Bread maker recommendations for newbies
Happy Holidays to all! I hope everyone is doing well. We are a couple that is spending more time in our kitchen and looking to expand our cookware and cooking skills.
One of the items we want to gift ourselves for the holidays is a bread machine. We are novices at using a bread machine, so are looking for something good, yet not overcomplicated.
We see ourselves using it a couple of times a week if not less, and baking some breads to use in sandwiches or supplement our meals.
We can order it online or buy it in store.
Any suggestions please?
I really like my Zojirushi. I wanted one of the larger units that makes a 2-lb loaf but with the kids home from college infrequently I bought the mini. It makes excellent bread, and the recipe book is very comprehensive. I like making bread manually, too, but this really saves time and trouble.
We used to set the timer so to have fresh baked bread upon arising on Saturday morning.
After a while we junked it!
It tasted so good we made more on Sunday and ate that too. After a few weeks, our weight went up and up and ....!
You just can not eat fresh bread with out soaking it in fresh european butter.
Someone asks for a bread machine recommendation and as usual all the bread machine haters come out of the woodwork suggesting anything but a bread machine.
I've owned about 5 bread machines over the past 20 years. None of them broke, I just wanted to try a different model after a few years. I still bake in the bread machine and enjoy it very much, but I also use a Kitchenaid and bake bread in the oven. Both methods can make great bread, it's up to you which one you prefer when you become familiar with the different methods.
Breadman, Cusinart, Oster, Panasonic and Sunbeam all make good bread machines. These are all good models, I have owned several of these models, Breadman TR520, Oster 5838, Sunbeam 5891, Cuisinart CBK-100, Cuisinart CBK-200, and maybe for a second machine, later - Zojirushi BB-PAC20. Zojirushi makes an excellent bread machine, I have the BB-PAC20, but I think it is too much and too expensive for a beginner.
Look for a machine with these features: Manual Dough Cycle, Manual Bake Cycle. This will also allow you to make custom loaves if you choose.
After I baked in my bread machine for a while, I branched out to using the bread machine to knead the dough. Then I shaped that dough to make dinner rolls, french bread, cinnamon swirl loaves, etc to bake in the oven.
I hope you enjoy your new bread machine and get years of great bread from it.
If you have a stand mixer, or even a food processor, I'd give baking without a machine a try first.
A food processor can mix and knead decent sandwich bread dough in 30 seconds. Most competent cooks will be able to learn to handle dough without too much trouble and before you know it you'll be good at baking bread rather than good at using a bread machine.
I have this one: http://forumappliances.com/i-2449-Zoj...
I use it regularly to make bread but also doughs for pizza, and specialty loaves like challah and rolls/buns. From my research, it had the greatest estimated longevity of all other brands. It's the only one I've had and would never be without it!
If you're looking at a smaller volume model, just be aware that the mixing paddle might leave a big hole in the bottom of the bread and the loaf shape is quite often vertical.
Hope this helps!
re: Mattapoisett in LA
If you are planning on baking in the oven in any case, I'd jump on the bandwagon with ChemicalK and suggest you try the no knead idea. No big object on your counter, and great results. I had a bread machine years ago, and didn't like how it baked, and just to have it for kneading seems like overkill.
The No-Knead method makes a specific type of rustic bread which is not my favorite. it also requires 14-24 hours of prep time which can be a hassle. I have a stand mixer but am not satisfied with the doughs which I come up with. I was hoping to have a way to throw the ingredients into the hopper and in say 2 hours come up with a workable dough for sandwich bread, rolls or pizza.
re: Mattapoisett in LA
I have a single friend with a 1lb machine and she pines for more space. We're only a family of 2 and go through a large loaf a week (any leftovers go into a bag in the freezer that get toasted and crushed for crumbs for other recipes). Doughs (like pizza) take 30 minutes with quick rise yeast. The machine goes through 2 proofings automatically and does the mid-proof punch down for you.
As for some of the other suggested approaches, I have used my stand mixer, processor and dutch oven with the no knead method but personally, I like the no-hassle approach the machine provides. We're so busy around here, it helps to have the machine do the thinking, mixing and timing with the guarantee that we will have a bread made with lots of good tasty ingredients.
< to expand our cookware and cooking skills. >
Probably not exactly what you have asked for, but have you considered getting a Dutch Oven for no knead bread? It will certainly expand your baking skill. It is pretty simple, more versatile and yield tasty bread.
Even I can make it, so it cannot be that bad, right?
Here is a video if you are interested:
I apologize in advance if you have already decided against the no-knead bread approach.
If you do decide to try the DO method, I suggest the Lodge double dutch oven. No need to worry about the enamel coating, you can bang it about as much as you like, it is dirt cheap, and if you do want to use it as a "cloche" for other types of bread, you can flip the whole thing upside down and get the bread in the lid instead of trying to lower a delicate proofed ball into a very deep, very hot, and very narrow pot.
I can't give any input on bread machines though I'm afraid, I don't like them at all.