Is a bread maker a must- have item in your kitchen?

We find that bread machines are typically very energy efficient, so we save on energy costs over baking in the oven all day. PHOTO/net.

What you need to know:

Baking your own bread offers the advantage of taking control over what one eats which is particularly useful for people with different allergies. Most modern bread makers do more than just bake bread; they can make pizza dough, pasta and jam.

The joy of tasting what one has cooked for themselves is incredibly satisfying. Not only do you get to make it the way you like but you also eat it fresh. This applies to bread too. A bread maker is made specifically for that. They are countertop kitchen appliances that mix, knead, proof, and bake bread.

You can put in the exact ingredients you want and have it hot without worrying about unknown hygiene and most of all, without leaving the comfort of your home.

However much one may want that for oneself, thinking about the mixing, kneading, and waiting for the dough to rise while doing other things, is not much time one may have at hand. It may not be practical for many, especially the everyday bread breakfast lovers. This is why Clare Nkutu decided to buy a bread maker for her kitchen. 

“I liked the idea of making fresh bread effortlessly at home, without so much effort and mess,” she says.

A bread maker like Nkutu’s does the heavy lifting, all you have to do is add the ingredients and push a few buttons. Unlike older versions of bread makers, modern ones are loaded with features and come in all shapes and sizes.

Due to the numerous features and functions, one will need plenty of time and energy to experiment with what works to get the best loaf.  If you have shortage of space, there are smaller capacity machines with a much smaller footprint that will still get the job done.

There are different features one should look out for before buying a bread maker to make sure it not only fit their budget but will also serve them.  

How and why often one bakes

You It would be a waste of money if you buy something you will only use once in a while. Make sure it is necessary before you invest into the bread maker.

Apart from that, many people want to personally bake for different reasons. Needing to know which ingredients are included in the bread and how healthy they are, or cutting costs on especially gluten-free bread. You may also love baking bread and need an easier way out, just as Nkutu.

Putting all that into consideration may point you to whether or not you are ready to own a bread maker.

Look out for reviews

When you hit the online market, there are always reviews about different products. Reading through reviews may help you figure out what works for you.

Pay attention to the negative comments and more importantly, the replies to those comments. You may figure out a solution to a problem even long after you have bought the machine.

Number of blades

Blades determine the size of dough one will be able to make in one go. The smaller the loaf, the less the blades your machine will need. For a bigger loaf, it may need more blades.

According to appliancesonline, a one-bladed machine cannot make long loaves, but only small and tall loaves. It is also important to note that one-bladed machines are usually not much smaller than two-bladed machines, so you will not save much space going with a one-bladed model.

Experts recomment choosing a two-bladed model, whether you use it only for baking bread or for mixing and rising dough that you later shape and cook separately in the oven like rolls, or cookies.

Purpose

Bread-makers can be multipurpose machines if used properly.

The vast majority of bread machines, have a few preset programmes. For example, most bread machines have a “jam” setting which will not only make jam, but also cracklings. But only some machines have a “gluten-free” setting (any machine can bake gluten-free bread, but only some have a programme for it to make it easier).

A few machines have a setting for yogurt, and other machines can make baguettes. Some machines have a dispenser for things such as raisins or sunflower seeds, although these are of limited use since they are rarely used.

Some machines use folding kneading blades, which have some advantages, but also the disadvantage of difficult cleaning, and they cannot be removed from the bread before baking.

Do you want to make lunch or dinner in your machine? It is possible in many models to bake meat or chicken. You can look online to see which models offer this, and how they do it differently.

One can always look out for many more features in this instance. Remember the cheaper the machine, the more risk of winding up with a non-lasting machine.

You can consider the number of people you have at home, the energy the machine consumes, and kitchen space (determining the size of the machine), among other things.

Viewing window

A viewing window lets you see the bread and so reduces the temptation to open the lid, which can cause heat loss and produce a poor loaf. The window will fog up during some of the processes.

Power failure protection

This is a memory device that saves your bread if the power is interrupted, such as the plug accidentally being removed or a black-out.

Some machines give you just a few minutes to restore power, while others give up to one hour, after which the cycle will continue where it left off. If the power goes off during the baking cycle, it is best to remove the bread tin and continue baking in the oven.


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