Baking Bread

On a whim, I bought a bread machine.

Here’s the deal: on my way into Mama Goose, I pass through Mimi’s Attic.  And I always check things out in Mimi’s Attic, because I might find something useful for soap making (like a spare food processor, or a salad shooter, both of which I can use for making soap the soap shreds that go into my Ithaca is Festive soap sold at Sunny Days…). Or even for cooking, like a big ‘ol 9 qt pressure cooker. That was a steal! It was totally new and unused, probably because pressure cookers scare some people. Not me, though!

Anyway. I found a bread machine. Three, actually. Different models people had brought in because, obviously, they weren’t using them. All three looked out-of-the-box new. I checked out each one, looked them up online, and eventually bought the Breadman! Breadman! Sounds like a superhero.

I know what you’re thinking: the bread machines were in that store because people use them once, then decide they’re taking up too much room on the counter, and that’s the end of them.

Yeah. maybe. But…

I used to bake weekly–Avital and I would bake challah every Friday, from about the time she was 2. But then things happened, and she was in pre-school… and we stopped for a long time. I kind of miss it.

So I bought the bread machine, and we’ve been making bread, So far, no challah. But french bread, whole wheat bread. Sourdough bread. And the latest: sourdough with spent grains.

A friend of mine, Shelley Stewart, owns Mead Magic, a company that sells just-add-water mead kits. Seriously! Making mead is a lot of fun, and honey makes a lovely wine. Anyway, Shelley and her husband also brew beer, and have some “spent grains” from that process. So she gave me some–and they make great bread. Here’s what I did:

1 C sourdough starter
1 C water
1 T honey (of course!)
2 C white bread flour
1 C whole west flour
1.5 t salt
1 C spent grains
1 t bread machine yeast

Here’s the bread machine, all ready to go

I have to admit, part of the attraction is that the machine does the work. I put in the ingredients, and a few hours later, fresh, hot, yummy bread. This recipe worked out nicely: a yummy bread that stands up well to toast and sunbutter-and-jelly sandwiches.

The only downside to the machine so far is that the loaves are a bit oddly shaped, fi they are full, 2 lb loaves.The only other downside is that if someone opens the machine (ahem!) at the wrong moment, the bread can fall a bit, and look all cattywampus. But it still tastes really good.

Since we all like sourdough, my next experiment will be to make a sponge from the sourdough starter I have, and let it sit overnight, and then use it the next day to get a really sour flavor. My husband is from Berkeley, and misses that San Francisco sourdough flavor. I know I can’t duplicate it here, but maybe I can make something just as good?



  1. This looks very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lesli says

      While my workshop was being renovated a couple of weeks ago, I also started making jerky: beef jerky, turkey jerky, even tofu jerky. This is what happens when one’s creative outlets are frustrated!

  2. Renan says

    I have a bread machine too and I use it all the time. I love it. Dump the ingredients in and forget about it. Then eat the bread when it’s hot and the butter melts into all the nooks and crannies! Yummmm!

    • Lesli says

      Yes! The convenience factor is huge! I made ry bread yesterday, just a 1 lb loaf to see how we’d like it. Not bad.

  3. Ellisha says

    Making your own bread is always a great idea since you know what is actually in it. I need to think about purchasing a quality bread machine. It will make bread making much easier.

  4. Lesli says

    I agree with knowing what’s in your food. We don’t have any intolerances or allergies, but it’s still nice to know how something came to the table. And it’s fun for my daughter to help!

    As for the machine, look for used ones at stores like Salvation Army or Mimi’s Attic (though I think they’re local to us). Generally, they’re barely used or not at all, and $20-$40.

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