If you eat bread a lot, you may agree with me that homemade bread is cheaper (and more gratifying) than buying bread from the store.
However, it can be strenuous to mix and knead the dough for homemade bread. Plus it takes time for the bread to rise. And if you find such tasks to be laborious, you’ll appreciate bread machines.
While bread machines bake bread faster and help us automate labor-intensive baking tasks, they have their shortcomings when compared to oven-baking. So is baking in an oven better?
To help you know which of these appliances will be good for baking your bread, we’ll delve deep into the bread machine vs oven debate.
Let’s find out the differences between a bread machine and an oven.
Differences between A Bread Machine and An Oven
The major difference between baking bread in a bread machine and in an oven is in how much of the baking process the appliance does.
A bread machine is a kitchen appliance that’s designed to mix and knead the dough and bake bread from beginning to end by itself while an oven is a kitchen appliance for baking bread after you’ve mixed and kneaded the dough by hand.
The second main difference between baking bread in a bread machine and in an oven is the thickness of the bread crust.
The crust of the bread baked in a bread machine is thick and hard while the crust of oven-baked bread is light.
To better understand which of these appliances is better for baking bread, we’ll explore both individually.
What is a bread machine? A bread machine, also called a bread maker, is a kitchen appliance for baking bread from start to finish. A bread maker automates laborious activities such as mixing and kneading dough before baking the bread – it takes charge of the whole baking cycle.
Using a bread machine is easy: simply measure the right quantity of ingredients and add them to your baking pan, then leave the machine to do the rest. Also, baking bread in a bread maker doesn’t create a mess as most of the messy tasks take place in the machine.
Bread makers are also time savers. On average, it takes a bread maker 45 minutes to 1 hour to bake homemade bread. There’s also little chance of burning bread in a bread maker as it comes with settings to bake different kinds of bread such as wheat bread, whole wheat bread, white bread, and a custom loaf.
One downside of bread makers is that they don’t preheat bread, and this can affect the texture of the final result. Also, bread makers are countertop appliances, so their baking area is constrained by space: this also constrains the bread from rising as much as it ought.
Finally, loaves of bread made in a bread maker have rounded corners, and they may not have the best shape when compared to oven-baked bread or the ones bought in a store.
What is an oven? An oven is a staple kitchen appliance for performing a wide range of cooking tasks including frying, roasting, broiling, toasting, baking, etc. Despite all these capabilities, we’re focusing on baking bread with an oven.
Bread baked in an oven is characterized by light and airy texture.
Here are a couple of reasons. First, ovens are large appliances, so the bread has enough room to rise. Secondly, they can preheat items, and they give users control over the baking process.
However, this control can be a bit tedious and time-consuming as ovens don’t mix or knead the dough. These labor-intensive processes must be done by hand before putting the dough in the oven to bake. And kneading can take around 15 and 25 minutes. Unless you’re an expert baker, you may make mistakes if you don’t mix the dough very well.
Finally, due to the size of ovens, you can bake more than one bread at a time.
Superiorities of a bread machine to an oven
The benefits of using a bread machine to bake bread over an oven are that it’s faster, easier to use, and more affordable than oven-baking. Plus, it allows you to bake all sorts of bread.
When compared to baking in an oven, baking in a bread machine takes a shorter time.
It takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour to bake bread in a bread machine, while kneading takes around 10 minutes. This is opposed to a longer preparation and baking time when using an oven. It takes between 15 and 25 minutes to knead the dough by hand. Then it’ll take approximately 2 hours for the dough to rise both the first and second time. While the actual oven-baking can take around 30 minutes.
The major advantage of baking bread in a bread machine is because of the convenience it offers.
If you love eating homemade bread, a bread maker can help you bake bread every day.
Bread makers are designed to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to baking bread. They can mix, knead, and bake the bread from start to finish, unsupervised: this makes it easy for beginners to use the appliance.
Conversely, you probably won’t be able to bake bread every day in an oven because of the time-consuming and manual labor involved. However, you can begin baking bread in your bread maker before transferring it to your oven. There are also intricacies with oven-baking that make it difficult for beginners to make the perfect bread.
Since the entire baking cycle takes place in the bread maker, there’s little to no mess to clean up. This contrasts with oven-baking where you’ll mix and knead the dough in bowls while doing other aspects of the baking manually.
More baking versatility
Bread machines come with settings to help you bake a variety of specialty bread. You can choose the settings for baking wheat bread, wholemeal loaf, white bread, sourdough, pizza dough, etc. You can find more use cases of a bread maker here.
With oven-baking, the kind of bread you’d like to bake depends on your expertise in bread making.
When compared to an oven, a bread machine is more budget-friendly.
Bread machines cost between $60 and $400. This is opposed to conventional ovens that cost between $200 and $3,500.
