I live in Germany, which means that bread is readily available everywhere. Not just white bread in bags at the supermarket, but a variety of bakery breads sold in real bakeries. Standards are slipping here in Berlin, as more and more bakeries stop baking and start purchasing bread from large factories, but as of now, you can still get decent bread.
That being said, I love homemade bread. I’m not really a traditionalist though, and I don’t insist on kneading it, letting it rise, and all that jazz. I have a bread machine, and I put it to good use. I love the fact that I can throw in a bunch of ingredients and wake up to the wonderful smell of fresh bread. It’s far faster and easier than walking to the store to get bread, especially in winter. I also love the fact that, even if I use the best ingredients, it’s still cheaper than a bakery loaf (assuming that bakery makes their own bread).
However, I’m facing a challenge. I’m still looking for the perfect bread recipe. For a long time, I was using the recipe suggested in the manual for my bread machine, but I’ve decided these come out a bit too “cakey”. I’ve been experimenting with various recipes online, but there’s always something slightly wrong. Sometimes it’s too moist, and sometimes too dry. Sometimes, the recipe is for a machine much smaller than mine, and the loaf comes out overcooked or even burnt. I’ve had to substitute some ingredients (I’ve never seen yeast specifically for bread machines sold here), and it comes out wrong. Lastly, sometimes the bread doesn’t rise properly.
One day, I will find that perfect bread machine bread recipe. When I do, I’ll post it!