Secret Recipe

Okay. So. I made bread today. With a bread maker, so you know, it’s not exactly “making” so much as “preparing and dumping ingredients” but whatever.

And I think I have discovered the secret to making good bread. Are you ready? Okay. Here it is.


When I was doing my infertility treatments, hopped up to the hilt on every baby-makin’ hormone known to man, I baked. A LOT. I made all kinds of stuff. Ask Kelly, she can tell you. She was often on the phone with me as I measured and kneaded and cut. Every day, the more hormones got coursing through my system, the more I would bake. I was up to my elbows in flour and baking up a storm.

And I made good bread. Oh yes. So much tasty delicious bread-y goodness it was not to be BELIEVED. My house smelled like… well, like a BAKERY, to be honest. And it was wonderful.

But now, I am a perimenopausal lump of infertile personhood. I am not making babies, no way no how, and no amount of science could make me. The hormones? I don’t has them.


I am currently staring at this doughy lump. Some would call it bread. I mean, if you were starving, you would call it manna and be very grateful thankyouverymuch. But it does not look like any bread that I remember from my salad days of bread. It is a knobby, dense, baked disaster of a loaf. It is not so much a loaf as a mound or a knob or a stump of bread-like substance.

It tastes fine. But it is not what I wanted to make when I set out to make bread.

I wanted a nice smooth loaf of well-risen, well-kneaded yeasty goodness. And this? Is what I did not get.

And I have decided that it is because of the hormones. Or lack thereof.

There is a correlation, I know there must be. Because this is not the bread I remember. Could it be the yeast was dead? Maybe, but it rose some, and the yeast was good well into the summer of 2011 according to the package. So maybe some of it was dead. Was the recipe bad? Perhaps. I got it from a BHG classic cookbook, so you’d think it would be tried and tested. And I followed it closely, so you’d think it should go according to plan. Is it the breadmaker, for those of you who pooh-pooh the notion of making bread in a machine and not fully by hand? Well, the recipe was specific to a breadmaker, so I took that into account. Possibly the breadmaker needs replacing? Maybe, although at least the lump is cooked, and the timer seems to have worked, and so did the kneading bit at the bottom of the pan…

And yet…? Bread lump.

So I have to blame SOMEONE. Or in this case, someTHING.

The obvious culprit is hormones. So I am blaming them. Which works perfectly fine for me, because it gives me an excuse for being extra crabby as well.

6 thoughts on “Secret Recipe

  1. Home made bread is something I know a little about. I do use a bread machine now as I do not have the strength in my hands that I once did. One secret I have learned with a bread machine is that it doesn’t always use the same amount of flour each time. I add about 2/3 to 3/4 of the flour and gradually add the rest as it is needed just to make a soft dough when the machine is mixing the dough. Some days that are damp you don’t need as much flour as on sunny days. I have some great tried and true recipes if you want to try them.

  2. I too have become a bread lady the last few weeks! So, my secret is my mil’s recipe..she mixes it in her bread machine, but after it’s mixed takes it out to rise and then puts it in pans. I took her recipe and mix it in my Kitchen Aid Mixer, then let it rise and yada yada. DELICIOUS. I’ve made it 3 times this month and every time I have yet to screw it up. Delicious, idiot proof. Believe me, I is idiot some days.

    2 C lukewarm water
    2 tsp yeast (quick rise)
    2 1/2 tbsp sugar
    dash salt
    2 1/2 tbsp margarine

    Then gradually add 5 cups white flour in to mix. Let rise 15 min. Punch down. Do that 3 times. Then let rise to double. Put in pans. Rise 1 hour. Bake at 350. YUM! Seriously, can’t screw this up. If you do, sorry, you need more crazy hormones then.

    PS. You can also do 2 C whole wheat flour and 3 C white flour. If you’re healthy and all that.

  3. Hmm, interesting theory. I would blame the machine, personally. I’m all about making the inanimate object the scapegoat. (You should see what this fricking computer just did to my resume.)

  4. I use the bread machine only for the mixing and put the dough in pans to rise and then bake in the oven. Problem solved?

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