Is it better to bake bread in the oven or in a bread maker?
We've been given a bread maker but I'm not sure how it's meant to be better than using the oven. I guess it uses less energy. What do you think?
I line the bread maker because it's just add the ingredients and go. In a few hours you have fresh bread. It's really just convenience. An oven will bake it just as well, assuming you do all the other steps correctly.
I was given a bread maker a few years ago. I've used it several times, but there are disadvantages.
One is that the mixer blade in the bottom leaves a sizable hole in the end of the loaf.
Another is that the loaf is not very big. Even using the recipes for 2 pound loaves, they tend to come out more dense/heavy than large, so the loaf doesn't go as far as commercial bread.
On the plus side, however:
The taste, on the other hand, is far superior, and you KNOW what has gone into your bread...(nothing you can't pronounce)! But then, that's true of any homemade goods....
It IS faster than making bread by hand--the knead/wait/punch down/knead/wait, then bake times are very much shorter, so you have your loaf in 2 or 3 hours, instead of half the day.
As far as whether it saves energy, I'd imagine it takes less electricity than firing up the full-sized oven, but if you have a gas oven, I don't know how to make that comparison.
I like to make my dough in the bread machine because it's so easy. Then I punch it down, put it in a greased loaf pan, let it rise in a warm place for about half an hour and bake it in the oven. That's the taste my family likes the best, and it doesn't have that awkward hole in the side of it from the bread machine. But if you are trying to save energy or not heat up your house, the bread machine is probably better.
I love home baked yeast breads and prefer oven baking for cripness and flavor. A bread maker, in my opinion , helps in kneeding the dough, but the process is not good in the sense that it bakes the bread in moist heat rather than dry heat.
For me it is a simple preference aimed at choice. A bread maker doe's simplify the process, but I prefer hand and oven baking.
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