I’ve told you before that cooking is not really my thing, but I am a pretty good baker. Especially desserts for special occasions, like holidays and birthdays. I have some awesome Christmas cookie recipes that we only make at the holidays and occasionally I bake biscuits or cinnamon rolls. But I have never baked a loaf of bread before in my life. And I wanted to do that.
So I asked Santa for a bread machine for Christmas and the big guy came through with a beautiful Cuisinart, not too expensive and probably lots more bells and whistles than I need. I chose a medium sized (1-1/2 pound loaf) of cinnamon swirl raisin bread for my first attempt. How hard could that be, right?
Well, I perused the directions and got my ingredients out. I warmed the milk to room temperature and had bread flour and a new jar of fresh yeast. I put everything in exactly as the recipe said, chose the settings and started the machine.
When it dinged five times I opened it and took out the dough to roll it out, sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and raisins and roll it up and tuck it back into the machine. It kept dinging annoyingly the whole time until I hit stop while I rolled out the dough. Then I turned the machine back on but instead of resuming, it started kneading my dough again! Because it had gone back to the beginning of the cycle instead of resuming. Because I had shut it off.
I didn’t want to waste the whole unbaked loaf, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Then I realized there was a bake only setting and changed the machine to that, to bake for an hour. But then I panicked because I didn’t know if the bread should rise again, so I turned the machine off (again!) And let the loaf sit for an hour or so. It did rise some more, I’m not really sure how much. So I finally just baked it.
All in all, the bread came out looking and tasting okay. In reading the directions more carefully, I found the five dings signal when to add in ingredients, six dings would have signalled when all the kneading and stuff was done and I should have rolled out the dough. I should have just left the top open and not turned the machine off to finish rising and baking.
Tomorrow I might try just a plain white sandwich loaf and see how that goes before I work my way through the recipe book. 🙂
I’m delighted to introduce the first book review by a librarian friend of mine who will be guest posting on my blog. I think I promised you early this year that Lynn would be doing this, but apparently she was too busy travelling and swimming and just plain relaxing after she and her husband both retired to get any work done for the blog! She’s on board now, so watch for her reviews to pop up on a regular basis…
Upcoming reviews will probably be mysteries, but I’ve told her I’m open to anything she’d like to post and that as a former librarian, we look forward to reading her opinions on whatever books she chooses!
Lynn’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
If I hadn’t discovered the Hunter Rayne mysteries I would never have known about the mosquitoes in Alaska, 35 varieties of them. That turned out to be useful information for my trip to Alaska this past summer.
Hunter Rayne is a former officer of the RCMP. A serious case of burnout causes him to retire from the force and take to the road as a long-haul trucker. Despite his change of careers, Hunter can’t seem to help tripping over dead bodies and other mysteries on his routes through western Canada and Alaska. His detective skills won’t allow him to stay out of an investigation.
Equipment breakdowns and personal baggage (an ex-wife and emotionally distant daughters), complicate things but Hunter, like the Mountie he was, always gets his man.
Slow Curve on the Coquihalla is the first title in this series, followed by Ice on the Grapevine. I believe there are four in the series so far. It’s not necessary to read them in order, but if you don’t you will miss a bit of the character development and the slow revelation of what contributed to Hunter Rayne’s departure from the police force. The setting will make you want to plan a trip to Canada or Alaska, but don’t forget to pack your mosquito repellent.