When most people hear “bread machine” they think freshly baked, homemade bread and not much else. However, the bread machine can do so much more than simply bake bread. In fact, it is one of the most versatile appliances to have in the kitchen that can not only bake you bread but also give you perfectly prepared pizza dough.
The best thing about a bread machine is that it easily handles one of the most tedious and critical steps in bread and dough making: kneading the dough. Whether it is dough for bread, or for pizza, the kneading process is both physically demanding and time consuming.
If you are one to be intimidated by the idea of using yeast and the whole kneading process, then you really need to consider getting yourself a quality bread machine. This magical machine will work, mix and knead tirelessly to whip up a perfect pizza dough that you simply top with your favorite toppings and pop in the oven to bake.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also make dough for things like pretzels, dinner rolls, hamburger or hotdog buns.
There is a dough setting/cycle on bread machines that do all the work for you which you would otherwise have to do from scratch. Bread machines also come with different preprogrammed settings and in different sizes to cater to anything from single and small households to serving huge family gatherings. Any bread machine that can put together dough for bread can also do the same for pizza dough.
What to look for in a bread machine
When you decide to purchase a bread machine, you can easily get drowned in options. But all machines basically consist of a bread pan, built in paddles and a special purpose oven. Bread machines are typically categorized based on their size, shape of bread and other features that are designed for specific purposes. Here is what you need to know before getting a bread machine.
In terms of size, there are two kinds. First, there are small bread machines which work well for singles, couples or small families. These machines are also better suited for smaller kitchens where they won’t take up too much space. Such models comes in lightweight varieties making them easy to handle and store as needed.
The larger bread machines, on the other hand, come with a greater capacity to bake bigger bread loaves and yield larger pizza doughs too. They are ideal for serving large families or for homes where there are a lot of gatherings.
This point is more relevant if you plan on making bread in your bread machine. The two types include vertical and horizontal bread machines. Of these, vertical machines yield vertical loaves that deliver an almost round slice when cut. Horizontal machine deliver loaves similar to the ones bought from the bakery. For some, this may come with a more traditional feel and is better suited for making sandwich breads.
For dough kneading purposes only, you can go with either shape.
Special purpose bread makers
These machines come with special gluten free settings which can be very helpful for people with gluten allergies or intolerances. These machines save you the hassle of working out the correct baking cycle and do all the work for you instead.
Some bread machines may have a harder time handling 100% whole grain doughs as whole grains make heavier doughs than their white flour counterparts. If you like making your pizza dough with whole grain options, you need to look for a more powerful machine. Some models do come with whole grain cycles and should not present a problem working with heavier doughs. As a heads up, dual paddle machines will be better at handling and kneading heavier doughs.
It is important to know the extent to which a company is ready to stand behind its product. This means looking at the warranty and customer service that they offer. Typically, bread machine warranties can last from 3 months to one year. The best value is probably one where the company guarantees that their product is durable enough to last for at least one year.
On average you can expect a quality machine to last 3 years, assuming that it delivers 3 loaves of bread a week. Of course, not every household will bake bread that often so better brands will likely last longer.
Here is what we have put together to help you understand performance, price and expectations from a quality bread machine.
1 – Zojirushi BB-PAC20 (Top Pick )
It comes with a removable baking pan and dual blades for kneading. There are also a variety of menu settings that allow you to bake basic bread, gluten free bread, donut dough, cookie dough, pizza dough, and even jam.
We would recommend this bread machine for seasoned and novice bakers alike. Why? Because seasoned bakers will be able to put it to good use given the vast array of functions it can perform. Plus, it comes with a home-made cycle that customizes the experience of kneading, rising and baking times as per your preference. The model also features dual blades for thorough kneading.
And for newbie bakers, the machine comes paired with an instructional DVD, recipe book and manual to get them started successfully. All instructions are detailed and easy to follow.
The fact that this machine offers so many functions and yet is very quiet when in use is a big plus for us.
- Removable baking pan for easy cleaning
- Features multiple settings
- Comes with a DVD, manual and recipe booklet
- Also features a home-made cycle
- 10 preprogrammed settings
- Large size may not be suitable for smaller kitchens
- Blades not as durable as other models of similar size
View current price of the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 on Amazon by clicking the image above.
2 – Panasonic SD-BMT 1000
Pioneers in the bread machine industry, Panasonic continues to impress with its upgrades to their older models. The Panasonic SD-BMT 1000 is a newer model of their very popular SD-BMS105-SW bread machine. This is a truly high-end product that does everything you would wish for in a bread machine.
This models features a whopping 34 programs to choose from, an upgrade from 30 on the previous model. It comes with preprogrammed settings like plain bread, soft bread, rye bread, whole wheat bread, pizza dough, chocolate, compote, mocha, udon and even pasta. It is a heavy duty machine capable of handling the densest of doughs.
