Ode to my Bread Machine

I’ve composed a Haiku in honor of my bread machine:

Sturdy white machine

making flour into bread.

Oh, how you beguile!

Wow, I haven’t thought about haikus since elementary school.  Judging from this effort, it’s no wonder I always hated units on poetry. But I stand behind the sentiment: I am in love with my bread machine.  I got it as a Christmas present from my in-laws a few years ago (also gifters of my stellar stand mixer!), and I haven’t looked back.  I most often use it for pizza crust, since we prefer homemade pizza to delivery any day.  Whole wheat crust, pepperoni, pineapple…wow, I’m getting hungry.  I often make herb-cheese bread to go with pasta, English muffin bread to go with soups or stews, or dough for soft pretzels (best. food. ever.).  It’s like the baked goods equivalent to the slow cooker, which I also adore.  You pop in the ingredients, let it work its magic for a couple of hours, and presto!  Homemade bread!

I was super pumped when I found a recipe in Taste of Home for pumpkin bagels in the bread machine.  It was such an easy recipe, and Sweet Pea loved them.  “Homemade bagel” just has an impressive ring to it, like you should invite people over for breakfast and then say “oh, by the way, I made those bagels from scratch.”  Your friends will kneel at your feet.  Especially if you serve them with cream cheese mixed with maple syrup and cinnamon.  And Mexican hot chocolate.  I’m just sayin’.

Definitely don’t tell your friends that you use a bread machine, especially for things like bagels or soft pretzels.  Tell them that you slaved for hours, kneading the dough until your carpal tunnel acted up, waited hours for the dough to rise, then lovingly rolled out the dough with the antique rolling pin your grandmother left you as a good-bye gift.  It’s a WAY better story then “yeah, I threw the ingredients into the machine, turned it on, then made pizza.”  Epic fail in the level of impressiveness.

For those of you curious about making pizza crust in the bread machine, here is my favorite recipe.  We like our crust spicy, so I add plenty of crushed red pepper and garlic to the mix, but feel free to sub in whatever herbs and spices you like.  We bake our pizza on a stone in the oven, so the crust gets nice and crunchy.  The best sauce for this can only be had in the summer, when you mix garden ripe diced tomatoes with tomato paste, garlic, and fresh herbs.  Oh, so tasty.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust in the Bread Machine

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar or honey

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. all purpose flour

1 Tbsp active dry yeast

Spices (optional): crushed red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in the baking pan of your bread machine in the order specified for your model.  Set the machine to the dough cycle, and let it go.  Once the crust is done rising, remove the dough to a floured surface and divide in two.  Sprinkle your rolling surface with flour and cornmeal, and roll out each half of the dough into a circle.  Top with your favorite pizza toppings, and bake in a 425 degree oven until the cheese is melted and your toppings are heated through.  This dough can also be used to make calzones; we usually get 8 small calzones per recipe.  For a less crunchy crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

( I apologize for the lack of photos in this post…anything made in our bread machine doesn’t stick around long enough to be photographed.  Unless you want to see a half-eaten bagel.  We do have one of those on the kitchen counter.)

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