America's New Breadbox

If you like flavor and nutrition merged with convenience in your homemade bread, this appliance is for you.

| February/March 2005

  • Bread Machine
    The three basic loaf shapes of bread machines are, from top, the tall cube shape, the wide rectangle and the long horizontal.
    Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
  • 208-076-01i3
    The three basic loaf shapes of bread machines are, from top, the tall cube shape, the wide rectangle and the long horizontal.
  • 208-076-01i2
    The Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme BBCC-X20 ($200), Toastmaster Bread Maker TBR15 ($45) and the Breadman Pro Double Loaf TR2828 ($100). All three machines have a special setting for heavier whole-wheat breads, and the Zojirushi also allows for a custom setting. The Toastmaster has the smallest cube-shaped pan size. The Breadman makes two loaves at a time, in the standard cube shape. The Zojirushi is the only one that produces traditional-shaped loaves in its longer, rectangular pan.

  • Bread Machine
  • 208-076-01i3
  • 208-076-01i2

The Bread Machine! These are words that strike terror into the hearts of artisan bakers and advocates of hands-on home baking, while conjuring up visions of delight to ever-growing hordes of baking enthusiasts who claim they would never bake bread without a machine.

An all-in-one appliance that is certainly an innovation in a time-honored craft, the bread machine creates fresh, satisfying, full-flavored yeast breads. To set the process in motion, all you do is measure and pour the ingredients into the bread pan that serves as the mixing canister, then push a couple of buttons. But a big reason people get so much joy from bread-machine baking has to do with the deep emotional value of making bread, not the appliance itself.

Whether you go out and buy a new machine, inherit one from a friend who never used it or pick one up at a rummage sale, you’ll be thrilled with the results if you give this appliance a fair run.

The convenience of the bread machine has found a new market among people who would otherwise never bake, but nevertheless enjoy good bread: those with the busiest schedules, like on-the-go parents, people who love gadgets and bakers who have physical disabilities that might prevent them from preparing bread by hand. The bread machine also has won over many people already skilled at baking bread by hand, but it has reached many more who were not inspired to learn to bake bread by an older method.

The amount of actual hands-on baking time, apart from assembling the ingredients, is just minutes with a bread machine.

And then, aside from putting away the ingredients and wiping up a bit of flour on the counter, there is no cleanup, which is remarkable for a craft that is known for being messy. The machine mixes, kneads, deflates, allows for the proper rising time, bakes and often cools the loaf, all automatically.

7/14/2007 5:11:24 AM

Beth Hensperger's recipes for bread machine bread refer to a "pause" feature. Which bread machines have this "pause" feature?

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