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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baking Bread

"Baking bread" conjures up images of a hearth or oven heated to receive the pillow of dough that will be transformed into a very basic, life-sustaining food, reminiscent of something from our foremother's experiences. Hands very gently knead and turn the dough that will rise is a wooden bread bowl. This is such a primitive, humbling feeling of connection with my past.

I baked this in a bread machine. It is not very loaf-like. More like a cube of bread, I would say. Really, it was a cube. It is a cube. Just look at it.  Honest.
"Loaf" sounds so pillow-like, pillowy if you wish. Say it aloud. "L" is a very soft consonant, starting the pillow of bread. "Loaf" Say it again. Feel the puff or air that you make at the end. Isn't that soft?

Feel/hear that "K" sound made by the "c" in cube. The "K" sound is hard as is the limiting "B." I think there is a glottal stop in "cube." If I had finished the linguistics degree, maybe I would know.

loaf, cube, loaf, cube
Which sounds more comforting? Loaf, of course. The aural manifestation of my bread comforts me.

I made a cube--not a comfort. Aren't words wonderful?

For a friend in California
Back to the bread machine--many of us are determined not to buy new. Secondhand bread machines are plentiful. So, I went to the thrift store in search of a bread machine to send to California. Sure enough, there was a bread machine, looking fine and only $3. I brought it home and discovered that the little paddle was missing. I called the manufacturer who sent me a new one. Tonight, I baked bread.

Bread in a box
Yes, I used a bread mix in a box. I had one on the shelf dated 2005. I could have sworn that I had baked since then. Obviously not. The yeast was still good and it is delicious to eat. I just used a medium crust, something I won't do again.

Butter and jam
Unbeknownst to me, I bought a used bread maker that makes jam. Once before, I bought a used bread maker that made butter.

I bought four or five bread machines at one time, paying an average of $2 apiece at one sale. I sold them for a bit more after trying each one--$10-$12. All worked. Right now, I have a bread maker, new in the box, only opened to show me at a yard sale. I paid a monstrous sum of $4 for that one. For awhile I have been not in the bread making mode. Maybe I will start again.

Your turn
Do you ever buy used bread makers? Do you ever make bread in a bread machine? Pushing on dough to knead it hurts my hands because of the angle and continuous pushing and turning. Besides, it is soooo boring. But, I'll bet there are some of you who knead, turn, and bake bread the old-fashioned way. Right?


  1. Funny you mention it, because I've made a couple of loaves of bread within the past week. I have a bread machine (I just HAD to have it...then used it about 6 times and got sick of it.) Instead, I make artisan bread now. I can make up to four loaves worth of dough and leave it in the fridge. There is very little kneading needed. I make small mini-loaves for dinners. I will probably make some tomorrow. YUM!

  2. I love homemade bread so much that I eat it instead of vegetables and fruits...arrrgh. The mini-loaves sound like a great idea...fresh bed every night. I really wish I liked all that kneading.

  3. I used to make bread the *proper* way but would eat too much so stopped.
    If I could find a used one for $5 I would buy it like a shot. But I don't think that I'd ever get one for that little over here. And if I did I'd be back to eating too much again...fresh bread and vegemite...yummmm

  4. I ate that loaf in less than 24 hours. Shame on me! I have never seen a used breadmaker for more than $4, and it was the never used one. I must try vegemite.


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