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We once said, “Everyone has a bread machine. It’s somewhere in the garage.” Bread machines seem to be a standard wedding gift.
Maybe it’s time to go find that bread machine and dust it off. We’ll give you seven reasons why you should love your bread machine.
- Homemade bread is better.
- You’ll make more bread and save time. Sure you can make bread from scratch. Most people won’t in the summertime and most people can’t find the time to make bread except occasionally. With a bread machine, if you invest ten minutes a day, you can have fresh homemade bread every day.
- You can time your bread so that it’s baked just before meal time. Warm, fresh bread is better.
- The selection is much better. If you use recipes, you can have whatever you want. If you want the convenience of mixes, well, you can choose from over 100 different kinds.
- You can work it into your food storage plan. Then it’s always on hand and you have the confidence of having bread in your storage plan.
- It’s inexpensive. Usually, you can find mixes for under $3.00. Right now, you can get started with mixes for $1.00.
- You can use your bread machine to make dinner rolls and sweet rolls. Set your machine to the dough cycle, form the rolls or add sugar and cinnamon, and bake them in the oven.
Questions and Answers Regarding Bread Machines
1. How reliable is a bread machine?
Good mixes are very reliable. You have to follow the instructions and you have to be precise. You will need a kitchen thermometer so you can get the water temperature right. You will need a reliable measuring cup so you get the right amount of water.
It gets a little trickier if you are using recipes. You need to measure the ingredients precisely, not just the water.
Yeast is a living organism. Salt kills yeast and many spices slow the growth of yeast. If you are using a recipe, again, measure carefully. Be aware that many measuring spoons are ridiculously inaccurate—50% or more.
2. How long does it take to make a loaf?
Figure ten minutes tops to assemble your ingredients and get the machine going. Most cycle times are three hours. Most machines have a delayed start mechanism.
3. Anything else I should know?
If you ever have trouble, it’s always the water: either it’s not the right amount of water, it’s the wrong temperature, or it has too much chlorine. Usually, it’s temperature. Don’t try to make bread without a good thermometer.
Get the bread out of the machine as soon as it’s done. In a hot machine, it’ll continue to cook and dry out and the crust will get dry and hard.
Speaking of crust, chose the “light” setting until you decide otherwise. At the other settings, they tend to get too brown.
About Food Storage
If you are using bread mixes in your food storage, you will need to rotate your stock. We package our mixes in Mylar. That’s like a tin can.
We tell people to use their mixes in two years. Shelf life is a function of the storage environment (heat is a killer) and the viability of the weakest component. Our yeast supplier tells us to tell people that the yeast will last two years but that “it will last a lot longer than that.” I’ve used bread mixes from our storage that were over four years old and I could not tell that they had deteriorated.
If the mixes have nuts or fruit included, the shelf life will be shorter—only as long as the inclusions are good.
For a long time, we thought that mice would not chew through a Mylar bag. They will. Store your mixes where the mice won’t get to them.
Get yourself a bread machine if you can’t find that one in the garage. It doesn’t need to be expensive—less than $100.
Choose your mixes or buy yourself a bread machine cookbook.
About the Author
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and five beautiful granddaughters.