Superiorities of an oven to a bread machine
The benefits of using an oven to bake bread over a bread machine are that it has a larger capacity that will give you the control to bake better bread and cook all sorts of foods.
When compared to a bread machine, an oven has a larger interior capacity to bake more than one bread at a time.
Bread makers only have space for baking one loaf of bread either weighing 1 lb., 1.25 lbs., 1.5 lbs., or 2 lbs. You can’t fit up to two of any of these loaves in one bread maker due to its limited space. If you want to bake more than one loaf in your bread machine, you’ll have to wait for the machine to cool before loading the next batch into the machine.
A standard 30-inch oven, on the other hand, will be able to bake up to two to three loaves of bread at a time, enabling you to bake more bread in one batch for instant consumption or for freezing.
Probably the major reason people prefer baking in an oven as opposed to a bread machine is the better bread that oven-baking yields.
Bread baked in bread machines has a thicker crust which makes it a bit difficult to slice. Ovens, on the other hand, bake bread with a lighter crust.
Also, because the space in a bread machine is compact, the dough may not rise as it ought, and this gives the bread a harder texture. In contrast, you can preheat your oven and there’s enough room for the dough to rise, making your bread feel lighter and increasing its aeration.
Furthermore, there are kneading paddle holes underneath bread made in bread machines. This doesn’t happen with oven-baking.
Unlike baking in bread machines that takes charge of all the baking processes, oven-baking gives you control over the baking process to yield a better final result.
First, you can determine the size and shape of your bread with oven baking. Yeast can be unpredictable, and this may affect the way dough rises. Bread machines don’t have wiggle rooms for yeast’s anomalies, and these may affect the final result. But with oven-baking, you can always change the temperature to allow your dough to rise properly.
Bread machine baking yields bread with rounded edges due to all the flour getting used up. Oven-baking yields bread with straighter edges as you manually knead the dough outside the oven.
More cooking versatility
While bread machines have better baking versatility, ovens have more cooking versatility.
Ovens can perform a wide range of cooking functions such as baking, broiling, frying, reheating, roasting, defrosting, etc. So when you feel like roasting meat, broiling veggies, reheating leftovers, or simply eating other dishes, your oven will serve you.
This is in contrast to bread makers that can hardly do more than bake different types of bread and make pizza.
Food Differences between A Bread Machine and An Oven
While bread makers and ovens can both be used in baking delicious bread, they can both prepare a couple of other meals. Let’s find out some of the other meals that you can make in your bread machine and oven.
What foods can be used with a bread machine?
You can prepare the following items in a bread machine;
- Bread: white bread, peanut butter bread, milk and honey bread, multigrain loaf bread, banana bread, whole wheat bread, pumpkin quick bread, sweet potato bread.
- Glazed yeast donuts
- Pizza dough
- Burger buns
- Blueberry jam
- Dinner rolls
- Sauces and soups
You can find how to use a bread machine here.
What foods can be used with an oven?
You can prepare the following items in an oven;
- Toasted nuts
- Dried fruit
- Lasagna toast
- Roast chicken
- Green beans
- Banana bread
- Tortilla pizza
- Broiled grapefruit
Using a bread machine and an oven together
Although a bread machine and an oven can bake bread, both appliances can be used together in a kitchen. Bread makers are designed to perform tedious and time-consuming tasks such as mixing, kneading, and rising dough. While an oven can bake multiple batches at a time and cook a wide variety of meals.
What are the instances where a bread machine and an oven should be used together?
Bread machines are great at mixing and kneading dough but not great at making homemade bread. Ovens, on the other hand, can’t mix or knead dough but can bake nice homemade bread.
Since mixing and kneading dough are laborious activities, you can do these in your bread maker before transferring the dough to your oven to complete the baking.
Or if you have a bread maker that can make really nice bread, you can bake your bread in it while you make a bowl of delicious bread soup in your oven.
What are the instances where a bread machine and an oven should never be used together?
If you bake bread for only yourself and are cool with snacking on bread baked with bread machines, you should not use both the machine and your oven when baking bread.
Also, both appliances can make a couple of items such as donuts, pretzels, and cake, etc. When making any of these, you don’t have to use both appliances as one will suffice.
Bread Machine vs Oven Purchasing Tips
Baking bread is quite a tedious process, and the machine you use will determine the result you’ll get. These are some of the top questions you should ask before getting a bread maker or oven or both to bake bread.
What type of bread machine is good for me?
There are eleven types of bread machines; non-stick, alarm, automatic shut off, programmable, adjustable, whole wheat, gluten-free, rapid bake, direct current motor, delayed start, and jam maker bread makers.
Non-stick bread makers have nonstick pans that allow dough to easily come off their baking pans without adding too much oil. This way, your dough won’t stick to the pan.
Alarm bread machines come with alarms for notifying you when the unit is done baking your bread. This way, your loaf won’t stick to the pans while cooling.
