Breadmaker + Good Eats

January 5th, 2007 by Potato

I got my breadmaker up and running last night. It’s a pretty nifty little device and does a decent job of kneading the dough, which is all I used it for in my first batch. I just made up some basic pizza dough. The dough that came out wasn’t very elastic in the end, so I couldn’t shape it by rolling and stretching like I usually would, but instead had to basically pound it into my pizza pan. However, the final pizza was tasty and had a good texture, so I’ll take it. After that, I decided to make some bread, and started with their “basic white” recipe. I was surprised at how much more had to go into this supposedly basic recipe compared to the pizza dough. When I saw that I didn’t have everything it called for, I started to improvise, first with 25% whole wheat flour, and then throwing in some ground flax too. The bread came out pretty good, though the crust is a fair bit heavier and darker than the “medium” I set it to; I think next time I’ll have to try light. Bread from a breadmaker is very strange because the pan is very tall and not very wide, so it’s almost like the aspect ratio adjustment I’m having to make with my monitor…

When I was talking about my bread at work, I was told that ground flax only lasts for a few weeks in the cupboard and was cautioned to keep it in the fridge. I just googled it, and sure enough it does have a fairly limited shelf life (though the somewhat biased flax council of Canada gives it a few months), and that worries me just a little bit since I have no idea how long ago Wayfare bought the flax. Ah, well, the bread still tastes fine, and now I’m going to set about turning the other half of it into sandwiches (fortunately, I’ve got 3 different bread knifes here to get just the right slices, evenly thick all over).

\"Shit that sandwich looks delicious!\" \"That\'s because I roll twenties.\"

Growing up, my parents have always have a ton of kitchen gadgets, from cappachino machines to juicers, deep fryers to smokers — even stone-bottomed pizza cookers — and my mom always cautioned my dad never to get a breadmaker, since that would clearly be the last straw. She always considered the breadmaker to be the gadget that people bought because they sounded neat, but never really ended up using. So naturally, sometime after Wayfare bought me this one but before I opened it, I told this story to Wayfare. “This is it,” I said “I can’t think of anything to get my mom. I’m going to have to resort to getting her the last kitchen gadget on earth, the breadmaker.”

As long as my mind is on food I also got the first season of Good Eats with Alton Brown. This is perhaps my favourite cooking show because he takes the time to explain why he does what he does. He actively encourages us to come up with our own recipes, and explains what each ingredient is supposed to do, and how it can be modified or substituted. I find I still get something out of the episodes that aren’t really of interest to me for the food (of which there are a lot; almost every one, since I’m such a picky eater). For example, the one on steaks wasn’t hugely useful to me, since I’m not really one to go to my local butcher and select the cut of meat for me, then pan-fry that (if I make steaks for friends, I’d probably BBQ anyway). But that episode did have some handy information on cast iron skillets. Likewise, I really disagree with his opinion on mashed potatoes in a number of aspects (adding red potatoes to purposefully make them lumpy? And I’ve never understood the appeal of putting garlic in mashed potatoes), but I finally learned why the Yukon Gold potatoes I switched to for a time after moving out on my own (which the grocery store display says should be good for mashing) never worked as well as the plain baking potatoes my mom used (the baking potatoes are starchier and less waxy).

Anyhow, I’m home with a sore neck. I have no idea how I hurt it: my shoulder was sore when I woke up, presumably from sleeping on it funny (or reaching up to the breaker board repeatedly last night; possibly from curling, too) but my neck didn’t hurt at first. Then I had a shower and let the hot water work out my shoulder for a while, and when I went to towel off, I couldn’t move my neck. I walked to work all hunched over, and of course my office mates laughed at me. When I went down to the cafeteria, a small child looked at me like I was the boogieman, so it must have been a funny posture indeed. After not very long at all, I gave up at work and came home where I can sort of plop myself down on the couch and slouch enough that I can still see the screen with my chin on my chest.

One Response to “Breadmaker + Good Eats”

  1. Ben Says:

    Good Eats is a great show! Definitely my fave on Food TV. I’d love to get a copy of that from you sometime.