My car is still in the shop. Trapped at home, I decided it would be a good time to try out my new West Bend bread-maker and a Russian black bread recipe from allrecipes.com. A review on Amazon said that the sides of the bread maker would get extremely hot, so I set it up on our ceramic-top stove. [This wouldn't have been necessary, since it didn't heat excessively.] I combined the dry ingredients, set the yeast in a small dish, and then prepared the liquid ingredients. Since the breadmaker’s instructions said that the liquid ingredients should be between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, I used a digital thermometer to adjust the tap before measuring 1 1/2 cups of water.
Overall, things went well except that the bread rose excessively and then collapsed. I removed the bread. It tastes good; the texture’s great, but it’s not presentable. So I’m trying again, this time reducing the amount of yeast by 25%. I’m also using the light crust setting, since the medium seemed a little too crunchy.
While I was waiting for the unsuccessful loaf to finish, I tried an orange honey butter recipe. Yummm.
The top of the bread is getting dangerously close to the breadmaker’s lid, and it still has an hour to cook. Hmmm. I’m reading Bread Machines for Dummies, which just arrived an hour ago. It said all ingredients should be room temperature, or it causes the bread to rise too quickly and collapse.
The bread collapsed, and I’ve started another loaf. This time, I did not warm any ingredients and reduced the water to 1 cup. Even with a bread machine, I see that making bread is an art.
At the end of the first kneading kneading cycle, the dough felt slightly too dry. I added 1/8 cup of water at the start of the second kneading cycle.
Success!! I think. At least it’s baked and it looks like a loaf of bread. Smells fabulous!
Slices well. Perfect texture. Tastes great–especially with the orange honey butter.