 600W – and its small size on the worktop, it can even be an advantage for couples and small families. Some larger models do not always allow the quantities to be modulated. Or say you can bake a 500g loaf – but the baking sizing will not be as ideal as using the maximum size.
The Princess is a bread machine that kneads and bakes 750g loaves, which is the average size of a bakery loaf. To give you an idea, it’s the equivalent of 3 French baguettes. And it’s already not bad.
For that price, Princess mostly sacrificed options. And that’s why we chose it: bread machines that claim to offer as many features as a high-end model for 4 to 6 times cheaper, we are wary. But a brand that focuses on the essentials is an asset.
The build quality, in particular, is surprising for this price. The body is stainless steel – where most would suggest plastic – and the whole thing is quite elegant. The advantage of such a compact bread machine, for a lightweight, is the certainty that the parts are integral and that there is no risk of progressive dislocation during kneading. And it weighs in fact only 3 kg! Convenient to store it after use, if you want to save space on your worktop.
There is also a window to control the cooking and make sure that one of the three browning levels chosen is the one that suits us.
In terms of recipes, the Princess Bread Maker boasts 19 programs. In fact, as we can imagine, a number of these programs are redundant. What can be noted is that the strength of the kneading will be sufficient for denser doughs, especially some gluten-free, and that the consistency of cooking is satisfactory for more complicated recipes – such as cereal bread, which can become bitter if the outer seeds burn too much.
For this price, we are not convinced that it is correct for compotes and jams. Manufacturers always promote them – in fact, it is better to bet on a model much more expensive to be sure to benefit from the good consistency of cooking… and the ease of cleaning.
Overall, it is very easy to use. We navigate through the different programs, as for a conventional oven, with the possibility of programming cooking up to 15 hours in advance. Ideal for picking up your hot bread in the morning! Be careful with one point though: the mess is quite noisy. If your kitchen is adjoining a bedroom, we prefer to start the program early enough to sleep while cooking – silent.
The Princess is a perfectly satisfactory bread maker for this price. If you had neither the ambition to explore many wacky recipes – yoghurts, jams… – nor the need to bake 1.5kg bread, this should be right for you. It is also a much safer investment if you are not completely convinced by the concept of bread machines, but want to give it a try!
3. Tristar BM-45 – The best entry-level bread maker
- 19 programmes
- Little price
- 1kg of bread
- Good cooking
- Too light for the mess
Tristar is a leader in low-cost household appliances. And among their flagship products, we find in particular the compact ovens which are all the rage for student studios and small apartments. Enough to put us on the trail to find the best bread machine: baking is one of the most delicate elements. And we found: The BM-45 is by far the best bread maker under $ 77, despite some limitations.
Like the Princess, the Tristar has managed to save intelligently to offer a bread machine three times cheaper than the market average. We may regret the construction, very plastic and white; but the design is generally effective. For the display, we are satisfied with an LCD screen that indicates the programming information, the quantity of bread, the keeping warm commands and the various options. The navigation is intuitive since these controls are ultimately very similar to those of a conventional oven.
The only lack of design, compactness. We noted that there was a significant gap between the pan and the baking rim, where most models do not allow a single centimetre to protrude. And for good reason, among all the appliances that you want to equip your kitchen, places are expensive on the work plan. It is all the more unfortunate that it will be a bit difficult to clean if it gets dirty. For this reason, we advise against, contrary to what Tristar puts forward, using this bread machine to make jams or compotes.
For bread, however, it’s royal. With an adaptable capacity of up to 1kg and good baking results at all levels – 500 and 750g – the Tristar is a bread maker that should suit all needs.
Spare parts for the blades are very easy to find and inexpensive – this is a good point of durability, but also the opportunity to discover other kneading accessories to vary the pleasures.
The kneader is also powerful enough for the densest dough. And it can even be a problem: given the very small weight of the device – less than 4kg – it can tend to move the machine slightly. Be careful not to put it on the edge of the worktop!
