5 reasons why I don't use a bread machine.

Today I found dried dough in my wedding ring. It was from making bread this weekend. Kind of funny. But I've been baking up a storm lately--because homemade is so good! 

Recently, I've received questions about whether I use a bread machine. The fact is I don't (the dough in my ring is my proof)! Crazy? Maybe, but I have my reasons, and they stem mostly from personal preference and my developing philosophy of what it means to live simply and be self-reliant.

Five reasons to ditch the bread machine...

1. A simple-life philosophy... 

I've had a kind of principal germinating inside me for a while that I've been trying to live by. It goes something like this: 
It's the PROCESS, not just the end PRODUCT that matters.  
This idea is the main reason I shy away from using a bread machine. Because the making of the bread is as important to me as the finished bread on the table. Part of living a more simple and slowed down life is choosing to engage in the process of making the bread with my own hands--mixing the dough, sinking my hands into its warm softness, the kneading, and smelling of that yeasty aroma while I work. I like how it feels to practice this age-old skill. Seeing how I can produce something from nothing all by myself (well almost--you do need the raw ingredients)! When I'm finished, I feel a sense of accomplishment, almost like I've made a gift for the ones who will eat my bread. It's satisfying. So delete the bread machine, and enjoy the process of bread-making!

2. It's all or nothing for this farm girl... 

I actually had a bread machine once--a good one. Yet, I've found making bread by hand to be more time-efficient. Surprised? It's true. I like (and need) to get all my bread made on the weekend--enough for the whole week. By hand, I can make four loaves at once, and be done in about three hours. Not with a bread machine. They can only make one loaf at a time, and each loaf takes about two hours. At one loaf every two hours, I'd have to coordinate an entire day around interacting with my bread machine in order to finish my four loaves. I may enjoy the bread-making process, but I also want to move on with my day--picnic at the lake, go for a bike ride or a hike--without having to check back in with my bread machine every couple hours. For me, if it doesn't happen by hand on the weekend--it's just not going to happen folks.

3. I like the security of not relying on a machine... 

I'm one of those who believes the day may come when I won't be able to rely on electricity to run machines. Whether it's just a storm that knocks the power out for a few days (which does happen at our lake house), or something bigger and worse, I want to be ready. There's a sense of security that comes with knowing the old fashioned manual skills of yesterday that don't rely on the grid. If the power went out tomorrow, I would still be able to make bread (and bake it, too, in my propane oven--though, I dream of it someday being a wood stove--ha)!

4. I'm too farm girl frugal...

Making bread by hand is truly the cheapest way to make bread. Bread machines are expensive (unless you're lucky and get one free or second-hand for cheap). But putting the cost of the machine aside, there's another cost to consider--ready-made mixes. When I had my bread machine, I wasn't into doing it from scratch. Those mixes aren't cheap! One mix, and you've spent nearly the same you would on a store-bought loaf. So then I figure, if I'm going to make my mix from scratch--which is by far the most cost effective and gives me the most control over ingredients--I might as well just spend the few extra minutes it takes to do the kneading myself. That's really the only difference. Apart from the kneading, I'm free either way to do other things during the rising and baking times. 

5. I like to share the activity... 

I'm all about doing something together when I spend time with my nieces, mom, a friend, my sister, whoever. I see every baking session as an opportunity to share meaningful experiences with people. A bread machine changes all that. 

Final thoughts... 

I realize you may use and love using a bread machine. And you may use it to it's maximum potential, saving money by making all your mixes from scratch, enjoying the freedom of mixing then letting the machine do the rest--I think that's great. As I've said, my reasons for opting out are just personal preference. They don't have to apply to you. But maybe something I've shared will inspire you to work-in occasions of bread-by-hand, too. 

If this post inspires you, or if you have other reasons for making bread by hand, I'd love to hear your story. 

Joy--Fearless Farm Girl,

"Farm girl: it's a verb, because it's what you do."

1 comment:

  1. Now I want to make some bread! You're pictures are just beautiful!