Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Bread Machine Gourmet by Shea Mackenzie, a book review

With hot weather closing in, it's time to reiterate my love of The Bread Machine Gourmet, still my favorite bread machine cookbook.

Homemade bread is miles ahead of the flat, packaged stuff that they sell in the grocery store. Bread from the bread machine isn't quite as good as oven-baked bread--you get a larger crumb, for one thing, and a slightly awkward shape, particularly where the paddle was. However, it has its advantages. Making bread in the bread machine means not having to be around while it bakes--it's even possible to set a timer to arrange for it to be ready by a specific time--and not having to deal with the heat of the oven during the summer months.

Trouble is, most bread machine recipes stop at a basic white. There may be one or two recipes for oatmeal bread, and just possibly a "whole wheat" bread where no more than a third of the flour is actually whole wheat. Anything truly interesting has to be removed from the pan, shaped, and baked--and there goes most of the advantage of using a bread machine. Almost no one thinks of trying new recipes, particularly not whole-grain recipes.  Shea Mackenzie is the exception. I sometimes call her book the "everything but the kitchen sink" cookbook. There are recipes for oatmeal bread, banana bread, apple bread, black bean bread, jalepeno cheese bread, chocolate bread, peanut butter bread, and the list goes on.  I have by no means tried all of the recipes, but the ones I have tried have been good!

Baking now?  Apple oatmeal bread.

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