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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My bread maker machine

I bought my first bread maker from a church basement rummage sale for $4 when I was attending a yoga teacher training about 5 years ago.  I used it infrequently back then, but since October of 2011 we haven't bought bread (but for two loaves of French bread on sale).  So, that means we use it quite a lot.  This past week my bread machine died.  I suppose it would happen at some point in time with as often as we used it.  I do have a bread hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer, but don't want to deal with timing things and going back to knead and wait for rising, and some other probably lame excuses as to why I don't want to go without a bread machine.  I don't buy the whole argument about getting to take out your frustrations by kneading the bread and really going at it.  I don't have that much anger to begin with, and my hands cramp up when I do it by hand, so I'd prefer not to.  (Honestly, when I'm angry, I prefer to clean and organize.  While some people wish they had that problem, just know that I also expect anyone around to also clean while I'm angry, so you may proceed to feel sorry for my husband).  

Back to the bread machine.  We actually didn't even use the machine for baking.  We only used it for making the dough and then we'd bake the bread in the oven because Jaimie likes the shape of the bread better from a bread pan.  It's just really easy to toss everything in, see the timer, listen for the beep, and then put the bread in the oven.  No kneading, no mixing, no waiting for it to rise and checking the clock - the timer will tell you how much longer until the dough is ready (or bread if you want to bake it in there). 

Of course, we found out that our machine died when we attempted to use it and I had all of the ingredients in it.  Yes, I know that bread fixings are relatively cheap, but it really bothers me to waste things, so I was going to do something with that unmixed dough.  I kneaded it (not doing that again, my hands didn't like it) and tried rolling it out.  That didn't work.  I tried waiting for it to rise, and that didn't seem to work.  I decided I'd make something like foccacia.   I rolled it out as far as it would go, and then put it on a cookie sheet to put in the oven.  First mistake: drizzling olive oil on it while it was on a sheet with no lip.  All that oil went off the bread, off the sides of the baking sheet, and burned on the bottom of our new (and still clean) oven, which then smoked up the house and set off the alarms.  Second mistake:  adding dried tomatoes to the top.  When you see pictures of foccacia with dried tomatoes on it, they were probably on there raw and then baked.  It didn't occur to me that putting dried tomatoes on it and then baking it would just make for blackened tomatoes on top.  However, after moving it onto another baking sheet and removing the blackened tomatoes, it baked up ok.  I wouldn't say it was great, or that I'd ever do it this way again, but it was edible.

Before baking

Again, back to the topic of bread makers.  Because I'm resourceful (aka not wanting to spend a lot), I bought my next bread maker at Goodwill.  Prices have gone up on used kitchen appliances apparently, but at $7, I still think it was a good deal (so long as it works, but I haven't yet tested it out).  Our last one was for 1 to 1.5 lb loaves.  This new one is up to 2 lb loaves.  I'm hoping that I love this one as much as I loved the last.  Now that I've got a bread maker again, I have my eyes on a ravioli attachment for the Kitchen Aid.

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