Everyone has their own idea of essential-must-have-kitchen-items but there is one item a lot of people don't really think about: a bread maker. We all have memories of walking into our grandmother's kitchen, a deli shop, or even just driving by a bread factory and smelling fresh baked bread. There is just something about that smell that arouses the taste buds.

Bread makers have come a long way though. They are not just for baking your standard white or wheat breads. You can make just about any kind of bread in these with no more then a few minutes of effort: dump in the ingredients, pushing a few buttons, and then waiting for that delicious goodness to be done. Banana breads, herb breads, french bread, apple cinnamon bread, blueberry bread (exactly like muffins but in bread shape), raisin breads, the list goes on and on.

Now there are all kinds of bread makers out there but I highly recommend this one:

 

 Not only is it very affordable but it gives you other options to make more then just bread. It can bake cakes, make jams, just the dough to shape and bake in a regular oven, bake meatloaf (yes you can even make meatloaf in it), and more. It also has a timer setting on it so if you want fresh bread in the morning or waiting for you when you get home all you have to do is add the ingredients, set the timer, and your done.

Imagine being able to have a sweet cinnamon bread in the morning or a slice of warm homemade bread with dinner. What about using some of the slices to make some of the best french toast or a grilled cheese sandwich. Surprise dinner guests with the smell and taste of fresh homemade bread and let them wonder how you were able to find the time to fix it. Experiment with putting different fruits and even vegetables in the breads. It's a good way to sneak those in on the kids!

Making your own breads this way is super quick and will save you a lot of money. The cost of making your own bread is significantly less then buying loves at the store, and it's healthier because there are no additives to try and keep it fresher longer as most store bought breads have. Also you control the ingredients so you can experiment with different ideas or adjust recipes for certain allergies like lactose intolerance.

This one is also very portable and easy to stow away so it will work in any kitchen. Do you spend a lot of time on the road and in hotel rooms? Take it along and bake in your room. This is also great for those who like to camp or live full time in their RVs.

There is nothing like making your own breads and with a bread maker you don't have to spend hours slaving over it, kneading, timing, and so forth. So for my family and I, our bread maker is truly an essential kitchen item.