24 June 2006

Bread Making

In response to a number of queries as to what Bread maker we use, here is our experience.
We have tried a number of bread makers since they first began to be popular. The best we have used is the Panasonic SD-YD250.
In Australia we first had a smaller Panasonic, but the loaves were not big enough to handle our family's growing appetites. Then we purchased a larger bread maker from another brand and it was terrible. The loaf was bigger, but our success ratio plummetted. The only times our Panasonic failed was when we fogot the yeast or mucked up the water content.
In our first week of arriving in the US we tried the local bread. It remained soft (aka "Fresh") for the next two weeks! We quickly bought the Panasonic from Amazon, our friendly UPS man delivered it and we never bought store bread again.
As an accountant I naturally did a price comparison. Including power consumption, the home made bread cost around 40% of the store bought bread price. Make sure you buy dry yeast in the compressed bulk packets. These only cost about $2.50 (US) for 2 x 500g/1lb at Sam's Club. Don't waste money on sachets!
Lana's tips for better breadmaking:
1. Weight the flour. This makes a more consistent loaf.
2. A premix flour (bought in bulk) makes loafmaking really easy. Just add water and yeast and the children can do it.
3. When the weather is cold, used luke warm water. Otherwise the yeast doesn't react properly.
4. Cut the bread in the middle from top to bottom, and then place the open side down, cutting slices. This is the easiest way to provide reasonable sized slices.
5. An electric knife works great.
6. Keep fresh bread away from 2 year olds until the bread is ready to eat!

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