January 28, 2009

"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"

The above quote by Julia Child makes me wonder if she would have approved of automatic breadmakers. Did I tell you I decided to experiment with our bread machine this past weekend? I brought a Panasonic SD-YD250 to Santa Rosalia. I perceived eventually, or even sooner, we might get tired of eating the commercially baked Mexican version of Wonder Bread, known as Bimbo Bread. Their trademark hamburger buns complete with sesame seeds on the top go by the name Bimbollo, and the hot dog buns are called Media Noche (middle of the night—what gives?) They also make a wheat loaf and an oatmeal loaf. All are basic dry uninspired bread forms, but one sees their bread trucks even in the remotest smallest of towns in Baja delivering bread. The other bread available locally is the “French baguette” from Panaderia Boleo baked here every morning. They are a break from Bimbo, but a bit doughy and heavy. They are available at the bakery downtown which is housed in a cute French-style building with a lot of curb appeal. Unfortunately the staff, young women with an attitude, act as if they are doing you big a favor to even speak to you. The only time I bought stuff there it was actually moldy and that coupled with the snotty attitude sort of killed my interest in returning again.

But I digress—back to the breadmaking. When we first got ready to use the breadmaker after we arrived, I couldn’t find the directions anywhere. This wasn’t so strange because my unsupervised unpackers were ripping apart cardboard boxes of kitchen appliances, glassware, etc., which they would pitch onto a growing mountain of debris outside to be hauled off to the garbage dump. The bread machine instructions apparently fell victim to this annihilation, but I was able to resurrect them online or we would have been screwed. For the 100 millionth time, thank God for the internet!

The first bread we tried was a basic white French bread loaf, which everyone really liked. The trouble is we didn’t have a bread knife and the loaves were large and soft so they didn’t cut very evenly and wouldn’t fit into the toaster. We made quite a few of these over time, then we tried making the egg bread which was also good, but more work. While I was in the U.S. three months ago I bought a bread knife to make slicing easier. When I returned with the knife, the cook’s breadmaking zeal had expired, and I could see it was much easier when you are serving 7 or 8 people for breakfast just to buy Bimbo bread, white and whole wheat, and toast those nice, even slices up for breakfast (forget the bonus of the freezer space you are saving by not trying to store the baked bread as well).

However I kept wishing I could have a nice multigrain bread when the staff was gone on weekends. Somehow every time Sunday would come and when I would assemble the ingredients something was always missing. Initially it was molasses (which the Storyteller had to bring from Canada), then dried powdered milk, then the multigrain cereal I had purchased which was eaten before I could reorganize the breadmaking session. Finally this last weekend with malice aforethought, I garnered all the ingredients including flaxseed (which I brought back from Vancouver); and wheat germ found here in the grocery store (amazing!); and then when I went to trot out my cereal it was again missing. Arrgggh! In desperation I grabbed the box of Kellogg’s All Bran Original. I was following some recipe I found on the internet which looked really peculiar, but I thought what the hay, this is only an experiment. Just go for it! After 5 hours of baking when I removed the loaf from the pan it was kind of weird looking having risen sporatically and unevenly, and was almost too crusty. But it was heavenly to eat! It sliced easily and I froze the slices which I am hoarding for weekends. We have a 4-day vacation ahead. I can barely wait to get my hands on the breadmaker again. I made some adjustments to my original recipe which I think may improve the appearance of the loaf, there’s nothing wrong with the texture or flavor. Esperando even compared it favorably with my sister-in-law Suzy Gourmet’s cracked wheat bread.

Whole Grain Bread Machine Recipe

½ c Kelloggs All Bran Original or other 7-grain cereal, crushed
½ c rolled oats
½ c flax seeds
½ c wheat germ
¼ c brown sugar
2 tsp yeast
1 ½ c water
2 T olive oil
2 ½ c bread flour
1 tsp salt

Put oats in a mixing bowl; pour 1 cup boiling water over the oats. When oats have cooled but are still a bit warm, add remaining ingredients according to bread machine manufacturer's manual. Combine all ingredients in bread machine and cook as you would a whole grain loaf.

1 comment:

Claire said...

sounds good to me. Seems like you have some of our father in your blood! Attack of the mad bread maker.
a source of joy is good bread!