A loaf by any other name… Or… Bread machine vs. by hand (part 1)

This is the kind of day I’ve been having… I completed this post… posted it.. and in attempting to update it – deleted it. Whoops…

So here goes the rewrite..

I have a dear friend who loves his bread machine, swears by it. Even I have fallen prey to the ease of the silly thing: dump in ingredients, push the button, three hours later, voila! Fresh, hot bread.

OK, it’s not as good as “real” homemade, but it’s better than most store bought.

Another dear friend, however, swears the machine is really not that great and simply makes his dough by hand, keeping it in the refrigerator for when he wants a fresh loaf.

I’m no stranger to the joys of bread making, and I tend to agree with Friend 2 that it is a therapeutic process.

And so…

At 9:00 I gathered all the ingredients… by 9:30, the dough was in the refrigerator and the dishes were all washed… and note – no mixer was used, this was all by hand, baby!

Mis en place - it helps, really!
The start of the dough - look ma! No mixer!
Cup four goes into the mix
Next comes the fun part...
Getting your hands into it! This is a hands on job...
Getting there...
This doughball could use a bit more manhandling...
How can you tell if the dough is ready? Pooosh!
Look ma! No dough sticking!

Seriously – I’ve heard every thing from – dough is ready when it’s “elastic and smooth” (which is kinda like saying, “feel the clutch” when teaching someone to drive a stick) to the accurate, but icky, “it feels like a baby’s butt.”

How about something less subjective?

Push your fingers against the dough ball… then pull them away… they should leave a clear indent, and no dough should stick, or cling to your fingers. Simple? You betcha!

Now we know why I knead in a bowl - easy clean up!