I have been reading about the bread machines for the past several months
on two nets (I guess that is what one calls them), and have read all of
the info that Drew writes from Dak. I finally broke down and bought a
machine and received it a week ago. I had purchased a machine several
years ago from Dak, but returned it. The machine has been upgraded
since that earlier purchase.
I have been a bread baker for a number of years, and fully recognized
the need to have the proper flour-to-water (or mile) ratio, and had
determined the necessity of refining my recipe to the nth degree.
I spent the first day making three loaves, the second day I made two
loaves, the third day only one, but by that time I had pretty much
gotten the bugs out of my recipe. (I am so green at this I don't
know how to correct an earlier spelling error, so in the parenthesis
above it should have been "(or milk)".) Back to the recipe.
In my youth we always "proved the yeast" by drawing several tablespoons
full of luke warm water, add a dash of sugar and then add the yeast.
Come back 10 or 15 min. later and the yeast has started to grow. Seems
to me that is still a good thing to do, for the yeast is already
activated by the time one starts the machine. In earlier years we
were taught to scald the milk--this had something to do with enzymes--
and is probably not necessary now. However, it seems like a good idea,
for after it has cooled down but is still warm it will warm the flour
and cause the already activated yeast to start working easier.
Again, in the old days, the measuring cups were made differently. When
the cup was full to the brim THEN you had 8 ozs. Now, one buys cups
with headroom above the 8 oz mark, necessitating one to sight across it
to find out the true 8 oz. measure. This can make or break the bread.
With all of this in mind, I do the following, and bread made like this,
the last four loaves, have each turned out perfect.
3 cups bread flour (filled full in old fachioned measuring cup and with
the straight side of a knife scrape across the cup to remove excess
1 cup milk, scalded with 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt dissolved
in the milk. When I remove the milk from the stove I add 1 Tablespoon
cold margarine to help cool the milk to 100 degrees.
2 level teaspoons yeast, or one package, dissolved and working in
3 ozs. plus 1 tablespoon warm water
Plug in and open machine. Put about half of the flour in the bottom of
the machine. Pour yeast mixture on top of this flour. Pour in the
rest of the flour on top of the yeast (I separate them in case the milk
has not cooled sufficiently, the flour would then act as a buffer).Then
I pour in the milk mixture, close machine and push the start button.
I set the light-to-dark setting on the light side.
Boy!! I sure as hell destroy the "5 min. to put the ingredients in and
walk away" theory, but it certainly makes a nice, tasty light loaf of
1 and 1/2 pound bread. Oh--one always forgets something--add a pinch of
sugar to the warm water with the yeast to feed and excite the yeast.
Catherine W. Pitts cwp@cwppc.UUCP (...!rbdc!cwppc!cwp)
Tis a great life if you relax enough to enjoy it.