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If you’ve ever baked before, you probably have thought that the most important element in baking bread is your equipment. I really can’t say I blame you. I mean, there’s a lot of equipment out there. There’s quite a number of bake ware that you can use. There are also kitchen appliances that make the whole baking process so much easier.
The problem is when we confuse convenience with quality. You have to understand that if you are going to be baking substandard bread, you can use equipment to bake that bread with the best bread maker more efficiently and quickly, but at the end of the day, it’s still a substandard piece of bread. We need to look past the equipment. As important as marketing and branding are concerned, and regardless of what you may have heard in the past, if you’re serious about producing the best loaf of bread each and every time, you need to zero in on what really matters.
What really matters, of course, are the bread machine ingredients that you use. Just like with coding software or writing a book, or any other kind of creative activity, input counts for a lot. In other words, garbage in, garbage out. If you have a garbage problem, think about installing a garbage disposal, like the InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, or used an indoor compost bin.
For example, if you cut corners or buy substandard ingredients or use substandard parts, then the end product that you come up with is not going to be up to the job. It may pass very minimal standards, but it’s not the best it could be.
The reason should be quite obvious. You saved on the parts. You cut corners. You took shortcuts. It’s important to understand this because with bread, it’s easy to think that all ingredients are equal. It’s easy to think that just because you put them all together using the right kind of equipment, that everything else pretty much falls into place. It’s easy to think that the process pretty much takes care of itself, as long as you have all the ingredients together.
After all, you may be tempted to test how different is one loaf of bread from another loaf, really. Again, I really can’t fault you for thinking this way because this is how a lot of people think. This is how a lot of bakers operate. They focus on substitution. They focus on the path of least resistance, and ultimately, we’re talking dollars and cents.
The problem here is that just like with anything else in life, you get what you pay for. Either you’re paying for something in the form of cash or you’re paying for something in the form of time. Regardless, you’re going to have to pay and pay and pay if you want the best quality. The rules haven’t changed. That was true in the past, it’s true now, and will probably continue to be true in the future.
If you are serious about producing the best bread you’re capable of producing, you need to zero in on the most important ingredient. While you may be tempted to cut back or cut corners with some other ingredients, you cannot really hold back on this most important item. If you were to just focus on the highest quality ingredient for the most important component of bread, then chances are quite good that the quality that you end up with will be consistent.
This is really important because with bread and like with any other items that you bake, you really cannot afford inconsistent quality. You can’t just let luck take care of the quality of your bread. This happens quite a bit. People would bake amazing bread one day and then they wonder what happened the next day because they can’t seem to replicate the same level of quality. Regardless of what they try, regardless of the ingredients they play around with, it seems like they can’t put their finger on what causes the first loaf of bread to be so awesome. They are often besides themselves as to why the subsequent loaves of bread are simply not up to the job.
Let me just make everything simple for you. Just focus on the flour. If you focus on the flour and spend a little bit more on high quality flour, then you have a lot more cover, as far as quality is concerned. Sure, you still need to buy top notch yeast and other ingredients. But with the right flour, you have a lot more room to work with, as far as quality is concerned.
Keep this in mind because it’s too easy to just skimp on the flour because of course it’s the most expensive component. But you’re really throwing a lot of quality for very marginal gain. Do yourself a big favor and look for other ways to save money while preserving a high level of bread quality. It can be done. It’s been done before and with enough experimentation, I’m sure you can pull it off as well.
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