We have had several attempts at making our own bread, but it'sntime consuming and results are variable. I have often thought about buying a bread maker, but assumed they would be very expensive. However, looking at Amazon there are several available at around £50. I decided to buy one knowing it would be easy to return if it turned out to be a failure.
I chose the Morphy Richards breadmaker on the very non scientific basis that it was the number one best seller on Amazon and had many positive reviews. It came with a very comprehensive instruction booklet. Although you can tweak lots of settings, for most loaves you just put in the ingredients and press "Go".
It's important to measure your ingredients accurately and pay attention to the water temperature. Too hot and the yeast ferments too fast and the loaf will rise and collapse. Too cool and it won't rise enough. You do need to do some tweaking to the weights to get the sort of loaf you want. However, my first few attempts were perfectly acceptable.
Total preparation time for the ingredients is about 10 minutes. Once you set it going it will take about three hours to bake your loaf. The whole process is automated, once you have placed the ingredients in the breadmaker you simply press go and wait for your loaf to bake.
A standard loaf will cost slightly more than a pound for the ingredients. Not as cheap as Tesco, but much nicer! Apparently you can also bake cakes and make jam, but I haven't tried that yet.