For years, it seemed like a ridiculously tedious thing to do.
It was a task I would never try on my own, because why should I? Buying fresh bread is wonderful. And bread is so accessible – at the grocery store alone there are tons of choices for every preferred taste, right?
Well, with my ever-growing repertoire of eco-friendly changes to our family, I was noticing one major and consistent amount of waste coming from…bread. It was the plastic bags that bread comes in. And while it may seem like a simple item to add to your recycling bin, it isn’t. The truth is, any flimsy plastic bags from breads and other food items end up not getting recycled in the standard recycling facilities. The reason is because the recycling machines cannot recognize flexible plastics, and they jam the machines. So, all of those bread bags are unfortunately taken out, and thrown out, ending up in landfills, or worse.
I’ve been watching One Small Step with my boys to show them quick and very educational videos on changing our habits. Host, Lucy Biggers, learns here what these plastics are all about:
So, I begrudgingly decided I would look into changing my bread purchasing and attempt baking at home. I say begrudgingly because I honestly did not want to bake bread. The only bread I have ever made are dessert breads like banana bread and lemon loaves. And to me, that was enough. I figured I would suck at bread making. And I truly did not enjoy the wait process of dough rising and having to knead bread. It is a tradition my boys have done with their nonna, and truly, I felt I was off the hook since they did that with her.
But then, lo and behold, the team at Hamilton Beach introduced me to their newly designed Premium Dough and Bread Maker. Even as they were giving me their pitch, I was still thinking this was not for me. But between their explanation of how easy it really is, and then my friend, Tanya’s push for me to try it because, yes, she makes bread and has for a long time, I figured it was a good time to give it a go.
The First Step Is Making The First Step
My beautiful bread maker was delivered to me before the holidays and I took some time to get it out of the box and commit to trying it. Isn’t it funny how we can work things in our mind into bigger projects than they are?! Was I scared of the bread maker?!! I mean, I’m telling you the truth here, I took a while to get going with this…
I had to go back to what I wanted to change – I didn’t want to waste plastics. Then I calculated things in my mind about freshly baked bread and picking it up from the local bakery with my cotton reusable bag. Sure, I could do that but first off, I was lazy, and second, it was more money. When you calculate what it actually costs to create a loaf of bread, you do a double take. Well, it isn’t that crazy different, but there is certainly an up-cost. If you calculate what you need at home to make bread, excluding a bread maker, it’s about $1.50 a loaf. At the grocery store, a loaf of plain white bread is anywhere from $2-3.50 in Montreal. Then the cost of an “artisanal loaf” from the bakery, ranges from $4-6.00 a loaf. And considering how quickly we eat bread as a family, I was in. I was going to make this work and I was not going to suck at it.
I read the instructions from front to back, I watched a few instructional videos, I bought the only ingredient I didn’t already have (yeast) and then I decided to start easy and make the classic bread. The recipe was in the instruction book, so I followed and waited.
And mamas, it was SO EASY. All you have to do is follow the instructions on what to put in first, second, and so on. Press the buttons for the size of the loaf, the type of loaf, the preference of crust and voila! BREAD. Fresh bread at home in a few hours. You can’t really mess this up – why was I so scared?!! The only point to make is to seriously follow instructions. There is a method to the steps and a reason why each ingredient goes in when. The yeast is always the last ingredient, right on top of the dry ingredients. If you do that, you are good, every time.
Before writing this review, I tried different recipes to see if there was anything more to learn (or get wrong). As far as the Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread Maker goes, I couldn’t ask for an easier machine. I was able to make bread for my family without messing it up, without waiting for dough to rise, without kneading, and more importantly without wasting money or plastic. And I can tell you from my family’s reaction, having the smell of freshly baked bread, warm and ready to eat at home is a wonderful thing!
The bread machine does all the work for you and all you have to do is pop out the loaf when it’s done! I have even gone as far to use the dough setting and for a special tradition; I made a wreath of buns. For this setting, the dough is prepared for you and you just need to butter your pan and shape your buns. After that, a little wait time, and place it in the oven. I was so proud of this simple creation! It reminded me of those old Rice Krispee treat commercials where the mom pretends she’s been working so hard to make them, with flour on her face when she gets out of the kitchen…it is that easy, friends.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m happy to have made the switch for many reasons. I have designated a special spot on my kitchen counter for the bread machine and I use it often. My family is requesting it every day, but we have slowed down a bit, only so we don’t eat too much bread! It is now a rare occasion that we purchase bread loaves. When I look at the ingredients in the breads I once purchased, I see there are additives we don’t need in our diet. Making food at home is always the best option. I am so happy I tried something new to me for my family.
I’ve even had the chance to bring freshly baked bread to a friend’s home as a simple and delicious gift. And I’m constantly trying new recipes out (there are many recipes on Pinterest for bread machines); sweet and savoury, and my family rates their favourites. So far, they love the classic bread, as well as a cinnamon loaf.
The Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread Maker is $149.99 and I highly recommend it for your family. Not only have I been making bread, my children have been loving the chance to help me make bread. This appliance is a great investment to limit your plastic waste and create delicious and healthy bread for and with your family.
Disclosure: I was compensated by Hamilton Beach Canada for this post. All opinions, as always, are honest and my own.