Very few people know who indeed invented the first bread machine, or even who came up with the concept. Before the bread machines that make mass food, or even your convenient one that you keep in your kitchen, bread used to be made by hand. Specifically it was made through the process that began with dough, which is flour and water with other ingredients added as needed. Before the machines that helped modern bread making today it was very profitable to be a baker, however very laborious at the same time. Hours of work would go into making bread - usually at a maximum of a hundred a day with multiple workers. At home, bread would be made by hand, and would often take much time to do.
Then along came a man with an idea for automation. Although the Romans had come up with massive milling factories and industrialization two millennia ago, their automation was limited to that of the material preparation. Born in 1848, a man by the name of Joseph Lee would come to prominence in the culinary industry by first building a machine that would take day old bread and crumble it - as back in the day any bread older than a day had to be thrown out and wasted. After he sold this design, he invented the first automated bread machine. He improved the design so that instead of taking six men, it took one or two. The machine was able to mix the dough, and kneed the bread - eliminating the human element from this part of baking, essentially creating a standardized bread mixture for each batch. The bread produced from this was not only more hygienic, but revolutionary in production and quality.
After this design became the standard, it overtook bakeries and many did indeed suffer from not having automation. By the 50’s nearly all major bread manufacturers had these machines - however people at home were still unable to make bread with an efficient bread machine that did not take up an entire room. It would not be until 1986 that a Japanese company manufactured the first one-loaf bread machine. It was with this first machine that the idea and designs would eventually become popular, and more manufacturers would take up on the popularity. Modern bread machines are made by many manufacturers for home use now, and all can trace their history back to Joseph Lee in the late 1800’s, as they all incorporate a miniaturized design of his automation machines. The machines themselves only need the ingredients, and can do the rest from beginning to end, producing a fully cooked and read to eat loaf of bread.
By 1996 the bread machine was becoming a household appliance that many owned, and a decade later the numbers have doubled. Sales of bread machines continue to be strong as more advanced machines become available. Machines which are able to make pizza dough or other dough for anything from cinnamon rolls to pancake mix are popular now as well, as they can do this and also their traditional role as a bread machine. Nearly any flavor of bread can now be made at home because of these little wonderful machines.