Tuesday, June 5, 2007

IS BREAD MAKING AN ART, A TALENT, OR JUST DUMB LUCK?

A few years ago, my wonderful parents bought me a bread making machine. Years before that, I made bread many times from scratch just for the joy of it and for that wholesome yeasty smell that comes with homemade bread. I slowed down to a stop when I forgot to add the melted butter one time, and attempted to add it at the end. The dough was formed and I was trying to squeeze liquid grease into a glue ball. When I threw the whole batch into the garbage, I looked like the Michelin Lady with white walls. (Recently that was brought to mind by Theresa's Therm-m-m-mo-what's-it. I bet she looks better and isn't covered in white goo when that superlicious cheesecake is finished.) Time to get that bread machine out of the "hardly ever use it" cupboard. It's only been two years; I should have put it in the "use occasionally" cupboard.





Bend. . . .pull. . . .bend some more. . . . twist. . . .I didn't realize I was so far out of shape, that getting an appliance from the back of a bottom cabinet would be a work-out. Guess I should put my "hardly ever use it" cupboard in a more convenient spot. I might want to use that food processor paraphernalia in there some time.



Wouldn't you think the recipe book for the machine would be either with the recipe books or with the bread machine? After the last bread making fiasco, I was probably feeling a little frazzled and illogical. What do you think of when you can't find a recipe? Of course, Martha Stewart and computer. Well, I found out Martha doesn't have a recipe for EVERYTHING. What was I thinking? Using a bread maker would be like opening a can of spaghetti-o's for dinner, to Martha.....a definite, "No-no." I'm sure she doesn't even own a can opener.



I was on the fifteenth page of "Every Recipe in the Civilized World" website when I found ONE I could use in my West Bend machine. Sure sounded familiar. It was a, "Go." Measure accurately it warned. Do they think home co-ordinators are idiots? I know how to measure. A warm and fuzzy feeling came over me as I placed all ingredients into the pan and lowered and locked it into position in the machine. It would be ready in 3 hours and 10 minutes. I had clothes to fold, blah-blah-blah, and a draft for a future blog to write............................Two and a half hours later, Hubby says, "Is the dough supposed to be touching the window at the top of the machine?" "Oh, yes! It puffs up beautifully because of the yeast." says the Master Bread Maker. "Is it supposed to be smashed up against the window and forcing the door to open?" OMG! It looked like a small mushroom cloud had formed after a dough bomb had exploded. The mixture had risen over the pan edges and continued up and up some more until it looked like a giant's nose smushed (yes, smushed...flattened...SMUSHED) against a window pane. A very pale giant's nose. After a flurry of pot holders, knives, wooden spoons and burned fingers, the (to be kind) "loaf" lay on the counter. But, not undamaged, because it had taken over five minutes of cutting, scrapping and man-handling to force it out of the hot, very hot pan. After hacking off the top gluey one-third, the baked two-thirds at the bottom looked, well, not like something you'd buy at the bakery, but of a quality more akin to what a six year old would do in an Easy Bake Oven. (but, not as good)

Hubby and I checked the settings on the contraption, reread the recipe obtained on the website and started the search again for the manual/recipe book. It was in the third most logical place to look..........on the baking ingredients shelf, hidden behind the all purpose flour, the only book on the shelf. Thank goodness. I was all set to pay $12. for a new one that, in the mean time, I had found on eBay. We would have had to wait another week or two to savour the warm, soft texture and aroma of homemade manna. After comparing amounts of ingredients, he found the culprit was..... the yeast. Apparently, the two TABLESPOONS listed in the web recipe made a "giant" difference compared to the two TEASPOONS written in the original recipe book. We'll vouch for that! "Let's try this again." said Hubby. This time, we'll measure accurately, (if the recipe is accurate) as the web recipe said.

M-m-m. Warm.....delicious, lathered with sweet butter.....fragrance still lingering in the air. What a great midnight snack!

There is the obvious moral, "Don't believe everything you read." There's another, "It's more fun to do things with a friend." (and things taste better, too.) Thanks, Hubby.





14 comments:

Quilldancer said...

I love the kneading of the bread -- especially when I am angry or in need of thinking time. For me the bread machine eliminates the second best part of homemade bread (the first being eating it of course).

J. D. said...

Quilly.....with me, eating always comes before exercise:).....Judy

narcosis in paradise said...

Judy, lol.... I bake my own bread all the time, and I do it the old fashion way. I have a great recipe for an onion /rye if you're interested, I make it into small rolls like a single serve. Even after a couple of days, due to the lack of preservatives they get a little hard, just pop 'em in the microwave for 30 seconds a bun, slather it up with some butter, and ummmm, ummmm, ummmm...yummy!!!

J. D. said...

Wanda....bread and heaps of butter, m-m-m good! Other than pumpernickel, I'm not fond of flavours in my bread. Happy baking!

I Dive At Night said...

The smell of the bread baking is my favourite part. Third is eating it. My second favourite part is watching all the fiascos with the bread machine.

:-P

Theresa said...

Oops, too much yeast will do that to you. So, you put butter in the bread? My recipe just has flour, water, yeast, and a dash of salt. Maybe I'll try to put in a bit of butter next time to see what happens, it sounds yummy. Of course, usually when I don't follow the recipe exactly, the results are a disaster. My cheescake came out all soft and pudding-like because I think I added too much lemon juice (read the recipe wrong), but it tasted great.

Dan said...

It's always better to do things with a friend.

I had a bread machine once. I used it once. It has permanent residence in the basement next to the treadmill which I used once. :)

J. D. said...

Morgan...Ya, you should remember the smell of baking bread from our Burlington house. Why don't you come home and get some:)

J. D. said...

Hi Theresa...Does your Thermomix make bread also? My recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons of butter divided into four and placed in each corner of the machine. I also add a small amount of sugar to feed the yeast. Then it's just a matter of time till the "M-M-M-M good!" part....Judy


Hi Dan...Sounds like it might be garage sale time at your house. (Ya, you have nothing else to do or think about, eh? I hope it's a goof - no - a GOOD day for all at your place.)

Our treadmill is in the rear of the "I-hope-I-never-see-you-again" closet...........Judy

bazza27 said...

We use our bread making machine quite a lot, but mainly for making pizza bases.

bazza27 said...

Oh, by the way, thanks for the kind words about my photos that you posted on wifeys blog.

Theresa said...

I make the dough with the Thermomix(and pizza base too), then I let it rise for about 30 minutes and pop it in the oven for around 20 minutes...and voila, I have fresh bread. The recipie just calls for flour, water, yeast, a little salt, and a pinch of sugar. I don't know what would happen if I add a little butter...Well, it's worth a try.

J. D. said...

Bazza......Thanks for dropping by. Ya, our bread machines can pretty much do all things yeasty.

You are welcome. Your pictures deserve praise. And many thanks to "Wifey" for her help and her comical posts..........Judy

J. D. said...

Theresa.....2 Tablespoons. Divide into four and place in corners of pan, in the machine. Then let it knead. What harm can BUTTER do, except to the hips? It gives it a velvety texture. To us, it gives a lumpy texture......Judy