My father was the baker of the family. Every few months he would make a half dozen loaves of bread and a batch of pizza dough. After I learned that some of my symptoms was the result of food allergies, this special treat became a lifeline as buying bread from the store was nearly impossible. After his unexpected death almost a year ago, I cherished that last loaf, not only because it was a symbol of his love, but with my chronic health issues, making bread by hand was not an option. Therefore there was a definite possibility that this precious loaf might be the last time I was able to have bread.
Years ago we had a bread maker. And once in a while I would use it to make a loaf of bread. But shortly after moving to our new house my mother, wanting to do a big favor, made a loaf of bread. The problem was that she did not realize that this particular model had a tendency to shake rattle and move. And move it did, right off the counter onto the floor which was of course the end of our bread maker.
For years we looked for a new one, but without any success. Then one day a few weeks ago, my mother and sister went shoe shopping during tax free week and was surprised to find a break maker on sale. Fortunately, instead of walking away they called to ask me what I thought, and of course I told them get it.
What a blessing. Between the pain of fibromyalgia, the fatigue of chronic iron deficiency anemia, several sinus infections due to allergies, bouts of muscle weakness from what some doctors think might be multiple sclerosis, and a long list of other health issues, there are hardly any days where I would have the strength, energy, and stamina to pull out a bread mixer and spend an hour or more making a batch of bread.
With the bread maker I only have to feel strong enough long enough to pull out oil, flour, sugar, water, salt, and yeast, measure, pour, place in the bread maker, plug it in, and set it to the proper setting. When measuring things out I can sit or stand depending on how I feel. In usually within five minutes of starting the bread is merrily mixing away and I do not have to worry about it again until the machine beeps and lets me know that the work is done.
Having a bread maker has been great. There are still stretches where I feel too miserable to make bread, but now if I feel well, on a whim I can make bread. I do not have to worry that fifteen minutes from now I might be too tired to finish the loaf, because fifteen minutes from now the bread maker will be doing all the work.
As much as I enjoy the advantages of a bread maker, there are a few disadvantages. The first one is that it only makes one small loaf at a time. This can be a problem if you live in a home where bread is a staple or you have to make different types of bread. For example my sister has to be gluten free and the rest of us have to use gluten flour.
This brings me to the second downside. The bread maker says it makes gluten free, but so far, even though I have followed the recipe, I have not had much success making a tolerable loaf of gluten free bread. It usually ends up in a small, hard clump on one side of the mixer. I tried adding more liquid, but so far nothing I have tried has worked.
The third, and most glaring problem is with the paddle that mixes the bread. Sometimes the dough gets trapped underneath of the paddle and becomes like a sticky glue making it almost impossible to remove the paddle until it is soaked and pulled away. And once we did not notice at first, but it managed to get backed into the loaf and we were looking for the paddle everywhere not realizing that it was in the loaf of bread.
But even with that, for me having a bread maker is a definite win. And if given a chance I would love to get a bread maker that allows us to add fruit and nuts to the bread. Years ago my mother used to make a delicious bread with raisins, dates, and walnuts. But with the stress of my father’s death and the added responsibilities she has not had time or energy to make this yummy treat.
In the future, if we are ever able to get a second machine, I would want to get a bread maker like this so we can not only enjoy toast or sandwich bread, but also some delightful raisin or fruit nut bread too.
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