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I gave up on bread makers in the end - they were just such a source of disappointment!
You'd watch it optimistically for ages and it looks like it's going to be wonderful ... the house smells of fresh bread ... it's starting to crust ... then at the last minute it collapses into a hockey puck.
Or it bakes wonderfully, an dyou cut it to find one huge bubble with a crust.
Salt is important, as is the age / type of your yeast, the flour mix, the flour type(s), the flour manufacturer, the batch of the flour, the time of bloody day, and probably the phase of the moon ...
Nowadays when I make bread I use the dough attachment on my mixer, hand finish the kneading (you can "feel" when the dough is "right" after a while), and rise (in a bowl) in the Sous Vide so I get a consistent ambient temp and humidity. Then bake it, and - mostly - it works fine.
"I have no idea what I did, but I'm taking full credit for it." - ThisOldTony
"Common sense is so rare these days, it should be classified as a super power" - Random T-shirt
AntiTwitter: @DalekDave is now a follower!
would leave toilet paper as the only remaining item I'd be forced to fight zombie hoards for
You're joking, right? 8 months on, white bread flour is still like hens' teeth. Not quite as bad as it was in first lockdown, but it's still a case of "if you see any, buy it, regardless of the stupid price they're asking".
I now resort to making with 1/3 white bread flour, 1/3 wholemeal, and 1/3 plain. Works fine, but (unless you forget the yeast or the fat) it's pretty much impossible to mess things up, I find. And having had my "own" bread from the breadmaker, I can't bear shop-bought stuff. Been using a breadmaker for about 15 years, on the 3rd one now, but only because previous ones have disintegrated through over-use. Always buy the entry-level Panasonic; great loaf every time. Use dried yeast - one packet or two level teaspoons.
[I do not work for Panasonic, neither do my relatives, and I receive no commission. YMMV.]
When the first round of panic buying hit, I dug out my old (>20yr) breadmaker and fired it up for the first time in maybe a decade. Halfway through the second loaf, it shredded the main drive belt...
A "new" one from the charity shop cost less than a replacement belt, so I now have a reasonably upmarket one. Its great virtue is that it is almost infinitly programmable. As well as its 8 built-in programs (each with loaf size and crust colour options), you can store 4 of your own.
The real lesson is ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. I use 5 different bread mixes from 2 manufacturers, 4 different programs. The "wholemeal" programs start with a half hour preheat (35C) before it does any kneading, so initial temperatures don't matter.
Because I live at altitude (a bit over 1000m), above 12% of the atmosphere or thereabouts, I have to use less yeast. In theory you can add salt to achieve the same effect, but I've found it easier to use a measured 5ml teaspoon out of the usual 7g sachet. No big bubbles, loaves hitting the chamber roof and other embarrassments.
Water quantity is critical too. It pays to measure to +/- 10ml if you can.
Software rusts. Simon Stephenson, ca 1994. So does this signature. me, 2012
That one-variable-at-a-time is the way one does scientific research. Actually, there are ways to do a specific set with multiple changes that can be de-convoluted but that's quite a ways to go for bread making.
Our stashing is only a slightly larger supply than before as my normal habits when shopping for non-perishable is to have enough on hand to span sales.
In fact, were it not for hoarding simpletons and lemmings, there were no shortages in the US for disasters (at least in my lifetime) . . . until recently. It seemed to start some years ago in Florida, pre-hurricane, and spread from there. The only thing that normally causes a shortage, due largely to the size and multiple sources for pretty much everything, is people buying because they expect a shortage.
So - I have a 25lb bag of jasmine rice stored as backup (which is not anything unusual for us). More dried beans than usual (the shelves were wiped of canned goods and dried goods like this). Pasta and various tomato sauce precursors. I've slowly increased the backup as COVID started its return.
Things like masks and gloves (loose food prep, not latex - easier and cheaper to use) are new additions but not any big crazy backup - just what we bought over the summer as they became available. A few liters of iso-propanol (still difficult to get without being gouged). This paragraph contains non-standard items.
Bread - we can get buy without although I'd rather not. I don't recall a short supply of that around here.
Get a bidet. I'm serious. It cuts down on your TP use and we weathered the zombie apocalypse just fine last time.
I think that in the future water will be a far more valued resource than recycled paper. Using drinking quality water to flush down your sh*t is completely crazy, when you think of it!
I never understood why there is almost zero demand for switching to un-purified water (maybe mechanically filtered, by simple means) for toilets, and in residential areas for watering your garden and things like that. In many countries, there is a distinction between regulated AC (e.g. for electronics) and unregulated AC (e.g. for heating). We should, at least twenty to thirty years ago, have introduced a similar distinction between drinking water quality and a secondary water quality, not intended for drinking but suitable for toilets, watering your garden, flushing the streets, ...
A new ditch for those secondary water pipes today is of course expensive. But if every dich dug the last thirty years for the water supply had added secondary pipes for the secondary water, the cost would essentially have been that of the pipes themselves, which is a small fraction of the cost of the ditch.
We didn't do it, then. And noone does it today. I never understood why.
In my corner of Idaho we have just that (for watering the garden anyway). We have a separate supply of non-potable irrigation water hooked up to the sprinkler system, which we get for a fairly small fixed cost per year. So you can use as much as you want (within reason) at no extra charge.
I think the main reason we have this is that we live in an agricultural area in a high desert climate (hot and dry in the summer). There is a large system of canals to supply water to the fields and some residential areas make use of this system. Definitely better than throwing expensive municipal water on your garden!
Back in my bread maker days I learned to watch the following:
* Always buy fresh ingredients, especially yeast and eggs
* Measure the temperature of the water, don't just guess; too cold and the dough won't rise, too hot and you kill the yeast
* If you take ingredients straight from the refrigerator and use them, that will lower the temperature of the water; sometimes it's better to leave them sit on the counter for an hour or more to reach room temperature
* The pre-mixed ingredients will only work a majority of the time; if your bread maker is a little out of tolerance, they might never work
* As you've described, when you're starting out use a simple recipe and tweak one thing at a time until it's to your liking; then start adding elderberries, sage, and curry powder if that's what you like
The amount of water/liquid is critical- too much and the loaf falls in the center, too little and you've got a brick. I look at the loaf while it's in the initial mixing phase and add more flour or liquid as necessary.
The older machines that produce a round loaf seem to mix better- sometimes you get unmixed flour in the corners of the rectangular pans.
CodeProject made quite an impact on my (professional) life, but this is getting ridiculous.
Tonight I dreamt that my bedroom (or rather, a bedroom that was apparently mine) was turned into a CP museum.
All I remember from it is that it had some kind of Canadian award on display.
At first I was honored, but then I realized I probably wouldn't have much privacy sleeping in a museum.
Also, there was this guy who was supposed to do my laundry, but didn't.
@chris-maunder Stop the Inception crap and go make your museum somewhere else.
Also, ask @Kent-Sharkey to do my laundry to make up for emotional damages