Tuesday’s musings.

From comments on previous blog posts:



It’s not a rant, but rather a thoughtful discourse on racism in MN.

How the effects of redlining linger. from NPR


This is my third bread machine since the mid-80s. It was by far the best one.

I haven’t joined the sourdough army, but I have been baking bread a couple times a week in my 15+ year-old bread machine. All was well when I started back in April, but the loaves have gotten progressively worse.

bread loaf.jpeg

Yeah, that’s not good.

Smokey suggested that perhaps the automatic timing sequence had gotten screwed up so the bread rose for too long. I kept tweaking the recipe trying make it not rise so much. As you can see, my efforts were not successful. In fact, every loaf was worse; plus, it had become extremely difficult to get the bread out of the pan, since the paddles are embedded in the bottom of the loaf and did not want to come off their spindles.

bread jigsaw

The weird slices do make a nice bread jigsaw, though.

On Saturday, Smokey tried to clean those spindles in hopes of making it easier to get the loaf out after baking. In the process he broke something in the loaf pan. (Note: he almost NEVER breaks anything. He felt terrible that he had broken my (already marginal) bread machine. He was immediately forgiven.) Internet research yielded a new pan for $75 plus shipping; a new Zojirushi was upwards of $300. There were other, cheaper machines available, but the reviews on them did not inspire confidence. So Smoke kept searching and eventually found a slightly used Zo minus the paddles for considerably less. It is now on its way to my kitchen. Since we already had the paddles, that was not a problem; plus, King Arthur Flour has brand-new paddles available quite reasonably if we needed them.

bread slices w jam, sprinkles.jpeg

The black specks in the first two bread photos, above, are this seasoning baked into the bread. The two tablespoons I used were clearly not enough for an entire loaf, hence, the sprinkles.

I did learn a couple things by reading reviews of the other machines on Amazon:

  • My bread, as pictured above, was over-proofed: dense crumb at the bottom, airy crumb at the top. This validated Smoke’s theory that the timing sequence was screwed up, allowing the dough to rise far too long in the second/final rise.
  • Perhaps I could use less yeast? But with a new-to-me machine on its way, no need to continue to tweak the recipe.
  • It would be possible to avoid the problem of getting the loaf out by setting a timer for the end of the first rise. Open the lid, move the dough to one end and remove the paddle. Move the dough to the other end and repeat.
  • Or I could only use the machine for the mixing and first rise, then shape the dough in a 9″x5″ loaf pan, let it rise the second time, then bake it in the oven. That is what I will do until the new Zo gets here.

And that is the saga of pandemic bread baking at Chez Kat™.

4 prez.jpg

This entry was posted in Coronavirus, Food and Drink, Rants, various. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tuesday’s musings.

  1. gayle says:

    I’ve been using the ‘mix in the machine, bake in the oven’ technique for decades – highly recommend! (Like your machine, my first one’s baking cycle became unreliable. I’ve never looked back!) I use a long loaf pan – 4x3x12 – and get a sandwich bread sized loaf.
    Admittedly, my bread-baking enthusiasm has been crushed by the month of July trying to be hotter than the surface of the sun. (I wonder if I could just use the patio as an oven…)

  2. Ellen D. says:

    The racism and redlining links were very good. What a shameful system in the “land of the free”. The more I read, the more disappointed I become. Changes must be made and I hope a new administration can get to work on this.

  3. kimsdee says:

    I need the information that news outlets provide me, but I don’t need the sheer fury from reading/hearing it. What a sorry, sorry time.

  4. I had that bread machine! In fact, I think mine is still sitting in the garage, waiting for me to either re-home or e-cycle it, since I no longer use it. (I got sick of the paddles sticking in the bread, and found plenty of regular bread recipes that I liked just as much as the bread machine, some which take just as little effort, so I decided to free up the counter space.) I’ve been baking a loaf (or more) weekly as well during all of this. We’ve gone from store-bought sandwich bread to homemade. I personally really enjoy the change.

    I just finished listening to Barack Obama read his book “Dreams From My Father”. It was so nice hearing him speak again. The book was enjoyable, but for me the best part was hearing him read it.

  5. Diane Nelson says:

    I’m a mix in the bread machine and bake buns in the oven kind of gal. Rarely makes loaves, actually rarely eat bread but do make fluffy buns for North Valley’s Casserole Dinner with coarse salt and sprigs of rosemary on top. (Idea stolen from Pioneer Woman recipes). Nothing I love more than toasted homemade bread dripping in butter.

  6. helenmatheyhornbooks says:

    Until getting a mixer with a dough hook, I used my ‘bread machine’ for mixing and ‘kneading’ only. I never liked finding a ‘hole’ in my finished loaf and because I just made up my own recipes/mixes for bread it sometimes made a loaf too big for the machine to bake. 🙂

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