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Become a star baker in your own home, with a little help from one of our top-rated bread makers Stainless Steel Pizza Making Machine
Whether you love the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your home, or you’ve been inspired to cook your own loaves after watching the Great British Bake Off, a bread maker will do the hard work for you.
These clever kitchen appliances take the guesswork out of baking, and do so much more besides; these days, many can whip up a range of loaves from wholemeal to brioche, and some can make jam, pizza dough and even yoghurt.
Find your star baker and make every week a bread week with one of our top-rated machines:
A bread maker will set you back at least £40, but some of the more advanced models, like those from Panasonic, can reach almost £250. They’re not small either, so you need to make sure you’ve got not only the counter space but the space to store them too.
To help you out, we’ve listed the size dimensions of each of our top-scoring bread makers. If you’re after a simple-to-use and clever machine that makes bakery-quality bread, then a bread maker is a great option.
While they’re not a necessity, there are a number of features that some bread makers come with that only serve to enhance the baking experience.
This is a small basket where yeast or other add-ins, such as nuts, sultanas, chocolate and others, sit. Instead of stopping the kneading process and manually adding the ingredients, an automatic ingredient dispenser will do it for you at the right time.
A delay timer means that ingredients can be added to the mixing bowl hours in advance so you have freshly baked bread the moment you need it. Great if you’d like bread with your dinner, or want to wake up to a fresh loaf.
This is handy if you want to check on the progress of your bake without having to open the lid. It’s not a necessity, but we find it noticeable when a bread maker doesn’t have one.
Second only to the smell of fresh bread is warm bread. A keep-warm setting will keep your freshly baked bread warm for up to an hour after the programme has finished.
Where all bread makers will have the standard white and wholemeal settings, as you’ll see with our top-scorers, many of them come with much more. To make the most of your machine look out for bread makers that not only make bread but other items too.
• Brioche: A sweet, enriched bread with a soft and tender texture
• Rye: A dark and dense loaf made from rye flour rather than wheat, high in fibre
• Sourdough: A tangy, sour bread with a soft centre and thick crust
• Italian: A tender loaf with a pillowy centre and a soft, light crust
• French: A crisp crust that is light in colour, soft and airy inside
This setting will ferment and incubate at the right temperatures needed for making yoghurt.
Pasta is typically messy to make, this setting will knead the ingredients together before needing to be chilled in the fridge. And pizza dough is notoriously wet, and therefore can be just as messy. This setting will knead the ingredients and let the dough prove before it’s ready to be used for pizza.
This setting will cook the sugar and fruits for a set amount of time before needing to be decanted into jars.
Most manufacturers will advise you, but we’ve noticed some don’t, and remember, baking is a science. We’d recommend placing ingredients in the pan in the following order: firstly liquids, then butter, eggs, oils, salt and sugar, then flour and finally the yeast.
We test bread makers by making a white loaf using both the manufacturer’s recipe (if one is supplied) and Good Housekeeping’s own recipe. This tests not only how well the white bread setting works, but how well the bread maker deals with other recipes too. We repeat this test for wholemeal bread.
We also test out the rapid bake setting – and then repeat to check for consistency. If the bread maker has a gluten-free setting, we make a gluten-free loaf using the manufacturer's recipe. If it doesn’t come with a recipe, we’ll use our own.
If the bread maker has a jam setting, which many do nowadays, we’ll make Good Housekeeping’s strawberry jam too. And, as ever, we make a note of how intuitive the controls are to use and how long each programme takes. We also score the machines on their design features and the instruction manual.
Scoring the highest marks on test, this stylish and compact bread maker impressed on both white and wholemeal breads. Each loaf had a nice and crunchy crust and golden colour, so you can create that bakery feel at home. The loaves were also well risen, fluffy and (most importantly) tasty, with all slices remaining intact.
This machine also shined when it came to our gluten-free recipe, beating the others tested. The removable lid makes it easy to use, while the included recipe book is full of ideas to inspire a budding baker. Overall, this is a versatile bread maker that can deliver consistently delicious bakes.
Key specifications Number of settings: 20 Settings of note: French, brioche, gluten free, rye bread Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: 3 choices Dimensions (cm): H36.2 x W40.8 x D25.2
As one of the most compact bread makers in our roundup, this is the ideal model for those who want to whip up a loaf without sacrificing too much kitchen space. And luckily, you don’t have to compromise on function.
