A bread maker is a home appliance that has revolutionised the process of homemade bread and baked goods. Originally manufactured in 1986 in Japan, the breadmaker has since made its way into the homes of many home cooks across the world. By means of a bread maker, automatic baking has become possible and more convenient than ever before.
Such as in any baking, ingredients for bread making must be measured according to a recipe. The mixture is often combined in a removable unit before being inserted into the bread maker machine. The bread maker then automates the process of mixing, kneading and shaping the dough by means of a built-in paddle. The machine then automatically bakes the bread over a set period of time than can be adjusted depending on the cook’s needs. Once the baking process is complete and the bread has been given time to cool down, the bread is then freed from the pan and the paddle removed. The pan and paddle are washed and replaced in the machine for future use.
Because they are fresh and preservative-free, homemade breads become spoiled much faster than commercial breads. However, it is possible that a sourdough starter can be added to the ingredients to prolong the shelf life of the bread.
Another wonderful feature of the bread maker is that they have built-in timers for easier and more convenient baking. Some machines can be programmed to only prepare the dough so the bread can be baked in a traditional oven instead. Bread makers have many other functions other than making loaves of bread. They can be set to make jams, pizza bases, wheat-free loaf, cakes, pasta and even special bread styles such as mochi – a Japanese rice bread.
When choosing a bread maker to buy for yourself, there are a few considerations to make:
- What is the overall capacity of the bread maker (i.e., how many serves will a loaf produce?)
- What is the quality of the bread that is produced (is it well mixed, uneven texture, etc.)
- What is the minimum and maximum duration of time a loaf can be produced in?
- What other features does the bread maker have? (i.e. in-built settings for making pizza dough, scones, cakes, etc.)
- Is it a single loaf bread maker or a multi loaf bread maker?
Do you own a bread maker? Looking for help with common bread baking issues? Read our guide to bread baking here.