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.
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.
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.