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Bread Machines

Bread machines are a great way to quickly and inexpensively enjoy the pleasure of homemade breads. It only takes a few minutes to load a few ingredients into the machine, which does all the work of mixing and kneading before automatically baking the bread. The cost of these machines varies with the size of the loaves they can produce and the number of extra features they have. The simplest machines will only make one size loaf and cannot always be used to make other types of dough. More elaborate models can be used to produce all kinds of breads and pastries.

The following are features you should consider when buying a bread machine:

  • A delay timer will allow you to load the machine several hours in advance. This is handy if you want freshly made bread for breakfast or dinner, but certain types of bread that are made from easily spoiled foods cannot be delayed.
  • Look for a dispenser that will allow you to add fruit, nuts or herbs after the initial mixing process; otherwise, you have to add them manually (added them at the start will result in them being pulverized).
  • Check to see what size loaves the machine will make. Better models will produce 1, 1 1/2 and 2 pound sizes.
  • Whole wheat bread batters are heavier and stiffer and so require a motor in the machine that is strong enough to produce them. Look for a separate cycle for whole wheat.
  • A see through window is nice for checking on the progress of the baking bread without having to open it up and risk spoiling the bread.
  • A rapid bake cycle cuts baking time dramatically and is a great help when you need the finished loaf faster.
  • Check to see if the baking pan is vertical or horizontal. You will need a horizontal pan if you want a traditional looking loaf.

Some machines will also make dough for bagels, pizzas, pastas and cakes.

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