It is hard to imagine anything more comforting or homey than walking into a home that smells of freshly baked bread, though eating the bread certainly comes close. Most of us, however, just don’t have the time to make handmade artisan breads. Between work, kids, and the multitude of other obligations we face, where is the time to knead dough, wait for it to rise, knead it again, wait some more, then bake it? We just don’t have it.
Thankfully, there are bread machines which make homemade bread, something that is within reach of even the busiest individual. With a high-quality bread machine, all you have to do is properly measure the ingredients and pick the right setting; the machine does the rest. They come in a range of sizes and offer different levels of functionality so that they can make a range of different types of bread and/or they can be set in advance and forgotten about.
Whatever you choose, homemade bread is within your reach, but you are likely to have a few questions about the basic dos and don’ts. We will start with a brief overview of the considerations you will need to address when choosing a bread machine. Then, we will touch on some of the commonly asked questions from beginning bread machine users.
Things to consider when buying a bread machine
First and foremost, you have to set a budget. There are some very high-end bread machines that have a ton of different options and will run as much as a few hundred dollars. However, there are perfectly good beginner’s machines that will run less than $100. It really depends how much you have or are willing to spend on a machine. Once you have your budget set, you can decide what the most important features are and use this information to narrow down your options and help you choose the right machine for you.
Once you know the price range you are working within, you will want to decide the most important features as we mentioned above. Are convenience features important to you? If so, you will want to look for a programmable option that allows you to do a lot of “set it and forget it” baking. These convenience features allow you to have freshly baked bread whenever you want it, without you having to be there to start or monitor it. You may also be making more complicated breads that have additions like nuts or fruit, so a timer alerting you as to when to add the mix-ins is a commonly desired feature.
If you want the ability to make a wide range of bread types, you will want to look for a more comprehensive machine. Some machines come with multiple paddles or give you the option of changing the paddle depending on the recipe. This is a great feature if you also want to be able to use your machine to make things beyond the typical loaf bread like bagels or pasta dough. You can also find machines that have settings for specific breads such as high protein or gluten free, allowing you to make even bread suited for specialty diets.
Using all-purpose flour in a bread machine and other common questions
Most people have questions when they get a bread machine and are getting ready to use it for the first time. While it is easy to make bread in a bread machine, there is a learning curve to perfecting the art, just like with anything else.
One of the most common questions about bread machines revolves around the type of flour you can and should use in a bread machine. There are specialty flour mixes that are designed for bread machines, but these can be more expensive than they need to be and are not really necessary. You can use regular, all-purpose flour in a bread machine, but this is with caveats. You will need to choose an all-purpose flour that is high in gluten, as they work best in machines. King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour is a great choice as it has a high gluten content and costs quite a bit less than specially designed flours.
You will want to watch and take note of the different stages of bread making and this means that unless you are on the rising cycle, you can look at the bread to get an idea of how it is supposed to look at various phases of the process.
If you are putting ingredients in the machine to be used at a later time, you want to choose recipes that don’t have any refrigerated ingredients. These can go off at room temperature in the time between when the ingredients were added and when the machine is set to start baking the bread. There are numerous bread recipes that do not require any perishable ingredients that are perfect for setting up ahead of time.
Homemade bread is not something that only those with the luxury of time should get to experience. No matter how busy you are, fresh bread can easily be within your reach. With a quality bread machine, you can have freshly baked bread as often as you want, even if you are short on time. Many machines will allow you to add ingredients ahead of time and set a timer so as to start the bread making process at a later time, allowing you to bake bread even when you aren’t at home.
Understanding the basics of how to use and troubleshoot issues with your bread machine will help you get more comfortable with making bread. Before you know it, you will be impressing your friends and family with tons of wholesome, delicious, fresh homemade bread.
Read Comprehensive Review for Sunbeam 5891 Bread Maker .