Since I often mention the timesaving value of an automatic bread machine in my articles at BellaOnline.com, I thought it might be helpful to review my favorite cookbook on the subject.
If you happen to own an automatic bread machine, or are thinking of getting one, Electric Bread by Suzan Nightingale is the best book I have used so far. I purchased my first copy of Electric Bread right after it was published; now there are three editions available, including a paperback and a spiral bound, as well as an Electric Bread for Kids (which my Grandchildren like to cook out of when they're at my home), and More Electric Bread which has even more great recipes.
I also bought the book for my Mom as a gift with a bread machine for Mother's Day in the 90's when the machines were new and expensive. Between the two of us, we tried almost every recipe in the book, and almost every recipe turned out beautiful, perfect loaves (except for the times we got distracted and forgot yeast, or salt). The one exception for both my Mom and me was the Baked Potato Bread, which apparently doesn't work in our Utah altitude. The Light Rye Bread is the best rye I have ever tasted, and I love the Cottage Dill and the Pumpernickle breads too.
This book has recipes not only for numerous breads that will bake into perfect loaves in your bread machine, but also things like English Muffins (the Honey Bran Muffins are divine), sticky buns, and even a picnic loaf to hollow out and fill with fried chicken. These recipes are made on the dough setting and shaped and baked separately from the machine. In addition, there are a few recipes for spreads to go on the breads.
I like the fact that there are comments on each recipe with suggestions on what to serve the bread with, as well as a good index. There are basic instructions for using most types of bread machines, and also troubleshooting tips for the rare occasions that a certain loaf doesn’t turn out quite as perfect as expected. Each recipe has a beautiful picture that lets you know what you will be getting in about 10 minutes of hands-on time; it does take a few hours to complete the kneading, rising, and baking cycle--precious time you can use for something other than baking bread in the kitchen!
If you’re interested in saving time, but want fresh bread in lots of varieties, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it, especially now that automatic bread machines are so cheap.
Purchase Electric Bread from Amazon.com