The bread maker and stand mixer are two important kitchen appliances used to bake homemade bread.
It’s not an easy decision to select which machine will sit on your kitchen countertop to bake your bread. If you’re unsure about the difference between bread machine and stand mixer, then read further as we explore the bread machine vs stand mixer debate to help inform your purchasing decision.
Let’s dive into the stand mixer vs bread machine topic in more detail below.
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What Are the Main Differences Between A Bread Maker vs A Stand Mixer?
The main difference between a bread maker and a stand mixer is that a bread maker is a kitchen appliance used for mixing, kneading, and baking dough from start to finish. While a stand mixer is a kitchen appliance used for mixing and kneading dough. Stand mixers don’t bake bread whereas a bread machine does bake bread.
The second main difference between a bread maker (or bread machine) and a stand mixer is versatility. Bread makers are basically used to bake bread loaves and make jam. A kitchen stand mixer, in addition to mixing dough, is a multipurpose machine that comes with a variety of attachments for baking cakes, pastry, and pasta, etc. The stand mixer can be used as a food processor by attaching food processing accessories to mix more ingredients.
To get a better sense of the differences between a bread maker and a stand mixer, let’s look at each appliance individually.
What is a bread maker? A bread maker (also called a bread machine) mixes your ingredients, kneads your dough, allows it to rise, and bakes your bread.
All you have to do is measure the quantity of the ingredients, place them in the baking pan in the machine, and the bread machine will bake your bread to completion. This makes the bread machine easy to use and time-saving. And depending on the type of bread maker you buy, you may not have to transfer your dough to the oven to bake as it can do everything for you.
Bread machines can bake homemade bread loaf in 45 minutes to 1 hour. It’ll take 10 – 15 minutes to knead the dough before leaving a moment for it to rise.
The bread maker is versatile because it has pre-programmed settings that allow for multiple recipes. This multifunctionality allows you to choose the kind of crust you desire and customize the result of your loaf to either white, sandwich, Italian, French, and gluten-free bread, etc.
A standard countertop breadmaker comes with the following accessories:
- A non-stick baking pan or tin.
- A kneading paddle with handles for lifting and lowering it out and into the machine.
- Transparent glass window to monitor the progress of your baking. But if your bread maker does not come with transparent glass,, you can open the bread machine while it's kneading (not during baking) to see if the dough mixed properly.
A bread maker automates the baking cycle and is great for people that eat bread at least 1-2x per week.
What is a stand mixer? A stand mixer is a multi-purpose kitchen appliance with a powerful motor for mixing ingredients and kneading dough. Unlike bread makers, stand mixers don’t bake bread. The stand mixer is versatile because of its fantastic kneading abilities, powerful blades, and accessories.
Using the stand mixer is straightforward. Simply measure the ingredients and add them to the bowl. It can take a stand mixer of 8 – 10 minutes to mix your ingredients and knead your dough. After the kneading cycle is complete, you’ll have to remove the dough from the mixer and let it rise before transferring it to the oven.
The countertop stand mixer comes with more accessories than a bread machine. These are the basic attachments included with a stand mixer are the following::
- A dough hook for kneading dough and kinds of pastries.
- A flat beater or mixer blade for combining normal or heavy mixtures.
- And a balloon whisk for whisking, creaming and whipping light mixture ingredients.
The stand-mixer has more attachments like the splash guard, Flexi-beater, and jug blender. Certain stand mixers come with food processing mixer attachments like a mini chopper, slicer, juicer, grinder, ice cream maker, etc., for processing nuts, juice, vegetables, meat, pasta, ice cream, and lots more.
What are the advantages of a bread maker when compared to a stand mixer?
The advantages of a bread maker compared to a stand mixer are its ease of use, consistent and predictable results, affordable price, and time-saving features.
It’s easier to use
A bread maker is easier to use because it automates most of the baking cycle. With a bread machine, your only task is to measure the ingredients correctly, put them into the baking pan, before putting the pan in the bread maker. The bread machine does the rest of the job for you and presents you with a delicious loaf of bread: it saves you time in the kitchen.
A kitchen mixer is also easy to use, but it only mixes the recipes and kneads the dough. You’ll have to finish baking the homemade bread by yourself. And you may have to monitor the mixer if it’s got no timer.
