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The loaves it produced back then were a really weird tall square shape, but the taste! It took just one bite of that warm yeasty softness and a new lifelong passion for home baked bread was born, a passion that is still going strong today.
They make brilliant gifts for anyone who loves to cook and anyone who loves really good bread and if memory serves me right, a bread machine was the first kitchen gadget appliance on our wedding gift list - we haven't had shop bought bread since.
Like Mom's, our first machine was a Breville and it lasted for years, eventually wearing out to be replaced with a Panasonic which featured a timer - what luxury that was a few years back! Now most bread makers have a delay timer so you can toss the ingredients in the night before and come down to the indulgent comforting scent of freshly cooked bread - on a cold winter morning nothing beats it.
Possibly because this is quite old technology now and there isn't much that can go wrong with it, the price has fallen away to affordable for everyone. Furthermore there are now absolutely loads of different makes and models which start at about $50 for one with basic programs which includes a delay option.
Best Bread Machine Cookbooks for Recipes
Other than that, even the cheapest machines will produce basic white or wholemeal loaves on demand and I promise they'll taste totally awesome.
On the subject of cost, running a bread machine is actually very cheap. They only use minimal power for the kneading process, so even on a 4 hour cycle you're only really using power for the last hour when the loaf bakes. Compare heating the small element to heating the whole oven and you can quickly see how these cost in.
The cost of a loaf including the energy to bake it is roughly a third of shop bought bread, depending of course on the price of bread flour and electricity where you live. Yes, the loaves are smaller but you'll find the bread is way more filling and there won't be any waste - it gets eaten long before going stale.
Artisan and specialty bread baking aren't always catered for with the cheaper models, though provided you have a 'dough only' setting, the machine will do the mixing and rising part, you just need to take it out, put it into a loaf pan or shape the dough as you want including making rolls, then bake.
Are the budget models as convenient and flexible as a more expensive bread maker with all the whistles and bells? No of course not, but they'll still produce fantastic bread, you just need to intervene and finish loaves off manually with the more complex recipes.
So if you're still eating tasteless sandwiches and enduring rather than enjoying lunch, take another look at bread machines, because the bottom line is they make simply stunning bread.