Monday, August 3, 2009

Old-fashioned skills in the age of small appliances

My youngest brother recently moved to an apartment with less cupboard space, and so I inherited his breadmaking machine. The manual got lost a long time ago, and it doesn't seem to be available on-line, but I found some tips for "operating any bread machine" and some basic recipes.

This morning I threw all the ingredients into the machine, set it for a basic whole wheat loaf, and pressed the start button. Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until I followed the recipe instructions about checking the dough's consistency.

The instructions said that you were supposed to pause the bread machine (like lifting the lid on a washing machine, I suppose) and check how sticky the dough was, then add either water (for dry dough) or flour (for too-sticky dough) until the correct consistency had been achieved.

So I opened the lid... and the bread machine kept kneading away. I poked at a part that was nice and far away from the mixer blade, and it was definitely too sticky, so I added some flour and closed the lid.

After a few minutes, just like the instructions said, I checked again — still too sticky. This time I pressed the Stop button to make the machine stop long enough so I could be super extra sure that the machine would mix in the new infusion of flour properly.

But when I pressed the Start button, the machine screamed at me and started blinking "H-E", which I guess is some sort of error. It wouldn't start no matter what. Apparently on this model, Stop really means "something awful is happening! STOP!"

I dug the dough out of the machine's baker thingy, threw it in my favourite bread-mixing bowl with some flour, and kneaded it until it was the right consistency. Then I tossed a tea towel over the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes, before shaping the loaf and putting it in a loaf pan. 45 minutes later I had a perfectly nice loaf of bread with a crumb density that is perfect for sandwiches:


Next time: must remember not to push the button, or not use the machine.

1 comment:

  1. ha ha! I used to have a bread machine and 5 roommates, we made lots of bread and the whole loaf was eaten immediately.

    They're nice to have if you want to set the timer so that your bread is ready when you're just waking up (smells good!).

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