You know. When the automatic bread makers first came out, I was one of their biggest opponents.
“You’ll never catch me using one of those infernal beasts”, you would hear me say, as I donned my white fedora and strode out of the room with my dignity firmly in hand.
Ok… so the imagery is a little wrong and as for dignity… well…
So a few years ago I was walking through my 3rd favorite place to shop, which is the Goodwill Store, and there… sitting on the shelf… with this eerie glow and pale halo around it is a Oster Bread Machine. Almost brand new with little or no damage or apparent use to it at all.
So I take a look at it. The price label says $10, so I ask a clerk about the price. This is something that you do not want to do in a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. While I appreciate the work that they do, the people that work the floor tend to be either rude or clueless.
Twenty minutes after I have asked, and with no one seemingly able to find anyone who knows anything about the pricing of any of their products, I just grab it and walk to the front counter, set my discovery down and pay for it. I figure that if nothing else, I can always find a use for the parts if it does not survive the first effort to make a loaf of bread.
That evening I show my find to my wife, who looks it over and at me in much the same way that she would have were our cat to bring in a dead bird and offer it to her. She scoffs at it and makes some sounds that while they may have been dismissive, the “Guy” portion of my brain incorrectly translates them into “Go ahead honey… make us a loaf.’
So I do… again and again and again… over the next few nights, I made several loafs of bread. All of it was quite good and the process was pretty easy. So in a short period of time, I became a Bread Machine convert.
Now, to be clear. I do know how to make a loaf of bread without the machine. This was something that my mother taught me years ago as a child. You see… that was the first battery of things that I was taught… cooking. My wife never lets me forget that she is very happy to have a husband that knows how to and enjoys cooking. The only part that I have never enjoyed about making bread, and I know that there has to be several of you out there that agree, is the kneeding process.
I know that there are people out there that swear by kneading a loaf of bread on a regular basis. Hell, I would be willing to bet that half the women in France and Italy during the second world war could have knocked most of the Nazis on their asses with the biceps and pecs that they had built up from years of kneading bread dough. It might still be the same way today, I could not tell you for certain. Though I AM certain that I will get at least one person complaining about my ethnic remark above.
There is, however, something kind of neat about having this machine in the house. I use it often… but not always to bake bread. Many times, these days, I will use it solely for the purpose of KNEADING the bread for me. Then, when the dough is ready, I will turn it out into a pan and bake it. Presto… Bread.
So I do enjoy making bread with this thing… it is fun. This thing make bread making so fun and easy that were I to also start handing out fishes… well… never mind, that joke might cause a whole new crap storm for me.