What are Bread Makers?

Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes

Just two short decades ago, if someone asked the question, "What are bread makers?" the answer would have been a swift nod of the head toward whoever was the resident cook. Bread makers were otherwise known as Mom, Grandma, Aunt Sally or the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Today, electric bread makers are those wonderful inventions, similar to automatic dishwashers and washers and dryers, which do the hard work of homemaking for us. Bread makers are like little servants we can put to work while we do something else more profitable, necessary, or fun.

Wheat and flour for making bread.
Wheat and flour for making bread.

Bread has long been part of the history of the civilized world. Evidence of grinding wheat and making bread has been found as far back as the Stone Age, and bread has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Bread makers adopted their own profession in ancient Rome and became part of privileged society. While these bread makers became revered and privileged in one sense, they were also deprived in another, as they were unable to change professions or associate with many of the dangerous and exciting aspects of their society. They became enslaved to their profession of being bread makers.

Bread is part of the history of the civilized world.
Bread is part of the history of the civilized world.

Today, bread is known in most parts of the world as a staple to any diet. From simple bread and water eaten by the poor, to the warm, decadent loaves served with plenty of butter to royalty and the privileged, bread is part of human existence. Often referred to as the staff of life, bread provides us with energy and necessary vitamins, and it can be made in a wide variety of shapes, styles and flavors.

Electric bread makers, first invented in the late 1980s, have changed the way we make bread. Gone are the days set apart for making bread, when Mom and Grandma worked for hours stirring the dough, waiting for it to rise, punching it down, waiting again, and then baking at just the right time. Bread makers now do it all for us. After we put in the basic ingredients, we simply close the lid, plug in the bread maker, push the start button and go on our merry way. Magically, we return approximately three hours later to a steamy brown loaf of perfectly baked bread. Bread makers are even programmed to keep the bread warm after they finish baking, so that if we don't get home right away, the bread will still be as fresh as if we just took it out of the oven.

Although many of us still delight in being the bread makers, for those of us who find ourselves too busy in this modern world, electric bread makers are a delightful and indispensable invention.

A bread maker is a kitchen appliance that can mix and bake different types of loaves.
A bread maker is a kitchen appliance that can mix and bake different types of loaves.
Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes

Paulla is a freelance writer and website editor who currently lives in Maine. Paulla has a B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University and over 15 years of experience as a freelancer. She relishes the flexibility and consistency of working on wiseGEEK articles, as well as the opportunity to constantly learn something new.

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Discussion Comments


I never owned a bread maker when they were really popular. I have seen many of them for sale at garage sales. At one sale, the machine had never even been used and also came with several bread maker recipes.

The price was too good to pass up, and since I had always wanted to try one, I bought it. It was an inexpensive way to see if I liked them and since it hadn't been used, everything was intact.

I was surprised at how easy it was, and found myself doing quite a bit of experimenting after the first few batches. I like to add extra ingredients such as walnuts and raisins for a custom made loaf of bread.


When I got my first bread maker several years ago, I made bread a couple times a week. I don't make it as often anymore, but still keep my machine around.

When I am hungry for some warm, homemade bread, I will get my machine out and make some bread. If I would keep my automatic bread maker out where I see it, I would probably make bread more often.

It really is handy to add a few ingredients and let the machine do the rest of the work. You can have fresh bread in a few hours with minimal time invested. Warm homemade bread is a complement to any meal and also makes great toast in the morning.


Bread makers might just become even more popular as we become more health conscious. When you make your own bread you know exactly what is inside, and you can control how much and how many ingredients you want to put in.

Eating whole grain bread for instance, is a great idea, and having a bread maker to knead for us is even better. I would stop there and remove the dough and bake the bread in the oven. The bread will get that nice crust, that satisfy all our senses.

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