This bread maker produces loaves in two sizes (750g and 900g), which is plenty to feed a hungry family. The lit display is easy to read and simple-to-follow recipes come with the machine. Our testers found both white and wholemeal breads rose well and tasted great.
The option to add ingredients at the sound of the "beep" gives the operator plenty of opportunities to experiment with creative loaves, too.
We were impressed with the rapid bake option, which performed just as well as the full bake cycle, producing bread with an appealing crust and golden colour.
Our gluten-free recipe also fared well, if a little pale. But take care when removing the mixing paddle, as it can damage your final creation. Key specifications Number of settings: 12 Settings of note: raisin loaf, French, dessert, brioche Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: No Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: 2 choices Dimensions (cm): H25cm x W26cm x 29.5cm
If you’ve got a larger workspace (or lots of storage), then opt for this bread maker. The display is easy to read and shows the stages of your bake (mix, prove, etc), so you can keep an eye on the progress of your bread.
Performing consistently well for both white and wholemeal bread, our testers found the results fluffy, delicious and with all slices intact. The scheduled beep is there to alert you to add additional ingredients to the mix, either manually or via the auto-hopper, which means there is no excuse not to experiment with different flavours and combinations.
Short on time? The rapid bake function did not disappoint, with our testers praising the crust and colour of the loaf. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for Tower’s gluten-free recipe, which gave disappointing results. The Good Housekeeping recipe, however, was more consistent and had a great flavour.
The jam recipe ended up more like a compote, but the flavour of the strawberries did come through. Key specifications Number of settings: 19 Settings of note: raisin, cake, brioche Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, brown and dark Choice of sizes: 500g, 750g and 1000g Dimensions (cm): H31cm x W34.5cm x D24.8cm
Score: 94/100 This small machine would suit any modern kitchen aesthetic. Producing consistently tasty bread in a pleasant dome shape, the rapid bake cycle was also a success, although one loaf came out slightly lighter in crust than expected.
The gluten-free recipe from Swan, however, did not fare well but, in general, the bread made in this machine was fluffy and well risen, with slices that did not crumble when cut. Impressive, especially considering the price. Key specifications Number of settings: 12 Settings of note: Pizza, brioche Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: 3 choices of doneness Choice of sizes: 1.5 or 2lb loaf options Dimensions (cm): H27cm x W27cm x D38cm
This more expensive and larger model made light work of wholemeal and white bread recipes, with all loaves ending up fluffy and flavoursome.
Its automatic ingredient hopper was a welcome addition for those who want to experience new flavours and twists on the everyday loaf. It’s worth noting that the mixing paddle is quite flimsy though and can twist out of shape. The option to remove it in the proving stage can prevent any damage to the look of your bread, too.
Our testers loved the rapid bake function, as their loaves had a better crust colour than the longer cycle. As for the gluten-free recipe, all agreed the bread was a little pale but looked and tasted great.
Jam tasted sweet and fruity too, however it was more of a compote texture.
Key specifications Number of settings: 18 Settings of note: pizza dough, cake, french Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: 3 browning settings Choice of sizes: 1.1/1.65/2.2 lb Dimensions (cm): H33.4cm x W35.3cm x 27.4cm
This impressively versatile model is ideal for any budding baker keen to experiment with different recipes. Interior and exterior temperature sensors ensure a perfect crunch and the unique kneading blade gives your loaf the ultimate artisan texture.
During testing, it performed almost flawlessly. Our white and wholemeal loaves emerged well-risen, light and airy, with crusty sides and a slightly softer top. The rapid bake setting made delicious bread in just shy of two hours.
Key specifications Number of settings: 30 Settings of note: Sourdough, brioche, french, manual Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: Medium, large, extra large Dimensions (cm): H36.2 x W40.8 x D25.2
This is a substantial unit that would look best in a larger kitchen. It has an easy-to-read display and is also simple to clean, so you can enjoy fresh bread without any hassle.
Our wholemeal and white bread recipes produced bread that was well-risen, fluffy and delicious – with intact slices to boot. If you’re gluten-free, you may want to avoid the included recipe, it fared better with our own version. The jam function left the strawberries intact but soft, and there was a distinct flavour. However, there was some undissolved sugar left in the base.
Key specifications Number of settings: 12 Settings of note: croissant, pizza dough, raisin loaf Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: 3 options Choice of sizes: 1/1.5/2 Dimensions (cm): Not found
This beast of a bread maker boasts 32 programs for making a range of breads, cakes, doughs and jams. It’s got the same high-tech dual sensors and smartly designed kneading blade as the previous Panasonic featured, meaning you can enjoy a professional loaf every time, but the manual settings encourage creativity.