Its weight is a major asset, however, to store and move it in a single gesture. This bread machine is just as effective for brioches as it is for gluten-free bread: we know that a successful brioche is all in the wrist, and it is not always easy in the hand.
Another very good entry-level option is the Tristar. For a price a little higher than the Princess, this bread maker offers more flexibility of use and good versatility. If we have noticed a few small design flaws, it is quite satisfactory for the most basic tasks: making good bread without effort.
4. Rommelsbacher – The best bread maker for gluten-free bread
- Easy to use
- Freedom of configuration
- Ingredient compartment
- Impeccable cooking
- Build quality
- Exterior tends to heat up
Rommelsbacher is a German household appliance brand that specializes in – very – good bread machines. And taking a look across the Rhine, in this area, is a very good idea. Indeed, the Germans do not have the same tradition as the French in terms of baking, and they are used to baking their own bread. It is a generally thicker dough, more difficult to cook than French bread. So their bread machines usually have the advantages of power and consistency in baking – and that’s not counting the German build quality, of course.
In terms of design, the Rommelsbacher only has advantages. Taller than wide to take up less space on the worktop, with good optimization of volume and a versatile and elegant chrome finish. It is flawless. On the top, there is an LCD screen and various programming buttons. Overall, the grip is childish if you already know how to use a traditional oven.
But in addition to the glass, which allows you to monitor the cooking, we discover a novelty that we rarely come across at the entry-level: an ingredient tank. It is a small box located above the bowl which allows certain ingredients to be disseminated during kneading. And once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to do without it. If you want to make a chocolate chip brioche for example, by putting the chips directly into the mixture, you run the risk of ending up with a large packet of chocolate in the core – this is because of the limited movement of the kneader in relation to the manual work. An ingredient dispenser allows you to better distribute this type of ingredients: cereals, nuts, nuggets, dried fruits, candied fruits, etc.
The tank has a capacity of approximately 1.8L. Taking into account the rise of the dough, we can estimate that this bread machine will be suitable for loaves of 700 to 900g: it is quite reasonable. Even for the French, who are among the largest consumers of bread in the world with their 120g per day: for a couple, two pieces of bread per week should be more than enough.
The Rommelsbacher offers 13 programs. It may not seem like much, but this time we do not see any particular redundancy, there are indeed 13 different settings. They allow you to bake standard bread, shortbread doughs, cakes… but also gluten-free bread, which are more difficult to knead, and even sandwich bread. Without counting the programs for jam, for the time being very effective. Each of the programs is then customizable to adjust according to your tastes and expectations – pizza dough, light bread, etc.
You can program these recipes up to 13 hours in advance. The great strength of the Rommelsbacher system is what is called “programming memory”. You can stop the bread maker for an hour and then ask it to pick up where it left off. Ideal for not wasting time reconfiguring your cooking taking into account the tasks already performed by the machine.
The build quality is another plus. The parts are united and solid: and this is not just an argument of solidity. It also allows it to be very quiet during kneading. Be careful though, the stainless steel finish transfers some of the heat during cooking and can reach up to 50 degrees. It is not enough to cause burns, but it is best not to put any objects on it.
Easy to use, for an impeccable result and great freedom of use: the Rommelsbacher has all the most important advantages for making a good bread machine.
5. Moulinex OW2501 – The best mid-range bread maker
- Yoghurt function
- Ingredient compartment
- Super cooking
- Solid construction
- Lightweight (4.5kg)
- Disappointing recipes provided
We no longer present Moulinex, the French partner of easy cooking for almost a century. While the brand has had its ups and downs in terms of build quality, their most recent bread maker line is among the best. The OW2501 is no exception, and for a very comfortable price.
One of the main advantages of the Moulinex bread machine is the great freedom of use it offers. And this is notably due to its clear and minimalist interface. It is programmable, with the possibility of providing a delayed start-up to 1 p.m. However, it should be taken into account that certain types of preparations must be unmolded immediately, to avoid unpleasant surprises. For example, buns can stick to the tub and eventually tear.
It is perhaps so as not to have to specify this point that Moulinex recipes are so confusing. In the case of brioche, for example, the brand recommends a completely unusual dose of butter… We prefer to use our favourite recipes, which work very well with the device.
