Bread Machines: Love Them or Hate Them

| 5/25/2011 11:50:14 AM


Upper Canada Village Flour Mill 


Upper Canada Village Flour Mill by Sue Van Slooten

Let’s just begin by saying, I have gone through more than my fair share of bread machines. The newer ones surely aren’t as robust as the older ones, but then, that’s true with most things. In today’s machines, I find the quality just isn’t there, mostly in the motors and bearings. They can’t take heavier bread dough too often. I’ve gone through four machines in the last five years or so, and it doesn’t seem to matter how much you spend on one, the brand name, or anything else. They just don’t last. The one I have now is about two years old, going fine, but then, I try not to tax it too often with heavy doughs such as whole wheat or multigrain breads. It’s fine for basic white, sweet, and pizza doughs, and even does a reasonable quick bread. Haven’t tried it on the jam cycle yet (I prefer a stove for that process).   

The rap sheet. Five years ago as a birthday present I received one of those bread makers that is also a convection bread baker. Lasted one and half years, until the bearings went. It was still under warranty, so they gave me a brand new replacement. It also lasted one and a half years, suffering the same fate of its predecessor. I decided to switch brands after that (the warranty was dead after three years). Went with a machine that promised to do four mini baguettes at a time, (which it does very well actually). So home it came, I took it out of the box, read the manual (yes, I actually did), and it said to make a test loaf first to get the feel of the machine. So I did as I was told, put all the ingredients in, plugged it in, pushed “Start,” and bang. Bang bang bang. Really loud, scary bangs. In rapid succession. Yank the plug, as the machine was bent on destroying itself. I had never met a suicidal bread machine before. Called the manufacturer, and the nice man on the other end of the phone assured me the motor was shot. “But I just took it out of the box!” I protested. No matter, just take it back to the store. The manager at the store assured me the bearings were probably gone as well. Wow. This is impressive. I was given a new one, the one I currently own. Like I say, I’ve learned my lesson:  It gets babied. And after this one goes, I doubt I’ll replace it.   

5/29/2011 10:58:11 PM

I love my bread machine. I found it at Goodwill for less than $5. I usually do my bread on the dough setting and then take it out and let it do a second rise time in a pan and then bake it in the oven.

Sherry Leverich Tucker
5/26/2011 12:13:21 AM

Sue, do you have any recommendations for a grain mill? Thanks!

Chris in OKC
5/25/2011 4:29:26 PM

Thanks for the article. I have 3 bread machines and love them. I make bread 2 to 3 times a week at least. Things like temperature and humidity can make a big difference on dough texture, so I keep an eye on the bread. I keep thinking I will try the artisan breads one of these days and not use the bread machine, but haven't yet.

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