Tag Archives: bread machine

The Staff of Life

20 Nov

I love to cook. Very little comes into our house “pre-made”, although I must admit I draw the line at making my own pasta. Been there; done that. No “instant this”, or “instant that” crosses our threshold.

But of all the things I make, bread is our favorite. Back when I was still working full time, I made bread three times a week, by hand. It’s great anger management therapy! Knead that dough! Flip, flop. Beat ’em and bang ’em. One for you and one for your ugly brother. And your little dog, too. (Wait! That’s another story.) I got to beat people up and had something to show for it when I was done. I have dozens of recipes;  I once sent The Squire to the office every day for a month – twenty working days – with a different kind of bread every time. White bread. Whole wheat bread. Onion-dill. Cheese bread. Beer-rye. Since each batch makes two loaves I was giving the excess to the girls in my carpool, but they stopped taking them, as their husbands wanted to know why they didn’t make bread, too.

But this one is our favorite, hands down.

1-1/2 cups milk                                                                                                                                   1/4 cup honey                                                                                                                                     1/4 cup butter                                                                                                                                        2 eggs                                                                                                                                                        2 teaspoons salt                                                                                                                                     5 cups white flour (I prefer unbleached)                                                                                         1 package yeast                                                                                                                                     2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, if desired (optional, but it makes the bread more “manageable”.

The girls gave me a bread machine about ten years after I retired, and I admit I use it now all the time, but you can do this the “old fashioned” way as well. If you know how to make bread you don’t need me to tell you the “let rise, punch down” jazz. In fact, I got this recipe from a Betty Crocker cook book, published many years before bread machines existed.  You can use almost any recipe that calls for less than six cups of flour in your machine without any changes.

Warm the milk, honey and butter in the microwave until warm – the butter does not need to melt. Add other ingredients as listed; your flour and salt should not meet until the bread is started, as salt will kill the yeast before it has a chance to work.   I use the “Dough” setting on my machine, turn out the dough, and shape it into two 1-1/2 pound loaves  and place in 9 x 5 pans. Bake at 350ºF for about thirty minutes, or until it reaches 190º internally. Do not insert the thermometer too early, or it will drag the loaf down; bake twenty minutes and then insert the probe and leave it until the alarm sounds. Turn out of the pans and brush with butter immediately to keep the crust soft. (I just unwrap the end of a stick of butter and run it over the bread.)

Good stuff! And smells divine!

(I have NO idea why the ingredients are spread across the page that way. I typed them in a straight line!)








Great Balls of Fire!

24 Sep

We are having a Fall Festival at church in mid-October, and I have started making bread and stashing it in the freezer.

Yesterday, I made two loaves of onion dill bread, and today, two loaves of a two-toned bread that always goes over well.  We were just sitting down to dinner when the oven began making a really weird beeping noise, and the smoke alarm in the kitchen started shrieking. I have no idea what happened, but the bottom heating element had stopped working, and the broiler, the top element, was glowing. I threw a sheet of foil over the tops of the two loaves and hoped for the best, but it was no use. The tops of the loaves were burnt beyond redemption.


Burnt Offering

We had to turn off the oven at the main switch, and those two loaves are not fit for sale.  If you cut off the top crust, they are tasty, but not much on looks.

I start my bread in the machine, and then pull it out and put it in pans for the final rising.

Onion Dill Bread

1 package yeast, or 2 teaspoons if you buy it by bulk

3-1/3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 egg

Mix together, warm and add:

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup cottage cheese

3/4 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons minced dried onion

2 tablespoons dill weed

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

Makes 2 8×4 loaves. Bake  at 350-F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until an internal thermometer reads 190. I generally bake the loaves about 20 minutes, and then insert the thermometer, removing the bread when the beeper goes off.




Requiem for a Bread Machine

16 Aug

When I was still working for the Evil Insurance Company, I made bread three day a week. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I took out my frustrations on the dough. Bang, flip, bash! One for you, one for your stupid brother and one for your ugly little dog, too. (Oops, that’s from another story, isn’t it?)

I sent The Squire to the office every day for a month (20 working days) with a different kind of bread – white bread made with egg and honey, whole wheat, cheese and cracked pepper,  fresh herbs, two-toned bread, rye, various sorts of sour dough – you name it, he had it. The girls in my carpool stopped accepting the extra loaves because their husbands wanted to know why they didn’t make bread. The Squire ended up taking the leftovers to his office, where nobody complained -ever!

After I retired, the bread making slowed down; I was no longer so frustrated, and I had discovered the joy of afternoon naps.

About ten years ago, our three daughters got together and gave me (us, really) a DAK bread machine. That machine saw Trojan duty,  working long and hard, turning out countless loaves of bread.

Until yesterday.

I got it all loaded, ready to go, and the motor had jammed. The Squire and I were on our way up to the Laundromat, and there is a brand new Goodwill Super Store in the shopping center, so after we put the clothes in the washers, we wandered down the way to see what was on offer.

Came home with a very nice Corner Bakery machine. Judging from the condition of the accompanying cookbook, it was hardly even used.  The Squire managed to get the makin’s out of the DAK and into the Corner Bakery and away we went.

Not bad for $7.

Looking for a Good Book?

22 Jan

Well, the snow yesterday was a bust. I got up extra early (believe me, getting up at 5:45 is bad enough!) because it was supposed to have started around 4 AM. Nada. It didn’t start until around 10, and then really didn’t amount to much. It’s been so warm here that while the snow stuck to the grass and bushes – and looked beautiful – the roads and sidewalks stayed clear. Today, the high was 43, so all we have is mud.

Lots of mud.

However, the forecast is for it to start snowing again tomorrow night and snow into mid-afternoon on Saturday, with 3 to 6 inches accumulation. My attitude is that the weather is like the economy. It’ll do whatever it wants, regardless of what the “experts” say.

I wasn’t able to make the bread I had planned Tuesday night, so yesterday morning before I left for work I put everything but the water into the bread machine for a plain white bread;  The Squire would get it started when he woke up. The thing got about half through the first kneading when it gave a mighty groan – and quit. He cleared a spot on the counter, dumped everything out, kneaded the bread by hand, and got it finished up and into the oven. I’m telling you, that guy is a keeper! He took apart the machine and ordered the piece needed to repair it, so we should be back in business in a week or so.

From time to time, I check out God’s Facebook page, which I think it pretty funny, and often very wise. He frequently thanks atheists, Wiccans, and other such folks, for not going off and starting wars, and promises that He will let them into Heaven, just for being so well behaved. He may have a point. Sometimes I think major religions embarrass Him.

Today, there was a posting about some real books which people have written, apparently with a straight face, about God, the bible, and other aspects of religious life. I will leave it to you to figure out which one I’d really like to read.