A while back I bought this bread-maker at a yard sale for $20. I’d been wanting a bread-maker for a long time and this one was brand-spanking new, never been used and a pretty good deal (after some negotiation).
I took it home and read the manual thoroughly, because whenever I buy anything new that plugs into an electrical socket, the first thing I always do is read the manual from cover to cover; highlighting the really important parts and then filing the manual away in my Appliance Manual file. (Alternatively, if you don’t want all those little booklets lying around, everybody has their manuals online now so you can keep an electronic file.)
Anyhooo, it wasn’t until last weekend that I finally got around to using it. I followed all the instructions carefully and then…then I made bread! It’s freakin’ magical. Who doesn’t love fresh bread? The smell of fresh bread. The taste of fresh bread. The texture of fresh bread. But who can actually do a good job baking fresh bread? Not me, that’s for sure. I’ve tried and to this day we still have the doorstops to prove it.
So, here’s this machine in my house now into which I dump a few ingredients, push the start button and then go away and live my life. A few hours later there’s a freshly baked loaf of delicious bread in my kitchen! I know, I know, the rest of the universe discovered the wonder of the bread-making machine a couple of decades ago, but it’s all so new and miraculous to me, so bear with me.
Right away I had to wonder who came up with this enchanting device?
As usual, my bosom buddy, Google, had all the answers. Back in the late 19th century, an African-American guy by the name of Joseph Lee invented a machine that would mix and knead dough for bakeries. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that the Japanese first came up with a miniature of this machine for home use. Later that same decade, both Sanyo and Zojirushi began exporting bread-makers to North America.
Joseph Lee grew up in the food service industry in Boston, Massachusetts. He worked as a baker, cook, waiter, and hotel manager, and eventually become the owner of two restaurants and his own catering service called the Lee Catering Company. He died in 1905 of non-bread-related issues.
Thanks Joseph Lee! Now, not only can I make a dazzling variety of breads, I can also use the little machine to process the dough for buns, rolls, strudel (STRUDEL!!) pizza, pasta, baguettes and bagels. The world of yeasty delights is my oyster, so to speak. The Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme® breadmaker (not the one I have, unfortunately) even makes, cake, cookies, jam and meatloaf! Ah, it’s good to be alive in the 21st century, isn’t it? I feel like Jane Jetson.
I see a lot of breadmakers at yard sales, though, so I’m thinking maybe the magic of making automatic bread wears off really quickly or something.