Taking the top honor of best gluten-free bread maker is the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker.
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.
Zojirushi produces top of the line bread makers that consistently make the grade as the best in class for their design.
The BB-PAC20 is no exception, covering new ground and taking baking to the next level.
While this model produces quality bread across the board, the gluten-free cycle puts it in a new category that takes the painstaking work out of making a loaf of bread without gluten.
Loaves come out golden brown; no easy task as typically, the lack of gluten in the dough strips the mix of the browning agent in traditional recipes.
At the Top of Its Class for Gluten-Free Baking
The gluten-free cycle consists of seven crucial steps: rest at the beginning of the process, a kneading stage, three different rise periods, a baking cycle, and a keep-warm segment at the finish. The final step lasts an hour, utilizing the heating element in the lid of the machine to brown the crust of the loaf to perfection.
Zojirushi includes a recipe book that details specific instructions for producing bakery-quality, gluten-free bread; and outlines the order for adding the ingredients to the baking pan that has proven to work efficiently. These additions are a nice touch, taking the guesswork out of baking perfect loaves of bread.
Key factors about the Home Bakery Virtuoso are the custom options and flexibility it provides during steps in the homemade and gluten-free cycles. The rest function gradually warms all of the ingredients to one temperature before the kneading begins.
However, with the touch of a button, the keep-warm stage is easily switched off. Custom settings can also be tailored for each stage of baking, allowing the home chef to experiment and find the perfect balance according to personal tastes.
What’s Up with the Settings?
Ten different course settings take the guesswork out of baking; while leaving room for custom adjustments in specialties including gluten-free, basic, wheat, dough, cake, jam, and sourdough starter. Quick bake cycles are divided into categories by the type of bread, programmed for the different temperatures that each recipe requires.
Three choices for doneness of the crust, a pause button for hand-shaping each loaf, and a 13-hour delay timer round out the features. Other unique, custom adjustments include a homemade menu for preparing casseroles, stews, and jams; and adjustable alarms that signal the ideal time to add fruits and nuts to specialty sweet bread.
What’s in the Box?
The large Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso comes equipped with two kneading paddles for even mixing, a two-handled, non-stick 2-pound baking pan, an instruction manual and DVD, an in-depth recipe book, and a measuring cup and spoon.
Best of the Rest
1st Runner Up- Panasonic SD ZB2502BXC Breadmaker
Panasonic’s high-end bread maker scores high marks in the innovation category; giving those with dietary concerns a gluten-free setting and a design that is made to bring out the subtle flavors of specialty flours and their requirements.
An automatic setting adds yeast at precisely the right time in the kneading cycle.
The company has done their homework, and it shows; custom settings for French bread extends the quick bake function from two hours to six, resulting in a loaf of bread that rivals the corner bakery.
2nd Runner Up- Cuisinart CBK-100
The Cuisinart CBK-100 is a good all-around bread maker that hits its marks for making gluten-free bread. The machine has the standard 12 settings that include wheat, basic, and French bread; but adds a gluten-free cycle, a function for pasta dough, and a separate “mix” setting for store-bought package bread mix.
A few things to consider when using the CBK-100 for gluten-free recipes are that the loaves come out paler than those made with the Zojirushi. The wet mixture of gluten-free recipes means that sometimes the bread isn’t finished at the end of the cycle and that you should add fruits and nuts with the other ingredients before the kneading cycle.
3rd Runner Up- Breadman TR875 Bread Maker
The Breadman TR875 is a compact, all-around breadmaker that excels at producing quality loaves of bread consistently. It has ten settings, can accommodate loaves up to 2 pounds and does a good job when cooking gluten-free bread.
Like the Cuisinart, gluten-free loaves tend to come out paler than ordinary bread, and the mixture of the recipe means that more attention and some additional mixing is needed at the start of the cycle. The TR875 comes with an instruction manual that includes excellent recipes, and a measuring cup.