As you know, bread making by hand is not a simple process. There are plenty of stirring, mixing, and kneading required. Stirring and kneading can be relatively painless for bread dough with lots of eggs and butter to soften it up. But for tougher doughs, the manual labor involved could turn into a real chore.
That's where a bread machine will really ease things up. A well built bread machine will automatically handle all the required dirty work, leaving you the creative work. Best of all, it does not take much other than the ability to push a few buttons to work a bread machine the way you want.
When considering a bread machine, it's a good idea to get familiar with its features and capabilities. Have an idea of how much you are looking to spend, these machines can run anywhere from below $60 to over $180, according to what brand, and what features you are looking for. Some have timers and delay buttons, while some don't, there is also the option of a crust setting which enables you to have light, medium, or dark crust on your bread loaf. You also need to know what type of breads you will be baking in your machine.
If you're a big fan of making wheat bread, make sure that the bread machine your purchase has a cycle for it. Some bread machines have an extra special cycle for baking cakes and jams. Before deciding to purchase a bread machine, make sure that it has all the features you want and have enough cycles for all your baking needs. It' also a good idea to check for a cool down cycle, to prevent your bread loaf from becoming soggy, if you can't be there to remove it after the baking process is over. Most machines have a keep warm cycle to prevent sogginess, but some have a tendency to dry up the bread.
If a bread machine has multiple compartments, it could be a good idea, but it could also mean more maintenance and potential for mechanical problems. You can purchase bread machines that will produce different sizes and shapes of loaves, square, round and the traditional rectangle. Something else to look for in a bread machine is how easy it is to remove the bread ban for cleanup. Like your toaster, crumbs can gather and build up, so they need to be cleaned often. I would suggest after every use, so as not to let the crumbs accumulate. More so than other appliances in your kitchen, you should consider the weight and size of the bread machine.
It's best to buy the bread machine suitable for your purpose and the size of your kitchen. The last thing you want is to have a huge machine taking up a good quarter of the countertop. Make sure your machine comes with a manual giving you instructions for operating your bread machine, because there are some models on the market that don't. You can choose to go for the cheaper model or the more expensive, the choice is up to you, but just remember, you get what you pay for.
For more information related to bread machines, check out these reviews and guides on buying bread machines Find more articles and resources on baking bread