Yes, I will admit it; from time to time I have used my bread machine. And yes, when someone asks if I use a bread machine to bake my breads, I act somewhat indignant. My machine was a gift, but I’ve heard a lot of people say they bought them at yard sales. I’ve also heard some people say they have put them in yard sales. Most of the time my Breadman Ultimate sits on the kitchen self, but like every kitchen tool there are times when it is useful.
In the 10 years I’ve had my machine I’ve probably used it around 15 times. All this musing came about due to a bread making class. I’ve taken several classes and at least one participant asks about baking in a machine…pause for some fake indignity…Really, though, the machine works well for making dough. I have rarely used it to actually bake the bread, partly because of the finished shape and partly because I just like to feel my dough. I am all about the tactile. It’s a great tool for handling wet dough and holds a great temperature for the first rise. Don’t believe that you can make great bread by just adding ingredients and presto..bread though. I usually open the lid while it’s kneading and check the dough…too wet?....too dry? Make adjustments.
My machine has a trap door where you can put things to be kneaded in during the last part of the process. Raisins, Cranberries, nuts..whatever. It does a great job with that. When the dough cycle is done, I take it out, shape it, let it rise and then bake it in the oven. Are most people any the wiser? Probably not, most everyone is just amazed that you baked bread.
I decided to make a cranberry pistachio bread, a variation of a raisin bread that is in my bread machine cook book (gasp! Yes I have one). RusticEuropean Breads from your Bread Machine by Linda West Eckhardt and DianaCollingwood Butts. This bread starts with a biga that’s mixed in the machine and left overnight. The final bread came out well. But, let’s just keep the process our little secret.
Until our next baking adventure.