- What is Teflon?
- Is Teflon Safe?
- Bread Maker Without Teflon – Do They Exist?
- Non Toxic Bread Makers
- Bread Machines With Adjustable Settings
- The Bottom Line…
Let me guess, has someone just told you that Teflon is really bad and now you are panicking because every kitchen appliance and piece of cookware you own is made from Teflon, including your beloved bread maker? Or maybe you recently saw that Mark Ruffalo movie Dark Waters and you are reeling from the story of this non-stick stuff?
Either way, try not to go on a Teflon-culling crusade just yet. I am here to help put your mind at ease. Before we look at those ceramic and stainless steel bread makers, I first want to tell you a little bit more about this mysterious compound commonly known as Teflon and discuss whether it is really bad for you.
Let’s get started!
What is Teflon?
First things first, I think it’s important we are all on the same page about what Teflon actually is.
Teflon is a brand owned by Chemours, a spin-off company of DuPont, the American chemical giant. Teflon’s non-stick products are made from a thermoplastic called polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as PTFE, which was first created by DuPont in 1938.
This man-made compound has some pretty remarkable properties. We all know that it’s hydrophobic, meaning liquids won’t stick to it, but it also has non-reactive and dielectric properties, so it doesn’t conduct electricity or erode when exposed to corrosive chemicals.
Because of this – and a few other characteristics – PTFE has been widely used in pans and kitchen appliances since the 40s. It’s not just in the kitchen that we use PTFE though, it has an amazingly diverse range of uses which includes wire insulation in aerospace and computer appliances (accounting for 50% of production), waterproofing outdoor apparel, and countless other uses.
It’s not hard to see why Teflon has grown so much in popularity over the last century, especially when it comes to stress-free kitchen cleaning. Thanks to its non-stick properties, PTFE made cooking and cleaning effortless for many households.
Is Teflon Safe?
The fear of Teflon, and PTFE products in general, stems from a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that was used to manufacture non-stick cookware and appliances. While most of the PFOA was burnt off during production, trace amounts were still found on the end products.
As a result, Teflon users were unknowingly ingesting PFOA whilst using their non-stick cookware, as well as entering waterways close to Teflon manufacturing facilities. Various studies proved that exposure to PFOA had a range of health implications including kidney and liver disease, testicular cancer as well as infertility, and pregnancy complications.
It wasn’t just our health that was suffering from PFOA either, it was also having a detrimental impact on wildlife. Due to its widespread use, PFOA was found in the blood of seals, eagles, and even animals in remote habitats in the North Pacific.
When the public started to become aware of the detrimental effects PTFE was having on their health there was a public outcry towards DuPont in the 1990s, and other chemical manufacturers, for using such a harmful substance in kitchen products. The widespread public concern eventually led to the PFOA Stewardship Program launching in 2006, with the aim of eliminating PFOA from manufacturing by 2015.
Thankfully, all eight manufacturers using PFOA met the target and Teflon has been PFOA free since 2013.
So, does this mean that there is no need for concern over Teflon anymore? Well, not exactly.
While post-2013 Teflon is all PFOA free, and now generally considered a safe compound, there are still health implications associated with overheating PTFE products. When heated above 500°F/260°C the non-stick coating can start to break down, and release toxic fumes. These fumes can cause Teflon Flu with symptoms including a sore throat, coughing, and a fever.
While research suggested these are only temporary side effects caused by short-term exposure, it’s understandable why many people are hesitant to still use Teflon.
Bread Maker Without Teflon – Do They Exist?
Are you on a mission to remove Teflon products from your home? If you are, then a bread maker without Teflon will be a brilliant addition to your kitchen.
That said, there is a slight problem with this. The problem is that it is pretty damn difficult to find a bread maker without a non-stick coating. Many of the top manufacturers, like Breville and Zojirushi, use the popular PTFE-coated pans.
There are, however, a handful of non-Teflon bread makers out there. This small selection is narrowed further by the fact that many are unavailable in USA.
If you can’t get your hands on a Teflon-free bread machine, don’t stress, allow me to put your mind at ease. With bread makers, the bread bakes at a low temperature, most usually around 180C/356F. This is significantly lower than the temperature where PFOA-free Teflon can break down and become harmful.
