At the risk of being accused of selling out to the world of electronic gizmos, let me say this: Bread making using an automatic bread maker is nothing to be ashamed of. And, as a matter of fact, using a bread machine can easily and reliably deliver healthy, wholesome bread for minutes of your time and pennies instead of dollars.
A Bit of Ancient History
I purchased my first automatic bread machine over twenty years ago when they were the latest new-fangled kitchen appliance. In those days, the only recipes available were those that came in the skinny little user manual that came with the machine itself. So early adopters such as myself had to learn the ropes the hard way: we invented them ourselves.
There was no internet in those days (circa 1990) but there were online services such as Prodigy and that is where like minded bakers would congregate and share bread making tips as well as our custom crafted recipes. For me it was a hobby and a delicious one at that.
My first machine was a Hitachi B101 which I purchased at Costco for about $200. It produces a tall skinny loaf with a domed top. Not real pretty to look at and tough to slice but heck, the results smelled and tasted delicious.
About ten years later I purchased a more compact machine for use on my boat. Let me tell you, there was nothing like sitting out at anchor with the generator quietly running and the aroma of fresh baked bread baking. I still have that bread machine, the Oster 2 lb. ExpressBake Breadmaker. Until about a month ago, it was gathering dust in my garage.
The Return of the Bread Machine Maven
There is a bit more to the history lesson but I will get to that in a moment. First, I want to show you a visual of the healthy result of a bit of flour, some whole grains, and a few other bread making essentials.
What you are looking at is a loaf of my Poulsbo Bread with the emphasis on the “my”. You see back in 1992, I was contacted by Donna Rathmell German and was asked permission for this cookbook author to use my hand crafted bread recipe in her upcoming book. Truly. You can find my recipe on page 131. Coolness!
So as I was saying, I recently dusted off the bread machine and starting making anew by making sandwich breads. I did this mostly out of disgust at the price of a decent loaf in town: about $4.50 at the grocery store and get this, about $7.50 at the bakery. I knew I could do better and I did. After a few fall starts (such as loaves of”white” bread with sunken tops) I dug out my own Poulsbo Bread recipes and voila, the perfect loaf.
The Survival Woman Poulsbo Bread Recipe
Now in all fairness, the original Poulsbo bread was made at a Sluy’s Bakery in Poulsbo, Washington. I loved this bread and worked for weeks re-creating a version for the bread machine. And now I am going to share it with you.
Place the following ingredients in the pan of your bread machine in the order shown or as recommended by your ABM manufacturer:
1 1/2 cups water 2 tablespoons oil 2 2/3 tablespoons molasses 2 2/3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 3 cups bread flour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup 7-grain cereal 2 tablespoons powdered buttermilk 2 teaspoons yeast Optional, but necessary to be authentic: Add 2/3 cups sunflower seeds at the “beep”
Easy and delicious, you can set it and forget it. So for those days when you want a nice sandwich bread instead if your homemade Artisan bread (see Baking bread and why you should do it), consider the lowly bread machine. And if you don’t have one stored away somewhere, check with an older relative (free), the local thrift store ($10) or Amazon ($70 and up).
Want to buy new?
I see no reason to spend more than $100 since even the cheapies have options to make jam and back quick breads. Now I must admit that I covet this Cuisinart CBK-100 Programmable Breadmaker but I plan to make due with my trusty Oster. This Oster Expressbake Bread Maker looks like and updated version of my ABM (automatic bread machine) and runs about $65 with free shipping. There is also the West Bend 2 Lb. Breadmaker which is highly rated and less than $60.
The Final Word
The only problem with all of this delicious bread are the consequences of eating so much that your waistline expands. I leave it up to you to deal with that. Aside from that, the news is all good when it comes to bread making the easy way.
And please, whatever you do, don’t let anyone get away with calling you a wimp for using an automatic bread machine!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Alas, The Bread Machine Cookbook III with my Poulsbo Bread recipe is out of print but you can usually find a used copy at Amazon or Ebay for a few bucks. Or, you can do what I did and order the revised version of her original book which has been updated for the newer machines.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: I still like to make artisan breads, too. If you have not tried making Artisan Breads in Five Minutes, then this is the book for you. It is really that easy!
Rothco 550lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: As far as I am concerned, paracord ranks up there with duct tape and zip ties. I wish I had know about this stuff years ago. I just bought some more for less than $5 for 50 ft.
Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: This purchase changed the way I cook. I se my cast iron cookware for everything from salmon, to bacon and eggs, to biscuits. For under $20, there is no excuse not to own this survival basic. Don’t forget the Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers, a must have for cleaning those food bits from your cast iron cookware.
Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.
I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss. The Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials is something I use all year round. With the grocery store a 20 mile round trip journey, I like the thought of being able to rehydrate my own fruit, in the quantity I want, at a moments notice.
The selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries.
But not to be left out, there are veggies too. The deluxe supply of Freeze Dried Vegetables includes 18 #10 tins of the following veggies in various quantities: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn, Green Beans, Green Peppers, Green Peas, Mushrooms, Potato Dices, Spinach, and White Onions.
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11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: This little book will provide you with the motivation to get started or stay on track with a self-reliant life. 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, co-authored with my long time pal, George Ure (www.urbansurvival.com), and can purchased from Amazon.
Shelf Reliance Virtual Party: Are you a fan of Shelf Reliance and Thrive products? Backdoor Survival hosts a virtual, online Shelf Reliance party with discounted party prices and some special packages not normally found at the Shelf Reliance site.
As a matter of fact, all of the packages you see available at Costco.com are available at my party and at better prices too!