Saturday, March 14, 2009

Little Bread Beast


A few years ago, I bought a bread machine. It was one of those
crazy things I bought on a whim, not knowing if I would like it, or how
much I would actually use it. Now, it is one of those things I can't live
without. Don't get me wrong, I am an old fashioned kind of girl and
enjoy the glories of getting my fingers in the dough and the process of
kneading it. But how many times did I actually do it? Not many.

In five minutes, I can throw the ingredients into this little beast, turn
it on and three hours later, a glorious loaf of homemade bread is
cooling on my cutting board! Here's a simple recipe for super rich and
moist buttermilk bread, I make quite often. It's good fresh and fabulous
the next morning toasted.

Willow's Buttermilk Bread (machine version)

1 5/8 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan.
Select Light Crust setting and press start.
Bake cycle: Standard.

Makes one large 2 lb. loaf

Easy peasy! Pair it with a nice bowl of homemade chicken soup
for a wonderful little supper. Yum-a-licious.


There is something quietly civilizing
about sharing a meal with other people.
The simple act of making someone
something to eat,
even a bowl of soup
or a loaf of bread,
has a many layered meaning.
It suggests an act of protection and caring,
of generosity and intimacy.
It is in itself a sign of respect.

Nigel Slater


69 comments:

  1. Many thanks for this recipe, especially the soup.

    The smell of freskly baked bread is one of my longest-enduring memories from Havana. When I relocated to London in '97 my wife and I used to live in a flat whose back faced a Greek bakery. I have never felt a finer smell than the one that greeted me every morning before going to work.

    Many thanks for another wonderful post.

    Greetings from London.

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  2. Willow, I've been doing the math and I have to say you look marvelous.

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  3. Why, thank you, Clever Pup! :^)

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  4. Ah, yes. I haven't used my bread machine for quite some time, but recently I bought a box of stuff to make cheater's bread, to nudge me along. I'll have to put it to mixing now. Thanks, Willow, for nudging me again.

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  5. I know what you mean about how many times you actually make the bread from scratch; both Eberle & I have done so with good results, but we don't make the time to do so.

    Thanks for the delicious food ideas.

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  6. Hello Willow,

    I have a bread machine too, but it has been gathering dust for a while! I start with good intentions and get all the ingredients in. Then, after a mad spurt, I find the yeast has passed its 'use by' date when next I look!

    But there's nothing to beat the aroma!

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  7. I miss the old days, when I made whole-grain breads for my family. Now that the kids are grown and gone, I know I would eat all the bread, and that's just scary.

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  8. Hey, Willow - I was on my way out when I saw your reference to walking with Leslie. I'm in! Thanks for the inspiration, and thanks also for leading me to Leslie's blog. It's a thing of beauty.

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  9. Sandra, Leslie's great! I'm glad you found her! Yes, do walk with us. :^)

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  10. smokin banner! love the name "flying shirley"---love it love it love it!

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  11. Willow, it is spring here...well, it supposed to be spring. It snowed yesterday. Silly weather!

    Anyway, we live in a water town and I must have a tan, which means I must wear shorts (and a bathing suit) which means I must be able to fit into my bathing suit, which means I can't do that looking at all of your yummy food.

    I love bread.

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  12. When I was a young hippie in the early 70's, I worked as a baker in a health food restaurant. In the Ozarks, of all places! My morning started at 5am when I'd start what was known as the sponge. A big mixer bowl of water and 1/2 of the flour, organic whole wheat, and yeast. It was very physical, I handmade a minimum of 20 loaves a day, sometimes as many as 60, and there was always a batch of cookies going too. I "invented" Reese Cup cookies - peanut butter (also organic, we made it there) with chocolate chips thrown in. I loved my little basement kitchen, the smell drew lots of visitors, and all the hippie boys adored me!

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  13. I haven't used my breadmaker in a zillion years. I think I'm bringing that sucker out today...

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  14. We eat lots of homemade soup. There's nothing more comforting and healthy. I have NOT purchased a bread machine because if I did, I know I'd gain 100 lbs. I could eat loaves of it.

    denese

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  16. This is a great quote! I enjoy your blog, and just added a Library Thing widget to mine because I was inspired by yours.

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  17. Ha, I love the smell of baked bread and I use mine quite a lot.

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  18. Nothing like freshly baked bread. Yum. Have you seen that new book on artisanal 5-minute breads?
    http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

    Today's rainy and cold, so that sounds perfect, Willow! Enjoy! Thanks for the recipe!

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  19. Nigel Slater? Wonder if I'm related...and that soup looks good( lemme get a spoon ). And cool beans on your new blog header :)

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  20. Well, yum. Do you think it would adapt to the handmade version??

