My parents bought me a bread machine when I was a newlywed living in Manhattan.  I had about a foot of counter space and it took every inch of it. But I loved it anyway. I remember setting its delay function and at like 5 am the kneading would wake us up (it was a lofted studio so we slept on top of the kitchen) but it was so worth it. By 8 am we woke up to the amazing smell of fresh bread. I was the best wife ever!
I bought a bread machine cookbook soon after I got the machine and that is generally what I use for base recipes when I bake in the bread machine. A bread machine takes up space but its so easy. You literally throw the ingredients in and then 3-4 hours later you have bread. You don’t even need to clean up because it comes out clean from the mold.
It taught me how to make bread but its very limited. It generally only makes soft sandwich type breads. If I want to make more crusty or rustic breads I use the kitchenaid stand mixer and go through the steps of kneading, rising, punching down, rising, shaping, baking, cleaning, etc. Of course those breads taste better but its a lot more work. So sometimes its nice to go the easy bread machine route.

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I adapted the recipe from Betty Crocker’s Best Bread Machine Cookbook
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1. Gather your ingredients for a small 1 lb loaf:
3/4 cups of water
1 TB of butter
2 cups of high gluten flour
1/3 of a cup of mashed potato flakes
2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 3/4 tsp of active dry yeast
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 2. Put them in the machine – the only thing I would be careful of is not to let the yeast and salt marinate in the water together. Salt will kill your yeast.
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 3. Set the machine and then I don’t touch it unless a little flour is stuck in a corner i will coax it in. It will do kneading and rising and baking all on its own.
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 4. The hardest part is getting it out of the machine.
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