Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth
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Last February a new cook toy made it to Babeth's kitchen: a programmable breadmaker. Not that I scorn the baker's art, but I living in the country side right on the boarder between France and Luxembourg and the closest bakery is miles away!
A favorable juncture of circumstances made me bought one of those machines:the urge for morning's toasts bread and having fresh bread to pair with cheese, and the unbeatable low-price (30 euros). Fellow Europeans check your local LIDL store for this kind of deal.
Since them I've been baking fresh bread from scratch or from store mixes and even brioches. The mixes I'm buying are from LIDL, they're make really good cereals breads and are cheap (less than 80 cents for 1kg). With 1kg of mixes you bake two 700g breads.
I did check on walmart and target web-stores and for about $70 one of their breadmakers can be yours. But do your researches, check online, read what other users are saying on forums before buying anything ;-)
Here few tips to not to get frustrated by your breadmaker:
1- read the manual
2- even with the manual recipe you may not get a well rounded crispy bread loaf. Humidity and warmth are key to get beautiful plump bread (you know stuff they discuss all day long on the weather channel), depending of where you live if your bread trials are not plump enough consider decreasing the amount of water, and remember always use luckwarm to warm water.
Other breads recipes:
Julia Child's French baguette
Tender potato bread