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OK, no denying, the machine takes less effort – quelle surprise!

I can get my bread machine “loaded” in about 5 minutes. The only responsibility I have after that is to be around about 3 hours later to yank the bread out. OK, it’s easy. And it’s fast.

But…

30 minutes of labor, including clean up, and I had enough dough for two loaves of bread happily rising in the refrigerator.

The deal is, you have to let it rise for at least two hours… You can safely ignore it up to four hours at this point, before punching the dough down.

All pouffy and good... observant ones will note the difference in lighting... hmmm must fix that!

All pouffy and good... observant ones will note the difference in lighting... hmmm must fix that!

C'mon - admit it! The idea of punching something sounds fun...

C'mon, admit it! The idea of punching down the dough sounds fun!

If it's stretching like that - it's a good thing!

If it's stretching like that - it's a good thing!

A few more minutes was all it took to have the bread shaped… A few rolls for right now… a few for later and a loaf for later as well. You can actually leave the dough alone and unshaped for up to three days in the frig… Or you can shape it, and refrigerate or freeze it – it’s very forgiving that way.

Oh, that also makes it very convenient!

What would you call that? Golf ball size?

What would you call that? Golf ball size?

Muffin pan not required... you can also do these on a cookie sheet, but they'll spread out really wide... or bunch 'em all up in a round pan...

Muffin pan not required... you can also do these on a cookie sheet, but they'll spread out really wide... or bunch 'em all up in a round pan...

Now, you can either set these little babies on the counter (all nice and covered of course) to rise for about two to three hours. Or you can stuff ’em in the refrigerator (again) and let them rise in there, which takes considerably longer. Either way, you’ve got some free time on your hands.

And the results?

Oh so worth it!

Oh so worth it!

So, what do I do to keep busy while waiting for the bread? Depends on the day… Today, it was this:

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Bottom line… Total, actual labor was a bit over 45 minutes.

Big surprise – we all knew the bread machine was a time saver. But…

The enjoyment of making bread by hand, the results that are oh so much better… those are worth a bit more effort.

Sure, I’ll probably still use La Machina when I’m just too busy otherwise… But… I may jest get in the habit of Friend 2 and make dough to sit in the ‘frig ready and waiting for me…