Our white and wholemeal loaves were well-risen, fluffy and flavoursome, and the rapid bake setting made a feathery light loaf in under two hours. Our gluten-free loaf was scrummy, if a little cakey, and the separate yeast and nut/fruit dispensers came in handy.
Key specifications Number of settings: 32 Settings of note: Sourdough, spelt, brioche, rye, manual Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: Medium, large, extra large Dimensions (cm): H36.2 x W40.8 x D25.2
This one's a touch less fancy than its Panasonic siblings, making it more accessible to beginners, but it still features 21 programs. It was really quiet when mixing and kneading, which the families of early morning bakers will appreciate, and we loved the fresh flavour and fluffy texture of both our white and wholemeal loaves.
The main downside is the lack of fruit and nut dispenser. There's also no viewing window for spying on our bakes. Still, our breads all tasted fantastic and our strawberry conserve was very tasty too.
Key specifications Number of settings: 21 Settings of note: French, brioche, compote Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: Medium, large, extra large Dimensions (cm): H36.2 x W40.8 x D25.2
With a clear display, easy to use buttons and well labelled functions, this bread maker is ideal for those looking to make delicious bread without the faff.
It consistently performed, producing a well-formed farmhouse loaf with a fine crust colour and crunch, with both wholemeal and white bread recipes.
The wholemeal bread, in particular, held together well and didn’t crumble. But sadly, this was another under-performer when it came to gluten-free bread, with its own recipe loaf failing to rise, while our recipe produced a slightly undercooked bake.
The rapid loaf setting performed well though, as it tasted and looked great.
Key specifications Number of settings: 15 Settings of note: French, sweet Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: 1.5lb and 2lb Dimensions (cm): H29.9cm x W28.2 x D40.7cm
Morphy Richards’ most high-end bread maker is still reasonably priced and comes with 14 settings. There's no ingredient dispenser but it helpfully makes a noise when it's time to add extra ingredients.
Like the Panasonic model above, it makes a near-perfect wholemeal loaf. Ours had a crisp crust and was light and springy inside, with an authentic farmhouse flavour. It cooked a large white loaf all the way through and gave it a brown crust, but left our small one with an uneven rise.
It has a viewing window, albeit on the small side. There's a gluten-free setting, too, but no gluten-free bread recipe in the manual.
Key specifications Number of settings: 14 Settings of note: Cake, French bread, yoghurt Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: Medium, large Dimensions (cm): H28.5 x W26.5 x D36
Score: 87/100 Coming with a large recipe book filled to the brim with guidance, this bread maker is ideal for bakers keen on experimenting. The modify button allows you to fully customise any of the programmes and the weights can be displayed in pounds or kilos.
It also comes with an automatic fruit and nut dispenser and a collapsible paddle. Our white and wholemeal loaves were light and fluffy with nice crisp crusts, and they had a rustic homemade appearance. However, the 1.25kg rapid loaf took two hours and 20 minutes (not so rapid!), but it did have a lovely soft texture.
Overnight bakers will love the 13-hour delay timer, allowing you to literally wake up to the smell of fresh bread. Key specifications Number of settings: 21 Settings of note: Pasta dough, pizza dough, crusty Gluten-free setting: Yes Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: 4 from light to dark Choice of sizes: 500g, 750g, 1kg, 1.25kg Dimensions (cm): H35.2cm x W24.8cm x D39.9cm
This budget Cookworks bread maker is great value, making it ideal for those on a budget. It has 12 functions and keeps bread warm once baked.
It performed well across all our white and wholemeal loaf tests, making bread with a crisp crust and a light, open texture inside. The ‘quick’ loaf was equally enjoyable, but it wasn't that quick, still taking just under two hours.
This model had a tendency to jump around on the worktop when kneading and, on occasion, our finished loaves were difficult to remove from the pan. We also tried making jam in this machine. While it wasn’t as set as we'd have liked, it had a fresh and well-balanced flavour.
Street Vending Machine Key specifications Number of settings: 13 Settings of note: Sweet bread, cake, pasta Gluten-free setting: No Jam setting: Yes Choice of crusts: Light, medium, dark Choice of sizes: Small, large Dimensions (cm): H35.4 x W28.7 x D25.8