Automatic shut-off bread machines allow you to set your bread maker and leave to attend to other activities around the house as they come with temperature sensors that will shut the appliances off when baking is completed.
Programmable bread makers come with features to help you bake the best bread possible. With a programmable bread maker, you can set how your machine mixes your ingredients, the baking temperature, start time, and duration.
Adjustable bread makers allow you to choose the loaf size that’s good enough for your living condition. Adjustable bread machines are usually larger than smaller bread machines, so they allow you to determine if you want to bake bread for only yourself or your family.
Whole wheat bread makers have settings for baking whole wheat and gluten grain bread ingredients.
Gluten-free bread makers come with settings (the right temperature, timer, and conditions) for baking gluten-free bread ingredients.
Rapid bake bread makers have powerful heating elements for baking bread in speed time. They allow you to bake bread in rush times for unplanned dinners with guests.
Direct current motor bread machines use direct current motors for quieter operations. Most bread makers are noisy, and with this model, you can bake bread at odd hours without disturbing anyone.
Delayed start bread makers come with settings such as start time, temperature control, and cooling time that allow you to add your ingredients to your machine and bake your bread when you’re unavailable to start the cycle.
Jam maker bread machines come with compartments for mixing ingredients such as fruits, sugar, honey, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice for making jam.
What type of oven should I get?
There are six types of ovens; conventional, convection, toaster, microwave, air fryers, and rotisserie ovens.
Conventional ovens are the most popular ovens. They use radiant heat from their bottom and top heating elements to heat food, and they’re versatile in their cooking functions. There are different types of conventional ovens ranging from built-in to freestanding and wall ovens that can either be electric or gas-powered. And they’re known for being spacious enough to bake multiple batches at a time.
Convection ovens are smaller countertop ovens that use convection heating technology to cook meals. They have a single heating element for generating heat and a convection fan for blowing the heated air around the cooking chamber. They cook and brown food more evenly than conventional ovens. However, they can’t bake as many batches as conventional ovens.
Toaster ovens are cheaper than conventional and convection ovens due to their limited capacities. They save countertop space and are good at baking bread and pizzas, grilling meat, and roasting vegetables.
Microwave ovens, also called microwaves, use electromagnetic radiation to heat meals. Their primary function is reheating meals, not cooking from scratch. So they may not be the best appliance for baking bread: however, they can heat your frozen bread.
Air fryers are ovens for cooking healthy meals because they require little to no fat, oil, or butter. They’re good at making foods browner, crunchier, and crispier, which is ideal for baking bread.
Rotisserie ovens are great for roasting meat and chicken. They may not be ideal for baking bread.
What is your living condition and the size of your kitchen?
Bread makers are countertop appliances, which makes them ideal for small kitchens. And if you’re a couple or you cook for two to three people, get a model that can hold 2 to 2.5 cups of flour. And if you cook for a large family, get a 1.5 or 2-pound machine as it can hold 3 to 4 cups of flour.
The most common conventional ovens, on the other hand, have an average width of 27 to 30 inches, which may be too bulky for a small kitchen. They’re good for making multiple batches of bread at a time to serve a larger number of people. But if you don’t have space for a full-sized oven, there are countertop convection ovens that have almost the same size as bread machines, and they can bake bread with better texture and crust.
How much should I pay for a good oven or bread maker?
Bread makers are more affordable than ovens. They typically cost between $60 and $400. However, if you intend on using your bread machine frequently, like daily, you shouldn’t go for any model that costs less than $100.
You can get conventional ovens for between $200 and $3,500. But a more budget-friendly option is a convection oven which a good one retails for around $150 and $250.
Best brands for bread machines
The five best bread machine brands are Zojirushi, Breville, Cuisinart, Oster, and Hamilton Beach.
One of the features that make Zojirushi one of the best bread makers is its ability to yield excellent results. You can choose the kind of crust you want, and they’re versatile in baking all sorts of bread. We also like that they evenly brown bread. However, they tend to be mostly expensive.
Breville makes some of the best mid-priced to high-end bread machines. They’ve got models with collapsible paddles that won’t bore holes in your bread. They’re also very versatile and easy to clean, but noisy.
Cuisinart is a household name making some of the best kitchen appliances. Their models are mid-priced and yield impressive results, in that, they can evenly brown your bread and provide good aeration. They’re also versatile and easy to clean.
Oster is one of the top brands making the best bread makers. Their models are budget-friendly, compact, and have the innovative Expressbake feature that enables them to bake bread in speed time. However, they’re not as versatile as some of the brands on this list.
Hamilton Beach is another reputable home appliances brand that makes some of the best bread machines. Their models bake in speed time and are affordable. They also yield impressive results with good aeration.
Best brands for ovens
The five best oven brands are Miele, KitchenAid, Samsung, Frigidaire, and Haier.