A bread maker is made up of a number of parts that all work together to automatically turn raw ingredients into baked bread. There are three sets of parts inside a bread machine, no matter what the make or model. The first are external parts such as the lid and control panel. Next are internal parts such as the bread basket. Finally, there are the unseen mechanical parts, such as the motor.
Bread maker parts would all be fairly useless if it were not for one of the most important external parts, the control panel. This is a small area on the bread machine that has buttons to use in selecting the type of bread to make and in turning the machine on and off. The control panel is what a baker uses to interface with the bread maker.
The lid of the machine, usually hinged, is vital to making bread because it holds in heat and moisture and prevents a mess from being made. It also might have a window so the progress of the baking can be seen. The lid also protects the internal parts of the bread maker.
The internal bread maker parts begin with the removable bread basket. This is usually a metal, bucket-like piece with a hinged handle so it can be lifted out of the machine. Aside from holding the raw ingredients and the finished bread, the removable bucket has two functions. It allows the bread to be easily taken out of the machine, and it conducts heat so a crust can form on the bread. It also makes the bread maker much easier to clean, because most buckets can be put in a dishwasher.
In the center of the bread basket is a solid metal pole. This is called the drive shaft. The purpose of the drive shaft is to turn the kneading paddle. The pole spins in place, powered by the motor of the bread maker.
The kneading paddle is one of the smaller bread maker parts. It is a wing-like plastic or metal paddle attached to a hollow cylinder. The cylinder is designed to fit over the drive shaft. The kneading paddle mixes the raw ingredients into dough and then kneads the dough until it is ready to cook inside the bread basket.
Underneath the bread basket is one of the more important of the bread maker parts. It is called the baking chamber. This is usually a non-removable metal chamber in which the bread basket sits. Like the bread basket itself, the baking chamber is designed to conduct heat from the heating element in the machine so the bread cooks evenly.
The unseen internal bread maker parts start with the heating element. This is a conductive coil that accepts electricity and converts it into heat, not unlike an electric burner on a range. This is directly under the baking chamber and also can be woven around the walls of the chamber for more even baking. Without the heating element, the bread maker will not bake.
The last of the main bread maker parts is the motor. Hidden deep in the machine, the motor is bound to the drive shaft either through a series of cogs or with a belt. As the motor spins, the drive shaft does, too, as does the kneading paddle. The motor needs to be powerful to knead thick dough and is one of the key components of a bread maker.