Bread

A few years ago, I got a nifty bread cookbook and became the family breadmaker. I tried making several types of bread, including an Italian loaf that was so-so, some great rolls, a type whose name I forget that had little bits of cheese and cured meat embedded in it, and a brioche that had something like four sticks of butter in it and was fantastic.

Although I initially made the brioche as a standard loaf, I wound up getting a fancy brioche pan and discovered that I’m not the best at forming the fancy loaf.

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The snowman shape made the bread actually pretty impractical for daily use, so I wound up going back to loaf pans for this bread, and it’s so cakelike and buttery and yummy that we’d practially finish a loaf in one sitting. The stuff is also really great for making French toast.

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Later I tried making brioche rolls in little fluted tart pans.

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My cookbook also had a great recipe for rolls, which I’ve cooked for Thanksgiving a few times, though it’s been a few years since I’ve cooked them. I forget what’s up with the little bread stones paired with the magnificent rolls pictured here. One set is obviously superior.

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Although we still like to make our own bread when we can manage it, we’ve gotten lazy about it. No longer do we take the time to lovingly knead four sticks of butter into a firm dough that chills overnight before being alchemized into the closest thing we’ll ever know to manna. Nope, now we dump some ingredients into our breadmaker and let it mix them up for us. We do usually at least form the dough into a loaf and bake it separately so that we don’t tear a big hole out of the bottom of the oddly cubic loaf when removing it from the pan. Sometimes it doesn’t work out all that well, though. Last night’s loaf rose more quickly than I had expected and deflated a bit as it cooked, so that we wound up with the masterpiece below, which will be delicious and wholesome (5 ingredients, all pronounceable) but that has a face only a mother could love.

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