First of all, had I realized how big a bread machine is, I might not have purchased it. After reading many reviews, it seems this one isn't as big as most, but I live in a trailer house, remember, and my kitchen is small. I won't be leaving this on the counter all the time, that's for sure. But am I sorry I bought it? No way!
Both of us have complained for several years about the fact that we can't find any bread in the store that is as soft and fresh as we'd like. Something is being done to bread nowadays that makes all of it drier than it used to be, even if you happen to be in the store when the guy is there stocking the shelves with fresh loaves. One of the main reasons I bought this (other than the fact it only cost $43) is that I wanted to see if I could make bread that would come out soft and fresh-tasting. I figured if it did, I would make all our bread: I'd take it from the machine, let it cool, slice it, put it it a bag, and store it in the freezer, taking out however many slices we needed from the freezer a couple at a time. This is actually how we've been keeping store-bought bread, since the two of us
can't shouldn't eat much bread.
So I made a large loaf of bread yesterday, following instructions in the basic recipe that came with the machine. I had read the reviews on Amazon, so I was expecting it to waltz around a bit on the counter, and sure enough, it did. No problem, since I was prepared for it. Evidently this machine isn't as heavy as the higher-end ones, which allows it to dance a little.
The machine was new and we love bread, so I figured we'd throw caution to the wind and enjoy our first loaf as soon as it was done... with plenty of butter. The texture was so soft, Cora kept laying her hand on the slice I handed her just to feel the softness. I've baked bread all my life, but never made any that was even close to that good (unless you count my cinnamon rolls). Oh, and the recipes call for bread flour... I only had regular flour. I can't imagine how it could be any better, but I'll buy some bread flour next time we shop, just to see.
I'll just cut to the chase here and confess that between Cliff, Cora (she ate more than you'd think for a three-year-old) and I, we consumed the whole loaf by day's end.
Yesterday evening I lectured myself and Cliff: "If we want good-tasting, fresh bread, this is our only option. But we can't eat a loaf of it every day. If we keep doing that, we'll have to go back to buying our bread."
So I made another loaf and bagged it up (I ordered some bags when I ordered the bread machine) to put in the freezer. This is harder for Cliff than for me, since bread is just about his favorite food.
I'm anxious to try other recipes, particular the ones for potato bread and oatmeal bread. But obviously, I'll have to wait, or else I'll have a freezer full of bread waiting in the wings.
Wish us luck, self-control, and all that. We're going to need it.