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
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.
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.
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.
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™.