Bread Machine is a kitchen appliance used for making freshly baked bread at home. It has caught the fancy of most homemakers in the last few decades. It consists of a bread pan, one or two kneading paddles and a control panel. Some of these machines come with timers, programmed cycles and can also be activated without requiring operator attendance.
The bread machine was first invented by Joseph Lee in the nineteenth century which helped to mix the dough and knead the bread. This was ideal for bakeries and decreased the need of manual labor. It became extremely popular by the 1950s. However, it was very huge and often took up an entire room, meant for bakeries and other commercial establishments.
The first bread machine for home use was manufactured by a Japanese company – Matsushita Electric Industrial Company – in the year 1986. This was a one-loaf bread machine and compact in size. It did everything from mixing, kneading and baking the bread. All that was required to be done was to put the ingredients into the machine. This machine was developed to make several varieties and designs of bread. It gained immense popularity as a home appliance by the year 1996.
Making Variety of Breads – A variety of different kinds of breads can be made using the bread machine. Other than making the ordinary loaf of bread, the machine can be used for mixing, kneading and rising of the dough, which can then be shaped by hand into rolls, bagels or pretzels and baked in an oven.
Making Pizza Dough – Instead of ordering pizza or buying readymade pizza base, one can use the bread machine to make fresh pizza dough. It not only saves money but also produces pizza base made from fresh ingredients of one’s choice.
Making Tortilla – The bread machine can also be used for preparing the dough for tortilla. Once the dough cycle completes the dough can be rolled out by hand and then cooked on a skillet.
Making Jam – This is the most surprising use of a bread machine. Adding fresh fruits, sugar, water and other necessary ingredients, allows the bread machine to make fresh homemade jam. This jam once made can be cooled and refrigerated.
Making Pasta Dough – The dough for the pasta is prepared in the machine and then taken out to be made into pasta using a pasta machine.
Making Sweet Roll Dough – The machine is also used for making cinnamon rolls, which is a very tedious and cumbersome process. These are made by hands and take a long time but the use of bread machine reduces the work by half.
Making Mochi – The bread machine is also used to make mochis, which are Japanese rice cakes.
How to Buy a Bread Machine
In order to buy a reasonably good bread machine one must decide on the various features that one desires to use, and choose accordingly. Some of the worth features worth considering are –
- Gluten Free Bread Cycle – As many people are allergic to gluten one can buy a bread machine which allows for making gluten-free bread. However, gluten free dough is sticky and will require scraping the pan from the sides after kneading the dough.
- Programmable Settings – There are machines which have different programme settings, to enable the user to do various other tasks while the process of bread making is taken care of, by the machine. One should select a machine which has different programmes, such as for mixing, kneading and finally baking.
- Kneading Paddles – Bread machines are available with single or double kneading paddles. Double kneading paddles help to knead the dough akin to the bakery bread. Hence, depending on individual preference one may decide on buying a bread machine with one or two kneading paddles.
- Speciality Loaf Sizes – There are bread machines available in the market, which provide for speciality loaf sizes, such as the French loaf, pasta bread or sweet bread loaf. Hence, if looking for variation in breads baked at home, one should select a machine which has this feature.
- Speciality Bread Timers – This is an added feature in bread machines. It has the provision of a timer with beeping alarms which allow for adding extra ingredients to the bread making cycle at the right time.
- Sturdy and Stationary – It is important to ensure that the bread machine being purchased is sturdy enough to remain stationary while kneading the dough. This is because it has been often seen that some bread machines ‘walk’ or slide along the kitchen counter during the kneading process.
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