Friday, March 13, 2009

Breda's Bread

In order to save a little money and because it simply tastes better, I've been baking my own bread. Besides, have you ever read the ingredients on a loaf of store bought bread? High fructose corn syrup? Calcium propionate? Sodium stearoyl lactylate? WTF? No thanks. So I dragged the bread machine out of the basement, gave it a permanent place in my kitchen and put it to work.

Some people might say, "A bread machine? Isn't that cheating?" Well, folks, this is the modern age and I am not above making my life easier through the use of technology. Whether I mix the ingredients and knead the dough by hand or plop the stuff in the machine and press a button, the end result is the same and I quite like the idea of being able to do other things while I'm waiting for a hot crusty golden brown loaf of bread to come out of the machine. Believe me, baking is fun but it's a much more magical experience for me this way rather than fussing over a ball of dough that won't rise. (happy, unharried Breda = more bread, so win-win)

Mike and I have been enjoying our little funny shaped loaves for a while now. We bake one small loaf a week and there is never any waste, unlike when we'd buy store bread and end up throwing a stale, fuzzy third of it away because we couldn't eat it fast enough. Mike has even become quite proficient at making bread himself, frequently admiring his own handiwork as he's slathering on the butter and honey.

The bread is great for sandwiches and makes excellent french toast but doesn't work so well for hamburgers. Few things look as sad on a plate as a little round hamburger between two giant slices of square bread. So I've been experimenting...


I made buns, hon.

23 comments:

Shoothouse Barbie said...

After that last line, I think you should call your bread machine "sir mix-a-lot"

Miz Minka said...

Breda, you can't be teasing your bread (and bacon) loving readers like that without posting the bun recipe!!! Pretty, please? (Do I detect some caramelized onions on top of the bun??)

I've been using a bread machine for years, at least twice a week. Used to bake by hand, and still do occasionally, but the convenience is too good to pass up when you're too busy to wait for all the steps involved in a hand-baked loaf. I also like that I can program my machine to have fresh, still-warm bread when I get up in the morning!

And store bought bread with all its unpronounceable additives? Don't get me started. *gag*

Lydia said...

I'm coming over for dinner...soon

BobG said...

I quite like using a bread machine. I agree with Minka; I'd like to know how you made the bun.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I didn't know you were from Bawlmer, hon! Later you wanna go down Hammerjacks for some Natty Bohs?

alan said...

Now I'm REALLY hungry. That is one good looking burger.

Robert said...

...and I cannot lie!

Joe said...

Cool, you'll have to let us know how you did that.

Breda said...

Barbie, that is a great idea! And I'll serve my buns with some "baby-got-back ribs"

Miz - the recipe is a standard french bread dough and I added onion soup mix to the egg wash, although next time I'm putting the soup mix IN the dough since the onions got a little burnt.

Lydia - I make my bread with wheat flour, I don't want to be responsible for your demise.

TBolt - huh?

Miz Minka said...

The ever-versatile onion soup mix, how clever! :)

About adding the soup mix to the dough next time: I would worry about its high salt content throwing off your dough's yeast-sugar-salt balance. Too much salt inhibits the growth of the yeast, and then the buns won't rise...

I'm going to go make some bread. NOW. :D

TJP said...

Hey, if you don't want that burger, I call dibs.

Folks forget that what comes from the grocery store needs a little chemical tweaking to last long enough to be shipped and sold. I'm not sure who implied it was better?

When I was young, there were still milkmen and local bakeries, so I have a basis for comparison. Nothing beats bread piping hot out of the (oven, or the) bread machine. Even bakery bread is a couple hours old by the time you get it home, and consequently, on its way to becoming Level I body armor substitute.

It's like that with vegetables, too. We had a garden, so it was quite a shock when I went to a fast food restaurant and gagged on the floppy, brown-edged stringy mucous they tried to pass off as lettuce. It's the same with peas right off the plant, or corn that was shucked minutes before it was thrown in the water. And those tiny strawberries that used to grow in our front yard? A flavor never matched by those mutant, water-injected jam candidates at the store.

Ah, a reminder of the times when all the adults in the family didn't have to work full-time just to keep up with the tax burden, and the (mostly artificial) requirements of modern living.

The Editor said...

You've been reading Brigid...

Carteach0 said...

Wow! That sounds GOOD!

I used to bake raised bread... got out of the habit. You remind me why I did it. Hmmm Yum! And the smell...

Excellent photo, Breda... makes me hungry just looking at it.

Smokey Behr said...

I see you're fond of Chico's Finest Brew. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is always on tap around here, and I can even get a keg whenever I need to.

Joseph said...

Breda,

How do you make this cost efficient? It might not be as cheap as .89 supermarket white, bread, but I don't eat that stuff anyway.

SpeakDog said...

How is using a bread machine "cheating"? Is it cheating to use a washing machine instead of a river and some rocks? Is it cheating to use a sewing machine instead of pointy needles and thread?

If you have the technology, by God, use it!

(That's also why I vacuum every room in my house, including the kitchen... why sweep when there is a perfectly lovely machine to do the work for you? And better, I might add...)

reflectoscope said...

I was going to say pretty much what Speakdog said, so I will be content to admire that burger - if it tastes as good as it looks, then I might have to buy a breadmaker of my own.

Jim

Ruth said...

oh god do I love my bread machine, I don't bake the bread in it though, I pull it out to rise on the counter top and bake it in the oven, but same general priciple, and it allows me to do much other stuff while the bread is being kneeded. keeps me from having to deal with the odd sizes and the hole in the bottom. (plus I think machine baked bread has a slightly off texture to it....)

as for cost effiency, if you're buying bakery bread (even at your local megamart) cause you can't stand the cheap store bought stuff the bread machine will save you money in less than a year. Go look at the price of a loaf of bakery bread, one loaf a week adds up REALLY REALLY quick, and bread machines aren't nearly as expensive as everyone thinks. Plus a 5lb bag of flour is like $5 and yeast about the same, and you can get many many loaves out of a 5lb bag of flour.....

Ragin' Dave said...

The Ragin' Mrs. and I love to bake our own bread. We got tired of paying out the wazoo for a simple loaf of bread, so we started doing it ourselves. We make our own pizza dough, bread, rolls, everything. TJP has it right - you have no idea just how much crap is in a loaf of store-bought bread.

I'm working on perfecting my sourdough. Still got some trial and error to go through.

Joseph - a bag of flour costs anywhere from 80 cents to $1.50 depending on where you shop. I can normally get six to eight loaves of bread out of one bag. The other ingredients such as yeast, oil, etc. are used in such small amounts as to be irrelevant. Your only real cost is the time you put into it, most of which is spent letting the dough rise. Trust me, it's cost effective.

KG2V said...

Gahh - I was diagnosed as a diabetic in January, and the thing I miss the most is GOOD bread. I rarely baked my own, because we have a GOOD bakery about 1/8th mile north of us. Place really doesn't make cake, makes a few cookies, but they bake bread

On a Wing and a Whim said...

I heart my bread machine. I never had the patience to make bread by hand without it. Which is silly, given I can spend four hours at a stretch carefully sanding 68-year-old airplane ribs such that every last trace of corrosion is gone, but there you have it.

Still, if you have good recipes, I'm always open to suggestions. I have two favorites, and experiment from there! (how did you do buns? Just a very, very small batch? Pulling it out and baking at just the right time? Inquiring minds want to know!

saintseester said...

I would love to have a bread machine because I hate kneading the dough. But, I also make beer bread (homemade bread for the lazy)!

Firehand said...

And there's breads like focaccia that need very little kneading. And not that much rise time, either.