The best bread makers on test

Can a machine make your life (and loaf) easier? The BBC Good Food on-test team put electronic bread makers through their paces – discover our best buys.

Loaf of bread with slices taken out

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We're pretty accustomed to making bread by hand, so we were a little sceptical as to the need to replace our own kneading, proving, knocking back and shaping. We were quickly converted.

Bread makers are easy to use, take only a few minutes of preparation and can be left to create magical results, with no human intervention required and no additives.

Our testing proved you don’t need to spend all your dough to get a good loaf and more functions don't necessarily equate to a better machine.

When buying a bread maker, consider what’s important to you. A longer time delay and keep warm mode gives more flexibility if you're always on the go.

Some machines also make cake and jam, although avid bakers may prefer traditional techniques. Size is a big consideration and it’s worth thinking about room to store versus number of mouths to feed.  

Read on to discover which bread maker to buy. For over 200 buyer's guides, visit our product review section to read reviews of everything from stand mixers and food processors to slow cookers and chopping boards.

Russell Hobbs

Russell Hobbs compact fast bake bread maker

Best all-round bread maker

Bonus functions: 13-hour delay, keep warm, gluten-free, dough, cake, jam and compote, fast bake, three sizes of loaf up to 1kg

This is the second smallest machine we tested yet we were impressed it could still produce a 1kg loaf. Smart black appearance, clear instructions, a variety of functions and good baking results – it ticked all the boxes. If we were going to be picky, we’d ask for a bigger selection of included recipes, à la Kenwood or Panasonic.

 

Panasonic bread maker

Panasonic automatic bread maker SD-ZB2512

Best bread maker for the adventurous cook

Bonus functions: 13-hour delay, gluten-free, dough, cake, jam and compote, added ingredient dispenser, yeast dispenser, fast bake, three loaf sizes up to 1.5kg

If you fancy yourself a bit of a pro then this is the machine for you. With 33 functions and a huge range of recipes, including a sourdough starter, it certainly kept us entertained. The machine bakes an ‘XL’ loaf with a real textbook finish. The yeast dispenser is a helpful addition, negating any risk of the raising agent being activated too soon. It looks slick too, reminiscent of professional kitchen equipment.

 

 

Lakeland bread maker

Lakeland white compact 1lb daily loaf bread maker

Best space-saving bread maker

Bonus functions: 13-hour delay, 1-hour keep warm, gluten-free, fast bake, dough, cake, one loaf size (500g)

The smallest kitchen footprint out of all the bread makers we tested, this diminutive machine is the ideal choice if you’re short on space and don’t have a houseful of mouths to feed. Baking a fabulous 500g loaf, it’s one you could keep on the side and use daily. Simple in function, we’d recommend it for those who want a simple, reliable bake without fuss or frills.


Buy from Lakeland (£59.99)

Morphy Richards

Morphy Richards multi-use fast bake bread maker

Best bread maker for technophobes

Bonus functions: 13-hour delay, 1-hour keep warm, gluten-free, dough, cake, jam, fast bake, three loaf sizes up to 900g

The step-by-step picture guide in the instruction book meant using the machine was quick and easy from the outset. It has a big viewing window so if you’re doubtful about handing over the reins to technology, you can check on progress at any point. The results were also exceptional – our white seeded loaf was the best of all the loaves we baked.

 

Buyer's advice

What we looked for when testing bread makers

Quality of loaf: We wanted an even rise, great texture, appearance and, to state the obvious, a delicious taste.

Ease of use: We preferred machines that had easy to use functionality and display. A viewing window was a bonus.

Versatility: A good range of bread types were essential and other baking options a plus.

Easy-to-follow instructions: There’s not much to using a bread maker but if you get it wrong, the machine can quickly be left to gather dust. Simple, clear guidelines were important.

Broad recipe selection: We marked up machines with a good range of recipes. You may want to get creative after a while but a good starting selection was essential.

Wholemeal bread and white loaf on a chopping board

How to use a bread maker

Each individual machine will come with its own instruction manual and recommended recipes, but our easy white loaf is bread maker-friendly.

More advice on buying kitchen equipment… 

Best bread knives
Best hand blenders
Best kettles
Best pestle and mortars
Best toasters
Best mixing bowls

Bread recipes and tips

Our best-ever bread recipes
Video: how to make bread
Wholemeal bread recipes
Ciabatta bread recipes
All you need to know about bread
6 steps to brilliant bread

This review was last updated in August 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

Do you have a bread maker or do you prefer to go back to basics and trust your natural instinct? We’d like to hear your thoughts… 

Comments, questions and tips

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Cliff Bird's picture
Cliff Bird
19th Aug, 2018
ive got the russell hobbs fast bake. the black 1. it makes great bread and cakes. prob is u have to finishing baking them in the oven cause the bread maker doesnt bake them properly. Always leaves the bottom and in middle un baked. hindges on the lid is very flimsy and wobbles around a lot when opening and closing it and u have to move it around to get it to seal properly. Another problem is the paddle. it will either get stuck inside the bread or cakes when u take them out so u have to dig it out which leaves a big hole in the bottom or the paddle stays in the baking tray leaving a big hole in the middle of the bread or cake. It does look nicer than the other breadmakers i looked at but once u start using it it feels very cheap and poor quality. I always pre heat the oven ready for when the machine is done cause all bread and cakes end up going in the oven for 30 mins to finish cooking them.
Kevin000
2nd Jun, 2018
Ms Hire I really wonder if you actually tried any of these out. I suspect you just read up on them. Your recommendations fly in the face of proper tested reviews. You fail to mention which one make the best loaves... um, perhaps the most important thing? Finally some of your recommended machines are known to be poor at making a decent loaf. We don't need reviews like these!
Harris Naran's picture
Harris Naran
23rd Jul, 2018
I have tried FIVE different brands of them! Was NEVER happy and successful in making a good bread. THOSE who claim they are successfully making as GOOD bread ad that from a bakery, then, please come on, let the readers know, THE EXACT WEIGHT IN GRAMS for the following INGREDIENTS: (1)Wholemeal flour -(Grams), (2) Brown flour (Grams), (3) White Flour (Grams), (4) Warm water (Grams), (5) Fresh Yeast (Gram), (6) Cooking oil or Butter (Grams), (7) Salt (Grams). After making many trials, I have yet NOT succeeded in making a good bread. If you know the PERFECT and CORRECT WEIGHT (in Grams) to use for a good bread, let us know. ---HAN
Cliff Bird's picture
Cliff Bird
19th Aug, 2018
good option is buy the bread and cake mixes like wrights. all u have to do with them is add the right amount of water. everything else is already in the bag. Prob is u will get the additives as well. But still tastes better than ready made bread from the shop. As i used to be a dough maker for rank Hovis i know what goes into shop brought bread. Some shops dont even use the recipes the bakers own brands use. So u might think ur buying genuine Hovis bread but ur actualy buying a cheap knock of made with white flour and chemicals added to make it look and taste like the real bread but still packaged with the geniune branding. I quit the job after 1 supermarket demanded we use a very cheap white flour which was 50% flour 50% fillers and illegal chemicals to make hovis wholemeal. That was walmart or ASDA as its known in the UK.
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