At the Top of its Class for Simplicity
Our top pick for the best horizontal bread maker is the Panasonic SD-YD250 automatic bread maker with yeast dispenser; stacking up at the top of the list because of its simplicity, precision, and performance as an all-purpose baking appliance. Where other bread makers stand out by providing custom options for advanced chefs, the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker shines because it makes quick work of temperature and time decisions.
Each setting is programmed according to specific requirements based on thorough testing and research. The precision of the design produces mouth-watering results without complicated calculations and conversions.
The SD-YD250’s strong suit is its no-frills approach to making bread; intelligent design features take precedence over an overwhelming number of options. Eight settings cover the gamut of functions for everyday use; including basic, whole wheat, multigrain, and French bread.
Three different crust settings give you control of the degree to which the bread is cooked. Presets for pizza, focaccia, and dinner rolls produce an evenly kneaded dough that’s ready for the oven and advanced options for baking include a rapid cycle and sandwich setting.
Other useful features include a tray that automatically adds yeast to the mix during the rest cycle of kneading, an alert that signals when nuts and fruits should be added to sweet bread recipes, and a 13-hour delay timer for baking while away.
The rest cycle also ensures that all of the ingredients are at the same temperature before kneading, saving you the time and hassle of waiting for yeast and milk to come to room temperature. This unassuming machine is unique as it lacks a top window; Panasonic’s tests found that its absence helps to produce the right texture and color of the final product.
Precision Made for All Levels of Home Bakers
Stripped down to the essential elements necessary to produce quality, homemade bread consistently; the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker’s precision craftsmanship and flexible settings make baking all types of baking straightforward and uncomplicated. The removable non-stick baking tray, durable plastic housing, and single kneading blade are a cinch to clean; and its light weight means that it’s easily stored when not in use. A word to the wise, the light weight of the machine can also cause it to vibrate in the knead cycle and reports of it walking across countertops means that it should be placed in a secure spot.
This model can manage loaf sizes big enough for the whole family, topping out at 2.5 pounds. Baking time varies depending on the kind of bread, but on average lasts two hours. If no choices for size and crust texture is made, the SD-YD250 defaults to an XL loaf with a medium crust.
What’s in the Box?
The Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker comes with a single kneading blade, a removable baking tray, a measuring spoon and cup, an instruction manual, and recipe book. Instructions for use and different recipes are detailed and specific about the steps to take to turn out artisan, quality bread.
Alternative: Hamilton Beach 29881 Bread Maker
The Panasonic SD-YD250 Bread Maker is temporarily unavailable, but this one is a great alternative. The Hamilton Beach 29881 Bread Maker is an all-purpose, inexpensive bread machine that comes in ahead of the game and produces homemade bread that exceeds the price tag.
The Best of the Rest
1st Runner Up- Cuisinart CBK-100
Taking its queue from high-end bread makers such as Breville, the CBK-100 strives to accommodate the everyday chef while adding features that take the worry out of making homemade bread.
You set the size of the loaf, the texture of the crust, and the type of bread that is being made. The machine does the rest; alerting you when the kneading cycle ends so fruits and nuts can be added.
A nuanced feature is that once the kneading cycle is over, the blade is removable; leaving no tell-tale holes on the bottom of bread made in a typical maker.
2nd Runner Up- Black & Decker B6000C
We include the B6000C on our list of horizontal bread makers as it’s the only one that makes a 3-pound loaf. The blades are easily removed to prevent scarring on the bottom of the loaf, and a large viewing window in the lid makes quick checks of the baking progress a matter of a few quick glances while finishing other tasks.
While other models on our list have more choices for settings, cycles, and personal preferences, the B6000C comes up on top not only for its capacity to produce a big loaf of bread but the quality of the final product and its inexpensive price tag.
Alternative: Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso
The Black & Decker B6000C is temporarily unavailable, but this one is a great alternative. The Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker is considered our best gluten-free bread maker. This stand-alone machine soars to new heights with precision craftsmanship, a menu feature that deftly navigates the complicated steps involved when preparing gluten-free recipes, and a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, set of controls.
3rd Runner Up- West Bend 41410
Completing the list of runners up is the West Bend 41410, with a basket that produces up to 2.5-pound loaves. Specialty settings take into account the trend towards gluten-free recipes; comprising of 12-presets, a selection of crust consistencies, and a standard 13-hour timer delay.
The machine weighs in at 13 pounds, making it both easy to store and an item to keep your eye on during heavy vibration when it can skate across the counter. While the West Bend matches or beats its counterparts from other brands in most categories, the included recipe book isn’t as robust as that of the competitors.
Alternative: Breville BBM800XL Bread Machine
The West Bend 41410 is temporarily unavailable, but this one is a great alternative. The Breville BBM800XL gets the best marks on our automatic bread maker list for its streamlined appearance, a medley of options for custom baking, state-of-the-art controls, and professional-grade features.