A few months ago, I received a free gift card from CSN Stores, and I asked my Twitter followers if I should use it for an ice cream maker or a bread machine. The debate was fierce, and ultimately I opted for an ice cream maker (actually, I opted for a slow cooker first, and THEN the ice cream maker next month). I was very happy with my choice, but I did always wonder what I may have been missing out with by passing up the bread maker. Well, as it turns out, CSN gave me another gift card to review something from their store, and this time around, I decided I would take the plunge. I used my gift card to nab a Breadman 2 Pound Bread Maker, which was on sale for the bargain basement price of $64.99.

I must admit that I did have concern about that low price — would I be sacrificing quality for money? Did I just order a giant piece of junk? The results after the jump…

From what I can tell, the machine looks perfectly fine. It comes with a user manual that features many recipes; so that makes me happy.

I opt to begin with basic white bread. First I must pour water and oil into the pan.

Next goes some salt and sugar. Not a very complicated process, but I should note that it was three in the morning (yes, this all happened after my cocktails with Sly).

I plop about two cups of bread flour into the pan, effectively covering the liquids and allowing a safe buffer for the yeast, which goes carefully on top. As this operation will be on timer delay, I can’t have my yeast activating ahead of schedule.

I close the lid and stare at the ingredients. I feel like I’m sending it off to space.

I set the timer to have the bread done in six and a half hours from now. My anticipation begins.

I was so excited about the bread that — I kid you not — I woke up about four times. Here’s the bread about thirty minutes before the finish line.

Ta-da! The apartment, it should be noted, smelled fantastic.

My little white loaf of love.

After letting the bread sit for about twenty minutes, I take the first slice. It’s perrrrrfect. And tasty too! Half of the loaf is gone in the next twenty minutes.

I’m immediately thrilled with the purchase. Later that night, I do it all over again, instead opting for a honey wheat bread. It collapses a little, but still tastes marvelous. Unfortunately, there are no pics.

And if you think I stopped at the honey wheat, you’re wrong. Last night I attempted a cinnamon nut raisin bread.

All I had to do was drop in the ingredients as usual, and then at about twenty minutes into the process, the machine beeped. I added in the raisins and nuts, put on my shoes, went to my friend’s place for some wine, returned two hours later and… well… you can see what was greeting me.

This loaf was by far the best of the three. It had the best rise, the most flavor, and certainly the best aroma. As you can see in the photo, I still haven’t even finished the other two loaves. I’m going bread-crazy. Must… restrain… myself…

So far so good with the bread machine. Upon further research, it appears that I didn’t sacrifice quality as much as I did features. The more expensive bread machines have non-gluten and jam options and other things like that. Sounds nice, but I’m quite happy with what I have. Good times indeed. Time to make a sandwich with some of that bread now…

8 replies on “ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Bread Machine Bonanza”

  1. MmmmMmmm… You make me need fresh baked bread! I’m so excited for future bread attempts (I’m optimistically assuming). I always bake my bread in the oven (let it do the dough cycle in the machine). I personally think it makes a lighter loaf, but what do I know? Nothing. Except I wish I had some cinnamon nut raising bread!

  2. I have a bread machine that I just most ly on the Dough cycle. After it has risen once I roll it out on a pizza stone, cut it into breadstck shapes and let it rise again. After i bake it at 375 for 13-15 minutes…..Take it out and rub it with butter and then garlic salt. You can make larger amounts of dough in the machine because it will not have ot rise and bake in the pan. And if you make lotsa bread I recommend a jar of yeast.. to save money.
    bread stick dough
    12 ounces water
    3TBSP Butter
    1 tsp salt
    21/2 tsp sugar
    3 1/2 flour
    2 1/2 tsp yeast

    you can make any kind of dough and braid it and egg wash it…. make it sweeter and put in almond paste and raisins…. frost with sugar glaze and almond slices.

    1. Yeah. I’ve been having some guilty moments today.

      Next time you come to town though, I’ll set the timer so that a fresh loaf of bread is ready after a night of drinking. That would certainly be a good late night snack.

  3. Many years ago, my coworker got a bread machine for a wedding present. She decided to make cranberry bread and when it was done, the cranberry pieces were all around the edges of the bread–there were no pieces mixed around as was illustrated in your pic of the cinnamon nut raisin bread. It was comical, but it still tasted yummy.

    I, too, have a bread machine but don’t use it very much as my husband has been known to eat an entire loaf in one sitting… So, next time he’s off on a work thing, I think the kids and I will make bread. We’re restrained enough to share amongst ourselves…

  4. I am also a bread machine enthusiast and I have found that if wait until the end to add the salt right before the yeast, it rises better. I read somewhere that the salt is total besties with the yeast and they work together to make your bread reach is highest rise potential.

    I have an old school BreadmanPro or something along those lines. The recipe in the book that comes with it for the cinnamon rolls AND the sticky buns are amazing. It also makes a kick ass everything bagel.

  5. I use my old hand me down Breadman mostly for pizza dough, I’m that lazy. The only other thing I have used it it for is cheese bread. Toasted with a little bit of butter, delightful!

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