So I dusted it off (literally) and decided to try some new recipes. Now a bread maker does require some trial and error and I've had some really bad errors. But if you start by searching for a few basics, Italian and wheat for example and get those down, then you can start experimenting with more specialty breads.
Here are a few tips:
- be sure to follow the ingredient order in your bread machine
- make sure your ingredients are fresh and not outdated
- use bread specialized for bread machines (yes it really does make a difference)
- start using recipes that came with your breadmaker. These are most likely to be successful as they are optimized for your machine
- when you do branch out to other recipes use Web sites where they have ratings and using feedback. I've found that using the feedback has led to a higher success rate
Also if you don't have a breadmaker, you can get some great refurbished ones at Amazon for around $70. If you're dedicated to using it, it can be a real money saver. Expect each homemade loaf to cost between 50 cents and a dollar, a bit more if you are using specialty ingredients.