This is probably going to be sad. My blog is about how I love bread, and all the posts so far haven’t featured actual bread yet, but only biscuits and sweets. Now, I finally made some bread, but I can’t even say it was made by hand!
So the story begins on Saturday morning. Zach was feeling guilty (probably because he hasn’t let me choose the movie we go see for 2 years now because he has to see the newest comic book / action movie the weekend it comes out and last summer and this just have had a plethora of them). So, he decided to take me garage sale shopping. Luckily, WANT (West Andersonville Neighbors Together) organized a neighborhood yard sale that day, and since we live in West Andersonville, it was just a short walking distance to around 30 sales. Ahh…garage sale shopping reminds me of when my mom, sister and I would wake up at the crack of dawn during the summer and drive around the nicer neighborhoods, paper map in hand, in the station wagon (just in case there was a must-have piece of furniture). We would check off each sale listed in the paper, but then also take a sharp turn when there was a bright neon sign posted on a corner light post with a large black-marker arrow that said “HUGE MULTI-FAMILY GARAGE SALE!! ——->”. My mom has an excellent eye for gently used furniture and is an aggressive haggler, and my sister is an excellent car packer. It was through one of our Saturday morning adventures that I completely furnished my first apartment. I LOVE GARAGE SALE SHOPPING!
Seeing what kind of junk people have is so interesting. You’re kind of letting it all hang out when you sell your stuff on the sidewalk. People see that you used to be a size 4 and wore tapered jeans, and that you tortured your Barbies by cutting their hair into mohawks. Or, that you failed at fitness with your 20 Jane Fonda tapes, Ab-glider, and Shake Weight. But what is your change of interested, failed attempts, and dislikes is someone else’s treasure (or a horder’s next collection). In my case, it was 2 new Crate & Barrel Pillows, a ceramic hen to add to my kitchen decor, antique sandwich and cake cutters (for my next bridge party or luncheon), a new commuter coffee maker, and a bread machine, all for a whopping total of $14.
I have resisted bread machines before, on my wedding registry and when a neighbor offered it up for free. I have too many kitchen gadgets already, I’ll never use it, I would rather feel the dough in my hands and watch it rise on the counter than have a machine beep at me. But for some reason I brought it home. Perhaps it was the old lady bringing the price down to $4 and telling me how my husband would stay with me forever when he smells the fresh baked bread when he comes home from work (this normally would have slightly offended me, considering I usually come home after he does, and he should be the one baking fresh bread and making me dinner), or it could have been the heat or seeing how much stuff these people had that they needed to get rid of that got me. I was excited to bring my Breadman TR440C (they don’t make this model anymore) home and try it out though. Technology is so much fun to play with, even if it is a uni-tasker (per Alton Brown). I was surprised to find handwritten bread recipes in the machine with cute notes like “Good!”, “Very Good with Honey Butter”, and “Only OK”. The notes and the slightly greased recipes are always the best and tastiest.
After pouring in the ingredients, pressing a few buttons, and 4 hrs and 20 minutes (I used the longer setting) later, we had a cute little loaf of perfectly baked honey wheat bread. Perfect for paninis for tonight’s dinner or with honey butter for breakfast. It was crusty on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. It didn’t taste yeasty or doughy. It was rather perfect! Ok, so I cheated, but it’s still fresh baked bread made from scratch and with love. So, if you have room on your counter, love fresh baked bread, have jobs that require 1 hr or more commutes, or need to make your own because of allergies, check out a few garage sales this summer. I’m sure you’ll come across your $4 bread maker too. Perhaps in a few weeks I’ll attempt to make a honey wheat loaf without the aid of the machine and compare.
Honey Wheat Bread – by my sweet garage sale neighbor
- - 1 1/2 Cups White Bread Flour
- - 1/2 Cup Wheat Flour
- - 1 Tablespoon Dry Milk
- - 1 Tablespoon Honey
- - 1 Teaspoon Salt
- - 1 Tablespoon Butter
- - 3/4 Cup Water
- - 1 1/2 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast
(Check out your bread machine’s instructions. Mine said to add all the dry ingredients first (except yeast), make a well and then add the water and yeast).