Have you ever had a day when you just felt lucky?
This happened to me a little over a week ago. The Boy and I decided to put off work and play while the sun was out, so off we headed to our favorite thrift store, Brown Elephant, for adventure.
To pick through old, dusty stuff indoors. Hey, I never said we wanted to play IN the sun–just while it was out. Does your BMG LOOK like the kind of person who can handle UV exposure?!
So while we were there, The Boy and I found an espresso machine, a bread machine, and a pasta/sausage mixer/extruder (come now, you know you want to say it–just put your lips together and coo: “extruuuuuder…”), all in barely-used condition, for a grand total of $10. You may think us strange for buying previously-owned kitchen appliances. I say, mayhap we are, but we are also the kind of simple folk who have a worm composting bin and make our own wine. So there. Take us or leave us.
But please take us. We’re very sensitive.
And by the way, such thrift store “luck” is usually the kind you make yourself. Sometimes you have to play dirty. By giving the evil eye to that domesticky gay male couple, for example–they look like they’d just loooooove a bread machine. Sure, the fashionista is over there snooping through a pile of neckties and looking quite absorbed in the silk cravat he just found. But the other one–with the picnic basket–he could be trouble.
“What’s that over there?” I say a bit too loudly. “An exquisite ceramic bust of Diana Ross?” I grab the bread machine fast. Suckers.
And as I christened my machine that night (bread from a MACHINE? How exotic! And also, sort of apocalyptic!) while we folded laundry and watched the Chappelle show, I felt completely at peace with everything, cozy in my domestic bliss, my nesting instinct rolling at a continuous, slow burn. Ah, that Dave Chappelle–always up to some new and hilarious hijinks. What’s that you say, Dave? You’re Rick James, bitch? Oh, Dave, you DO beat all!
This bread is FANTASTIC toasted with a fried egg for breakfast, or as the base for BLT’s–bacon already included! No bread machine? Go kill yourself.
Kidding! You can do this by hand and with a regular ol’ oven. Or, you know, go kill yourself.
1 3/4 cups water
1 Tablespoon active, dry yeast
5 3/4 cups flour (I use a mix of white whole wheat and white, but I’ve also done all wheat and all white with good results)
3 Tablespoons creamed honey
1/4 cup butter or oil
1 Tablespoon salt
12 oz. bacon (measured before cooking), cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes (NOT onion powder!)
Place all ingredients in the bread machine in the following order: liquids on the bottom, dry ingredients on the top, ending with yeast. Hold the bacon and scallions back for now. Close the machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting it to basic (for white) or wheat (for wheat and wheat-blended doughs), with light crust color. Start the machine. Keep an eye on it during the first knead to make sure it isn’t too sticky or too dry. Towards the end of the first kneading cycle, add the bacon and onion. If they’re not mixing in very well, try adding a teaspoon or two of flour to aid the incorporation process. If it still doesn’t work, remove the dough, knead in the mix-ins by hand, and return it to the machine. But with a little patience, the machine should do it just fine.
To make this dough by hand, start with warm water, and let the yeast sit in it with the honey for about ten minutes. Slowly incorporate the butter or oil, then the flour, then the salt (adding salt directly to yeast can sometimes kill it or inhibit the bread’s rise), and then the bacon, scallions, and dried onion. Knead until smooth, about five minutes, form it into a ball, and place it in an oiled bowl under a light towel to rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch it down, knead it for another minute, then form it into two small loaves on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Cover it with a towel and let rise until doubled again, about 40 minutes to an hour. When almost doubled, preheat the oven to 400F. Right before placing them in the oven, slash the tops maybe a half-deep with a very sharp knife, about two slashes per loaf, and place them in the oven. Sometimes I bake my loaves with a pan of water on the rack underneath (to keep the top from drying out before the “puffing” is complete), but you could also just spritz the loaves with a bit of water after you slash them. Bake until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped (usually 25-30 minutes for me).