When I registered for a bread maker on my wedding registry, I got a little guff from nay-sayers who thought I would never use the thing. Many people commented, "I used to have one of those, I never used it." Never used it?! What the heck? This is one wedding gift that gets a TON of use in my home.
I generally use my bread machine at least once a week and make everything from homemade rolls to French bread and even pizza dough! It's one of those little luxuries that just makes my life easier, and I can't imagine how anyone could ever live without one of these miraculous machines!
One of the distinct perks of this machine is that it saves me money. I am talking cold hard cash. There are things I just don't buy anymore as a direct result of having the breach machine. One of those things, as I may have mentioned, is pizza dough. Pizza night is one of our favorites, and with the homemade dough, it's a breeze! I love to make a big batch of dough and then freeze it in individual packages. This way, if I want to have pizza or calzones or strombolis, I always have my dough on hand and about an hour away from thawing out!
Another thing I love this bread maker for is the rolls. Homemade rolls are time consuming, let's face it. But I just can't buy those Pillsbury rolls because I know how full of fat they are... that and I am just hell-bent on making my own foods. The breach machine brings perfect rolls to the table every time! And then, of course, there are the breads...oooooo the breads!
I love that I can add my ingredients, walk away, and then, like those little birds from Cinderella have been slaving away in my kitchen--BAM!--bread! Fresh bread. And the smell in the house is just awe-inspiring.
Most people are confused about a bread machine works, and I think this stems from the fact that you see those boxes of "bread machine mix" in the grocery and you think that you have to have those little boxes to accomplish bread in the machine. Not so. My Cuisinart bread machine came with a recipe booklet which has a plethora of recipes that I use often. But there are other sources of recipes as well. My Better Homes and Garden's cookbook has a whole section on bread and lots of great machine recipes to boot.
Basically the idea is that you add the wet ingredients in the pan, followed by the dry ingredients, the yeast, and then you pop it into the machine. The mixing arm does most of the work, mixing your bread to the right consistency, and then it rises, and then the heat comes on and bakes the bread. (Other recipes stop at the rising part, and then you bake it yourself in the oven, like the rolls and pizza dough.)
Most of it is a "set it and forget it" thing, but you should keep an eye on it... sometimes I find I need to add a little water, or a little more flour, depending, and in those cases, you want to be around. A couple of drawbacks are that the machine is rather largish...so if you haven't got a lot of space, it might not be space efficient. But other than that, this is one machine that I think every household needs!!!