Which Is Better: Making Bread By Hand or With a Machine?
Bread makers have created somewhat of a rivalry between man and machine. Both options have their advantages, making store bought bread a poor substitute for the real thing. Knowing which method of making homemade bread is right for you involves several factors. Letís knead out the differences between the two and see which one rises to the top for you.
Ease of Use
Bread machines have their place in our modern, fast-paced society, requiring only enough skill to combine ingredients, pour into the machine, and let your bread maker take care of the rest. Some machines even mix the dough and allow it to rise without any more bother from you. This type of simplicity is something older generations never experienced, and today you can set timers to go on and off during the process and still produce a perfect loaf.
Making bread from scratch requires lots of stirring, mixing, kneading, and combining, but it contributes to a much more personal experience. If youíre up to the challenge, the constant kneading will seem like a labor of love instead of a chore.
When you make bread by hand, your kneading skills are the key to a good finished product. Knead the bread too little and you end up with a stringy mess of dough that wonít rise or blend the way it should. Knead too much, however, and your promising bread becomes a solid rock of dough no one will want to eat.
Still, homemade bread requires ingredients youíre likely to have already in your pantry. Beyond the kneading that could build arm muscles if required, you just combine your ingredients and hope for the best. Conversely, bread makers require a bit more preparation before you can just decide to bake a loaf on a whim. One of the things youíll need, for example, is dry milk, which is something we donít typically stock in our kitchens.
You may not think so, but making bread by hand is actually easier in this sense, since you donít have to plan to bake it so systematically. Using bread machines consistently requires that you keep certain ingredients on hand all the time, or at least live close to a store. If not, your bread making plans will require a little foresight to plan ahead.
Taste and Texture
Most people would agree that you canít beat the taste of homemade bread, even though your grandmotherís bread is often better than anything youíve made in the past. Bread made by a machine comes in a close second, and the convenience of the preparation time is definitely a plus. If you stick to the same recipe, you should be able to rely on consistent taste and texture, and cleaning up a single container will drastically reduce the time it takes to put your kitchen back in order.
The texture of your finished bread loaf is much more reliable with a bread machine, since its built-in mixer expertly combines the ingredients until they have reached the point needed. This makes the possibility of a more consistent texture for your bread more reliable.
Based on the three categories weíve just discussed, a machine-baked bread seems like the obvious winner. The only caveat is that youíll need to be sure and have all the right ingredients on hand when the urge to make some bread takes hold. You donít have to tell grandma how you did it, and a modern bread maker is a great way to make consistently delicious bread youíre family will love.