If your bread maker has been gathering dust in a cupboard, pull it out and come with me on a bread making adventure. It was with mixed feelings that I opened my new bread machine on Christmas morning a few years ago. I'd never been that fond of bread, and in a two-person household we go through less than a loaf a week. I smiled politely. "Wow," I said. I’d heard that without preservatives, bread lasts about three days. The likelihood of our going through a loaf of bread in three days was small, very small.
I'm nothing if not a good sport, so I embarked with gusto on what I like to call the bread machine adventure. This involved a trip to the library to forage for books that could give me some basic bread making information and provide me with a few reliable recipes. It was here that I made the big discovery. You can make a lot of great stuff besides bread with a bread machine. This had never occurred to me before.
The Bread Maker Does the Hard Work
Most bread makers have a dough setting. This setting allows you to make dough for just about anything made with yeast and requiring a rising period. There are many books that have modified great classic baking recipes for use with a bread machine, and even though you have to form the dough and bake it in a conventional oven, the bread machine does the lion’s share of the dirty work. Really.
I can come home from work and pour flour, salt, yeast, and water in a bread maker and turn on the dough setting. In about the time it takes to change clothes and do a couple of chores, I'm ready to roll out pizza dough. This dough costs pennies to make compared to prepared mixes or shells, and I know exactly what’s in it. Oh, and it tastes wonderful every time. If I’m feeling organized, I can prepare the machine before I leave for work in the morning and have it start automatically that evening.
Need Variety in Your Bread - Not a Problem
Listen to what you can make with just a little bread flour (high gluten flour) and some imagination: pita bread, sourdough bread, Danish, garlic bread, multi-grain bread, herbal breads, coffee cake, and calzone.
I thought that my bread maker would end up collecting dust on the shelf with the fondue pot and hinged omelet pan for company, but I use it one or two times a week.
Experiment With Herbal Breads
Not only that, I can put whatever I want into it. Herb experimentation was never so easy. Ever wondered what a particular herb would taste like in a warm crusty bread but were afraid to go to all the trouble of whipping it up to be disappointed? If the bread maker is doing the heavy lifting, it's much more fun to test your theories.
Experiment With Low Carb Breads
Even if you are into the low-carb craze, there are low-carb flours like coconut flour and soy flour on the market that can be used for baking. Give your bread maker another try using a low-carb approach to making some of your old favorites. For more information on low carb flours that you can use in baking and for other cooking, take a look at the topic: How To Choose Low Carb Flour.
This appliance stays on my countertop. There is nothing like the smell of freshly made bread. I take that back! The smell of an herb garden on a spring morning is the best, but fresh bread runs a close second.