The fast rise of the new breadbox
Baking bread is a skill that has been passed down from generation to generation, and could be one of the oldest traditions in the world. It took a brief hiatus when prepackaged sliced bread hit the market, but the taste for homemade eventually returned with a modern twist with the invention of the bread machine. They created a whole new method of bringing back that old world tradition, without interrupting our fast-paced lifestyles.
It's easy to make bread in a bread maker - all you have to do is dump ingredients directly into the machine, and it takes care of the kneading and baking for you.
Bread machines are often equipped with timers, so they waking up to the soft aroma of freshly baking bread? You can have your bread baked and ready at breakfast time or have a fresh, aromatic loaf waiting when you return home from work for dinner.
Different types of machines will allow you to make a variety of breads, in specific loaf sizes and quantities. Some are even formatted to make different types of dough, such as pizza crust or pitas. Some machines are multifunctional and can bake banana bread or cakes, and some even make jam! Still others have built-in programs to let you save your favorite settings for easy referral when you're next ready to bake.
For recipes that require adding ingredients at different times, some models have an alarm that will beep to let you know when it's time to add something - you can start the process and go off to do other things while the bread is being prepared, without the worry that you'll forget to come back. Most models also come with a convenient glass window so you can check in periodically to see how the dough is being prepared or how the bread is rising.
Clean-up is also a breeze with bread machines, as most have removable pans and kneading mixers that snap out and go straight to the dishwasher.
Another convenient tool to look for in a bread maker is a backup feature that ensures your bread will be warm and ready to eat even if you have an electrical shortage.
Some bread makers are even equipped with a warming cycle that keeps the loaf warm if you are not ready to eat it right away, and may also have a control to determine the brownness of the crust as well as its thickness.
Like most small appliances, the best way to choose a bread maker is to determine what functions you are looking for. If you want one that makes only basic loaves of bread, you can likely pick one up at any department store with a home section or a home renovation centre for around $45. However, if you decide you want a bread maker that also makes jams and cakes, you can expect to pay a little more.