Saturday, January 17, 2009

Breaking Bread (A Cautionary Tale)

A few days ago, I was reading some of the posts on the forum. Someone had asked about a recipe for making No-Knead Bread. I've been making it for awhile and find that it fits into my busy lifestyle without making my hands hurt.The conversation somehow turned to using a bread machine and it sort of served as a reminder to me that I really should use mine occasionally. I've had it for several years. It was a gift from my dear husband, TheMartianMan. (Well, what else did you expect his name to be?)

Although I have quite a collection of appliances, most of them rarely see the light of day simply because I hate the chore of cleaning them after use. Anyway, I decided that yesterday would be the day to utilize the bread machine. I gathered my ingredients together to make a simple white loaf, loaded the machine and three hours later, I had bread. It was a decidedly tall and fluffy loaf that we would later enjoy with dinner. I decided to immediately re-load the machine and start a 2nd loaf.This is where I ran into a problem.

The bread machine was unwilling to start the 2nd loaf and the display just had the word WARM on it. I tried everything that I could to turn the machine completely off but nothing worked. I was concerned about the yeast being killed off by the high temperatures in the machine and went tearing through the house in search of the instruction manual for a machine that hadn't been used in over a year! Once located, I discovered that the machine must be allowed to cool down before starting the next loaf and could be turned off by holding the stop button for about 10 seconds straight. I started the 2nd loaf about 20 minutes later after sprinkling a little extra yeast in the machine to compensate for any yeast killing that I might have done. Three hours later, the loaf was finished. However, the quality of the 2nd loaf was nowhere near as high as that of the first loaf. Although the second loaf did rise...It only got about half as tall as the first and feels DENSE. I will freeze it and use it as chicken feed. The lesson to be learned here is to at least skim through the manual before using an unfamiliar appliance and make sure that you have the booklet handy when you are using the apparatus.

A picture is worth a thousand words...The two at the top of this post are screeching volumes.


Claire said...

Dense bread makes wonderful bread pudding...just a thought!

TheMartianChick said...

That's a really good idea, Claire! Now I don't feel so bad about it. I don't suppose you happen to have a good recipe for it, do you?

ChristyACB said...

I second what Claire said. When that unfortunate dense loaf gets made, it is time for Bread Pudding!

Hand making bread is one of my favorite chores too, but during the height of summer gardening, it is hard to fit in the time. I got the Cuisinart for Christmas and wow, what a time saver but yes, you sure do have to let it cool completely between loaves.