Best Bread Machines with Custom Programs


Custom Breadmaker by Breville Breville's customizable bread machine BBM800XL, available through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Do you want to be able to create a personalized bread machine program, custom-made to work with your own recipes? Today, an increasing number of high-end bread machines (and even some cheaper ones) allow you to adjust the standard program settings to suit your specific requirements and preferences. However, if you are new to making bread and cakes in an electric bread maker, you may want to get a machine with a nice set of pre-programmed standard cycles to spare you unnecessary frustration and disappointment. You see, developing recipes and personalized programs for a bread machine can take quite some trial and error, even from experienced bakers. That said, creating your own bread maker recipes and cycles can also be fun and rewarding, so if you do have patience – and some prior experience in using automatic bread makers – getting a bread machine with custom programs might be the right move.


What can you customize – and what not?

If you decide to get a programmable bread maker with one or more custom cycles, the first thing to think about is to what extent you want to be able to customize the programs. Some cheaper machines only let you customize the kneading, rising and baking times, but if you're serious about creating your own cycles, you'll probably also want to have some control over the baking temperatures as well. The following chart shows the time and temperature ranges for three popular bread makers with adjustable pre-heating, kneading, rising, baking and keep-warm settings.


Zojirushi Virtuoso BB-PAC20Zojirushi Supreme BB-CEC20Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Breadmaker
Times
Rest: OFF or 1-30 min
Knead: OFF or 5-30 min
Shape: OFF or 60 min
Rise 1: OFF or 1 min-12 hrs
Rise 2: OFF or 1-120 min
Rise 3: OFF or 1-120 min
Bake: OFF or 1-90 min
Keep Warm: OFF or 60 min
Temperatures (approx.)
    Rise 1: 91°F
    Rise 2: 91°F
    Rise 3: 95°F
    Bake: 248°F to 302°F
    Keep Warm: 230°F
Times
Rest: OFF or 1-30 min
Knead: OFF or 1-30 min
Rise 1: OFF or 1 min-24 hrs
Rise 2: OFF or 1-120 min
Rise 3: OFF or 1-120 min
Bake: OFF or 1-70 min
Keep Warm: OFF or 60 min
Temperatures (approx.)
    Rise 1: 82.4°F
    Rise 2: 82.4°F
    Rise 3: 100.4°F
    Bake: 254°F to 290°F
    Keep Warm: 194°F
Times
Preheat/rest: 0-60 min
Knead 1: 0-60 min
Knead 2: 0-60 min
Rise 1: 0-100 min
Punch Down 1: 0-120 sec
Rise 2: 0-100 min
Punch Down 2: 0-120 sec
Rise 3: 0-100 min
Bake: 0-120 min
Keep Warm: 0-60 min
Temperatures (approx.)
Preheat/rest: 61°F to 77°F
Rise: 80°F to 93°F
Bake: 140°F to 300°F

Note for UK residents: The models included in the chart, all of which have been built to North American electrical standards, are are widely available in the US and Canada; to view a similar chart featuring models that are available in the UK, check out the article Bread Makers with Custom Programmes Available in the UK.


Storing your personalized settings

Not only do the bread makers listed above let you configure the timings and temperatures for each step of the process, these top of the range machines also let you save your settings. The Zojirushi machines covered in this review allow you to store up to three fully customized cycles, while the Breville BBM800XL can memorize up to nine programs!


What else you should take into account

When searching for the best personalizable bread machine, you'll want to make sure your new machine also meets your and your family's needs and expectations in terms of other key features. Do you want your machine to have a pre-set gluten-free cycle? Do you prefer a single or dual blade bread maker? Do you want to be able to make loaves of different sizes, or will you be content with 2-lb loaves? Do you want a bread maker with an automatic raisin and nut dispenser? To help you find the ideal programmable bread machine for you and your family, HealWithFood.org also put together the following chart which compares Zojirushi Virtuoso BB-PAC20, Zojirushi Supreme BB-CEC20 and Breville BBM800XL in terms of key features and functions:

Zojirushi BB-PAC20Zojirushi BB-CEC20Breville BBM800XL
Amazon deal
Highlights
  • 3 custom recipe spaces
  • Can also be used to make sour dough starters and even meatloaf!
  • Bakes a traditional rectangular shaped 2-lb. loaf
  • 3 custom recipe spaces
  • Can also be used to make sour dough starters and even meatloaf!
  • Bakes a traditional rectangular shaped 2-lb. loaf
  • Also available in white
  • 9 custom recipe spaces
  • Collapsible paddle (designed to minimize hole in the loaf)
  • Sound alerts can be muted
Customizable programs339
100% whole wheat cycleYesYesYes
Gluten-free programYesNoYes
Jam/compote programYesYesYes
Complete list of programsSee manualSee manualSee manual
Crust options*Light
Medium
Dark
Light
Medium
Dark
Light
Medium
Dark
Loaf size options*2 lb2 lb1.0 lb
1.5 lb
2.0 lb
2.5 lb
Keep warm functionUp to 60 minUp to 60 minUp to 60 min
Kneading blade systemDual bladeDual bladeSingle blade
Kneading blade typeStandardStandardCollapsible blade
Raisin/nut dispenserNoNoYes
Viewing windowYesYesYes
LCD displayYesYesYes
Delay timer*Up to 13 hoursUp to 13 hoursUp to 13 hours
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*Only available on select bread/dough programs (see the manual for details)