Baking bread is not easy. Seriously. While a typical electronic bread maker has taken a lot of the guesswork out of baking, it can only go so far. In fact, it only helps you with mixing the bread machine ingredients, letting it rise, and then baking it. Everything else is still on you. If you think the bread machine has done all the heavy lifting, you would technically be correct. In terms of making sure that all ingredients are in place to be mixed and turned into great dough, you would be correct. Bread makers are great in making sure ingredients are mixed together and be let to rise. Sadly, this is just a fraction of the total equation needed to make amazing bread.
Now, don’t get discouraged. I am not saying that if you use a bread maker, the items you produce would be horrid or no good. Nope. You can produce good bread. This much is true. But always keep in mind that there’s a big gap between good and great. There’s an even greater span separating great from awesome. If you’re serious about baking the best bread, you need to work on taking your bread to the highest level possible. You need to work on taking it to its fullest potential.
In other words, you have to pay close attention to your bread machine recipes. You have to have a laser focus on the quality of the ingredients you’re putting in, as well as their proportions. If you mess up the proportions, it’s anybody’s guess whether that loaf of bread that you’re baking would be good enough to eat or not. At the very least, it might not be good enough to write home about. Do you see how this works?
So you really need to make sure that you pay attention to detail. This is why the best bread makers are so awesome. They enable you to bake loaf after loaf so you can experiment with texture, taste, and ingredient proportions, until you get the right mix. They save you time and labor so you can constantly experiment.
Make no mistake about it, the only person that can tell you whether a loaf of bread is worth baking or not is you. Seriously. You don’t owe anybody else any favors when it comes to taste because your taste is yours.
And the best news is that, thanks to the best bread machines, you can continuously experiment with your bread recipe until you get the taste that makes most sense to you. In other words, bread machines have enabled truly personal loaves of bread. This awesome. Now, you can take things to a much higher level by adding a little texture.
Now, you may be thinking that it took quite a bit of effort and attention to detail to produce bread that tastes the way it should, congratulations. But you shouldn’t stop there. You should also focus on adding value to the bread that you produce by going beyond taste.
You need to remember that bread is actually a combination of both taste and texture. There are many great tasting loaves of bread out there, but their texture is all too forgettable. They don’t really stand out. They’re not really all that distinctive because the texture is really as basic as store bought bread.
There’s a reason why you decided to bake bread at home in the first place. You want something special. You want something distinctive. Why not make that objective come true by taking the initiative and actively re-imagining the recipes that you are working with?
By this point, if you’re a veteran of several successful loaves, you already know the proper ingredients to produce the taste that you’re looking for. That’s squared away. The next step is to introduce ingredients or processes or bread machine settings that would play around with texture.
Again, this is all about constant experimentation. It’s all about trial and error. But the good news is that the more you play around with these variations, the more you would reach that perfect combination of great taste and amazing texture.
If you really want to knock the socks off of people you invite over to sample your home baked bread, you really need to experiment with your bread machine. Thankfully, most bread machine brands and models actually have made this easier on you. They have certain settings.
Play around with those settings. Don’t just keep using the default setting because when you use the default setting, you will keep getting generic plain bread. It’s going to be the same loaf over and over again. Experiment a little bit and you’d be surprised as to how much more value a little bit of texture can bring to the next loaf of bread you bake.
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