Why I'm not replacing my bread machine.
In the early '90s I bought a bread machine from the DAK catalog.
It finally failed to turn on. I'm not fixing it. I'm not replacing it.
It taught me an important lesson: bread is easy.
What it does
What a bread machine does: throw in the ingredients, press one button, and when it's done. You have bread.
Why it's good
The advantage of a bread machine: throw in the ingredients at night, set a timer, and it's made while you sleep, done in the morning. A feature I never use.
But, bread is easy - throw the ingredients in the standing mixer. Let the bread hook mix and knead them for 5 minutes. Wait 90 minutes. Give it another 2 minutes of kneading. Pour in a loaf pan. Wait another 90 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes.
The recipe I keep returning to is Challah:
1 pkg Yeast = 2t
3 c bread flour
1.5 t salt
4 T sugar
0.75 c warm water
6 T oil
+ 1 egg for glaze, and poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
After the first rise, move dough to a floured, (parchment paper is useful here) baking sheet. Cut into three equal pieces. Roll each piece like a kid working with clay into a rope, about a foot long. Braid. set aside for an hour for the second rise. A cold oven, gently warmed by its interior light bulb is a good place. after second rise, brush with a beaten egg. sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Bake in a preheated oven (remembering to take the loaf out first, before turning the oven on)