Tag Archives: bread machines

Bring on the (new) bread machine

Well. We’ve managed to destroy yet another bread machine. Here’s the thing. Some people eat cold cereal for breakfast. Some eat eggs. Some eat nothing. I eat cinnamon raisin bread — NOT the store-bought spongy, flaccid stuff — only homemade.

Somewhere in the mid-80s, we purchased our first bread machine. Made by¬† DAK, it resembled R2D2 and made round loaves. Our two then-preschool-age daughters watched, mesmerized, as the dough mixed, began to rise, and baked. One day, it became off-kilter mid-cycle and walked right off the counter and crashed to the floor. Thus began a long line of bread machines. I forget how many we’ve had because like our toasters and irons — they have short lives.

DakSo…a few months ago, the most recent machine died. Mid-cycle. This was not pleasant. My attempts at completing the baking process were useless. We ended up with a half-baked lump of dough. Still, I loved that particular machine and set about buying another one. I couldn’t find the same model nearby so settled for another. My first clue that it might be a dud was when I noticed the pan didn’t click into place when I set it in the machine. I was sure it was a dud when nothing happened after filling it with flour, cinnamon, oil, honey, salt, water and yeast.

After a few choice words, which my husband appeared to ignore, I kneaded it by hand, let it rise, and baked it in the oven. And…returned the machine to the store.

I know. I should have ordered a new one right away but decided instead that I’d drag out my 30-year-old Cuisinart, mix up the dough, and bake it. That has worked fine when/if time allows, but I’d become accustomed to baking it on the one-hour cycle while I run — thus, having fresh bread whenever we’re out.

photo(17)image(10)So, okay. I give. The trusty Cuisinart didn’t let me down today — odd, when you consider the number of other appliances we’ve seen come and go. Given my tendency toward pessimism, I know it’s not going to last. And yes, I know I can mix it up by hand and bake it. But not while I’m running.

So…that’s it. I give. Bring on the next bread machine. May you live as long as (shhhh…) the Cuisinart and the 30-plus-year-old clothes dryer.

Irons and toasters and bread machines, oh my!

For some reason, my husband and I have purchased and pitched more small appliances than seems possible. Maybe it’s true that they just don’t make things like they used to. After all, according to one of the Car Talk brothers, the 1967 Dodge Dart is the most perfect car made because it was so simple. Today’s cars are so complex that the maintenance and repair is challenging.

But I digress….sorry, just listened to Click and Clack this morning and the Dodge Dart was on their minds. Back to small appliances. In our household, an iron can work fine one day and the next day be totally useless. Nothing more frustrating than turning on the iron and coming back a few minutes later to find it still cold.

This is true also of toasters, breadmakers (we’ve been through five in the last 20 years), hairdryers, dust busters, and alarm clocks. I think my parents had the same toaster and iron for the first 40 years of married life. In fact, I think my mom gave me her original Sunbeam iron a few years ago. I killed it. Don’t tell her.

Fred’s dad’s theory was that we didn’t take care of them. This is probably true, especially of the bread machines. I use it a few times a week and most times, “forget” to clean it out. So…things get crusty in there. But still.The death of the first bread machine was no one’s fault. It was my all-time favorite one, because it had a glass-domed top, so you could really see it rising. It also looked like R2D2.

One afternoon about 20 years ago (this was in house number two or three…I’ve lost track), I’d fired up the bread machine and was upstairs minding my own business. Looking back, I realize I should have stayed nearby. I remember that it seemed a bit off balance while in the kneading cycle, but I ignored that. Awhile later, it seemed like the whole house started to shake and then we heard a loud crash from the kitchen.

R2D2 had decided to take a walk off the counter, breaking the glass dome and spewing bread dough all over the floor. We all had a good laugh and put that one out to pasture. Subsequent machines have never been quite as entertaining, but certainly less expensive.

Anyway, our iron gave out a few months ago, and the thrifty part of me fetched one from Et Cetera, our local thrift shop. It weighed about 50 pounds but worked semi-okay. Today I decided it was time for a new one — thriftiness forgotten — and found a nice, lightweight replacement at my favorite local hardware.

I figure if something goes wrong with it, I’ll go visit my favorite hardware store owner. Or call Click and Clack…maybe their skills with cars extends to irons.

Next purchase…a toaster that toasts in less than 10 minutes.