It's been a while, I know. I am ready to share something different with you, but first, let me tell you a story.
This year when I started working at the high school, I got to know the home economics teacher (HE was always my favorite, and I like to learn new things!). She asked me if I had a bread maker. I told her that I had a KitchenAid mixer and didn't need a bread maker - nor did I have the space for one. She wasn't convinced that I didn't need one. She went on how she hasn't bought bread in years (okay, so that was convincing since I'd been buying bread).
Fast forward a few months - I was looking for new shoes in Ross to no avail. So before I left, I decided to peruse the clearance aisle. One never knows what one will find there. I was walking and looking. . .and looking and walking, and on the bottom shelf, in a rather plain box was a bread maker. A Cuisinart bread maker. A Cuisinart stainless steel bread maker. For $28.99 (plus our lovely sales tax of 10% put it around $31). I couldn't resist. If I made 12-15 loaves of bread it would pay for itself. . . I couldn't help but buy it. On the way to the register, I saw a manager and made sure there was nothing wrong with it. There wasn't.
Once I got it to my car, I opened the box and looked at it. It was beautiful. . . and had so many buttons! What fun! But I had to go to Zumba first.
I went home and set it up to have a loaf ready when I woke up in the morning. It was a wheat loaf, but I forgot to adjust the flour to have half white and half wheat - so it was hard as a rock. But it smelled REALLY good waking up to freshly baked bread.
Do I have room for a bread maker now? Not really. Does it matter? Absolutely not! What a freeing feeling it has been to be able to just add the ingredients, press a few buttons, and clean the house! My internal timer keeps telling me that I need to check or knead or punch down, but then I remember the machine does it by itself. I'm hooked.
Now that I've done bread and dough, I decided last night to do something different. So last night, I made jam. In my bread maker. Yes, I did. My inspiration was from King Arthur Flour's blog, The Baker's Banter. I edited a little. . .
If you can read the bottom of the picture, you can tell I was looking at the Cuisinart Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I used relative proportions between that recipe and the one in The Baker's Banter. I started with half of the strawberries and sugar and mashed them, then added the rest of the strawberries, sugar, and pectin.
I then decided to add vanilla seeds, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Here is my strawberry mixture in the bread maker bucket.
My new machine!
And here it is after I started the jam cycle. . . do you like my sophisticated way of looking in the little window!
WHAT I LEARNED:
1. Out of 3 cartons of strawberries, I got a whole quart mason jar of jam.
2. I needed more pectin. I added the amount that my Cuisinart manual recommended (1/4 cup), but I think I used too many strawberries and needed more.
3. Regarding sugar, see number 2.
4. I love not having to do much to get homemade jam!