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  21. Homemade bread sounds delicious, and we used to have a bread machine, but it broke during one of the moves. The problem with making bread at my house is you have to find somewhere other than the counter to cool it. My black lab has a thing for bread. Chicken, pork, steaks can all be on the counter thawing and he won't touch them. Turn your back on a slice of white bread for 30 seconds, and it will not be there when you turn back around.

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  22. Willow....I've considered for a long time getting one but I was afraid I would not use it.Your sounds simple. Would you mind telling me what make and model it is. I will use your great sounding recipe if I do purchase one! Thanks!
    Carol

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  23. Carol, mine is a Breadman TR875 2-Pound Breadmaker, Stainless Steel. I ordered it from Amazon. I love, love it!

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  24. I use my little bread beast often as my men seem to eat fresh bread as fast as I can make it. I'm looking forward to trying your buttermilk bread.

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  25. I think if I had home made bread every day I would be VERY VERY fat..........
    my favorite food in the world.
    Soup looks good too.

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  26. You just keep making life pleasant. Reminding me of the my cable knit sweater I rarely get to wear and the bread machine I need to now drag out to make this bread.

    And I love the banner shot. Reminds me of the lady on the beach with her camera that I use. Women and cameras, I'm convinced they allow us to sing without making a sound.

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  27. yum again !
    I'm taking part in a little blog land weekly food meme at thekarmickitchen.blogspot.com called Dim Sum Sunday - the theme (for cooking) this Sunday is chicken. Cook, take photos and post a recipe. Are ya in ?

    Merci fo the Li'l Art love - means a lot !

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  28. Cant wait for weight watchers to be over so I can make me some Buttermilk bread! Slante'.

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  29. Don't have a bread machine 'round here. Just made 3 baguettes, though. We'll see if we achieved the webby interior of our local baker.

    Soup is so basic, so calming, so infinite.

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  30. Wow - that soup looks fantastic for a cold rainy day like today, and with warm, fresh bread? Heaven!

    You may have tipped the scale for me to buy one. I am nuts for bread. I prefer homemade bread to most cakes, pies and other dessert-type things as they are often too sweet for my taste.

    But of course I have neither the time nor the patience to make my own properly. If the machine can do it, so be it!

    I hope it's not a big clean up job, though...

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  31. Patrice, it's SO easy to clean up!! Just remove the non stick pan and rinse it out! You can make just about any kind of bread imaginable, even pizza dough.

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  32. Don't you love Nigel Slater? He writes for the newspaper that I read -- AND I have many of his books.

    Your chicken soup looks gorgeous -- and the quality of the photo is wonderful. You make me wish that I had a bread machine . . .

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  33. It was great to get a breath of fresh air, and it is good to be back and blogging again and wandering trough your epestles.
    Your buttermilk bread sounds great, similar ingredients to mine except that I use oil instead of butter. It tends to give it a little more moisture.

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  34. I have chicken soup in the crockpot as we speak...yumm for supper, but I had to cheat with a dip of yogurt ice cream on the way home from work...I couldn't help it...Scratchy made me do it!!!

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  35. Good morning Willow - from the future, Sunday here, markets visited dog walked, washing flapping in the breeze and all is well in god's heaven...

    Your bread sounds yummy, I think the new banner is very appropriate as you are the lady of the manor,and Shirley has a sultry little wink in agreement...

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  36. Bread Machine are wonderful, I haven't used mine in a few years. Maybe I will dust ir off and put it to use again.

    I just finished watching The triplets of Belleville, it is hilarious, I think I can do without the frog dishes. Thank you for recommending it. I was able to get it from my local library yesterday.

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  37. Love, love, love that quote! And I can smell your bread and soup from here. Yum

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  38. Willow: Thanks for the recipe. About a year and a half ago, outside of a property near my house, someone was moving out and left a, seemingly, good bread machine out in front to be picked up by anyone with interest. I picked it up but it has sat unused on my shelf as I don't know how to use it. I will try your recipe and see if it applies to this machine. Thanks.

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  39. Homebaked bread and soup on a Sunday night.....hmmmm I like the sound of that recipe. I used to make the most delcious apple and buttermilk muffins.....can't find the recipe though.

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  40. I can only agree with Nigel Slater.
    Am resisting the bread machine call (I really do not need it) but am bound to get one for Christmas sooner or later...

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  41. My daughter and I were talking about the possibility of her getting a bread machine. Now that she is a bargain hunting stay at home mom making her own hearty bread would save money and be oh so yummy. I think she put it on her list of things to look for at yard sales. (like I mentioned-she's a bargain hunter)

    Your bread looks good...butter me a crusty end piece please!