Because with its 720W mixer, it will overcome all types of dough, even the most difficult. And that’s a really good point for gluten-free pasta, for example, which tends to be thicker or drier before baking.
This Moulinex bread machine can bake bread ranging from 500g to 1kg, with consistency and exceptional baking quality for all formats. This is quite rare: it is common for the same bread machine to be poorly calibrated for a smaller bread, in particular. In this case, we have not seen any such problem.
What we liked about the Moulinex was its versatility. Because it is a sufficiently qualitative model to really consider using it to make jams or compotes… And even yoghurts. Thanks to the capacity of its tank, you can make up to 1 litre of fresh yoghurt! The possibilities are limitless.
Clearly, the Moulinex is a bread machine that may seem relatively basic in its functionality. But in reality, the consistency and quality of its kneading and cooking allow you to make almost any preparation effortlessly, with a very satisfactory result.
6. Morphy Richards Homebake – A Simple and Reliable Mid-Range Bread Maker
- Good quality of bread
- Easy to use
- Super price-performance ratio
- Build quality
- Tendency to heat up
Morphy Richards is perhaps not the most famous brand in France in terms of household appliances. But in the UK, it enjoys an excellent reputation. Comparable to Moulinex – and prettier, as much to say – the British manufacturer is particularly specialized in bread machines. The Homebake is the best value in their range, and you’ll quickly see why.
The Morphy Richards is very elegant, and it is one of the design signatures of the brand. This bread machine has a beautiful stainless steel finish but above all a rectangular shape that is efficient in terms of space. With a size of 27cm by 37cm, it takes up reasonably little space on the worktop. Be careful, however, like all stainless steel finishes, this bread maker will tend to heat up during the baking phase.
Unlike many of their competitors, the brand has made the choice of tactile buttons rather than mechanical – it’s more hygienic. On the other hand, it happens that you have to press once or twice more so that the request is detected if you have wet hands: in a kitchen, it is common. Pity.
This bread machine can bake 600 or 900-gram bread, enough to last a week as a couple, and a few days as a family. Like many models, it allows you to set the cooking intensity of the crust – and tastes in this area are indisputable.
The manual guides the use of the bread maker step by step. And unlike most appliance manuals, you’ll tend to keep this one handy with your cookbooks. Because it details in particular how to take advantage of the many programs, and what adjustments you can make.
Among the 14 programs available, we find in particular gluten-free bread, Madeira bread, homemade sandwich bread, wholemeal bread… Practical, relevant options but above all, results that are waiting for you. The quality of the cooking is constant from one program to another. And this is a big advantage: well-calibrated programs save a lot of time and avoid long fumbling to find the ideal setting from one recipe to another. There are also 25 special recipes in the manual, which allow you to prepare from A to Z.
Overall, therefore, the performance of this bread maker is excellent for a mid-range model. If you are looking for a versatile, efficient model, and you pay special attention to design, this is a safe choice.
7. Riviera and Bar MP 570 – The best high-end bread maker
- Big capacity
- 24 well-calibrated programs
- Keep warm
- Excellent build quality
- Reliable and varied recipe book
- A little heavy
Riviera et Bar is undoubtedly the most recognized French brand in high-end household appliances. Their products, versatile and of excellent preparation, can even fall into the semi-professional category and it is not uncommon to find them in small restaurants, for example. Riviera et Bar’s breadmaker is exactly like this: more expensive, but also more complete.
The first element that we can notice about this bread maker, and which is common to many Riviera and Bar appliances, is the professional and compact aspect. We feel that it is designed for serious cooking and organizing: and there is no reason that amateurs should not take advantage of it either. The entire appliance is made of stainless steel – we remind you of the dangers that this can represent in terms of heating, be careful not to place the bread maker near flammable objects. In the same logic of restoration, it is also very easy to clean. Even the control panel, with physical buttons, is covered with a plastic film which is pleasant to the touch and hygienic.