It’s more affordable
A bread machine is more affordable than a stand mixer. When comparing the prices of bread machines to stand mixers, bread machines are cheaper because they are not as versatile as stand mixers. A bread machine costs between $50 and $400.
A stand mixer is a multi-purpose tool that can perform more kitchen tasks. And because of the stand mixer's versatility, its price ranges between $150 and $800.
It sets the conditions for your dough to rise
When compared to a stand mixer, a bread machine provides a controlled environment for your dough to rise. While a stand mixer may produce varying results when allowed to rise your dough due to the prevailing temperature (whether hot or cold). So you’ll have to shape the loaf by yourself.
You’ll get predictable and consistent results
Bread makers achieve predictable results every time if you properly measure your ingredients and choose the right settings. Also, the bread maker will produce bread with a uniform texture as the cycle is done in a controlled environment.
With stand mixers, you’ll do some parts of the work by hand, and this may make it somewhat difficult to achieve predictable and consistent results (especially for inexperienced bakers).
What are the advantages of a stand mixer when compared to a bread maker?
The advantages a stand mixer has over a bread maker are its versatility and the ability for you to shape your dough.
It’s more versatile
When compared to a bread maker, a stand mixer can make several loaves of bread at the same time. While a bread maker can make only one loaf at a time.
Stand mixers come with accessories and attachments that make them perform many kitchen functions like knead dough and pastries, blend smoothies, chop nuts, juice vegetables and fruits, etc.
Bread machines are also versatile as you can make different types of bread with them. However, bread makers can’t perform other functions other than bake a loaf of bread, buns, hamburgers, etc.
You can get a better-shaped loaf
A stand mixer only mixes and kneads your dough, then it leaves the loaf for you to shape it to any shape of your choice before baking it in the oven. But with a bread maker, the machine gives the bread its shape.
Which One Is More Usable in the Kitchen Between A Bread Maker and A Stand Mixer?
A stand mixer is more usable in the kitchen than a bread maker because it has several attachments that make it versatile in performing labor-intensive kitchen tasks. Some of its food processing accessories (such as slow juicer, grinder, mini chopper, meat mincer, pasta maker, and biscuit cutter, etc.) make it versatile enough to replace other equipment like the food processor in the kitchen.
And if you’re still asking the question, “Is a bread maker the same as a stand mixer?” These small kitchen appliances are not the same. A bread maker mixes, kneads, and bakes the dough into your loaf of bread. While a stand maker only mixes and kneads the dough.
Here are more uses of a bread maker.
What foods can you process in a bread maker?
You can bake homemade bread, cakes, casseroles, and tomato sauce in a bread maker. There are many different ways of how to use a bread maker. For example you can make dough for items like jam, pasta, and pretzels, etc.
What foods can you process in a stand mixer?
You can knead the dough for homemade bread with a stand mixer. Additional foods a stand mixer can process because of its accessories and attachments include the following:
- Ice cream
Can a bread maker and a stand mixer pair together?
Yes, you can pair a bread maker and a stand mixer in a kitchen as both appliances perform different kitchen prepping and baking functions.
A bread maker bakes bread from the mixing stage till it becomes a loaf and ready to serve. While a stand mixer kneads dough and performs lots of other functions like blending smoothies, making pasta, etc., in the kitchen.
What are the instances where a bread maker and a stand mixer should be used together?
Both a bread maker and a stand mixer can be used to bake bread. Both appliances are useful when baking bread for a large family since a bread maker can only make a single loaf.
Secondly, when you’re making sauce, baking cake, or you want to serve juice, you can perform these kitchen tasks in your stand mixer while baking bread in your bread machine.
What are the instances where a bread maker and a stand mixer should never be used together?
A bread maker and a stand mixer should never be used together when you’re baking a loaf of bread for yourself. Simply using the bread machine alone will suffice.
What to Consider when Buying A Bread Maker or A Stand Mixer
Baking homemade bread can be cheaper than buying one in the supermarket. But not all bread machines can give you the flavorful bread you’ll like to snack on. So we’ve rounded up the top features you should look out for when buying a bread maker or kitchen mixer to bake your bread.
How much does a bread maker or stand mixer cost?
