Bread Machines: Yay or Nay?
I'm not much of a baking enthusiast. There are several reasons for this. First, most baking is formulaic; if you want to succeed, don't screw around. Do EXACTLY what the recipe tells you, and you will (possibly) produce good bread, cake, or whatever. Experiment with the ingredients, however, and your baked item is almost certainly doomed before it even goes in the oven. I use recipes for ideas, and then almost never follow them. I prefer to put my own twist on things when cooking. Baking does not allow me to do this.
Second, I don't own a stand mixer, and the amount of baking I do would not justify my laying out the hundreds of dollars to buy one. Which, of course, is kind of a Catch-22. If I already had a stand mixer, I'd probably do more baking. And, some people really enjoy spending hours making dough; mixing it by hand, letting it rise, punching it down, and so forth. I do not.
But a bread machine allows me to bake bread without a stand mixer, or all the labor and time involved in doing it by hand.
The other day I was in a local thrift store, and what should I see, but a bread machine. And, it was a bread machine with a price tag of six dollars. Further inspection revealed it to be a Breadman Ultimate, which is a pretty cool one, capable of producing a two pound loaf, with all the bells and whistles, and furthermore, it may have been actually used once. There was a little baked bread evident in the gap between the paddle and the shaft, but the protective plastic was still on the control panel, and aside from the tiny bit of residue inside, it was as clean and perfect as a brand-new display model in a store. Not only that, but inside the baking area was all the documentation that came with it, or at least all the documentation I need. (I had one before, but lost it along with a bunch of other stuff. I'll let you guess where all this stuff went. :P )
With a cry of "MINE!" that drew a few stares, I scooped it up, carried it to the checkout stand, and subsequently took it home.
I dawdled a bit after this regarding getting yeast, but today I finally made a loaf of simple white bread. It came out perfect, tasted wonderful, made the kitchen smell great, and all I had to do was dump some water, oil, salt, flour, and yeast into the cooking vessel and turn the machine on.
So, I guess you can count me as being firmly in the "yay" camp when it comes to bread machines. At least at this point in my life. However, as life, for me, is a journey of nearly constant learning, if you are firmly in the "nay" camp, I would certainly like to hear why.