Pros: No mess healthy bread is the same every time.
Cons: Some recipes take 4 hours to bake. Bread dries out faster than store bread.
by Heather Snyder
So we are now all starting to think more health-minded, right? So what does healthy and having a bread machine mean? Well, lots of the breads that you buy in the supermarket are full of preservatives/additives that our bodies don't need. This gives them a longer shelf life. I don't claim to be an authority on nutrition, but I do know that bread I buy in the supermarket seems to last forever (and I mean forever) in comparison to the bread I make from scratch.
Anyway, why invest in a bread machine? First of all, bread made from scratch is more natural and does not have all those additives. It also tastes better, particularly when it first comes out of baking and is warm. I love to cut off the end and spread real butter on it! Believe me, it melts in your mouth like a cloud.
Secondly, homemade bread requires very few ingredients. So, if you're one of those (like myself) who gets easily distracted in the kitchen, this is a bonus. There is little or no mess in the process. The Breadman comes with a cookbook that instructs you on the ingredients you will need and the order in which to add them into the machine. Here's an example of ingredients, in order of placement, for French Bread Dough:
#1: 1 1/4 cups of water
#2: 1 TBSP sugar
#3: 1 tsp salt
#4: 3 1/2 cups bread flour
#5: 1 TBSP active dry yeast
Thirdly, no stirring or anything is required in this process. You simply place the ingredients into the bread machine in the order and amount instructed. What next? Place the bread basket (non-stick removable container that holds ingredients) into the Breadman, select the program number instructed, and voila! You are set until the Breadman alerts you that its job process is complete and the bread or dough is ready to be removed.
Depending upon the recipe (the above recipe is a *dough only* recipe) you may or may not be doing your baking in the conventional oven. The dough section of the Breadman cookbook provides recipes for baking your bread in the conventional oven. Typically, if you do a *dough only* conventional oven recipe, expect about half the time it takes to bake a loaf in the Breadman. Also, *dough only* recipes include options for rolls, coffee cake, sticky buns, pitas, pretzels, pizza, pie and bagels.
For those times you prefer your bread baking in the Breadman, it can take up to 4 hours (for some bread recipes) to bake. You have to keep in mind the machine is doing all the work that a human would usually do. That means it is doing everything in a timely manner-- a manner that is customary for creating homemade bread. The Breadman is performing tasks that include kneading the dough and giving it time to rise before the baking process. The Breadman will take longer because it is a machine, after all.
Finally, in addition to bread, you can make rolls, various desserts and pizza! I've made homemade pizza crust numerous times and it's always a hit with company. And, homemade pizza is far less greasy and better for you!
I love my Breadman bread machine. It was one of the best purchases my husband and I ever made two years ago at a reasonable price of $69.99. My only qualm would be, if you leave your bread machine while it's baking bread and return after the baking process has completed, you may find your bread a little sweaty after it has cooled down in the machine. The Breadman keeps it warm for only a short time after the baking process is complete. For best results, remove your bread almost immediately and let cool on a wire rack. Cheers!