A bread maker costs between $50 and $400 depending on the preprogrammed settings, with the more expensive models having more features.
The price for a stand mixer ranges from $150 to $800. Models in the $200 – $300 range are great for most households. But the more expensive options usually have bigger bowls, more pre-programmed settings, and can mix more recipes.
What are your cooking needs?
How you’ll use your bread machine or stand mixer is the most important feature to look out for when buying one.
Baking a 2-pound loaf in a bread maker designed to produce 1-pound loaves will make your results pale. And baking a smaller loaf in a machine designed for larger loaves will result in bread with a dry texture and dark crust. Also, note that if you plan to bake heavier or denser loaves, you’ll need machines that produce more power. For such bread, a bread machine with 800 – 1000 watts will be great.
If you bake often or for a large family or for social gatherings, you’ll need a mixer with a large bowl (at least 6 qt.) so you don’t have to process your recipes in batches. You’ll also need a model with a powerful motor (at least 600 watts).
What size and weight should I buy?
This depends on the size of your kitchen counter, the height clearance of your cabinets, and how often you’ll be moving the appliance around. The larger models come with more settings and are more difficult to store while the smaller ones come with fewer settings but are easier to store.
If you bake for a small family, a bread machine that can make 1 – 1.5 pounds of loaf will be ideal. While for a larger family, consider getting a model that can produce 1.5 – 3 pounds of loaf size.
For a stand mixer, if you’re going to be storing it away from the cabinet, you should get a model that’s sturdy but not too difficult to lift; typically a model that weighs around 20 pounds and above. These models can mix your recipes without bouncing around.
How long will it take to bake a single loaf?
Bread machines complete a regular baking cycle for a loaf of white bread in 2 -3 hours (some types of bread take longer). However, you can get some bread makers with an express cycle that can bake a bread loaf for under an hour.
Stand mixers knead dough in 8 – 10 minutes, with some models running a cycle in 10 – 15 minutes.
Accessories for stand mixers
Many stand mixers come with a hub for attaching optional accessories such as pasta maker, ravioli maker, grinder, fruit and vegetable strainer, etc. If you’ll be doing a variety of food processing with your mixer, ensure you get one that’s compatible with these attachments. Also, keep in mind that your mixer also needs to be powerful enough to run these attachments.
Crust settings for bread machines
If you prefer to have control over the darkness of your bread’s crust, go for a machine that offers adjustable crust settings.
Pre-programmed and speed settings
While a bread machine with many features offers more versatility, it can also be quite complicated to use. So go for a model that offers the settings for the kinds of bread you’ll like to make – French bread, sweet loaves, pizza dough, sourdough, and whole grain. These optimized settings help you produce the best loaves for these types of bread.
If you love to quickly bake a loaf of bread, go for machines with express bread settings.
Typical stand mixers offer 3 – 12 speed levels. 3-setting models work for recipes like vegetables and pasta. But if you want to make meringue you may need a stand mixer that achieves higher speed levels.
What are the Best Brands for Bread Makers?
The 5 best brands making the best bread makers are Cuisinart, Zojirushi, Hamilton Beach, KitchenAid, and Breville.
The bread makers from Cuisinart are some of the best machines. They’re priced fairly and they come with lots of preprogrammed settings for easy use. They also offer their customers a lengthier warranty than most other brands.
Zojirushi is another brand that makes bread makers of the best quality. Their products have innovative designs and come in several styles. They also come with features to make baking your delicious bread more exciting. However, their models are quite expensive.
Moving away from a brand that makes expensive bread machines to Hamilton Beach that makes affordable bread makers. Despite the fair price of their models, they don’t compromise on quality. And compared to other brands that are priced in the same range, their products don’t take up too much space on the countertop, and they’re very efficient at kneading.
KitchenAid is a popular brand when it comes to making the best appliances. And they’ve got some bread makers that are durable and easy to use. Their designs are also beautiful plus their products have lots of positive reviews from customers.
Breville is another brand making some of the best household appliances. And they’ve got just one bread machine but its quality is one of the best you can get. It’s durable and comes with lots of features. It also has lots of positive reviews.
What are the Best Brands for Stand Mixers?
The 4 best brands making the best stand mixers are Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach, and Sunbeam.