Bread Ma-cheen

I alluded to it yesterday – I bought a bread machine.  It was sort of by chance.  Let me back up and start from the beginning.

I have long wanted to make my own bread.  Our old neighbor was from Albania and she taught me to make her native traditional bread – so cool!  Then I discovered a great recipe for whole wheat bread on MSM.  She has a kick-ass bread machine and uses it to make the dough for her.  I was not prepared to spend $250 on a bread machine, so I always used my stand mixer to knead the dough and then I let is rise in the oven with a pan of warm water.  It worked fine, but I always wondered if a bread machine would really make a difference.

I started reading more of her bread recipes and she pretty much always uses her bread machine to make the dough, but rarely used it to bake the bread to completion.  That perplexed me since it was such an expensive appliance, surely it would do each step well, right?

So, I was totally waffling about the bread machine thing and had pretty much decided that I would just keep going like I was with my stand mixer and janky bread-rising setup.  I always look at the bread machines at the thrift store, thinking that if I found one at a great price, that might sway me, but none have seemed that great to me for the money.

Then, Sean and I went out to dinner on Wednesday while my MIL stayed home with the Boo.  After dinner, we stopped in to Target because I had seen clearance deals on jeans (75% off – I don’t mess around).  While we were there, I walked by an end cap and saw a big box with a bread machine.  It was a clearance end cap, so my interest was piqued.  I turned the box over and saw a 50% off sticker and $35 on the tag.

I didn’t know anything about this particular maker, but at that price I knew it wouldn’t last long in the store.  It turned out to be an online return.  Since the store doesn’t carry that item normally, they drastically marked it down to get rid of it.  I decided that I would take it home, look in to it online, and then return it if it wasn’t a good one.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and found it to be a very highly reviewed model with many of the same high end features that MSM’s bread machine has.

Above picture is MSM’s top-of-the-line bread machine.

So, I decided to keep the clearance bread machine after confirming that is hadn’t been used and that all the parts where accounted for (you can’t be too careful).  I tried my new bread machine and I really like it!  It is so nice to not have to watch the clock or set timers to keep track of the rising cycles.  You just dump all the stuff in the machine and, as they say in the industry, set it and forget it!

Wanna see my machine?  It’s a bea-ute!  It is a West Bend Hi-Rise – swanky!

I love that the pan is oriented horizontally so the bread comes out looking more normal and there are a ton of settings to customize your bread.

Now, back to the whole not backing in the machine conspiracy.  I think I understand.  The pan in the bread machine is non-stick metal and I typically bake my bread in glass pans (a tip from the Albanian lady).  The crust is not so dark or tough when baked in glass.  I may become one of those people who just uses the bread machine to make the dough.

I am off to try this recipe now – I think it will go over well in my house!

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