What is a bread maker?

A bread maker is a kitchen appliance which has a stirring and oven function combined. Bread makers make the bread making process a lot easier by needing us only for putting the ingredients and then doing all the rest, mixing, kneading and cooking itself. The main purpose of a bread maker is to make bread but it can also be used to make some other foods such as jam, sauces, soups, cakes etc.

What is the difference between a bread maker and a bread machine?

There is no difference between a bread maker and a bread machine. It is just that some manufacturers name their bread making machine as bread maker whereas others name theirs as bread machine.

Which bread maker is best?

The best bread maker is the one which suits your needs the most. When comparing bread makers on the market, you should first list your needs such as loaf size, cooking durations, what food can be made etc. and then you should choose one. After sale service is also important since you may need to contact them until you gain experience in using a bread maker.

What food can I make in a bread maker?

The most obvious food you can make in a bread maker is bread, of course. Besides bread you can also make cake, jam, rice dishes, puddings, yogurt, scrambled eggs, meatloaf, sauces, soups, doughs for different purposes including pizza dough etc.

How to make bread in a bread maker?

  • Remove the bread pan from the bread maker and insert the kneading paddles into the bread pan
  • Add the ingredients, first the liquids then the dry ones into the bread pan
  • Ensure that the yeast does not touch any liquid adding it after the flour
  • Put the bread pan back in the bread maker and close the lid
  • Choose the appropriate program, crust color and loaf size form the menu
  • Press the “START/STOP” button to start the process
  • Wait for the bread maker to signal that it finishes its job
  • Remove the bread pan by using gloves and take out the bread
  • Enjoy!


Even though the name of “bread maker” sounds like it can only cook bread, this is not true since there are many other recipes that you can make in a bread maker from meatloaf to cakes and desserts. A bread maker is basically a mixer and an oven combined. So, most of the recipes that require these two functions can be done in a bread maker. All you need to do is to select the appropriate preset program for the recipe, adjust the timer and heat functions accordingly. Here is a list of foods that you can easily make in your bread maker.

Cake

Cake is the most common food to make in a bread machine after bread. You can either use only the mixer function of your machine and then pour the batter to another pan to cook it in your oven, or you can use both mixer and oven function making the cake in the bread machine from start to finish. Mixing cake batter is not a difficult job so most of the time it is not feasible to use a bread maker only as a mixer to make a cake.

When making a cake in your bread maker, you should be careful about the capacity of your bread machine and use a recipe adapted to that capacity because most of the time cakes get swelled more than bread does. It is not going to be exciting to see the bread maker overflowing with cake batter while planning to have a delicious cake! In addition, if you have ingredients such as fruits, nuts, chocolate chips etc. in your recipe, you should add these at a certain point of the cycle, not in the beginning of it. You probably have a warning beep in your bread maker to remind you to add these ingredients but if your machine does not have a warning, you should add them after the batter is completely mixed and before it starts to get baked

Jam

If you like homemade jam or want to have control over the ingredients in the jam you eat for breakfast, your bread maker will make the jam making process at home safer and substantially easier for you. Making jam in a bread machine is much safer than making it on the stovetop because of the splashing risk and manual involvement in the stovetop process. The heated sugar is extremely hot and can cause 3rd degree burns. However, you make jam in a closed environment when using a bread maker and there is no need of approaching and no possibility of touching hot stuff until the machine finishes its job. Still, you should be careful when emptying the bread pan or you should wait until it gets warm enough to handle.

Most of the bread makers have a jam function and come with a unique bearing under the kneading paddles to prevent liquid leakage to the machine. Leakage is more likely to happen when making jam than making bread or cake because jam making is much more juicy than batter baking. So, you should ensure your bread maker does not leak any liquid before you start making jam.

Meatloaf

Making meatloaf in a bread machine sounds surprising to many but it is not much different than baking a cake in a bread maker. However, most bread makers have a cake function whereas meatloaf function is very rare if any. So, you need to set cooking type and duration according to your recipe and improve it by experience. Once mixing is finished you may prefer to remove the kneading paddles to have a fine shape at the end. When you make meatloaf in a bread maker, the oil does not have any place to go and sits on top of the meatloaf when you open the lid. You can either pour it out or let it spread to the serving plate.

Rice dishes

Rice dishes can easily be made in a bread maker even if it does not have any specific function for rice. You can make dishes which require stirring such as rice pudding or risotto so much more comfortably and safely letting the machine do the stirring instead of doing it by hand. Bread machines can also be used as rice cookers. The thing you need to be careful about while using a bread maker to cook rice dishes is that you will need much less time to cook the rice than many other foods made in a bread machine. So, you should closely follow the time while cooking a rice dish.

Sauces and soups

Jam function of a bread maker can also work to cook sauces and soups while providing a more comfortable and safer stirring option compared to stirring by hand. However, the full cycle of the jam function could be too long for sauces and soups, so you should keep an eye on them while they are cooking until you are experienced enough to determine the best timings to cook sauces and soups. You do not need to hesitate to open the lid when making sauces and soups because there is no fermentation or swelling going on but you should be careful because there will be steam coming out.

Scrambled Eggs

Jam function of a bread maker can also be used to make scrambled eggs but this option would better be preferred if you do not have a stovetop pan since the result in a bread maker is not as successful as it is in other foods mentioned in this article, not as helpful, either. Stirring function of bread makers is not effective enough to perfectly mix the eggs, so you may prefer mixing the eggs in another bowl beforehand and then adding the homogeneous mixture into the bread pan. You should also grease the bread pan before pouring the mixture so that the eggs do not stick to it. Making scrambled eggs in a bread maker takes longer than cooking it on the stovetop, too. Therefore, as told in the beginning, it might be better to make scrambled eggs on the stovetop instead of using a bread maker for it.

Yogurt

If your bread maker has a yogurt function, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make yogurt. But, if it does not have a yogurt function, you should preheat the milk to 104-113 degrees Fahrenheit (40-45 degrees Celsius) before adding some yogurt yeast, and then you should place the cases containing the milk-yeast mixture directly into the bread machine taking the bread pan out, and set the temperature of the bread machine to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). It will take 3-6 hours for the yogurt to be fermented.

Even though it is possible and convenient to make yogurt in a bread maker, if the amount of yogurt you need is more than a couple of cups then you may prefer to make it in a kitchen oven with similar temperature sets. When you use the kitchen oven to ferment yogurt, you do not need to heat the oven. You should just need to put the preheated milk and yeast mixture into a container and place the container in the oven and make sure that no one opens the oven’s lid until the yogurt gets fermented because airflow can break the fermentation.

Final word

You can also make pizza dough, rolls, cookies etc. in bread makers but for these kinds of recipes, you can use bread maker only to prepare the dough, thus the remaining jobs such as shaping them and cooking are on you and on your oven. We can not say a bread maker is a feasible option for these recipes. Even some of the food listed above, especially scrambled eggs and yogurt, can be made more easily on the stovetop or in an oven. However, the usefulness of bread makers especially for the food that needs stirring while cooking is undeniable.