During the pandemic, people experienced more downtime than ever before. This gave them a wealth of extra time to dedicate to both new and old hobbies like baking, which spiked sales of flour and yeast and baking cookbooks. Since then, the interest in baking hasn’t abated, thanks to the popularity of programs like “The Great British Baking Show.”
During those pandemic days, having fresh bread on hand felt like a godsend since trips to the grocery store were fewer and farther between. Today, there’s still nothing like a slice of fresh, homemade bread — whether you use it to make sandwiches, have a piece of toast with butter in the morning, or nibble on a slice between meals.
However, now that quarantining is officially a thing of the past, we’re spending less time at home and more time focused on our previous routines. While you may have less available time to bake, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up your newfound love of breadmaking. This is where the trusty bread machine comes in.
The Benefits Of Having A Bread Machine
Baking bread by hand can take hours on end, requiring mixing, proofing, kneading … mixing again, and even more kneading (you get the idea). However, using the best bread machine cuts out a hefty portion of that work, and in most cases just requires you to drop in the ingredients and simply wait.
If you’re new to baking, a bread machine can be a good way to ease into the hobby, as it provides a shortcut that requires significantly less expertise and skill than the traditional method.
For those who tend to go through a lot of bread, it may be cost-efficient down the line to invest in the best bread machine for your family. This way, you can continually use ingredients you already have in your pantry to bake loaves and have them on hand.
Expertssay that bread machines excel at producing loaves that are perfect for sandwiches and the like. They may not be your best bet if you’re looking for a crusty loaf, a la sourdough, since they don’t get as hot as your oven.
How To Bake Bread In A Bread Machine
Getting started with your bread machine is relatively simple. You’ll want to make sure you have flour, yeast, water, and salt on hand, as these are the primary ingredients that go into bread.
The best bread machine will let you know exactly how much weight it can handle and what the dimensions of your loaf will be. This will help guide you to measure your ingredients so you don’t end up putting in too little or too much, causing your bread to overflow or cave in.
After you put your ingredients in, all that’s left to do is to choose your desired settings and press start!
Many bread machines will have settings that allow you to decide whether you want your bread’s crust to be light, medium or dark. There may also be settings that refer to the type of bread you’d like to bake, including French, whole wheat or white. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the machine’s settings so you get the most out of it.
As you become more versed in using your machine, feel free to start experimenting. Some of the best bread machines have ways for you to add different fruits and nuts, which allows you to create delicious holiday loaves.