I have a Kitchen-Aid mixer, the low-end version, and love it for making
breads and doughs. But when my mom offered to get me an ABM, I quickly said
yes. I'm the mom of 5 little girls, all 5 1/2 and under, and I just don't
have time to bake bread everyday. Now I bake a loaf in the ABM every 2 days
or so, and I'm saving the money I would have spent on endless loaves at the
grocery. So for me, an ABM is worth it both as a time saver and a money
saver. I've found ways to adapt my recipes so that my bread is "soft" like
the bread you find in stores. Also, I refuse to buy any bread with
preservatives, so I'm really saving when I make my own.
However, at holiday times and other special occasions, I love making bread
with my Kitchen-Aid. It is relatively quick and simple, and you get a
differently-textured loaf. I always do my pizza doughs in the Kitchen-Aid.
If I were really a stickler on natural grains and time-saving, I'd get a
Bosch Universal machine that would grind my grain and give me loaves to bake
in my real oven in 95 minutes, start to finish. This would be great, but I
think $200 for an ABM is cheaper and works better for me than $500 for a
Bosch. I may change my mind sometime in the future, but right now, my ABM
is great for everyday baking.
I think I've achieved a nice balance. There certainly are advantages on
both sides! Who can argue with that wonderful smell you get in your house,
no matter how you do it?