Do Bread Machines Make Baking Bread Easier
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Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly-baked bread and confectionary in the morning?
Unfortunately, not all of us have the time nor energy to go out and buy bread from the shop nor bake something from scratch. This is especially true if all you need is a loaf of bread or two to eat in the morning and share with your family.
Luckily, there is a compromise.
Bread machines or bread makers knead, prove, and bake the loaves for you. The best part? All you need to do is to put in the ingredients yourself and wait for the process to finish.
Of course, as is any question with appliances that automate certain processes, there exists some doubt as to whether or not they are reliable. In particular, when it comes to bread machines, multiple questions exist.
Chief among them is whether or not a bread machine makes better bread than shop-bought bread, and if buying a bread maker makes baking bread at home easier and cheaper.
How Much Will Baking With a Bread Maker Cost You?
Let’s start off with the cost of the actual bread maker itself.
Similar to other kitchen appliances, the price of a bread maker can vary depending on the make, model, and added features. However, in general, a trusty and durable bread machine won’t cost you more than $50. On the other hand, if you want something that has all of the bells and whistles, including “custom modes” that lets you personalize how you want your bread to be made or baked, as well as other nifty features, top-of-the-range bread machines are usually found at a $250 price point.
Now, if we were to assume that you’re willing to spend $250 for the bread machine, then it won’t be a cost-effective investment if you’re okay with buying the cheapest loaf available at the supermarket.
Even if you only spent $50 for the bread machine, you’ll still have been able to buy at least 25 loaves (at $2 per whole wheat sandwich loaf) for the same price.
Mind you, we haven’t taken into consideration the price of the ingredients (which could you set you back anywhere between $0.75 to $2.00 per loaf) yet. Nor, the amount of time spent waiting for the loaf to finish baking.
However, it’s a totally different story if you prefer “artisan” or specialty bread.
At an average price point of $4 to $5 per loaf, buying artisan bread can get quite expensive quickly in the long run. This is especially true since not all bakeries offer them and you’ll have no control as to when they’ll be available. Not to mention, they’re almost always out of stock, especially the good ones.
If we assume that baking “artisan” bread will set you back $2 per loaf in terms of ingredients, then buying a bread machine makes a lot more sense.
For example, let’s say a middle-range bread machine is priced at $125 and a top-of-the-range one costs $250. If you buy at least 2 loaves of artisan bread a week at $5 each, it will only take 12.5 weeks and 25 weeks, respectively, for the bread machine to start paying off.
Even if you factored in the cost of ingredients at $2 per loaf, you’ll still have saved $6 a week. That’s not factoring in intangible benefits such as not having to go out of your house to enjoy freshly-baked bread or the value of learning a new valuable skill.
Is It More Efficient to Bake Bread Using Bread Machines?
If you already have an oven at home, it’s fair to wonder if you’ll need a bread machine too. After all, both appliances serve the same purpose. Plus, there are plenty of benefits to baking in ovens. Like, for example, being able to bake more loaves of bread at the same time and being able to make different kinds of bread and confectionaries.
The only problem is that baking with an oven takes a lot of time. It’s also a lot less forgiving.
Between all of the kneading and proving, as well as the difficulty of getting the temperature right, baking with an oven is not easy. Meanwhile, if you use a bread machine, you’re guaranteed to have evenly kneaded and proved bread that’s bake at the ideal temperature every time.
Are Bread Machines Easy to Use?
Another added benefit to using a bread machine is that they’re far more forgiving.
Bread machines take the hard work out of baking, especially kneading and proving. This means that all you need to do is to weigh the ingredients properly, put them in the machine, and let it do its job.
The only issue with bread machines is that they can take anywhere between 3-4 hours to make bread. This means it’s not an ideal option if you’re craving a sandwich in the middle of the night.
Using bread machines indeed makes baking bread easier.
If you prefer freshly-baked artisan bread using hand-picked ingredients, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality bread maker. Even if you’re okay with the cheapest loaf of bread at the supermarket, there’s still some benefits to be had from baking your own bread at home, including waking up to the smell every now and then.
If you find bread machines too expensive, a good alternative is to buy it second-hand. Alternatively, this is a good way to test if buying a bread machine is right for you before splurging on a more expensive model.
But, if you genuinely enjoy kneading, proving, and baking your own bread at home in your oven, then it might be more cost-effective to work with what you already have.
In the end, while not necessarily for everybody, the pros of having a bread machine far outweigh the cons.