This compactness effort is all the more admirable as it produces bread weighing up to 1.5kg. The consistency of temperature and the quality of the coating materials allows good results to be obtained regardless of the recipe. This also applies to jams, which she makes very well – and for which we really appreciate the ease of maintenance, for once. As for the Croustina, the blade is also foldable.
It is also the most powerful bread maker in this comparison, with a nominal power of 820W. A more powerful kneader will tend – paradoxically – to be less noisy since the motor does not have difficulty kneading, even the firmest dough. This is an excellent point for making gluten-free bread, by the way.
The whole is very stable, there should be no problems during the kneading phase. First, the rectangular and low shape of the bread machine contrasts with other models, more cylindrical and high, whose centre of gravity is less balanced. The Riviera and Bar will not move on the worktop or vibrate, which helps reduce its operating sound volume.
The other reason for this stability is one of its drawbacks: it weighs a little over 9kg. It is difficult to imagine storing it after each use.
The Riviera and Bar make up for it on its versatility, on the other hand. We have already mentioned the quality of the calibrations on the various recipes and the quality of the result, even on certain more delicate confections such as jams. This is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the 24 different programs, coupled with an ingredient dispenser that multiplies the possibilities and gourmet combinations. The included recipe book is full of great ideas, and the feedback from those who have tried to follow them has been very positive.
Finally, there is the reliability of a French model that comes into play. We benefit from a 3-year warranty on spare parts, easy to assert with dedicated customer service. If we take into account, the price of some cheaper models, the need to change the blades regularly – about once a year if you use it very often – it starts to be worth it to extend your budget a little!
The Riviera and Bar is the best upscale bread maker. Some of its limitations – especially its weight – may put it at a disadvantage compared to other more affordable and more classic models. But if you are looking for versatility above all else, this is the one for you. If you prefer a more traditional model and the quality of cooking, it will be more the Croustina. But you shouldn’t regret purchasing either of these two models.
Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Breadmakers Before Buying One
The functions of a bread maker
A bread maker can be quite a classic household appliance. It is a kind of mini-oven with an integrated kneading system. We, therefore, save ourselves, in particular, the delicate task of kneading the dough – which is, those who have already tried will attest, very physical and difficult to succeed on the first try. Especially since successful bread must be kneaded for a long time and intermittently, to give the leaven the opportunity to do its job and to raise the dough.
But some bread machines offer more options. Most, for example, include a keep warm program, to get that “fresh out of the oven” feeling.
The delayed start is also an interesting option, it allows, for example, to start a program well in advance and to plan the end of the cycle for a specific time – when you come home from work, or when you wake up for example.
Finally, we can also benefit from an ingredient tank, present on a large number of models. It allows seeds, chocolate chips, etc. to be dispersed evenly in the dough during kneading.
In France, we are not quite used to choosing our bread by weight. For example, not everyone knows that a standard baguette weighs 250 grams. It is therefore difficult to decide when it comes to choosing a bread maker on the basis of size.
For better understanding, we can keep in mind that a loaf of 500g gives about 8 slices, 1kg 16 slices and 1.5kg 24 slices. It’s up to you to determine your household consumption, and how often you want to bake bread.
In general, bread from a bread machine will keep better than a baguette, especially thanks to its shape – a baguette being thinner, it dries faster.
Even the most classic bread makers give you some freedom of control. The most basic include baking the crust – often on three levels of browning – or the ability to knead without baking, and vice versa. This is particularly useful for making your pizza dough or shortcrust pastry.
Other bread makers will include what is called programs. They will be more or less well-calibrated for different types of bread, and this is a determining factor in the quality of a bread machine. Difficult to know without testing them, however, we advise relying on customer feedback.
Among these programs, we sometimes find the possibility of making jams, compotes or even yoghurts. For these programs, it is advisable to aim at the minimum in the mid-range models to obtain a good result.
The main argument of a bread machine is that you waste less, that the bread costs less and that it is not more difficult. Provided, of course, that it lasts several years.
Since this is a relatively simple appliance, it should be. But you still have to take care of a few criteria to be sure.
