Bread makers make it easier than ever to bake your own bread
When it comes to baking bread it's totally acceptable to "cheat" using a bread maker. This practical accessory makes it much easier when you want a consistently good result each time you bake.
Photo: iStock.com / irina88w
A baking machine is sometimes called a bread maker because the primary function is just transforming the ingredients into a ready-made bread. Exactly how it works depends on what model you use, and how many features it has.
Most baking machines are completely automatic and handle both kneading and rising. All you need to do is to add ingredients as needed. Don’t forget to choose a model whose maximum capacity corresponds to the amount of bread you want to bake.
Often you can choose smaller sizes than the maximum capacity, if you prefer to bake smaller loaves. Do you want the crust to be crispy and golden? Then we recommend a model that produce just that.
For a bit more variation on the baking, it's nice to have a bread maker with more than just one programmed setting to choose from. With models that have up to 40 different programs, you can choose different types of bread, such as ciabattas and baguettes, as well as buns and cakes. Check carefully before purchase so that the model you choose supports the breads you like the most.
Other practical details to keep track of are if there is a display, automatic kneading paddles, timer function and non-stick surfaces for easy cleaning. Perhaps you also want dispensers for nuts, fruits or similar, that add a little extra flavour and consistency to the bread?
Many models can bake a loaf in an hour or less, which is perfect when life’s busy. One tip is to choose a model with adjustable start time, so that you can set the machine to have the bread ready for breakfast.
Using a baking machine does not give the same feeling as mixing all the ingredients yourself, kneading the dough and leaving it to rise under a cloth. Nor will it produce exactly the same result as taking freshly baked bread out of the oven yourself. However, it’s fast, more gentle to the hands and wrists, and is a practical kitchen aid when you don’t want to do everything yourself.
Author: Daniel Haaf
Translator: Åsa Sonden Cook