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
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
- A rapid bake cycle cuts baking time dramatically
and is a great help when you need the finished
- 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.