Notes from Alexis: For all you bread lovers, this is a funny story, and makes your mouth water as well.
Well, I have a long story to tell which I intend to make longer in my inimical style, so settle down for a long read.
We got a catalog in the mail (one of the many thousands we get every year). There were pictures and long story for this “Auto Bakery.” Now we have been seeing ads around town for various Bread bakers, but not this one, and they run about $325.00 (the machines that is).
When Mom saw the first one she began agitating for one, but I just refused to pay the price. When we got this catalog, Dad saw it, and he started in, also pointing out that this one was only $199.00. They were both nagging, but I thought I had an out, because I have an ironclad rule: We don’t bring anything into the house until we have a place for it. I thought I had them cold.
Then one morning I was sitting on the couch by the front windows and looked over and realized the phone table was piled high with junk – just junk! All of it could be removed (i.e. thrown out). Damn! Once I had seen that I felt mean for not letting them have their toy. So I got up and called and ordered it, this was December 1st, and I figured it would get here by Xmas and boy, would they be surprised. Well, I was the one to get surprised. Xmas came and went, and no bakery. So when I got a card on the 27th saying it was back ordered, and if I still wanted it, do nothing, but if I had changed my mind and no longer wanted it, send the card back.
Dilemma time – what to do? I decided to tell Dad and Mom, and let them decide. They voted for it; it was two to one. I had never been excited and voted no, but the ayes carried.
Everyday Mom came over while I went to town or the P.O., to wait for the UPS truck. She just about drove me nuts. Then on the 26th (the day before her birthday) I went to the P.O., and there it was.
She oohed and aahed, and that was it. When they were agitating for it, they both swore they would do all the bread making. I wouldn’t have to do a thing. I could see the handwriting on the wall, so I put aside my day’s schedule and settled down to read the instructions.
Well, they seemed pretty simple. He (Kaplan) says it is five minutes to bread (for the human). The machine takes about four hours. I could see if it I got right on it; I could have a loaf for dinner.
I had been gathering supplies just on the off chance it actually showed up, but I have to tell you I had grave doubts. In his catalog, Kaplan had raved about his onion-dill bread, and since I just happened to have all the goodies, I got with it. Well, Kaplan may be able to make bread in five minutes but not me. It has taken me at least 15 minutes and sometimes 20 to make a loaf. Are you laughing? I’ll pause for at least a snort.
Dad walked into the house with the most-outrageous smells imaginable. It just drove us crazy, and you might know he came home early, so we had to sit around and salivate for 20 minutes. It was good bread, but we would have eaten it if it were a cow pie, just from the smell alone. The next day it was gourmet.
The next day Dad decided he would try his hand at it. Anything I can do he can do better, right? He made French bread and then baked it in the three-roll French pan, made especially for French bread, that I bought a hundred years ago, just in case. He rolled one in sesame and poppy seeds like those you get for me in Eugene.
Let me tell you this is about 100% better than Eugene’s. In fact, I never tasted any better.
Since he didn’t actually bake the bread in the bakery, I put in a blueberry loaf. Very pretty and not too shabby, especially toasted with honey.
Now it may seem a time saver, but I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “Tongue and rye bread.” So the next morning while I fixed breakfast, Dad made rye-beer-orange bread. After breakfast, I cooked the tongue, and we ate them both hot for lunch. Talk about WOW! Once again, it was better the next day. Yesterday Mom wanted pumpkin, so I made it. Since I had a can of pumpkin left over, I mixed up a pumpkin custard. See what I mean? I seem to be doing more cooking because each bread calls for a meal to be built around it.
Right now I have a three-wheat bread (whole wheat, wheat germ & cracked wheat) going, and it looks and smells magnificent. Kaplan has a 30-day money-back, no-questions asked return. So I plan to bake up at least 30 loaves to give it a good workout.
I’ve always said I believe everyone should have a hobby. My problem has always been that I turn my hobbies into a business, but now I think I’ve found the secret. This little job only makes one loaf at a time, so that cuts out the business possibilities. Mom and Dad both reminded me that I had said; if I had lots of money I would hire a full-time bread maker because there is nothing I love more than good bread and good coffee. The beauty of this one is that it makes bread that can’t be bought for love nor money.
It turned out that I’m the one who is excited about it. I just plain fell in love with it for two reasons: One it does it all, but the measuring, which I can handle just fine, and it is quick to clean. Just rinse the inner pan and wipe up the crumbs in the bottom. Lordy, Lordy, my kind of tool and bread besides! So far what we have done is eat part of each loaf and freeze the rest.
Well, I’ll stop for now and ride the exercycle. The price of the Auto Bakery, as it turns out, is not money but exercise. I will have to work out every day to keep from looking like a balloon. Sometimes I think Dad and I have more fun than two monkeys.