A loaf of bread is a deceptively simple and ubiquitous part of our lives. But if we think about it, it’s quite an amazing feat that our prehistoric forefathers understood the complex use of biology, chemistry and heat transfer to bake delicious loaves of bread.
However, nowadays baking is as simple as having the right kitchen appliances. And therefore, we thought it would be appropriate to talk a bit about what to look for in a bread maker and perhaps even discuss some of the better bread makers based on users’ bread maker ratings.
Seeking the Perfect Bread Maker
There is no doubt that the dedicated few amongst us would never use a bread machine and would always opt for conventional baking methods. But most of us, despite our internal conflicts, have to contend with time limitations and other matters that require our attention.
Although, we can get seemingly fresh bread from any supermarket, there is absolutely no substitute for the taste and aroma of freshly baked bread in the morning. So if we’re adamant on having freshly baked bread every day, we need to find ourselves the perfect bread maker for our kitchen.
As part of a capitalist society, one thing that we have in abundance is choice, especially when it comes to consumer goods. So, how to pick out the perfect bread maker? Well, the perfect bread maker for my family wouldn’t necessarily be the perfect bread maker for your family, right?
After all, we all have different requirements and preferences. So the first thing to contend with is the size of our family and the amount of bread a bread maker can make at a time.
Size or Quantity of the Bread
Most standard bread makers can bake between 1lb to 2.5lbs of bread. A small family of two would do well with 1lb of bread. A medium sized family of, let’s say, four would be more than content with a bread maker that has a capacity of 2lbs or perhaps 2.5lbs.
In the case of large families of over five, a bread maker with a capacity of 3lbs would be needed, which is also the largest options that is available. Most companies do not make 3lbs bread makers but they aren’t impossible to find. Before we move on, an important point, most bread makers offer variability in terms of quantity or sizes within their maximum capacity, so there is some wiggle room.
Shape or Style of the Bread
The shape or the style of the bread may not have much to do with utility or the final edible product, but, I am certain everyone would agree with this, aesthetics matter and they matter as much as the taste or the texture of our food. So, do you prefer the traditional rectangular loaf of bread or would you rather have a more novel look to your bread? We can find a number of different types of bread shapes and styles. So choose the one that appeals most to you.
Now this may seem a bit obvious to most readers, but it’s still worth mentioning. A removable bread pan is an absolute must. Otherwise, it becomes near impossible to properly clean it. Although, most bread makers come with a removable pan, some still lack this rather obvious feature.
Moreover, while looking for a bread maker it’s important to remember that aluminum bread pans make thin and lighter crust compared to their conventional counterparts, which are known for thicker and darker crust. Lastly, make sure the bread pan has a non-stick coating; otherwise, the dough will end up sticking to the pan and will impede its ability to knead properly.
Bread Maker Ratings
Needless to say, we all have different preferences and requirements that ultimately shape our perspective and opinions. However, despite varying opinions it’s still important to consult bread maker ratings and user experiences on different models and brands of bread makers. It’s always advisable to have some idea rather than blindly gambling on the first bread maker we come across.
The Basic Dos and Don’ts of a Bread Maker
Some of these dos and don’ts of using a bread maker might seem a bit too obvious but bear with us because not all of them would be as obvious.
Following Basic Instructions
In almost all cases, we would add liquids prior to adding any of the dry ingredients. However, it’s still important to remember that each machine operates slightly differently and following the exact instructions given in the instruction manual will ensure the maximum utility can be extracted from our bread maker and the bread turns out almost perfect if not completely perfect.
Oh and a quick tip, irrespective of the brand or model you’re using, always make sure the yeast is separate from the liquid content before the machine starts to mix everything together. This is vital for baking the perfectly baked bread.
All Ingredients Must be at Room Temperature
Making sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature is a must. In fact, some of the more sophisticated bread makers have pre-installed resting period to allow all of the ingredients to get to room temperature. Since some of the machines don’t have this feature, make sure your ingredients are properly prepped.
Tinkering for Perfection
A common problem that most people experience is that the bread ends up sticking to the kneading blade and when the bread is taken out, a chunk of it might break off from the bottom of the bread. This happens primarily because the bread is baked in the same area where it was kneaded. It’s a small price we have to pay for convenience of a small light-weight bread maker.
However, with a bit of tinkering we can prevent the bread from sticking to the bottom. If your bread maker has a removable kneading blade simply remove it when the kneading process is over. Some bread makers when have an alert feature for this specific purpose, another feature to look for in a bread maker.
Let the Bread Inhale and Cool Down
Most bread makers have an option to keep the bread warm after it’s ready. However, this can affect the texture of the bread and not in the good way. Therefore, leaving the bread in the machine is not recommended if you’re looking for perfection.
Take the bread out and let it sit on a cooling rack. Let it breathe and freshen up for you. This allows the residue water to escape, ensuring the bread is perfectly moist and it also prevents it from getting spongy.
Well, there you have it. A simple and easy way to find the perfect bread maker for your specific needs without actually going through a number of bread maker ratings websites.