Bread Machine vs Handmade Bread: Pros And Cons

Making our own bread at home has been a household tradition for centuries, and while modern living has changed the technology used to bake, people still love to make bread at home. From basic recipes for sandwich bread to fancy artisanal breads, the passion for baking continues to rise. Much like bread, however, bakers come in all different types. Some of us cook bread quite often while others only bake once in a while. Some of us bake for just one or two people while others bake for large groups. Regardless, one might ask if buying a breadmaker is right for them. Do breadmakers save time and effort at the cost of flavor? Is handmade bread simply better in quality? Your grandmother might think so, but that doesn’t make it true! Let’s read on and find out.

Bread Machine
A loaf made with a bread machine. Simple and stress free!

Pros of Using A Bread Machine:

1.) Bread Machines Save Time.

While you do have to follow a recipe, it normally revolves around simply adding ingredients to a machine and letting it do the rest. Kneading, proofing, and baking the bread are done for you inside the machine itself. This allows you to focus on other tasks in the meantime while you wait which can be a big time saver for those who have a full schedule.

2.) Bread Machines Are Simple To Use.

The recipes are usually very basic and require little to no skill. This is good news for those who are new to the baking game. Once you get the hang things you can branch out and look into reading some bread machine recipe books to try something a bit more fancy. Soon you will be able to match your different bread recipes to your favorite meals for a delicious pairing that pleases the pallet!

3.) Bread Machines Are Consistent.

Breadmakers take a lot of the stress out of baking. There is little room for error, and the results are always the same. This means that once you find a recipe you like you can stick with it and get the same thing each time you bake, very similar to going to the store and buying a loaf from your favorite brand. Comfort food like that is priceless and will have your breadmaker paying for itself in no time.

Homemade Bread
There is nothing like authentic handmade bread!

Cons to Using A Bread Machine:

1.) Bread Machines Are Expensive.

Buying a cheap bread maker is never a good idea, as it is with any household appliance – they are unreliable and have short lifespans. Investing in a proper machine that is well built and holds up over time is definitely worth the extra money, and there are lots of high quality bread makers to choose from! Of course then the question is are you going to use the machine enough to make it worth all that cash? If you only bake a couple times a month, then probably not. If you bake a couple times a week, then it’s a good idea to get a bread machine to help you out.

2.) Bread Machine Loaves Aren’t As Tasty.

While it’s true that bread makers are quick and efficient machines, they also produce bread that simply doesn’t have that authentic, handmade taste. Handmade bread also tends to be more dense while machine bread is usually a bit more fluffy and full of air. Handmade is more aromatic and flavorful with a richer, chewy crust. Machine bread is a bit more bland in flavor/scent with a thinner, crispy crust. These changes won’t be too noticeable to those who aren’t picky with their breads, especially kids. This makes the bread machine good for families making bread to be used throughout the week for packed lunches and easy dinners. For those cooking bread as a truly authentic and delicious side to a gourmet meal, however, it’s best to make it by hand and bake it in the oven.

3.) Bread Machines Are Restrictive

While they do have some ability to provide a variety of recipes, bread machines are pretty limited in scope when it comes to what they can produce. When it comes to different shapes, sizes, flavors, and styles, handmade is by far the best choice. Bread makers generally make the same shape/size loaf each time with the only difference being the ingredients. This can take the fun out of baking your own bread and nudges the bar closer to handmade being the better choice.

You can use a bread maker to make dough which you then take out and use any way you like!

Why Not Do Both?

Believe it or not there is actually a nice compromise here! You can use a bread machine to knead and proof the bread dough for you which you can then take out, shape, and bake in your oven. This allows you to have more control over the bread while still saving you a lot of time and elbow grease in the kitchen. It’s still not the same as making it purely by hand, but it will help with quick meals when you’re not in the mood to be Lionel Poilâne.

So, whether you’re a world class baker or just a hard working parent with a big family, a bread maker on your kitchen counter is a good idea. If you don’t bake often and just make the occasional loaf for fun, then it’s best to just make it by hand and not let dust gather on an expensive machine. Either way, I hope that your loaf is tasty for you and your whole family!

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