Loaf of white bread baked in time for supper last night
One of my neghbors called a few weeks ago and asked if we would like a loaf of fresh bread baked in his new bread machine. Of course, we said we would. Then his wife called a bit later to see if we could come and get it or if we could come to our back downstairs door and she would bring it over. We could do neither, so my wife devised a plan: she would drive to our neighbor's driveway, they could open the garage door, and bring the bread out to the car. That solution worked like a charm. We were both a bit skeptical about bread machine bread since our bread machine from days of yore coughed forth bread that tasted good when baked but then turned into a brick and now rests in our Museum of Defunct and No-Longer-Wanted household relics in our basement storeroom. To our pleasant surprise, the loaf of bread given to us was wonderful. Slathering with honey and cherry jam, we made supper out of it.
So I knew immediately that I needed to buy a new bread machine. My wife protested with her usual protest when I show signs of buying another kitchen gadget, "But where will you put it?' We will find a way, I said, not being deterred. So off to trusty Amazon prime I went, ignored the negative reviews on this model of breadmaker, ordered it, and found it plunked on my doorstep in two days. We found a place to put the thing. I've made a half dozen loaves of white and three loaves of whole wheat. The average cost of each loaf is now reduced to $20 but presumably this cost will fall with each new loaf I bake. The first two whole wheat loaves were disasters but the third was perfect. We love the bread. My wife loves the bread. She no longer casts aspersions on my sanity or lack thereof for continuing to buy stuff from Amazon. Until I bought the new pizza stone, at which arrival she raised her eyebrows and rolled her eyes, about as strong as her nature will allow her to protest but I know from these ominous signs that she means business, no ifs and or buts. But what to do with the pizza stone? It now dwells on the foyer entry bench while I enter a period of meditation and evaluation of alternative possible locations and cost benefit analysis (I am an economist, you know) to place the pizza stone. But I digress. Back to the bread from the new breadmaker. The texture is wonderful. The toast is outstanding. And, slathered with honey butter from Costco, brought to us by my sister Ann, who is our Costco fairy and knows every single good item to buy in Costco, we think we have discovered a whole new world of epicurean delight.
So thanks to a good deed from our Good Samaritan neighbor, we are the proud owners of a new bread machine which, unlike the old clunker in the basement, actually turns out outstanding bread. It takes about eight minutes to start a loaf. Three minutes to get out flour, gluten, powdered whole milk, salt, sugar, butter, powdered yeast, and water. Two minutes to dump all this stuff in the bread machine. Ten seconds to plug in the bread maker and set the settings. Three minutes to wipe up the spilled flour and put the ingredients away. Four hours (white) or five hours (whole wheat) to wait while the wondrous machine makes a few wierd noises and bangs and clangs for a moment or two, and then, voila, the aroma of freshly baking bread fills the house. Then, straight from the machine, we cut it, get out the honey butter and cherry jam, and life is good. Reminds me of all the years my wife baked bread at least twice a week plus wonderful cinnamon rolls and all the years at home when I grew up when my mother baked I don't know how many times a week and turned out wonderful bread and cinnamon rolls in a coal cooking stove.
So we added the fresh bread to a huge batch of chicken noodle soup I made from a recipe in the Lion House Soup cookbook from the carcass of a Costco rotisserie chicken. So now we can eat soup for at least three days and the Costco chicken will have provided us with at least six meals, so that is $5 divided by 6, which is 80 cents per meal more or less. Which sort of helps make up for the temporarily high marginal cost per incremental loaf of bread until the number of loaves of bread keeps rising and keeps reducing the marginal cost per loaf. The Costco rotisserie chicken replaces our wondrous Ronco Rotisserie (set it and forget it, the ecstatic infomercial says to the salivating audience) which does, in fact, turn out a great chicken if you don't mind spending an hour to clean the thing up. I'd rather give Costco five bucks and let the Costco person clean out his own rotisserie.
The Curmudgeonly Professor will keep you posted on his cooking adventures and misadventures.