So I decided to try one of my daughter’s “hand-me-ups,” the old bread maker that makes bread in that ridiculous cube shape. No cubes for me, but, in a hurry for some bread and too lazy to go to the bakery, I turned to the bread maker.
As I had done so many times so long ago, I used the bread maker on the dough setting. Just dumped in all the ingredients and, after a very short hour, fully risen, temperature-controlled dough, ready for me to turn into the loaves in the picture.
I was able to add fresh bread to my crazy morning: do something with the gallons of chicken soup sitting in the pot in my refrigerator since yesterday, pack for the weekend, feed the birds, try to create some order in my laundry room, office, and the rest of the house, work on the docs for our research project, print some insurance cards, and fight, really fight, with Blue Cross over a payment they have owed me since last June.
Back to the bread: I just dumped in 4 cups of bread flour, 1½ cups of warm water, 2 envelopes of yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, and a dash of olive oil. An hour later, the dough was ready for my version of French style loaves.
I slashed them, let them rise for ½ hour, slashed them again, brushed them with some water mixed with a little cornstarch, and put them in the 425 degree oven that had been preheating with a cast iron frying pan containing about an inch of water.
Out came the pan of water, in went the bread, and you can see the results.