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  42. Nigel is a god

    I like baking bread but the old-fashioned way. After ten minutes of kneading the dough I feel that I have burnt up a few more calories and consequently have even more of the fattening stuff.

    to be honest I seldom do it any more because it is just too delicious.

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  43. Is it true that no loaf of home made bread has ever been known to get cold?

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  44. Hummmm great post,those pictures open my appetite.I think I will try to do my own bread one of these days,a long time I think of buying one machine.
    Have a great day and bon app├ętit!

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  45. Oh my. Two of my favorite things. Home made bread and home made soup. My wife makes home made soup all the time and freezes some of it. We had the last of the last batch yesterday for lunch. Delicious.

    Bread. We used to get into binges and bake bread and eat bread and turned into dinner rolls. I wonder how some cultures can eat so much bread and look like weight lifters?

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  46. A very salivational blog Willow...yummy indeed.
    I'm slowly working my way through Nigel Slater's Real Cooking.
    Such a thoroughly nice guy and quite 'unchefy'.
    Stay so well.

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  47. There is nothing like waking up in the morning to the smell of fresh baked bread. We used to set our machine to start baking at 4 in the morning, but the trouble was the aroma was so inciting it was waking us up an hour before the bread was even finished baking.

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  48. I've tried home made bread in those machines a couple of times and it was really good.

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  49. The staff of life! Good bread is like nothing else. Yum!!

    Enjoy your cozy day and shiny hair.

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  50. Please continue to repost those good quotes. No apologies needed!

    We finally got rid of our bread machine last June when we realized we hadn't used it for 5 years.

    I miss it now.

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  51. Thanks for the quote and the bread recipe. I don't have a bread maker, but use a sour dough starter for my weekly baking, and it is WORK. I may have to get a baker just to try your recipe! I made chicken soup yesterday before I ever saw this...I must be channeling your culinary spirit, Willow. Had I photgraphed my soup, yours would have a twin save for the china! Thanks for another funfilled & inspiring post! Good, good, good stuff! ( Did I say good too many times?)

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  52. I bought a bread machine once. It was so easy to do that I was making and devouring bread daily. 'had to give it up because I gained weight. Love your B&W self portrait.

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  53. bread is the staff of life is no cliche but a truth. I hesitate to buy machines to do things as I tend to never use them. But this sounds so fun. Right now, sorting thru Mom's stuff I have found a never used juicer and a small electric indoor grill never used either. Nowadays it is hard to get rid of this sort of stuff. Thrift stores dont want electrical items and at the dump you have to pay to toss them.

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  54. Thank you for the Melodie Beattie words on gratitude in the sidebar.
    Too bad you couldn't add the scent of fresh baked bread to this post...I can only just imagine the kitchen warm with bread.

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  55. you and i are total opposites when it comes to the bread machine. mine has been stored away in the bottom corner of my pantry since we moved here 3+ years ago. last night i packed it up a ton of other things to give to my to be dil. she came over this morning to pick everything up and she was thrilled! i love homemade bread but never took the tie to actually make it.

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  56. Love the quote...maybe this time I will memorize it...Willow. It was a busy weekend...but now I feel like making bread!

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  57. Thank-you for the warm cozy recipe and I especially like the quote!

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  58. so, a year or two ago I bought a "kitchen aid" and its real' purty, but...do I use it that much? What happens if I buy a "Breadman".... shouldn't I just try kneading myself, save some money? hmmmmmmmm hard choice here!
    Hey, maybe thats what I'll do today! its grey out here, today, on the central coast California!

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  59. oh that made my mouth water...

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  60. Recipe sounds divine; alas, the only bread machine around here is me (though my grandmother had a contraption that she bolted to the kitchen table and cranked by hand--she made all of our bread in those days).If you are not too busy, come over and have a cup of tea with me; there's a little surprise for you there (with thanks).

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  61. One of my favorite cookbooks is a book called "The Poor Poet's cookbook", whose premise is that if you have good company, good wine and good bread, you can't go too far wrong on a meal. I happen to agree with that idea!

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  62. I thought that quote was familiar, but it is such a good one!
    I have wanted a bread maker for ages. I don't know where I'm going to squeeze in the room on my counter, but one day I'll do it.

    This recipe sounds fantastic!

    Kat

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  63. Oh yes, loved our bread maker. Left it in the UK as it wouldn't work here. Must get another one!

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  64. Thank you for sharing this! I plan to make it soon!

    And to think we just finished a big pot of chicken soup too... :)

    Have a great day!

    Sarah

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  65. We have a wonderful bread machine too. M makes the bread.

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  66. Can't wait to try this recipe in my Zojirushi--thanks!

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  67. Mmmmm, now I'm salivating! The buttermilk bread looks divine.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)