Before I begin I’d like to thank Spectres and Stardust for nominating me for the Black Cat, Blue Sea award, which I was hugely giddy about for only eight or nine hours yesterday. Because these awards are like chain letters you actually like getting, the rules dictate that in order to accept it I must nominate some other bloggers who fall under the same category… and of the few I know, most have already been nominated.
I think I’ll just put off this whole award thing until I’ve managed to follow more blogs. I’m trying, but general bloggers are hard to find. Stop being so general, darnit.
One of the youngest boys in my care was down with a foot injury the other day, and was forced to stay home from school for a day. I had to come up with some low-key activities that did not involve leaping from high places, climbing dangerous structures, or hitting feet with a rubber mallet, so I suggested that we try baking some bread in my new bread machine from a post ago. He gleefully accepted.
And I only had to read 18 pages of the manual before we began!
Now, my mother has used one of these since I was born. We never lacked homemade bread in the house. Every few days she would create another loaf. She probably made around 1,800 loaves of bread in my lifetime.
Naturally, I helped her make the bread maybe twice. Probably when I was the same age as the youngest boy here. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing with this thing. “It’s like one of those Star Trek replicators, right?” I was thinking to myself. “You just press a button and there’s bread. That’s the most effort I ever had to put into getting bread when I was a kid.”
Bread machines aren’t rocket science, but they do require ingredients such as yeast and frustrated tears, so I had to take the boy to the grocery store to purchase some.
When I do this I always hope the other patrons of the store are judging me for being a young mother. It’s funny because I’m not.
Once back home I told the kid that he could add ingredients after I measured them out. He was fine with this, because it allowed him to do important things in between, like playing Bejeweled on his mother’s iPad.
After we had thrown everything haphazardly into the bread machine bucket, we carried it over on our three good feet and rifled through the manual until we found the settings and buttons to press. Confidently, we pressed them.
“Oh, it’s supposed to do this,” I said knowledgably to my charge. “It always does absolutely nothing when you first start it up. Why don’t you go play on the iPad some more?”
And then, when he had run off to play more mind-numbing matching games, I called my mother in a panic. “I don’t think my bread machine is working!” I said, horrified at the idea that I might have wasted $10 on a bread machine from Goodwill.
My mother very patiently started trouble-shooting with me. We eventually tried setting it to a regular cycle rather than the “Whole Wheat” cycle, and it started right up. It was at this point that I realized that the Whole Wheat cycle began with 30 minutes of rest, but too late for that. Who even has time for 30 minutes of rest these days? Not neurotic bread-makers, certainly.
And so, on the wrong cycle, my bread mix was stirred and kneaded and risen and baked.
Oh look, I’ve baked the surface of the moon.
When it came out, it looked a little underwhelming. As a test run we had only baked a 1lb loaf, and it sat at the bottom of the bucket and looked as though it was a witch we had just thrown water on. The boy was very enthusiastic.
Like the kid you always pick last for dodge-ball.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that bad inside. A little less flavorful than my mother’s wheat bread, but better than you might have guessed by looking at it. I toasted some with some butter and it tasted quite like the sort of bread you might have had in the Middle Ages before all the interesting spices were readily available.
All in all, not a failure, but I’ll have to do some experimenting with it. Like, for instance, putting it on the right cycle and actually being patient.
I buttered some for my little helper and served it with tea. The tea was gone in seconds, because the tea I serve the boys is roughly 80% sugar. He found the bread to be palatable, but he was puzzled by the crust, which was crispy. He only ever eats store-bought white bread, so this was new territory.
He probably never would have eaten it if he hadn’t helped make it, but since he did, he loudly informed his brothers upon their return from school that they had to try the wheat bread, because he had made it and it was awesome.
Middling success, I say.