Is the bread machine mixes any good? Yes, some of them are, but the problem with all bread machine mixes is that they limit your choice and discourage your creative talents. That may sound a little harsh but think about it for a minute. If you rely on bread machine mixes you can only make the bread for which you can find a bread machine mix and you can only put the bread machine mix in the bowl and switch the bread making the machine on. You are not encouraged to alter the bread machine mix for fear that it won’t work.

OK, what is the alternative? Well, the old-fashioned cookbook, of course! Not any old cookbook, but a specialized bread making machine cookbook. Bread making is a very easy, but rather tedious process. The ingredients are everyday, household items: water, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and oil. You already have those items in your kitchen by using previously tried and tested gourmet bread recipes and gradually develop your own – ofttimes out of necessity.

I once made a |really great|fantastic loaf by adding some of the leftover vegetables from my Sunday lunch. It was delicious, but I could never quite reproduce it because I had not written down the weights and measures of the vegetables. I could only remember that I had added green beans, potatoes and sweet corn in it!

Bread machine mixes will never in a million years give you that, will they? And bread machine mixes are fairly expensive compared to the cost of 10 pounds. I always vary the ingredients too: honey instead of sugar, milk instead of water, olive oil or butter instead of just corn oil. Rock salt instead of sea salt or visa versa. I’m sure you see what I mean.

Bread machine mixes are not only limited but limiting too. A bread making machine is a great way to use up leftovers. I have often added meat and fruit to my gourmet bread. My guiding principle is: if it’ll go in a sandwich it’ll go in the dough – like an Indian stuffed paratha or stuffed naan bread.