Thursday, June 18, 2009


Some people amaze me. They seem to be calm, stylish, and able to do every interesting thing in the world at once. You know, the mom who has 2 babies, helps her husband with his business, is writing a book, keeping up two blogs one of which chronicles her efforts to read 200 books a year, cooks from scratch, writes for local magazines, and will be starting graduate school in the fall. Seriously, she's real, her name's Amanda, she's my twitter friend though not real life friend yet, and she talks about life here and here. There are many such people in my life. Yours truly, of meagre margins, attempts to not quite keep up because that would imply a fair race, I grab a coattail and hope I get dragged into neat things. Which is what happened with the bread. Women and men I admire bake bread and they got me all intrigued. So I now bake my own bread. I have 6 different types of flour and two different types of gluten. I'm really into it.
Bread is such an impressive tool - you offer to bring homemade bread to a gathering and you get an appreciative ahhhh. It's quite gratifying for moi whose sink is full of dirty dishes and who still has to finish wedding thank you's two years late BUT I HAVE FRESH BAKED BREAD!

No one needs to know that it is actually made with a bread machine, except now everyone will know because everyone I hang out with reads this blog. Unfounded or not I feel that making my own bread is a feat and I'm going to stick to that, no matter how it happens.

I've got this wonderful huge cookbook and from it I've made Brioche (pictured) Proscuitto Mozzarella Bread, Black Olive Bread, Halepeno Bread with Longhorn Cheese, Beer Bread with Cheddar, Roquefort Cheese Bread with Walnuts, Ricotta and Fresh Chive Bread, Italian Lemon-Ricotta Bread, Chickpea Flour Bread as well as numerous others.

Marianne over at Prepare to Eat challenged readers to make their own bread in May. Marianne's method is a distant dream for me at the moment. She soaks her flour, she hand kneads everything, she doesn't use much white flour or any sugar. Sigh. I like to think that someday when I'm home for more hours of the day than I'm at work I, too, will do bread the ideal way. But really, won't I just find other excuses (kiddos, the sink of dirty dishes, Arrested Development on Hulu?) I'll probably still use the bread machine. But I'm OK with that. I don't think it's cheating, it's just a different way and I'm still coming out ahead. Those fancy loaves that I mentioned above would have cost approximately $6 per loaf here in the DC area, and I make them for half that or less. A cheap loaf of bread makes a meal of lentils actually filling. And all the ingredients in my bread I chose and I can pronounce.
One of the best parts is that I now have a perfect and designated use for one of my favorite wedding gifts - the bread/cutting board handmade by Aunt Mimi and Uncle Gary who are, themselves, die hard every day Zojirushi bread bakers. Also I finally got to buy the little butter dish I've been wanting.


deanna said...

Ooh, your previous posts make me feel I could like crab. Happy belated birthday. Up with bread machines! Mine works well for gluten-free loaves, from the Bob's Red Mill mix. You're doing great.

Melanie said...

Using a bread machine is so not cheating. It is facing reality - the reality of the limits of our time. And look - you have bread! Yummy, yummy bread.

Axon said...

Man cannot live on bread alone, but almost.

Marianne Elixir said...

Oh your bread looks lovely.

I only hand kneed out of necessity! I am not sure if you can do sourdough in a bread machine (does Axon know?), but I sure would if I could (and could afford a machine). Especially for the HOT summer. If I could keep the oven off until October I would be a happy lady.

meg said...

do you bake in the oven or does your machine bake sideways -er the traditional way- cause everyone knows when I've cheated my bread comes out turned upright.

lyssa said...

your bread looks delicious and your crab entry made me want crab before 7 am! Seriously, my honey bunches of oats just aren't going to cut it now!!!