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The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

The bread machine book changed my culinary life. It was a publishing contract that was a turning point for me. Up to the bread machine, I was a strictly make bread by hand or stand mixer lady. Even using the food processor was a special occasion. It was important to me that the soul of baking was preserved and that meant it had to be touched by human hands.

It is hard to believe but at one time the professional food community not only dished the bread machine as a passing trend, but was incredibly vocal about it in the media. It was a unique culinary chapter. The machine was for people who were not serious about good food, certainly not wholesome, from the earth ingredients put together with heart and soul. So as a teacher of baking, I just ignored the trend. I turned down the offer to write a book on bread machine baking multiple times. But for some reason, my publisher wanted me specifically to write it. I have to thank him for that. Eventually I figured out I could write it with help from a friend who adored bread machine baking and was willing to work with me. I was hoping her enthusiasm would be transmitted while we tested recipes. I wasn’t sure I had anything new to offer a genre that was flush with bread machine baking books, most written by home cooks with no professional cooking experience.

  Place the yeast on top of the dry ingredients away from the salt  
We lined up half dozen machines on her kitchen counter. Armed with my recipes, we started testing with different machines. The sound was deafening. The machine was just an enigma to me. It seemed like the process of bread making was out of my control. When my collaborator died suddenly, I was only 10 percent into the book, barely scratching the surface, of what could be done. I was left alone and afraid to plug the darn thing in. Hard to believe, right?

That was when the concept for the bread machine book came to me. There had to be other people who wanted to use the machine, but did not know where to start and even had some fear associated with it. So I started by plugging in the machine and it grew from there: how to handle the machine, ingredients, how to load the machine, how to turn it on, what to do while the machine was running, how long it would take, and finally, what the machine was really capable of doing.

What happened next I couldn’t have anticipated. I fell totally in love with my bread machine. I was addicted. The process was so satisfying and so fun, I just wanted to make bread every single day. Since I was writing a book, I had the perfect reason to bake to my heart’s content. And bake I did, sometimes three times a day. The book that was created exceeded all my expectations. It was wonderful. I was able to create in every category—white breads, egg breads, whole wheat and whole grains, artisan, pizza and flatbread, sweet breads, and a host of sweet rolls and dinner rolls.I did the artisan chapter at the very end and became so excited with the breads I created using the Dough cycle, then shaped by hand and baked in the home oven.
  Just after kneading and ready for the first rise  
The bread machine was superior in creating long standing starters and breads did not have to be mixed and baked in the machine. The machine also made quick breads (try the coconut bread) and jams and chutneys. There was an entire universe of possibility.

Today the bread machine is one of my favorite countertop appliances and I can’t imagine living without it. I even look forward to having a reason to whip up some bread or a pizza. I never buy ready made pizza dough since it is one of the easiest things to make in the machine. It is a superior mixing tool, kneading doughs unlike any other method. I have used the same recipe using different mixing methods and none of them came close to the feel and texture of the bread machine.

So is the bread that emerges from the bread machine every bit as good as regular by hand or a bakery bread? Absolutely. I remember bringing loaves of bread for a gift to friends that I met for lunch. My friend, an excellent cook from Switzerland and whose mother was known for her bread, said she wouldn’t want one of my loaves since bread machine bread isn’t even good enough for the birds. I gave her a loaf of my Country White, which has a small amount of instant potato flakes added for texture and flavor. She called me that evening, raving about the bread, saying it tasted just like the bread her mother made. I had the official seal of approval.

  The beautiful rise -- about halfway  
So fresh bread is available to the newest bread maker or even a restaurant pro who wants to bake at home. Just baked bread for breakfast or dinner is as easy as pressing a button and pouring in some ingredients into the bread pan. I learned by experience just why the bread machine has become as popular an appliance as it is today. There are new innovations that make the machine control panel even more fantastic for programming, like convection heat, gluten-free settings for stiffer doughs, crust control, 24 hour delay cycle, rapid baking cycle for bread in an hour, removable lid, an oven light, and my favorite and well used PAUSE button.

I always use my own recipes from the bread machine book when I bake. Over the years I have come to appreciate my efforts even more since the breads are so excellent. I am pleased to say it is one of the most popular books in its genre and has lots of staying power as the machines keep getting improved as technology becomes more subtle. If you love to bake in the bread machine, this book is for you. Happy Baking!

Chosen as one of the ten best cookbooks of the year 2000 by Chicago Tribune.

  Table of Contents
  • Introduction: The Upper Crust Takes Center Stage
  • Orientation
  • The First Step: Choosing And Evaluating Your Bread Machine
  • Batterie de Cuisine: Know Your Bread Machine
    • America's Bread Box: The Manufacturers
    • Bread Machine Features and Settings
  • The Essential Basics
    • Ingredients
    • The Process of Baking Bread
    • Learning Recipes:
      • Your First Loaf: Homestyle White Bread
      • The Next Step: Sponge Starter White Bread
      • Delay Cycle: Semolina Country Bread
    • Home Freezing
    • High Altitude Baking Chart
    • Leftover Bread Cookery
    • Troubleshooting
  • The Recipes
  • Daily Bread
    • White and Egg Breads
  • Earth's Bounty
    • Whole Wheat and Whole Grain Breads
  • Traditional Loaves
    • Country Breads and Sourdough Breads
  • All Kinds of Flavors
    • Herbed, Nutted, and Spiced Breads
    • Herbed, Nutted, and Spiced Breads
    • Stuffing Breads
    • Cheese Breads
    • Savory Vegetable and Fruit Breads
  • Circles, Squares, and Half-Moons
    • Pizza and Flat Breads
  • Sweet Breads
    • Breakfast Breads and Coffeecakes, Fruit and Spice Holiday Breads,
      Sweet Rolls, and Chocolate Breads
  • The Quick Bread Machine Bakery
    • No-Yeast Tea Breads
  • Jams, Preserves, and Chutneys in Your Bread Machine
  • To Eat with Your Bread: Spreads, Butters, Olives, and Cheeses
  • Bits of Bread: Crumbs, Croutons, Crostini, and Melba
Buttermilk Whole Wheat
Classic Baguettes
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