Agree on the bread machine. I especially agree on just using it for the mix/proof/kneed/rise portion of the cycle, then form the loaf by hand and bake in a conventional oven. I use mine for pizza dough, other flat breads, crackers, and small runs of things like bread sticks and rolls. They make excellent bread for toast and sandwiches.
One thing nobody mentions: If you have one with a "delayed start', it makes for a wonderful olfactory alarm clock ... Not as good as an automatic bacon fryer, perhaps, but a close second.
You can often find them in thrift stores for a couple quid ... the original owner tries the "sample" packet that comes with the machine, which makes 'orrible bread because it's been sitting on a shelf for a couple years and is well past it's sell-by date. They assume the machine itself is useless, and it winds up in the thrift shop. Look for a model that makes a two pound loaf ... and always use fresh ingredients! Throw away the free packet if you buy a new machine. GIGO applies to baking just as much as it does to databases.
One other thing ... I bought a machine missing it's mixing paddle once. I figured I'd just machine one, guessing on it's size/shape based on the several machines I've worn out in the past. But first, I decided to call the manufacturer (toll-free number found online). The gal I spoke with shipped me not one paddle, but two ("just in case") ... and didn't charge me for them, not even postage. I've since repeated this a couple times, with different manufacturers. Remembering the person at the other end is human, and using PleaseAndThankYou as Grandpa always told me, seems to work wonders even in this modern era.