Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Don't Fill Up on Bread

It occurred to me that some of you faithful readers might get bored sitting around waiting for the next pie project. One thousand pies in a lifetime isn't exactly a whirlwind pace. So, I'll do my best to woo your affections throughout with posts related to the daily happenings of a Midwestern Pie Princess. For this one, we check in with my faithful bread machine.

I stopped buying bread* after moving back to the US from Austria, where fresh amazing bread is very affordable and addictive. The high-fructose, hydrogenated crap we peddle on our supermarket shelves in the US doesn't measure up. The book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, inspired me to shanghai my mother's forlorn bread machine (used maybe twice). In the book, Kingsolver's husband divulges how you can make hearty and healthy homemade bread from scratch with one of those bread machines of yesteryear. I Googled some recipes and have been adapting them to my liking ever since.

My recent favorite is this Cinnamon Raisin Bread:
3/4 c. warm milk
1 T. butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. white sugar
2 t. cinnamon (I recommend Penzey's)
1 t. salt
2 c. bread flour
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t. bread machine yeast
1/2 c. raisins, heaped
1/2 c. walnut pieces, heaped

Place the first six ingredients into the bread machine first. Then, add the flours and yeast. Select the Fruit & Nut Bread Cycle (light crust if possible) on the machine and push "Start." After about 10 min., open the machine and add the raisins and walnuts.

*I still occasionally buy fresh-baked baguettes and the like.

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