In praise of the bread machine
Let me tell you bread machines were the hottest things since, well sliced bread, in the early 90s if memory serves. These days you don’t hear much about them, really, what with the ascendance of convection ovens (two sets of cooking times, are you kidding?), restaurant grade appliances (in the home?! I don’t need the unreasonable expectations created by having six burners), and the George Foreman grill (get real, I live in New York City. There’s barely room for the coffee maker in my kitchen, and that’s critical). But you never hear about the lowly bread machine anymore. It’s fallen out of fashion, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we’re in a period where labor-intensive is more chic than labor-saving, and that’s just messed up.
Well let me tell you, fashionable or not, the bread maker is absolutely the greatest kitchen appliance. Evah. Imagine waking up to the smell of baking bread in the morning – takes the sting out of being occupied, don’t it? But the real benefit is that you do almost nothing, no kneading, no resting, no rising, no agonizing. Just dump the ingredients in, press the button and walk away. Four or five hours later, voila. Could not be easier.
Now, I have read the food porn that touts the pleasures of bread making – how Zen the experience of being up to your elbows in dough can be, how satisfying it is to serve a handmade loaf to family and friends. Blah blah blah.
It’s a lot of time and effort, and it never comes out right. The machine is foolproof and slattern friendly, and the product is indistinguishable from “real” homemade bread, of which I’ve eaten a fair amount in my life – one look at my ass proves it. I can’t tell the difference, and I’ll bet Grammie Sue couldn’t either. And by the way, if she’d had a bread machine in the 1950s, things might have been very different in her house.
So dig that bad boy out of the closet and crank it up. Don’t worry if you’ve lost the recipe book. There must be a million recipes on the web, but all you need is one. You can thank me later.