Bread that is freshly made is great to eat. Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread. Many of us remember the smell of freshly made bread in the kitchen of our grandmother.
Along with the wonderful fragrance of freshly made bread come great childhood memories. If you want your spouse and kids to experience the same, you should try to make bread at home.
Making fresh bread used to be complex and tiring, however with the latest technology and automatic bread makers on the market, it is very easy to make your own bread at home. The speed with which bread makers are sold shows that thousands are making their own bread at home.
There are many advantages when it comes to baking your own bread at home
Fresh bread: There are very few things that can compare with the smell of freshly baked bread early. You will love eating it and since it is freshly made it is healthier.
High-quality ingredients: You can buy flour of a higher quality when you are making your own bread as compared to the mass-produced bread in a bakery.
Cost: You can bake bread at literally a fraction of the cost that you would pay for bread from the bakery. In a short while, the bread maker literally pays for itself.
The “WOW” Factor: Nothing beats the feeling of guest coming over to your house and seeing that you have baked fresh bread and the look of admiration in their eyes.
Bread is one of the most versatile and oldest foods. You get a variety of bread right from the basic sliced white loaf of bread to complex and exotic foccacia and ciabatta. We also use the dough for a variety of purposes like pizza bases and rolls to loaves.
When we eat bread, we don’t realize the effort that goes into making the bread. Though the bread maker has made baking bread easier, the time taken still is long because bread-making is a very time-consuming process. You still will have to wait for hours for your freshly baked bread. The advantage is that since the bread makers in the market are automatic, you don’t have to be involved. You can do other household chores while your bread is getting baked. It may take several hours to bake the bread because it takes time for the yeast to work on the flour.
Now let’s get to the interesting part. How the bread maker works.
What are the steps to make bread?
The main process of baking bread, in general, falls into five steps.
Mix the dough: You take the yeast, flour, fat, sugar, water, salt and then you mix all these ingredients together to make the required dough. The critical issue here is the right quantity of the various ingredients have to be just right.
Kneading: Once your ingredients are mixed, you have to bash the dough until it gets elastic and stretchy. If you don’t knead the dough properly, it won’t rise properly.
Rising: You then should leave the dough that has been well kneaded in a place that is warm for over an hour. This is the stage in which the yeast starts working. Air enters and with the yeast, it works on the dough. The dough expands to more than double its size.
You have to knock down the dough: If you want your loaf to be even, then you have to beat the dough once more and do the rising process again. This makes the loaf evener. You bash the dough so that the air comes out. Then you leave the dough to rise for the second time in a tin so that it rises evenly.
Baking: The last stage is putting the dough in a tin and then keeping the tin in the oven and baking it.
If you feel that the above five steps are too overwhelming, don’t worry as the bread maker automatically does all the five steps.
How does a bread maker work?
The best thing when you use an automatic bread maker is that all the above five processes or steps are done automatically for you.
A bread maker is an electric oven that is compact. It can generally hold a single bread tin which will be reasonably large. There are a variety of sizes that are available in the market.
The tin has an interesting design. It has an axle at the bottom. This axle is connected with an electric motor from below. There is a small metal paddle on the axle which is inside the tin and has a waterproof seal. This ensures that the bread mixture does not escape from the bread maker.
So, now to how it works. You need to put the paddle in the tin and remove it from the bread maker. Mix and add your ingredients into the tin. Put the tin in your oven. Then you need to select the program that you need when via the electronic control panel. You then need to close the lid and get to other chores. That’s it. Simple, isn’t it? Especially when you compare it to the effort that you need to put in to bake the same bread manually.
Many bread makers in the market have glass lids. This allows you to see the bread being created. When you hear the motor whirring and the paddle spinning, you know that the bread is in the second stage of kneading. After that, there will be a quiet time which is the stage three of the dough rising. You will again hear more kneading and then a quiet while which is the fourth stage. Finally, you will see steam coming from the vent on it. You will get the smell of freshly baked bread.
This is the way normal bread is made. You can also try exotic bread especially Italian or Chinese bread. There are many recipes online for exotic bread.
Many bread makers have built-in memories which help if you have power outages. Once the power comes back it remembers the stage it was in and continues to work from there. This is necessary as the duration of making bread in a bread maker is long.
There are bread makers which have a delayed start. You can set it up before you sleep and it will start at a pre-set time and you get a loaf of freshly baked bread in the morning.
Overall, there are a TON of bread makers to choose from. In this article, we outline some of those bread makers with the best value.