What is the Best Gluten Free Bread Maker?
According to the Center for Celiac Research & Treatment approximately 18 million people, or six percent of the population have a sensitivity toward gluten, a protein found in wheat and many other grains. Others are not allergic to gluten but have problems digesting it. When people think of eating a gluten free diet, they typically think of eating a diet without bread. But, the good news is that with a good bread machine, it is possible to make quality gluten free bread. Making your own gluten free bread is not an effortless task, but it is definitely worth it and can become a rewarding and healthy routine!
Gluten Free Bread Maker
There are many different bread machines on the market, but only a few of these have a pre-programmed gluten free bread cycle. Of these few, three of the most popular ones are the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker, Cuisinart CBK-100 Programmable Breadmaker and also the Cuisinart CBK-200.
Considerations When Choosing a Gluten Free Bread Maker
Before learning about the details of the BB-PAC20 and the CBK-100, it is helpful to learn a little bit about what you should look for in a gluten free friendly bread machine.
The first thing you want to check is that the bread machine’s gluten free cycle is longer than its cycle for gluten-containing breads. Gluten free breads almost always have a higher moisture content than ordinary breads and this means that they need to be baked longer. If your bread machine’s gluten free cycle is too short, your gluten free bread will always be mushy.
Good Non-Stick Coating
A bread pan with a good non-stick coating is also a must. Gluten free breads often incorporate ingredients like xanthan gum and guar gum, and when wet, these ingredients can become very sticky and difficult to remove from the surface of a bread pan. Although no non-stick coating can last forever, you should make sure that the coating on your bread machine’s bread pan will be able to last you for many years.
Powerful Kneading Action
Gluten free bread dough is often tough and viscous. It takes a powerful bread machine to knead it to perfection. Your bread machine must have a strong motor if you want to be able to consistently make decent gluten free bread. Otherwise, you will be frustrated by how often your bread machine falters during the kneading process.
Appropriately Timed Kneading
While your bread machine needs to be able to generate sufficient force to knead your gluten free bread dough appropriately, it also must not overdo it. Gluten free bread dough must not be kneaded for the same length of time as dough containing gluten or it will become bread with a poor texture after baking. Make sure your bread machine’s gluten free cycle doesn’t knead your dough for too long.
Gluten free bread dough is fussier than standard bread dough. You really need to distribute heat evenly during the baking process if you want to be able to produce good quality bread. Make sure that the bread machine you are interested in buying has a good heating element, or you will have problems later on.
Gluten Free Bread Machine Reviews: The BB-PAC20
Zojirushi has a long-standing reputation for making high-quality bread machines and the BB-PAC20 is no exception. The BB-PAC20 sports twin kneading blades, which give it all the power it needs to knead gluten free bread dough. Its gluten free bread cycle was intelligently designed, so you shouldn’t have any problems with any aspect of timing during the baking process. The main downside to the BB-PAC20 is that the non-stick coating on its bread pan may not last as long as you would like it to.
Gluten Free Bread Machine Reviews: The CBK-100
Cuisinart has not been in the bread machine business as long as Zojirushi, and consequently does not have quite the same reputation as Zojirushi. Having said that, the CBK-100 has a good gluten free bread cycle and plenty of bells and whistles. If you like messing with menu options and timers, you will love the CBK-100.
Tips for Making Gluten Free Bread
Both the BB-PAC20 and the CBK-100 are capable of making great gluten free bread. The truth is that success with making gluten free bread has a lot more to do with you than which machine you have. Making gluten free bread is often difficult and frustrating because gluten performs functions in the bread making process that nothing else can. The best you can do is to use gluten substitutes that almost match the ability of gluten to make bread dough elastic.
If you are just starting out with gluten free bread, try making bread with a rice base. Rice flour is easier to work with than a lot of other flours. Experiment with different amounts of xanthan gum or guar gum until you get a dough that has a nice consistency. Don’t aim to exactly match gluten-containing bread, but try instead to come up with a workable substitute.
Quality ingredients like King Arthur gluten free flour products and Bob’s Red Mill gluten free products will help you to produce good gluten free breads consistently. Don’t risk using substandard ingredients — while cheaper, these always help produce inferior breads. Both King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill have great reputations in the gluten free community.