The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Curious about why bread machines...

clearlyanidiot's picture

Curious about why bread machines...

I was given a used bread machine last year, just the machine, paddle and pan, no manual. It's been hot and I need to rebuild my masonry oven, so I finally got around to looking up the manual for it and trying a recipe or two. While the results aren't as good as what I can do with proper equipment, there was still 80% of the effect, of certain types of bread, for 20% of the work. 

I'm just curious why so many bread machines hit the Salvation Army, garage sales, etc. For certain applications (Small batches, people away during the day, etc) They're a useful tool, why do so many people get them, then get rid of them?

Antilope's picture

just dump the ingredients in the bread machine and expect it to work perfectly. It does if you are lucky. You usually have to adjust the dough consistency (even if you weigh the ingredients), just as you do when baking by hand or in a mixer. Without adjusting you usually get a brick or soup. ;-)

I usually tell bread machine or baking novices to go out and buy a can of biscuit dough. I tell them, the raw biscuit dough is what a properly hydrated kneading bread dough should look like. Adjust the kneading bread dough a tablespoon of flour or water at a time until it does.

You make 2 or 3 bad loaves in a row. The bread machine gets put into storage and eventually ends up at a garage sale or the Goodwill. Kind of like all the new gym equipment. ;-)

Wild-Yeast's picture

One guess is that when the bread machines failed to pop out "instant artisan bread" their owners lost interest and they either gave them away or donated them to organizations like the Salvation Army - the other is they lost the manual and had no idea of how it worked.

On the bright side you now have a wonderful and mysterious challenge ahead of you...,


PetraR's picture

We used to have a bread machine years ago, I was never happy with the bread, the crust was just not what I would have liked, some failed bread even with weighing and using the machines recipe.

It lived for a while with my Sister in Germany before it was given away, again.

If you work all day and are busy at weekends it is a good tool , but NOTHING beats bread made from scratch and baked in a Dutch Oven or on a baking stone.

Antilope's picture

to compare bread machine bread to hearth breads. That's not its intended market. The bread machine was made to compete with tasteless supermarket bread. It's made for the baking novice that has probably never baked anything more than a can of Pillsbury biscuits or reheated brown 'n serve rolls. 

People have a lot more trouble making good sourdough bread or hearth bread than they do making good bread machine bread. Look at the majority of questions on this website. It's probably 25 to 1.

People don't donate unused brotforms to the thrift store. Those are probably sitting around full of fresh or plastic fruit. ;-) 

cooked's picture

I live in Thailand and it is difficult to find eatable bread away from the tourist centres, apart from baguettes (just about).     I have to admit that after taking the plunge I put the machine on a shelf where it looked down malevolently at me for a month or two. I then decided to buy exotic stuff like yeast, measuring spoons, find flour and so on. The recipes that came with the machine were universally rubbish and as mentioned above, I was getting ready to get rid of my Kenwood. Luckily I decided to use it uniquely for kneading and raising dough, started with pizza dough and went on to focaccia, English crumpets , bagels and even toast bread (best I've tasted for a long time), which I allow the machine to complete for me.

It's just that the machine is so disappointing at first, and you have to adjust quantities for different ambient temperatures and so on. I should imagine that people that buy (or receive) these machines are not, generally, people that are ready or able to put in the extra mile or so that is needed to put them to proper use. We had relatives that visited recently and they wouldn't even try my toast bread, they bought horrible soft stuff from the supermarket. Many people don't know any better and don't want to know. Never mind, we try, don't we?