Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Again. Today I baked my fourth loaf, a cheese-salsa "last minute loaf" from a recipe in the booklet that came with the Cuisinart bread machine (shown at left, possibly 5-10 years old, on loan to me for an unspecified period). Of the four loaves, only one failed, and even it was edible: the excessive dryness and hardness may have been due to my misinterpretation of the cycle instructions in a recipe from a different book, which was not specifically for a Cuisinart machine, and used different names for the cycles. The other three have been, IMNSHO, very satisfactory; it is almost as if the machine takes the guesswork out of the difficult aspects of bread-baking. Today's loaf has the distinction of being the first one that met with Stella's full approval. It's not that she has high standards from years of baking (though she probably did that in her younger years), but from her general lack of interest in bread as food. This one, I'm happy to say, caught her attention! And yes, of course, I bookmarked the recipe.

I am surprised and delighted how pleasurable it is to dine on bread one has baked oneself. I know that using a bread machine is "cheating," but there's something about the aroma of the ingredients, both during preparation and of course during and after baking, that simply cannot be topped for sheer pleasure. And after this past week's sour experience, I can certainly stand some sheer pleasure!


  1. yep, i used to think that using a bread machine was 'cheating' too.

    all that kneading by hand is good exercise, but if you're in it just for the eating [and oh those wonderful bread aromas!] machines are the way to go.

    wish i'd figured that out years and years ago.

  2. Good to see you, hipparchia! Indeed, I'm probably hooked on bread machines now; I never had a lot of patience for the kneading, rising, punching down, repeat-until-exhausted routine. Some technology really does improve life.

    I look forward to your return to blogging someday...

    OT, I just rode with Stella to resupply myself with flour and yeast, and beer and Coke, only to be reminded that some things haven't changed since my youth: you still can't buy beer in Texas between midnight and oh-dark-thirty (6 AM?).

  3. Glad to see you are still at it. I had said that I would give you the scoop on bread machines. I have tried several and I think the Zojirushi is the best on the market. The folks at King Arthur flour agree and it is the only one they sell in their catalog. A really good one just happens to be on sale now in their on line store. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/zojirushi-bbcc-x20-home-bakery-supreme-bread-machine-white

    Oh and even us old bakers into artisan baking don't consider bread machines as cheating. As long as flour and yeast and water are involved it is baking. Fresh bread is fresh bread and there are hundreds of ways to get there.

  4. Fallenmonk, thanks. I've bookmarked the King Arthur Flour homepage and will look there again when I no longer have the use of the borrowed box (which may be with me for quite a while), and when I'm in more of a hurry to spend money. :-) Fortunately, King Arthur Flour is itself available in local stores, and I've used their Bread Flour in most things I've baked.

    I've seen strong recommendations of SAF yeast, but have been using plain old Fleischmann's, either Active Dry or Rapid Rise as appropriate. Should I try to locate a source of SAF?

  5. mmmmm Got get one of those and start!

  6. SAF yeast is good but so is just about every yeast. I mostly make sourdoughs which come with their own yeast but when I do use yeast I just use the Kroger store brand rapid rise yeast in the jar. The envelopes are expensive and a small jar is much more economical. Kept in the fridge it will last years. Not to mention that a whole packet of yeast is usually twice what is needed in a bread machine recipe. You should also know that regular active dry yeast and rapid rise yeast are the same yeast. The rapid rise is just manufactured and packaged so that you wind up with more live yeast plants in the packet. I always use the rapid rise for any recipe calling for yeast.



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