I own FIVE breadmakers. Yes, FIVE. I pick them up from a localish secondhand store that has rotated items at 80% off each week. At less than $2 each, how could I resist? Expecially since I absolutely refuse to purchase that chemical laden stuff they call bread at the grocery store. It bothers me greatly that it doesn’t go bad. Whoever heard of bread that never molds and doesn’t go bad? It has an expiration date, but if you leave that stuff in a corner on the counter and forget about it for two months, it looks and smells the same. Ewwww. Something isn’t right there.
So, in an effort to produce something that actually has flavor, smell, and is healthy for my family, I began making my own bread. It started by hand, with a simple recipe that I could never get to rise properly. I found out after a few months of trying (over the winter) that I couldn’t get it to rise properly because my house never got warm enough. Who knew bread wouldn’t rise at 60 degrees?
It Always Starts With Failure
Then, it began. I stopped in at that second-hand store and saw my first breadmaker for $1.40. I figured for $1.40 I could afford to try it out. If I didn’t like it I could always bring it back and resell it. So, #1 appeared at my house.
To say the least, I was not pleased with the first few attempts. The manual didn’t say how Firmly you had to push down to seat the container into the bread maker. So, attempt number one never kneaded and therefore made cooked flour mess. They also don’t warn you ahead of time that the paddle cooks into the bread, and you will have to fish it out of your weird misshapen bread loaf. Attempt number two became a crumbly mess on the counter.
At that point, I was only willing to give it one more shot. After I put in the ingredients, and began to snap it into the breadmaker, I spotted an item on the settings list for the machine. “Dough” it said. Ding, ding, ding!!! There was my lightbulb. If I just let the breadmaker do the hard part, then turned the dough into a normal bread pan, I would have normal bread without all the kneading work!
It worked beautifully. Once the breadmaker was finished with the “Dough” process, I would remove the completed dough from the pan, knead it down slightly, then shape it and put it in the pan. After allowing it to rise on more time ontop of the oven while it was pre-heating, it was ready to go in and become a perfect looking, great tasting loaf.
From there, I began picking up those 80% off breadmakers whenever I caught them. I am now up to five, and can make five loaves of bread at a time.
I will admit, this is the “cheater” way of making bread. There are even those that will tell me I haven’t really made bread. But, when you are running around all crazy that week, but need to get bread made, this option makes getting several days worth of bread baked and ready to go feasible again.
Yes, those breadmakers use electricity. Yes, it might not be “quite” the same as hand-kneaded dough. Frankly, I don’t care. My family has fresh, wholesome bread with ingredients I can pronounce with the minimum of my time input. What more could you ask for from less than $2 breadmakers?
What about you? Do you have bread shortcuts? Favorite recipes that you wish you had a shortcut for?