magic thrift store shopping powers activate!
wandering through my favorite thrift store a few weeks ago i found a zojirushi bbcc-n15 1.5lb loaf bread machine for $7.
i thought at first it had all its bits because it came with the manual and spare washers and repair instructions... a friend told me i was missing the paddle. ok, how bad can it be, right? i got the machine for $7 and as long as a paddle was less than the complete set up on ebay [it's a discontinued model] then i'd be ahead of the game.
shopped around and saw paddles anywhere from $10 up to $30. fortunately the $10 one was easiest to identify as the right one and it had free shipping. it wasn't super fast shipping but it was tracked and free and hassle free from the breadmaker guru.
i looked around and found some recipes *, lost my yeast and had to buy more in a grocery store that was being remodeled [like a scavenger hunt, that was]
eventually i managed to have the time and all the right tools and ingredients on hand. so, hesitant after hearing horror stories about imprecise measurements and slightly not exact styles of ingredients leading to collapsed loaves and split tops... i made bread.
i've always been an imprecise baker. which was good since i couldn't figure out how to measure exactly 5/8 of a cup of liquid with my measuring cups and just eyeballed it about halfway between 1/2 and 3/4 of a cup. i didn't weigh my flour or level my teaspoons perfectly. but i added the ingredients in the right order because the yeast can't get wet until the bread machine gets to the right temperature. even i am not that careless.
4 hours later i was rewarded with hot, delicious bread.
i'm not a huge fan of the recipe. the bread was tasty, crusty on the outside, soft in the middle. it held up under the steak knife i was using to cut it [clearly i need a large serrated knife if i am going to keep this up]
but it was kind of sweet. i'm making a second loaf now with 1/2 T less sugar and 1/4 t more salt. i can't cut the sugar entirely or the yeast will starve and if i add too much salt i will poison the yeast. i may be the last normal person on earth who uses unsalted butter, and i don't think the recipe was meant for unsalted butter.
if the second loaf turns out well, it's going to a friend. and probably the next few after that since there have been claims made. but i can make bread every night with no trouble at all for pennies a loaf.
the remains of the first one are tied up in my kitchen right now with waxed paper and twine to keep it at the right humidity. and a slice is packed for lunch tomorrow with the last of the leftover corned beef i made on the camping trip in my thermal cooker.
i can't wait for lunch tomorrow.
*i used the first recipe on that page