The quality of the coating of the cooking vessel is the first element to monitor. As with a frying pan, a poor quality coating risks scratching or chipping – the ideal still being a ceramic bowl, as with the Croustina.
Since the kneading phase is quite intense, we will also seek a good ratio between the weight of the device and the power of the motor. The lighter it is, the less we recommend a model with high power, because the vibrations and movements will be noisy and will eventually damage the bread maker.
The blades and the bowl are replaceable in the event of a problem. If you’re going for an entry-level model, take a quick look at the price of those parts and do the math over the long haul to see if the durability tradeoff continues to be worth it – sometimes it is.
FAQ: we answer your questions about bread machines
💰 How much does a good bread maker cost?
If you are looking for an entry-level model, we recommend that you always take the one with the fewest possible options. Most importantly, you’ll have a better chance of getting good kneading and reliable cooking. You can then go for a model between 70 and 100 €, being particularly careful if your budget is smaller than that. At € 50, we found only one satisfactory model.
For a more versatile model and a beefier mess, we prefer models at 100 € and more. It is from there that we are sure to be able to make gluten-free bread, for example.
A qualitative cooker, with good materials, reliable and varied programs and useful options, in addition to all the advantages that we have listed previously, it will cost more than 150 €.
🥇 How to make bread with a bread machine?
The choice of the bread machine is obviously an important factor in the quality of the bread obtained. But the ingredients too! A few tips can really improve the result.
Use room temperature water if possible. Coldwater slows the dough from rising, and hot water damages the yeast – which is living, microscopic fungi. Does your salt sparingly, since salt is a natural antifungal that may limit the action of the yeast. Also avoid mixing these two ingredients directly, always dilute the yeast in the flour.
If the result is not to your liking, you can try different types of flour. Without going too far on the subject – because there is a lot to say – all flours have a code corresponding to their mineral content. T45, T55, T80 etc… Check that you are using the correct type of flour for what you are trying to do. It is also an opportunity to discover the many alternative flours that exist: buckwheat, spelt…
🕒 How long does bread keep in a bread machine?
It depends on the recipes but is generally longer than classic baguette bread. Allow an average of 3 to 5 days. This data should be indicated on the recipe.
✋🏼 How to use a bread maker?
Normally, the use of a bread maker is very easy. Choose the program that best suits the recipe you plan to make – sandwich bread, cereal bread, gluten-free bread… – pour in the ingredients and let the bread machine take over.
Some recipes work better if you unmold the preparation right away. This is especially true in the case of brioches for example, which are rich in butter. Others can be kept warm for a while without a problem.
🔧 How to maintain a bread machine?
Clean it between each use. Be careful not to put the bowl and the blades in the dishwasher if it is contraindicated, you risk damaging the coating.
The most important thing is not to let the cooking surface get dirty – it is between the pan and the walls of the appliance. Any leftover dough or worse, jam, may burn and give off an unpleasant odour. And it is also very bad for the durability of the device.
If the blade starts to be damaged, or if it has the slightest defect, change it immediately. Aftermarket blades are generally inexpensive, so you can be sure you won’t ruin your mess.
⚙️ How to change the blades of a bread maker?
It’s very simple since you have to remove the blade anyway at the end of cooking on most models. Some brands use non-proprietary blades that will be compatible with one machine to another, otherwise, you have to get the one recommended by the manufacturer.
Be careful to run them in hot water before using them for the first time. There may be residues of machining dust that give off an unpleasant taste or emit fumes. This is also the case with cooking vats.
🛒 Where to buy a bread maker?
You can always find a handful of models in appliance stores. But due to the relatively low volume of sales, the variety of choices is seldom satisfactory. This is why we recommend instead taking a look at online sellers.
Especially since two neighbouring countries of France have much more integrated the bread machine in their kitchen: the United Kingdom and Germany. Germans, like the British, are not used to going to the bakery as often as the French. The bakery is a rather expensive place, with quality products – while in France it is the most prolific local store in our city centres.
As a result, the selection found on e-commerce often includes more import models comparable or even superior to those of Moulinex.
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