Brooks (brooksmoses) wrote,

Adventures with a bread-making robot.

I recently got a bread machine -- cjsmith was giving one away because it had been unused in her closet for quite some time, and I had been thinking that it would possibly be nice to have one but I wasn't going to go to much effort to buy one because I was afraid of it lingering in my closet after an initial burst of use, so it worked out nicely, and if my fear comes true, I can just continue the cycle of passing it along. It's a Welbilt ABM100-3, which seems to have been one of the earlier ones; it looks very much like a squat half-sized R2 unit with a clear glass dome.

I have now made three loaves of bread with it, and am somewhat perplexed. The second loaf I made was a loaf of rosemary French bread -- I took the basic French bread recipe from the recipe book that came with the bread machine (3 cups flour, 2.5 tsp of yeast, 1.5 tsp each of salt, sugar, and shortening, and 1 5/8 cup warm water) and substituted olive oil for the shortening and added about a tablespoon of chopped rosemary. It worked just as advertised -- the bread rose up to the top of the canister in the bread machine, and baked into a nice cylindrical loaf. Quite tasty, too!

The third loaf was supposed to be exactly like the second. However, when I looked at the bread machine after the rising cycle had nearly finished, the glass dome was entirely filled with dough that had risen well outside of its bounds. I averted disaster by carefully removing it and dumping it onto a baking dish and putting it in the oven -- which worked out quite well, despite the dough being too foamy to shape properly into a loaf, and my not really having any idea how long to cook it and also starting out with a cold oven. The bread turned out perfectly cooked, though I learned that I should have greased and/or floured the pan.

So, the perplexing thing: This was exactly the same recipe, both times. Not only that, but yeast from the same jar, and flour from the same bag.

The differences: The bag of flour had been open an extra couple of days the second time. The first loaf was cooked at tiger_spot's house; the second at mine, which is a bit colder, so it's possible that the machine overcompensated when warming the dough for rising. The second loaf had a bit more rosemary, which I can't imagine is the reason. In the first loaf, I added the salt and sugar directly on top of the yeast; on the second loaf, I put the salt and sugar on top of the flour -- but it should be pretty well mixed regardless. And ... that's about it.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might have caused this? I could just use the "in case the dough rises too much" suggested variation of less yeast and water, but then maybe it will be like the first loaf, and so not rise enough.

Also, any good recipes for bread-machine bread, beyond the basics in its cookbook? I'd particularly like to find a good whole-wheat bread that's not just white bread with a little whole wheat for flavor like the supplied recipe.

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