My bread machine was a wedding gift from my MIL. My husband was ecstatic that I got one, and he was so looking forward to homemade yeast breads. I myself was excited, and I asked my hubby to make the first bread as a demonstration of how to use it, which he did. He picked the recipe in the manual for a bread that could be prepared in just about an hour. We delighted in the smell of the yeast as the dough was rising and baking.
We were disappointed in the outcome (although not in the taste) because it was wrinkled and seemed to have shrunk.
Several tries later, I lost interest in using it, and resorted to going back to using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and the conventional oven. I was feeling guilty because it was a gift from my beloved MIL. I hated seeing it just occupying a rather big portion of my countertop space (it is not as heavy as KA stand mixer, though). Until I thought of checking out the website written at the label of the Fleischmann's bread machine yeast and looking at their bread machine recipes...
One after another, I tried basic bread recipes the ingredients of which were usually found in my pantry. Some very good outcomes I have achieved were those of Basic Egg Bread, Rich Cheddar Cheese Bread, and Buttery Sweet Bread as they had well-formed dome and good crunchy crust, plus great taste. The Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Bread was superb in taste and crunch, although tended to have wrinkled dome.
Then as I examined the different settings, I added to my list some wheat bread recipes. Then I experimented with the dough setting using any of the above-mentioned recipes to try shaping them and baking them in the conventional oven.
Lately I have been trying to use it just to mix up the dough to the point when it is ready for kneading (which I like because it is less messy). What I like best about these recipes is that the amount is for family size only, usually requiring only 2 cups of flour, so that I do not have to worry about trying to consume the leftovers (I LOVE FRESHLY BAKED YEAST ROLLS, not 1- or 2- or 3-day old ones). My latest experiments include using the bread machine for recipes calling for rapid rise yeast and all purpose flour instead of the usual bread machine yeast and bread machine flour. Right now I am trying to "perfect" (according to my standards) my ensaymada using the bread machine (for minimal mess). Needless to say, if its life comes to its end soon, it would "die" having served its purpose and more. I love my bread machine, and it has been a great kitchen helper for me. The brand I have is a Sunbeam bread machine.
Making a research on bread machines will lead you to poor review of Sunbeam. I think it is mainly because of the same problems I encountered with tmy first usage of it. King Arthur Flour recommends the zojirushi, but it is way too costly (like, 3-6 times more expensive). I am quite satisfied with my Sunbeam.
TIPS for cleaning the...
PAN - Whether you used to make dough or to bake bread, soak in COLD WATER until the dough/bread softens. Then rinse in warm water either plain or a bit soapy. Let air-dry before storing in the bread machine.
BREAD MACHINE - Wipe with damp cloth only.
DO NOT PUT IN THE DISHWASHER! This will damage the non-stick finish (and also will affect the grease in the underside that rotates, according to hubby).
More tips on bread machine here.