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The rants and recipes found here are solely mine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Flour Dust on My Apron

I loved Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I read it last summer and it had a profound impact on how I look at food. You really must read it if you haven't already. Trust me, it's not a boring read and it reads as easily as her novels. One of the things that I admired about her family was that they made their own bread. Well, actually, Kingsolver's husband made the bread. And he used a bread maker.

That got me thinking. Somewhere around here was my old bread maker. I got it at a garage sale that my mom took me to in my teeny, tiny hometown one summer. The lady gave it to me for nothing. Like fifty cents or something like that. She never did get the hang of it, so it was basically brand new. There wasn't a spot on it or a crumb in it.

At the time, I had visions of making our daily bread, well, daily. Surprise, surprise, it didn't happen. Not only did I realize that if you make a one pound loaf of bread every day, you're going to eat that one pound loaf of goodness, every day. And that one pound of bread will equal five pounds on your butt. (I'm sure there's a scientific study out there somewhere to prove this.)

Bread makers were such huge sellers that in their prime, there was one under every Christmas tree in America. Now, they get relegated to garages, basements, or if you're me, in that little cupboard above the refrigerator that you wonder what people fit up there. The Atkins diet killed the bread maker industry. True story.

Now, as we're slowly moving back to the sanity of the "everything in moderation" diet, bread is making a come back. There was a huge Internet explosion when the No Knead Bread recipe hit. Great recipe, but not so great for busy families. I think with the "economic downturn", we're going to see more people going back to the basics. And with that, we just might see homemade bread back on the table. Maybe it's time to dig that bread maker out, huh?

I had a sick kid home today, so I thought this would be the best time to pull down that bread maker and use it. Unfortunately, the bread recipe that I chose was so dense that the motor overheated. My fifty cent investment just might have kicked the bucket! Thankfully, the recipe was well kneaded and ready to hit the oven to rise.

We're having homemade vegetable beef soup fresh from the freezer tonight for dinner. This bread will be delightful with it. (Update: it was amazing! Next time, I would have let it rise longer, but I was crunched for time. Will definitely make it again.)

Bread Maker Oatmeal Molasses Bread

My Aunt Marilyn makes fantastic molasses bread. This is close to her recipe, but lightened up tremendously. In fact, there's no fat in it and very little sugar. It makes a one pound loaf, which serves 8 at 3 WW Points per serving.

1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup skim milk
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
2 TB molasses
1 TB white or raw sugar

Place in bread maker, following manufacturer's recommendations. Use light cycle. Or knead by hand (oh my), make on the manual cycle of your bread maker, or use your dough hook in your food processor or mixer. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees until it sounds hollow when tapped and is a golden brown, approximately 40 minutes. Check after 25 minutes for doneness.

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Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!