I had bread machines on my mind for months. A friend had gotten one for Mothers Day last year and adored having fresh bread regularly and easily.
I hemmed and I hawed.
I had been making bread, using the dough hook on my Kitchenaid to do the heavy kneading. All that rising and waiting and rising and more waiting though, that was the tricky part, especially with two littles around.
Excuses I know! But while bread making isn’t all that difficult, many of the better recipes do require time in the kitchen. And by time I mean an hour rising here, a bit of kneading after, then another hour of rising or twenty minutes of resting. That kind of thing. Where it is somewhat necessary to be around the house for most of the morning or afternoon.
I adore The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum which I’ve used for a variety of breads like a plain hearth bread to olive bread, beer bread and more. And many of her recipes require this mix of resting and rising and shaping and rising over several hours. All this is what creates that wonderful delectable bread.
I used the popular no-knead bread recipe from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery before that (and if you’re brand-new to bread making I’d still highly recommend it!) but wanted to try different breads, different textures and tastes, of the kneaded variety.
So the bread machine? Let’s just say a year-end special won me over. The price fell below $100 and with a click of a button, I was the owner of a bread machine – the Panasonic SD-YD250!
It sure took up quite a bit of space on my kitchen counter.
But to be able to throw in some ingredients and let a machine work its magic was just simply awesome. Sure the breads were always of the same shape and required slicing by my unsteady hand but hey, fresh bread every day!
I was so used to letting the machine do all the work – mixing, kneading, rising, baking. The only thing I could never do right with the machine was work its “French bread” cycle. The bread always gets stuck in the pan after that cycle! It requires a lot of digging with my silicone spatula before the bread jiggles out.
But something was missing! I missed those oddly shaped breads I used to churn out – odd because my shaping of bread needs a lot of work!
So I’ve returned to making my odd loaves. I use the dough cycle to mix and knead and do some resting and rising. But now am giving shaping and rising another go on my own. To some success!
Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs