People give up gluten for a variety of reasons. The most compelling is celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that is exacerbated by gluten. Others avoid it due to gluten sensitivities or because of restrictive diets that don't allow wheat. Still, regardless of the reason, there's no good substitute for bread to toast, hold sandwich ingredients, or as a receptacle for butters and jams. The problem is that store bought gluten-free bread often tastes terrible and has a similarly bad texture.
You can solve that problem with the Cuisinart CBK-100 (Est. $100). Hundreds of happy reviewers say it turns out perfect gluten-free bread every time, with just a push of a button. It's not strictly a gluten-free bread machine; it's a bread maker with a gluten-free setting, but it gets better reviews for its gluten-free baking performance than any other bread machine we found. It also makes a wide variety of gluten-free breads, with users saying they put together their own ingredients or use mixes in this machine.
We found reviews for the Cuisinart CBK-100 that were almost delirious with joy; descriptions like "miracle," saved my life," "brought bread back into my meals," were not uncommon. Because gluten-free bread requires one less mixing step, the bread is done more quickly. Reviewers say it also works better if you bring your ingredients to room temperature first. There are some other quirks that aren't as positive: You can't use any of the custom settings, like crust-color controls and loaf size options, in the gluten-free mode. Also, if you truly have celiac disease, you should not allow this machine to be used for regular bread due to the risk of cross-contamination. One last caveat: this machine is huge, 22 pounds empty, so plan to store it on your counter. It's super durable, as is common with Cuisinart appliances and comes with a long, three-year warranty.
Another bread machine that gets great reviews for its performance in its gluten-free cycle is the Oster CKSTBR9050 (Est. $110). Owners say it makes a good loaf of gluten-free bread in about 2 hours, and that the results are delicious. It's super easy to use, they say, and the learning curve is basically non-existent. This Oster has a smaller footprint than the Cuisinart but makes up to a 2 pound loaf of bread, so it's suitable for larger families and a good choice if you have less counter space. The only consistent complaint we saw about this bread maker was that the instruction manual is not only worthless for its odd recipes, but looks like it's a smaller copy of an original manual. Those who gave up on the manual and went online for guidance ended up completely satisfied, though.
It's a lot more expensive, but the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 (Est. $225) also gets top reviews for its gluten-free capabilities. It's more versatile than the less-expensive models, making pastries and cakes as well, and reviewers say results are excellent. Owners say the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 turns out dense, sandwich quality breads that are far superior to store-bought gluten-free breads. Many owners use custom recipes, others use mixes; they say both turn out equally well.
The Zojirushi is so easy to use that we read almost no complaints of bread failures, and even novice bakers who bought it because of the necessity to start a gluten-free diet say they were baking bread within an hour or so. This bread maker is also easy to clean and many people say it cleans up so well that they can go back and forth between regular bread and gluten-free. The big downside is the cost, this is a pricey machine. If you're looking for something that will be dedicated to gluten-free baking, we recommend the Cuisinart CBK-100; it's the best combination of value and performance in this category.