Things are improving but I still have a lot to learn! Thank you for the comments and suggestions you sent to me. Since my first two loaves of rocks, oops I mean bread, I have begun using the vital wheat gluten and the bread machine yeast for my breads. Both have made a difference in the consistency and denseness of my loaves.
The first one I made came out like a large paper weight. You could probably toss it across the room without it breaking a sweat or shedding a crumb.
Since then, I've made two loaves of bread each week. Each one comes out better and better, I think. On the surface, they all look pretty darn sexy too. Just like this Greek bread with sesame seeds, one of my personal new favorites:
It looks even prettier when it's sliced, don't you think?
Again, this is on the surface and top of the bread. Underneath the bread, it's the same old story. Each and EVERY time I make bread in my bread maker, I lose one to two of those kneading knobs. And it's no picnic trying to get them out either!
Exhibit A - Granola Breakfast Bread (pictured below) with raisins and cinnamon!
Exhibit B - Banana bread (pictured below):
I have about four other examples too. Frankly though, I became tired of taking photos of how the bread knobs were screwing me and mocking me.
The good news is that each loaf is tasting more wonderful. I've made delicious, lip-licking Greek Bread, Beer and Cheddar Bread, Granola Breakfast bread and Banana bread after having two flops on my wheat bread and sandwich bread.
In addition, I'm getting over the fact that maybe this is just what my bread maker is supposed to do. My friend Briony said that when your kneading knobs DO NOT become stuck in your bread, then THAT is when you worry.
So even though my machine likes to toy with me, I forgive him. I often get in a good arm exercise workout trying to pull out the knobs. Therefore, it's a little warm-up for me before I enjoy the feast.
For now, I suppose I will call it a tie:
Breadmaker - 3
Mandy - 3
Boo-yah, Bread Machine! I'm gaining on you!
Since my breads are edible and delectable, I can't be too hard on myself. When those who eat them compliment me, I will not allow the pesky kneading knobs to get the better of me!
I will keep you updated on how the adventures and battles with the bread machine continue. If you'd like any of the recipes for the breads I've made, just send me an email to learn.laugh.cook [at] gmail.com and I will send them your way!