Non Toxic Bread Makers
If you’ve made up your mind and you really want a stainless steel bread maker or a bread maker with a ceramic pan, then here are your options.
SAKI Bread Maker
The Saki is one of the few bread machines with a ceramic pan. The biggest advantage of ceramic pans is that they have a PTFE-free nonstick coating that is able to withstand temperatures up to 800°F.
Aside from a ceramic bread pan, the Saki machine has plenty of other very impressive features. It has the capacity to bake a 3 lb loaf, which is larger than many leading bread makers out there. With 12 different programs, including whole-wheat, sourdough and gluten-free, you can make almost any bread your heart desires regardless of your dietary needs. This machine is also capable of making cake, jam, and yogurt.
This bread machine also features a 15-hour delayed timer and a 60 minute keep warm function. The large LCD screen is very user-friendly and all the buttons are touch screen. Another great feature that is not typically found in budget-friendly bread makers is the dual kneading paddles.
KBS Large 17-in-1 Bread Machine
The KBS is a multifunctional bread machine with 17 customizable programs and has a 2lb pan capacity. Again, it has a unique ceramic pan that is designed to bake chemical-free bread. The ceramic pan also retains an even heat, making sure the loaf is baked to perfection.
Other features include a fruit and nut dispenser, a 15-hour delayed timer and a 60-minute keep warm function. The 15-minute power recovery allows your bread to continue baking from where it left off in the event of a power cut.
It has an intuitive digital screen and a touch control panel with a stainless steel exterior. There is a large viewing window and it comes with kitchen gloves, a recipe book, a measuring cup, and a measuring spoon.
Sana Smart Bread Maker
Sana. You’ve probably never heard of them and quite frankly, neither had I until I started my search for a stainless steel bread maker. Nevertheless, this Sana Bread Maker markets itself as being the only bread maker with stainless steel pan, which I think is pretty cool.
The stainless steel bread pan is very durable and also includes 2 stainless steel kneading blades. The Sana bread maker comes in 3 different models; basic, standard and exclusive.
What I love about the Sana is that it’s a horizontal bread machine, similar to my all-time favourite Zojirushi Virtuoso. Horizontal bread makers are much more effective, in my opinion, as the dual kneading paddles knead the dough more thoroughly, leaving no mixture untouched. It also gives you the freedom to shape your dough before the second rise.
With the Sana, you can adjust the programs manually and it also comes with glass lids and a digital thermometer.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Sana bread maker is only available in the EU at the moment and a few international countries. While their website does list USA in the delivery options, after some further research, I discovered that they actually don’t deliver to the USA because the machine isn’t compatible with the US 110v power. Bummer!
But, fear not, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sana is in the process of developing a model for the US that will hopefully be available in late 2023.
Beem 5-in-1 Bread Maker
This Beem ceramic bread maker is another one without a non-stick coating. It markets itself as being PTFE and PFOA free with the pans and the dough hook being made of a unique bio-ceramic non-stick coating.
With your Beem ceramic bread maker you also get a round cake baking pan, stirring rod, ingredient dispenser and a measuring cup and spoon.
What is unique about this bread maker, apart from having a bio-ceramic coating, it is not just a bread maker. You can make rice, cake, pasta and jam in this ceramic bread maker. Talk about a multifunctional machine!
The Beem ceramic bread maker isn’t the most stylish bread maker you’ll ever see and there are definitely better ones out there. But if your biggest concern is Telfon, then the Beem bread machine with ceramic pan is the one for you.
The big downfall with the Beem bread maker is that it is only available in Europe. Bummer. You can however still order it from amazon.co.uk. It will just take a while for it to come and you’ll have to pay import fees. If you do plan on buying it from the UK, you will also have to get an adapter as the machine will come with a UK plug.
Bread Machines With Adjustable Settings
Considering there is a huge market of people that would rather purchase a bread machine without non-stick coating, it is disappointing to see that there is only a small selection of options out there.
If you are really struggling to find a bread maker with stainless steel pan or a ceramic one, there are bread machines out there that give you the option to customize the settings so you can adjust the temperature yourself.