The model is available in a unique purple color, which is very different from other machines that come in whites, blacks or silvers.
If you are looking to make more than just bread, this is the machine to get. However, for people who need a simple bread machine to bake a daily loaf, our suggestion would be to consider another model as this Panasonic bread maker does not come cheap.
- Vertical design saves on counter space
- Unique color
- Comes with yeast dispenser
- Features LCD display
- Comes with dual paddles for better kneading
- 34 different settings
- Instruction manual in Japanese
- Enclosed recipe book also in Japanese with no English translation
- It is an expensive product
View the current price of the Panasonic SD-BMT 1000 on Amazon by clicking the image above.
3 – Breville BBM800XL
Breville offers a high quality product in terms of customization, capacity and technology with this bread machine model. Although slightly larger than other models, this bread maker is a powerful machine.
The machine features a sleek model showcasing a complete stainless steel design. It also features a large LCD display adding to its aesthetics. There is also an instruction manual for easy operation and recipe book with this model.
If you like to bake breads with nuts and fruits in it, this bread machine can become your good friend as it comes with an automatic fruit and nut dispenser. For your pizza dough kneading needs, the model features unique settings like gluten-free. It also comes with a collapsible kneading paddle that makes for seamless mixing and kneading.
- Very powerful machine
- LCD display
- Collapsible kneading blade
- 13 different settings
- Gluten free setting
- Size is quite large- will take up substantial counter space
- Is an expensive machine
View the current price of the Breville BBM800XL on Amazon by clicking the image above.
4 – Cuisinart CBK 200 Bread Maker
Another impressive bread machine to make our list is the Cuisinart CBK 200 Bread Maker. This machine comes with 16 preset menu options that allow you to do a whole lot with your bread maker. Among others, this model features gluten free, low carb and artisan dough settings.
Although many bread machines with gluten free settings can do the job, the Cuisinart model seems to do it better. It comes in a utilitarian, stainless steel box style design. The machine weighs a lot less than others making it easy to move around the kitchen.
Unlike many others models, this one comes with a removable lid which makes for really easy cleaning. The machine also features side handles that make it very convenient to lift and store. The pause/stop button is an interesting feature allowing you to take out your pizza dough when done kneading.
The unit has a powerful paddle sturdy enough to handle kneading tasks well with enough rotation to bring the dough together nicely.
- Power failure back up
- Removable paddle
- Comes with recipe booklet
- Features side handles for convenient handling
- Built to North American electrical specifications
- Quality appliance without breaking the bank
- Mix-ins can only be added at the very beginning of the cycle – no automated option
- Machine beeps loudly, with no volume control
- The control panel seems very confusing
- LED display is small
View the current price of the Cuisinart CBK 200 on Amazon by clicking the image above.
5 – Breadman TR875 (Budget Pick )
While Breadman has a line of innovative kitchen appliances, the company is perhaps best known for its durable yet cost effective bread makers. The Breadman TR875 comes in a stylish design at a very affordable price. The model features a stainless steel body as compared to its TR 520 sibling that comes in a plastic body.
The machine is a user friendly unit with preprogrammed settings that offers great performance. It is ideal for making a variety of goods including breads, pasta dough, pizza dough and jams.
Its cycles include super rapid, which allows you to work well with denser doughs such as 100% whole wheat pizza dough, yielding a well kneaded dough at the end. The model also features the gluten free option.
The machine features an LCD screen for easy visibility. The size of this machine is compact enough for easy storage and light enough to move it around when needed.
The machine comes with a detailed manual that provides recipes and tips. The manual also instructs on how to take care of the machine. We would recommend this machine to people new to baking given its affordable price tag and easy-to-use features.
The one common concern raised is practicing caution when cleaning the machine. It is only suitable to be hand washed as soaking it in soapy water for long may damage the non-stick surface.
- 10 baking functions
- Gluten free setting
- Rapid cycle
- Wheat cycle
- Compact size
- Power failure protection
- 1 year limited warranty
- A budget friendly appliance that offers durable performance
- Hand wash only
- Can be a bit noisy
View the current price of the Breadman TR875 on Amazon by clicking the image above.
When you invest in a quality bread machine, you essentially convert you kitchen into a bakery. Bread machines can serve multifunctional purposes such as doughs, jams, pastries and even cakes.
You can choose from our recommended list of products, not just to get perfectly kneaded pizza dough but also to get specialty breads as well. Of course, the price tag will vary based on how many features you want in your machine, but we think we have done a fairly decent job of giving you a reasonable range to work with without compromising the integrity of bread making.
As a takeaway, we recommend that you go for newer models of your favorite brands as newer models come with practical solutions like dispensers, gluten free and pizza dough settings. These features are becoming more standard in newer upgrades and will only make the job easier for you.
So, which one is your favorite? Let us know below.