If you were to walk into our home on any given day, you would likely be hit by the comforting aroma of freshly baked bread. Our baking addiction is relatively new, but something that has already become a part of our family’s day. Why bread, you ask? Well, first of all it’s delicious… But most importantly, it’s one little way that we help reduce the incidence of cross-contact.
When Chris first mentioned buying a bread maker, I thought he was nuts. “We already make all our food fresh, and now you want us to bake bread? What are we, Amish?” (Nothing against the Amish. They make some great stuff.) I just worried that it would be difficult, time-consuming, and honestly a little extreme. But then I thought about it… We LOVE bread. Way more than we should. After years of purchasing the “good stuff” from our grocery’s store bakery, when our son was diagnosed with his life-threatening food allergies we researched the types of bread that were dairy-free. We quickly learned that even the dairy-free versions were made in a shared facility and many of the bread varieties contain types of seeds (which he is also allergic to.) We decided that it just wasn’t worth it to allow him to eat any of that, since he’s still so young he can’t clearly communicate how he feels. Somewhere along the line, I gave in and said “ok, ok… We can try baking our own bread. I just hope this isn’t a waste of money.”
Several months and hundreds of loaves of bread later, I have changed my tune. OurCuisinart bread maker is ridiculously easy to use, is a great family activity, and the taste can’t be beat. Our kids will regularly help add ingredients, and we figure this is a good way for them to learn what goes into their food.
Not everything that we’ve baked has turned out perfectly, but for the most part the baking has been very straightforward. All you have to do is follow the recipe explicitly and turn the machine on. It’s so easy that our non-FA seven year old regularly helps out. (That’s her, below.)
One of the things she loves best about baking is looking at the yeast. She says “I know they’re alive, but I don’t see them moving!” 🙂
If you want to get fancy then you can take the paddle out and make a loaf that’s as beautiful as it tastes. We’ve made French, rosemary, beer, whole wheat, and cinnamon swirl bread so far and they’ve all been a hit. One of the reasons that we bought this specific bread maker (in addition to the great reviews) is because it also has a gluten-free setting, but our attempts at making it gluten-free haven’t been incredibly successful. Since little man does not suffer from celiac disease though, we haven’t really tried again. Our absolute favorite recipe is rosemary bread.
One of the perks of baking rosemary bread is how amazing it makes your hands smell. We have a ton of rosemary in our yard, so we love to pick our own and bake with it.
Being numbers people, one of the first things that we did was calculate the average cost of a loaf of bread to determine the payback period. We figured that it costs between $1-$1.50 per loaf, versus the store loaves being $3.00 and other commercially available gluten-free, dairy-free breads costing $6.00 in our local store. Even with an initial investment cost of $97 for the machine that we use (the Cuisinart CBK-100 programmable bread maker), we were sure to make the bread maker pay for itself quickly. As an added bonus, baking bread has become our go-to gift for sick neighbors, new babies, hostess gifts, etc. And did we mention that it’s less than $2.00 a loaf???
You definitely have to be careful when you take the bread out of machine because it’s hot – use caution!!!
Our favorite things about our Cuisinart CBK-100 programmable bread maker (available here):
* You know exactly what goes into what you’re baking and can maintain control of the surrounding environment, thus avoiding cross-contact from any potential allergens.
* It’s fun for the family.
* Each loaf saves us $2.00 from the store brand (or $4 for commercially available allergy-free bread), so the machine pays for itself quickly.
* The instructions are ridiculously easy to follow!
* You can put the ingredients in and set a timer to start baking at a specific time. That way, you wake up with fresh bread!
What we would love to see improved upon:
* It makes a lot of beeping sounds to indicate when the paddle should be removed, when to add ingredients, etc. We haven’t found a way to turn it off, and it can get kind of annoying.
* It’d be nice if the digital display indicated when it was time to take the paddle out (to make the bread pretty), versus having to listen to the beeps.
Overall, we are incredibly pleased with our bread maker. Not only does it make the house smell amazing, but we know exactly what goes into our food. We hope to get many years of use out of the machine. If you’re a bread-a-holic like we are then you should definitely order one!
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