After Johanna was born I began the time consuming effort of making our own bread. We loved the results but the timetables of rising once, rising twice, and the kneading left us tied down to the house during the process.
After the twins came along, I began longing for the homemade bread without the fuss. Bobby, the part time researcher of all things technological, dove right into the bread machine world. My biggest bread machine fear was that it would produce those weird, cylinder-shaped loaves.
The most perfect machine became apparent to us earlier this year. It is the Zojirushi BBCCX20 Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machine.
This is why we love it compared to others:
- It makes real loaf-shaped loaves.
- It has two blades to knead. (most bread machines only have one.)
- You can choose your own custom settings (like choosing when and how long to knead, rise, etc. Especially useful for professional bakers and people using perhaps a family recipe.)
- It has a setting for making cakes, jams, and chutneys.
- It has a crust setting: light, medium, or dark.
- It has a Basic, Wheat, Dough, Sourdough Starter, and Homemade setting.
- You can set the timer so the bread is totally made by a certain time. We sometimes put the ingredients in at night, set the timer, and wake up at 6am to fresh bread!
- It got GREAT reviews on Amazon.com
With a family of 6, we make our bread daily or every other day, depending on how fast we go through it. Although I have my trusty favorites, like honey whole wheat or Vienna bread, I can always try new recipes that are 100% reliable from my bread machine book: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. It is what I use for all of my breads. It covers egg breads, white breads, whole wheat breads, multi-grain breads, pasta (yes, you can do on the dough setting), specialty breads (anything you'd buy in your local bakery), and also recipes for jams, chutneys and spreads (those can all be made in the Zojirushi and some other machines.)
I love letting the Zojirushi make a loaf from start to finish by just adding the right amounts of ingredients. In this banana sandwich bread from the book, you use a banana as the binder and the sweetener - a perfect bread for peanut butter and jelly. Another favorite are our breakfast breads, brioche loaves or challah loaves, for french toast. I can put the ingredients in and walk away from the machine.
Using the dough setting I make our hamburger and hot dog buns. Add the ingredients for the machine to make the dough, remove, usually you divide and let rise one more time on a baking sheet, then follow the directions for baking. (These are egg-washed then sprinkled with sesame seeds before baking. We love them and keep extras in the freezer for grilled hamburgers in the future.)
Here is some ciabatta bread (I made using the dough setting) that I turned into another dinner-- a Caesar Club Sandwich. It is awesome! It is a great (both beautiful and tasty) entertaining sandwich or perfect weekend dinner that is all about assembling. I'm happy to show you tomorrow how to make it whether you make your own ciabatta or pick one up.
Are you a bread maker? An aspiring bread maker?
the sleepy time gal