Thursday, December 15, 2011



My beautiful young wife and I have lived ‘off the grid’ for most of our married life.  We were married after I retired from the military, and moved into a 200 year old farmhouse without electricity, water or sewerage.  We carried our water from the stream behind the house,  read by lamp light, heated with wood, and supplemented our food with our garden; all while attending college for four years.
After our graduation we moved to Alaska and taught school in the remote Indian and Eskimo villages of the sub-arctic, arctic and south-west interior.    We now live in a small post-and-beam cabin (about 800 square feet) in north-western Maine.  We still heat with firewood and have gas lamps installed in the living room and kitchen as a back up for when we lose electricity – which often happens during winter snow storms.

During much of the time we have lived together we have made our own bread.  We now use a commercial bread machine (the Breadman Ultimate) and are completely pleased with it.     I was raised eating white bread (Wonder Bread) but I also ate spam, vienna sausage, lots of gravy and bought Old Crow whiskey by the gallon.   Wives tend to change a man’s habits.

To get on with it, our bread of choice is now a multi-grain.   I am including the recipe here for anyone that would like to try it.

Most of the ingredients for this bread will be available at a health food store 

  • 1 ½ Cups of water at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp of molasses: stirred in until dissolved
  • 1 1/3  Cups of wheat flour
  •  ¾ Cups of Rye flour
  • ¾ Cups of white bread flour
  • 1 ¾ Cups of six grain flour
  • 4 tbsp of six grain cereal
  • 2 tbsp powdered milk
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp gluten
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
Select the two pound wheat bread setting on the bread machine.

There is a secret to making good bread in a bread machine.   First of all you must measure ingredients carefully.   Second, after the mixing begins you should open the top and check the consistency of the mixture:  if you see flour in the bottom of the pan that is not combining you should add one tablespoon of water (one tablespoon is usually good - the tendency is to add too much water at this point.)   If you see the dough is wet and sticking to the side of the bread pan you should sprinkle one or two tablespoons of flour until the dough is spinning free off the sides of the bread pan. 

The cycle for most bread machines is: kneed – rise, kneed – rise, kneed rise, and then bake.  Check the time of the last kneed cycle and at that time remove the dough from the bread pan, extract the paddle, kneed the bread on a lightly floured surface for about fifteen seconds in order to close up the cavity left by removal of the paddle.  Then reshape the dough and place it back in the bread pan and put the pan back in the bread machine for the last rise cycle and bake cycle. 

You should get a good loaf.   Bread machines vary so some tweaking of the recipe will improve your bread.  

Bread should sit for cooling on a rack for about an hour before cutting – usually I can’t wait that long.  Hot bread slathered with butter is difficult to cut, but taste great.

The Ol’Buzzard


  1. Bread should sit for cooling on a rack for about an hour before cutting

    If'n I want cool bread I'll send the grandkids to the store. Now haul that stuff out of the machine & pass the butter!!!

    I'll let ya know when I'm done.:)

  2. Hot bread slathered with butter is difficult to cut, but taste great.

    Have never made bread in a bread machine, have always made bread old-school, kneading by hand and baking in the oven. Even tried making my own starter for sourdough. Had moderate luck with that, but The Old Lady didn't like it.


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