Friday, April 11, 2008

My love affair with a lovely bread maker

Or "Make your own bread at home every day, with a
one-time, $45 investment"

If you told me several years ago that I'd be cooking my own bread, I'd have told you that you're nuts. Being a tech type I can't see myself "wasting time" (even if the alternative is sitting in front of the puter browsing random web sites :) with the sticky flour+water mess. (I used to manually do my own pizza once a month, but stopped because of the mess I created in the kitchen).

But then... I found about these nifty kind of tech toys... BREAD MAKERS!.

And not only that, but I found a VERY AFFORDABLE one (45 greenbacks in the US of A, and ~ USD $76 locally in Buenos Aires in 220v AC version, including 21% V.A.T. -remember the local version has local warranty, and the importer has to make a living as well, so they likelly make around USD $10 per unit discounting import duties).

While the local brand isn't Sunbeam, the Chinese manufacturer is the same. It works great!. In less than two hours after pouring the ingredients and pressing the right keys (make sure you put water first and powder dry yeast last), I have my own hot bread ready to eat (and the smell of fresh bread throughout the house).

The same exact China-made bread maker sold with the
local ATMA brand down here, sold as Sunbeam in the US of A

I've found that natural powdered "dry yeast" is readily available in 10 grams envelopes (keep in the fridge and it lasts several months!) in major local supermarkets like Carrefour, Disco or Coto (sadly the French chain 'Leader Price' across the street doesn't carry the powder version, just live yeast).

For comparison's sake, here's an off-the-shelf piece of commercially made bread:

And here so you compare the size with the machine's container. With the machine I bought, you get a ~680 grams to 950 grams (1.5 to 2 pounds) piece of bread.

What's best is that you pour the ingredients into the removable teflon-coated "cooking pan" (I really really hate teflon, but I have to agree that it'd be almost impossible to create this kind of device without it, and it's almost impossible to know if the commercially produced bread doesn't involve teflon along the way... so in the grand scheme of things, at least I do know what ingredients -or lack of chemicals- I put in my own homemade bread).

After pouring the ingredients, you set the program using the keys, push Start and go away!. You'll know when the bread is ready a hour or so after that because of the beeping, and fresh-bread smell.

The unit at work
(note: light is a flashlight I was holding to take the pic)

Work complete!

Here you can see the cooking pan out of the unit. (I did the first run with the unit standing on the floor and closely watching along the process fearing any spills/smoke/etc nothing happened! :).

As you can see below, the mixing-pad is part of the cooking pan and stays inside the unit, and inside the bread as well, but being all teflon-coated, it doesn't stick to it.

It's easy to recognize pieces of bread made with this unit because of the small hole made by the mixing pad that it leaves at the bottom.

And here, the tasty result!

In short: Highly recommend one of these contraptions!.

Not bad for USD $45 huh?

PS: I'll see if I'm so happy when the first electricity/power bill arrives. This unit uses 600-Watt while cooking, and less than 100 while mixing.


Igor The Troll said...

Fernando, nice blog. You really take on all issues, which is good.

And I see you adopted to organic way of life by cooking your own bread.

I may actually come to Argentina. Thinking of traveling South America with my Japanese lady.

See if I can get myself away from the computer. lol

Nerd Progre said...

it´s broken. My bread making machine is broken.

It lasted two years and five months, with non-stop use weekly to produce two or three bread pieces.

What broke? apparently the rubber belt, as the motor spins full speed but the mixing pad doesn´t move.

Now the problem is finding a screwdriver that has the security screws tip that this device uses.