EC Eats

The unexpected joys and ease of freshly made bread

Liam Flake

More stories from Liam Flake


As I have learned to make my own meals in the last few months, I’ve found myself buying a lot of bread.

That makes sense, I suppose. Bread, in its many forms, has been a staple of many cuisines around the world for much of our history. It stands as an incredibly versatile food, serving as a base for just about any dish you can imagine.

My go-to for the last six months tended to be Wonder Bread, which can be purchased both at Kwik Trip and the Davies Marketplace. Wonder Bread is, though perhaps not wildly exciting, a solidly adequate option on a college student budget.

This changed over spring break when I visited my grandmother in Iowa. During my stay, I helped her prepare her famous cinnamon rolls, from scratch, using her bread machine.

A week later, I found a sizable box on my porch. Inside, I discovered that I had been sent a bread machine of my own, with a note from my grandmother stating that she hoped I found use for it.

And find use I did. I discovered quickly that my compact Cuisinart bread maker was surprisingly intuitive to use. All I had to do was combine the ingredients in the pan (the simplest recipe required only four: water, flour, yeast and salt) and set the machine to the right setting.

I woke up that Sunday morning to the scent of fresh bread filling my apartment. The smell alone was divine. With the delayed start timer setting, I had programmed the machine to bake the bread overnight. I simply flipped over the bread pan, removed the loaf and dug in.

It took some trial and error to get right, of course. The first loaf I made was altogether too salty and did not rise properly. However, I soon perfected the French bread recipe and started to branch out to other recipes in the booklet, such as white bread and English muffins.

I have not bought bread since. The possibilities for such a machine seem endless — I have made croque monsieur and eggs benedict and crab bites, all on fresh bread of my own making. 

I suppose I am drawn by the prospect of making my own food whenever possible. A bread machine makes that much more achievable, opening up an endless array of options for homemade meals.

Of course, a bread machine is not something that is an option for everyone. While they are currently available online for about $130 and are a product I would highly recommend, this is outside many students’ budgets. 

However, one does not need a bread machine to consider making one’s own bread. There are endless recipes for simple loaves that can be prepared and baked quite easily in the oven, as was done for ages before Cuisinart. 

The reward of making one’s own bread is a pleasant surprise. It is both easy and delicious and can stand alone or complement a homemade meal, or simply improve an otherwise unremarkable sandwich.

And, of course, nothing beats the scent of freshly baked bread.

Flake can be reached at [email protected].