Perfect Bread. And it only took 35 years.

I first tried baking bread when I was in my teens. Early teens in fact. That was when the frozen, thaw and let rise fresh baked bread was released. I had tried making it before and ended up with some lovely warheads for various nuclear weapons. How hard can this be? Let me tell you, never use that statement. You might find out how hard it could be. The warheads were better. I tried again in my 20s. Don't think I will render you a description here. You don't deserve such agony. I don't by retelling the sad tale.

Then came the bread machine. I received one for Christmas. Wonderful right? The cure right? Do. You. Own. One? We had a wonderful lifelike rendition of early Mesopotamia mud bricks. Petrified. The internet was a wonderful resource. I searched I hunted I did everything I could think of. More Mud bricks. Temple in the backyard anyone?

I finally was lucky. I found this recipe. With the addition of some vital wheat gluten and accepting the fact that that scant [2 1/4 tsp yeast] tablespoons must be 3 full tsps of yeast, I finally turned out a perfect loaf of bread. No I am not going to show you pictures. It didn't last long enough for pictures. I discovered on the last loaf that 2 tsp or more of cardamom does wonderful things to that plain loaf.

The recipe? Oh to make bricks you..

Oh dear.. you want the real one? And honestly? The time is optional here because there was no way that loaf of cardamom, garlic, basil bread was going to last 20 minutes with some nice butter sitting around. Please understand that this is not his full recipe details. For that please visit the site. It is a wonderful resource designed for breadmaking dummies and that class of bakers who could be called total flaming bread making idiots, like me.

From the Bread Machine Digest

The Bread Machine Digest's White Bread

Recipe By :Robert Barnett, The Bread Machine Digest

1 1/8 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dry milk
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Place all ingredients in the machines bread pan in the order directed.
Use your basic white cycle.

10 minutes after your machine has started kneading the dough open the lid and check the consistency which should be tacky to the touch like the sticky part of a Post-It Note [and if this wasn't a topic of controversy… Almost caused a divorce] If the bread is too dry add 1tbsp. of water at a time allowing a minute or two of kneading then check it again. If needed add another tablespoon of liquid. Repeat this until the dough reaches the proper consistency. If the dough is too dry apply the above steps but using flour instead of liquid.

Once you have checked and if needed adjusted the dough close the lid of your machine allow the cycle to continue.

The Bread is Done

Once your bread is completed allow it to sit in your machines pan for no more than 10 minutes. Remove it to a wire rack to cool. The reason for letting it sit for 10 minutes is to soften the crust making it easier to get out of the pan. Or at least buy some video tape and prepare to sell the results.

Allow the bread to cool at least 20 minutes before cutting it.
[ain't we delusional?]

Humm. Wonder if I should take a loaf to my sister and torment her a bit. She can't bake either and owns a bread machine.

And this is just a sample of the recipes he has on his site. Apricot bread, sweet potato bread, Indian Bean Bread to name a few. Ok so I am not there yet but if he can get a dummy like me to bake, he could get anyone to turn out a perfect loaf. Now excuse me. "OH SIS. Look what I baked."

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