Bread Machine vs Oven

Companies are always finding new ways to make things convenient- especially when it comes to food prep! I am reminded of the opening credits to Stepford Wives– with Nicole Kidman- and the 1950’s women dancing around their kitchens because of all the new gadgets that make cooking huge, 50’s meals faster and easier. Flash forward to today, and meals can be delivered to you in a box ready to eat.

But what about fresh bread?
I was one to always go to the prepackaged bread aisle in the store.  But my husband had high hopes that if he bought me a bread machine, we would be eating fresh bread all the time! He thought it would be fast and convenient: you put the ingredients in- like a crock pot- and walk away. 7 years later with only a few uses, I have hence sold my dust collecting machine. The primary reason for selling it: I received the book below and supplies to make bread in the oven.

So how do you decide which method is best for you?

  1. Give yourself a reality check: Are you really going to use the bread machine, or do you like baking (maybe a stress reliever)? I do more baking with this method now than I have in the past 7 years owning a bread machine.
  2. Quality: Had I used my bread maker more often, then maybe my bread would have been better. However, most of the 2 lbs. loaves I got out of the machine were dense and really too big for grilled cheese sandwiches. Now making my sandwich bread (still 2 lbs.) in a loaf pan with the recipe from the book above, they are airy and a great size (loaf like instead of a box shape). And my husband says the bread I make now tastes a lot better!
  3. Time/Effort: The lady that bought my machine said this was her third machine -she kept burning out the motors- and she uses it just to make the dough not bake it. The time it takes me to whip up a batch of dough is minutes….and if you have a stand mixer, you don’t have to do the stirring. Then I just set the container on the counter to let it rise for 2 hours (which if I remember correctly, is how long the bread maker takes to rise as well?).
  4. Quantity: The main recipe in this book gives you enough dough for almost 4 one pound loaves. Whatever dough I don’t use right away, just stays in the container and lives in the fridge. The next time I get dough out, it is ready to go! I have made one larger free-form loaf and a few rolls or two sandwich loaves from one batch of dough.

    So from my personal experience: I prefer oven baking over bread machine baking, and I think my bread baking skills have increased greatly since switching to the oven!

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