If you don't like bread, or if you are on a diet which makes you stay away from bread, don't read this post further. But, if you like baking and enjoy home made bread, can't find time to bake it (come to think of it, any yeast bread involves work, work and more work) and, if you don't own a bread machine, this post is for you.
I am not doing any review or giving any advertisement for any company here. I am writing this post because many people both whom I don't know personally and those whom I do, ask me questions about my bread recipes. Most of the times question is the same - 'Can I make it without a bread machine?'. Answer to this question is definitely a 'Yes'. There was bread even before the concept of bread machine was conceived. But, the question to ask is do you have time and muscle power to do it by hand?
'Muscle Power'? Are you kidding? You might ask. No, I am definitely not. Kneading the dough is easy if you have strong hands and arms. I get tired if I do by hand. This is probably one of the main reasons why I love my bread machine. You definitely need strong arms to knead the dough well to get a nice loaf. Kneading is directly proportional to formation of gluten and more the gluten, merrier (spongier) the bread is.
Coming to the point of this post, I just want to let those who are interested know that bread machine is nothing but a dough mixing and baking compartment. If you own a stand mixer like kitchen aid, don't bother investing in the bread machine since the dough hook can take care of the kneading. You can actually bake the bread in the bread machine for lot less money compared to turning on your conventional or convection oven. Did you know that? That being said, none I repeat none of the bread machines will give you a loaf that is nice in shape. It is fat and short and sometimes not even rectangular. If a loaf of one pound is suppose to give 12 slices, the bread machine will give you only 8 since they are so huge. You make a sandwich with this, you are eating 1 1/2 servings. This is the reason why I bake bread in the oven and use bread machine to just knead the dough.
If you are still reading this post, I let in you another secret of mine. I have a stand mixer too. I have dough hook for that, but I never use it for making bread dough. You want to know why? Simple, bread machine pan is very easy to clean compared to cleaning the huge bowl, hooks. It saves time there too. And I can rise my dough in the bread machine without covering it with a clean towel or coating with oil or all those extra steps.
Someone once asked me what kind of bread machine I own. I have a 'Breadman-Pro' by Breadman. I have given some of the links here which are good bread machines. Take a look at them if you are interested.
If I want to change my bread machine and buy another one, I probably will think about - Zojirushi model. This one has dual paddle to knead the dough more effectively.
Panasonic has couple of models like this.
Sunbeam has one too.
Cuisinart has this one.
I might consider West Bend too since this model has dual paddle like Zojirushi but is much cheaper.
And if I bought this Oster bread machine, I probably will never bake bread in the bread machine. I do bake in the bread machine sometimes since the shape of pan in breadman is not that bad.
This is just to give an idea. I am sure you know how to look for the best machine to suit your requirements.
And whether you buy a bread machine or not, you can still try any or all these bread recipes..
Shall I say Happy Shopping?