Are the forum breadmakers still active in producing their own bread?
As a baker by trade, it is better if you make your own, but it's a hell of a faff, a bit like home beer and wine making, you have to be very dedicated when it's so easy to just nip down to the local Co-op...
I've given up with the bread making machine - despite measuring all ingredients with accuracy, I inevitably produce a brick - which although it tastes like bread, you can't get much filling in a 2" x 4" slice.
I'd love to DIY without the machine, but finding somewhere warm enough to prove is always a problem.
I used to make it when we lived overseas (Six families 40 miles into the bush) and the 'local' baker wasn't!!
These days I leave it to my better half as she makes excellent bread and rolls in the conventional (not a breadmaker) way. As with Pine Man, the freezer is a great storage facility and allows one large bake instead of several smaller ones which also keeps the cost down.
Another bonus, we know exactly what goes into it which is more than can be said for much of the 'mass produced' offerings in supermarkets.
I haven't got anywhere for proving hence the breadmaker. I get good results, unlike Covergirl, but it is important to use a good brand of strong flour and the right yeast. There are differences between brands of breadmaker too. I use a Panasonic.
Agree entirely about knowing what goes into it. I know that my loaves do not have additives. They probably go stale quicker but they get eaten quicker too.
Most of the dried yeast sold these days is micro-encapsulated and is designed to be used directly in bread machines and not pre activated. It is also OK for hand breadmaking but if you can get fresh yeast this is best.
As said its important to use a good strong flour with a high protein content, preferably around 12%. I find that the strong Breadmaking flour sold in Lidl is particularly good, with a high protein content and also has Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) added as an improver. Tesco's is also good - the one in the pink packet.