Then I discovered the "dough" cycle. I found I could make better homemade bread by letting the bread machine make the dough and then reshaping it and dumping it into a bread loaf pan. Baked in the oven, the loaf was pristine and solid through and through.
Now my only remaining problem was working breadmaking into my busy day. Every do-it-yourselfer is (or should be) familiar with the law of sequences. For any DIY project, you have to respect the sequence or it all gets messed up. So here's the sequence:
1. Take a break from the desk for 15 minutes. Set the recipe before you on the counter so you don't leave anything like yeast or salt out. Take out the bread pan and spray the inside with Pam cooking spray.
2. Set all the ingredients on the counter. Put them away after you add them to the mix. That way you don't forget anything. If you did forget anything, it will be whatever is still sitting on the counter. It took me several disasters before I quit trusting my memory in the middle of a writing project.
3. Put all the ingredients into the bread machine. Pile all the dry ingredients into the machine hopper first, then the butter or oil and finally the wet ingredients like milk and eggs.
4. Press the select button and choose the "dough" cycle. Then press the "start" button. Follow the instructions for meddling with the dought for the first couple of minutes (see my earlier article for the secret bread-making techniques my grandmother taught me).
5. Go away and work some more till the bread-maker beeps at you that the dough is finished.
6. Lift the dough onto a cutting board and pat it into loaf shape. Make sure you work out the hole in the middle from the mixer paddle.
7. Gently set the dough into the loaf pan and set pan and dough, covered with a dish towel in a warm place (not the oven). I set my bread on the dryer with a load going inside. Set the oven to 350 degrees and let it preheat.
8. Go away and work for a half hour or so, then check the dough. If it's risen, set the pan in the oven. It will rise some more as it cooks. Set a timer to buzz in 20 minutes. Check the loaf till the top crust is a nice crusty brown. It should be done.
9. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the loaf out on the cutting board. It should fall right out if you remember these three rules: (1) Never wash your bread loaf pan in the dishwasher. (2) Never leave your bread loaf pan to soak - it's better to leave it dry and clean it later if you can't wash it now. (3) Wash it out with mild warm soapy water and then rub the inside with oil. Let is sit out on the counter to fully dry before you put it away. See my article on curing a skillet. It's the same principle. If you treat your loaf pan right it will never stick. The bread will just fall out of the pan after it's baked.
10. Slice off the end of the loaf and put butter on it. Eat it and let the loaf cool while you go back to work. You've wasted enough time baking bread! Clean up later. If you cleaned up as you went along, you don't have any cleanup to do other than cleaning out the bread machine.
|Looks like that if you bake it in a loaf pan instead |
of the bread machine.
Hope your "daily bread" comes out good!