Having kids changed me. A lot. In many ways. One of them is looking at food labels on the products I buy - not just the basic nutritional information but scrunching my eyes and reading the list of ingredients. So when I started looking at bread, it blew me away how many chemicals went into enhancing and preserving the look and freshness of a loaf of regular bread. And if I wanted to buy organic/no-sugar-added/somehow-better bread it cost more than I could justify.
In my previous life I rolled my eyes at people who made their own bread. At the time, in my book they were either anal, had too much time on their hands or were just plain pretentious. Well now I make my own bread and it takes less than 5 minutes to toss the ingredients into the bread machine. About 3+ hours later the machine calls you to come get your fresh loaf and with the timer option you can actually wake up to fresh bread.
The Zojirushi 1-lb bread machine has been worth the higher price tag and I have no complaints. I use unbleached whole wheat flour, and honey (instead of sugar) and fortify the bread with 2 to 3 tablespoons each of greek yougurt, wheat germ and almond meal. Iam constantly experimenting with different fruits and vegetables. Really - spinach/pineapple and potato/banana breads have been my most successful hybrids so far.
I actually have to hide the bread bin from my daughter at meal times. She will eat it for breakfast, dinner, lunch and snack on it all day if I let her. My son will eat it but he is not crazy about it.