I’ve had a bread machine for almost 4 years.
For the first 3 years, it sat on a shelf in my pantry. It was my mom’s and we didn’t have the user manual and I constantly said, “oh, I need to look online for one” but, well, 3 years people. It obviously never even made the to-do list.
Then at a friend’s house, I see her making bread, in her machine, with a Bread Machine cookbook. Have I been under a rock? I don’t need my own bread maker’s book? Cue moronic feelings. But! Herald in the holla because now I could bake ALL THE BREAD!
And so, I have been!
Made some yummy Honey Whole Wheat, some White, and some Old Fashioned Raisin Bread (recipe at the bottom) for the husband. I have SO many plans – including something with chocolate because N1 is constantly all up in my grill with, “Does it have chocolate? Why didn’t you make some with chocolate? When are you gonna make some with chocolate? Do we have any chocolate? See, Mommy, here’s the chocolate. NOW, can you make something with chocolate? Okay, can I just have some chocolate?”
And so forth.
I’ve made bread from scratch over the years and while I don’t love the work, I do love that it has almost always turned out well. Not always perfectly, but edible and yummy and has left me with a feeling of productivity, accomplishment, and… you know what? Plain old competence.
For the past few weeks, feelings of incompetence, failure, not being good enough… they’ve been running a bit rampant and it’s been pretty discouraging to say the least. Most days I feel like I’m beating them back with a big stick (but there’s still Joy, see last post). So, days like this are a booster. I created bread. Yeah, my machine did it, but I didn’t misread ingredients/amounts (common in my creations) AND there is now warm, yummy bread when there was NONE before. It makes me feel good. Take that, feelings of not being able to do anything right!!!
I love taking care of people/creatures/things, and one of my favorite things is preparing food for the hummingbirds. We have 4 this year and I watch them a lot. They’re so small and seemingly, do absolutely nothing but eat enough to maintain the crazy amount of energy they expend from trying to eat enough to maintain the crazy amount of energy they expend from trying to eat enough to– well, you get my drift. And I love to help. And it’s the easiest thing in the world. 4 cups of hot water, 1 cup of white sugar dissolved in it, let cool, put in feeder, stick outside. Although most of my birds like it best when it’s been there a few days and started to ferment. Crazy, drunken fowl.
I also enjoy that they come to the sliding glass door when the feeders are empty and look at me as if to say, “what is this, a dry county? GET BUSY WOMAN.”
So I made their food and I hung it up and the one that liked it fresh came and helped himself and I watched him (her/it) for a while and smiled. They come every year. It started as 1 and he brought friends. They expect it and I deliver.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that really go right. And I thank God daily for tiny blessings such as these.
Old Fashioned Raisin Bread (1 1/2 lb loaf)
1 cup dark raisins (or other dehydrated fruit you like)
1 1/8 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 cups bread flour (Friends, get bread flour. Just do it.)
1 tbsp gluten
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 bread machine yeast
Put raisins in a small bowl, cover with water, heat in microwave til nearly boiling. Let stand 10 minutes to plump. Drain and blot on paper towels.
Choose the sweet bread/fruit and nut option on your maker, and we prefer a medium crust.
Add raisins between knead 1 and 2 (or whenever you remember because your machine doesn’t beep. Not that I know about that or anything. Just do it before it stops kneading)
The dough may seem way too wet but, really, you should be JUST FINE.