All the bread makers that I am about to mention have Teflon non-stick coating. However, with the option to adjust the temperature yourself, you’ll be able to set the baking temperature at a setting that you feel comfortable with and – as I mentioned earlier – these bread makers don’t bake bread anywhere near the temperature where Teflon can become harmful.
The Breville BBM800XL is not only one of the best bread makers out there, but it also allows you to customize the settings any way you like.
The bread pan is made with Teflon non-stick coating, but since you will be able to adjust the temperature manually, there is really absolutely no need to worry about anything harmful entering your bread while it’s cooking.
The custom program setting lets you adjust the baking temperature between 140F and 300F.
The Breville BBM800XL comes with 13 different settings, varying from your basic loaf setting to a jam setting.
It also gives you the option of 4 different loaf sizes, ranging from 1 pound loaves to 2 pounds, as well as giving you the option to choose between 3 different crust colors.
It has a ‘keep warm’ function of up to 60 minutes and a delayed timer of up to 13 hours. It also has an automatic dispenser so you can add all your favorite extra ingredients like fruit and nuts with ease.
Inside your machine, you’ll find the non-stick bread pan and a collapsible paddle that will collapse before the bake cycle begins to avoid that annoying kneading blade hole at the bottom. Although it is super easy to remove the paddle from the bread machine yourself.
Zojirushi Virtuoso Breadmaker
This is another favorite bread maker in the market with custom settings. Just like this Breville, the Zojirushi also has a Teflon bread pan. But, since you are able to manually adjust the temperature, you will have freshly baked bread cooked at a healthy temperature.
There are other features in the Zojirushi that make it stand out and are certainly worth the purchase. It features not 1 but 2 kneading blades that mixes all the ingredients to perfection, leaving nothing untouched.
Just like the Sana, it is a horizontal bread machine. So, it comes with a long loaf pan that can yield a loaf of up to 2 pounds. I also love that it has a top heating element that makes sure that your loaf of bread is nice, even color all around.
Just like the Breville, the Zojirushi has a keep-warm function of up to 60 minutes and a delayed timer of up to 13 hours.
Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme
This Zojirushi is very similar to the Zojirushi Virtuoso so I won’t dwell too much on the details.
The Zojirushi Supreme isn’t PTFE or PFOA free, but just like the Breville and the Zojirushi virtuoso, it also has customizable settings. You can adjust the temperature manually between 254F and 290F, which is well within the safe range.
In terms of features, it is the same as the Zojirushi Virtuoso apart from that the Supreme doesn’t have a gluten-free setting.
The Bottom Line…
I’m sure many of us have contemplated getting rid of Teflon products after we learned about the controversy surrounding PTFE. I admit, I also had a phase of culling Telfon cookware from my cupboard a few years ago.
So is it really worth the effort to replace all our cookware? I’m not so sure.
Now that products with Teflon coating are now PTOA free, there isn’t the same concern as there was in the 90s and early 2000s. Providing you are not overheating your cookware, your everyday cooking is unlikely to emit the harmful chemicals associated with Teflon.
Of course, if you are really concerned about PTFE, there are ways around it. You can replace all your cookware with ceramic, stone, or stainless steel products. This will most likely cost you a fair bit as these types of products tend to be more expensive than your standard Teflon-coated cookware.
If you do decide to keep your Teflon-coated cookware, there are various things you can do to avoid any harmful chemicals. Make sure you cook and bake at low to medium temperatures and ensure you don’t leave your frying pan burning on the hob.
I also strongly suggest replacing your metal cooking utensils with bamboo ones. Not only does this avoid scraping off the non-stick coating on all your cookware, it is also much more sustainable using natural products.
When it comes to bread makers, as you now know, it’s pretty difficult to get your hands on a bread machine without a PTFE non-stick coating. Sure, there are a handful of ceramic-coated machines, although these are still chemically coated too, so its not exactly the chemical-free solution you are probably looking for.
In my opinion, your only option is to invest in a bread machine with adjustable settings so you can manually set the temperature and have the piece of mind that your bread is being baked well within the safe temperature settings.
If you are really fussy about the whole Teflon thing, you can take it one step further and use your bread machine to knead the dough and bake it in your oven. This does seem like a lot of effort though and one that doesn’t really justify buying a bread machine if you aren’t going to use it to its full potential.