Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Going to Dallas later this week...

I will be out at ConDFW in Dallas this coming weekend. Back in 2008, I was a panelist at this very convention, launching my first novel. I sat on a panel with Peter S. Beagle during my first panel. This was an awesome experience. My return trips continued the tradition of awesome. I'm really looking forward to going up, though, alas, my wife won't be able to come with me. Oh, well.

In other news, I'm a bread machine FANATIC and I love my Cuisinart bread machine SO MUCH. But, recently, I'd been having problems of the bucket inside the machine popping loose during the kneading phase. It was awful. Bread waste massacre. I'd have to babysit the machine and keep pausing it and popping the bucket back down. Nobody has time for that. I gave up on the machine for a while in favor of the bread blade on the food processor. That worked for a while until the bread blade snapped. Plastic does that when you use it a lot.

So, I've been trying to fix the bread machine. I pulled out the clasps that hold down the bucket a little, because I read on-line that helps. It does. It doesn't help much. I've found another trick that seems to work better. First, it only works with lighter breads so no heavy whole wheat flours or teff or chia or anything. Stick to plain, white bread. Second, it only works when you absolutely and completely follow the instructions on how to load the bread machine correctly, with proper measurements. Third, it only works on medium-size dough and smaller.

More importantly: It works.

So, when you load the machine with ingredients properly, you put the liquids and oils on the bottom. Then the flour goes on top of that. The yeast and salt goes on the very top. Never make a dough with more than 3 cups of flour.

When you place the cuisinart bucket down into the cavity, you have this arm that goes up or down for you to grab and pull the bucket out. Leave it at 90 degrees, straight upright. Place the lid of the bread machine down on top of that arm to provide a downward pressure onto the bucket. Always set your crust setting one higher than you want, because you're going to lose a lot of heat there, at the end. But, you will get quality bread. The machine will work, again.

So, hooray!

I don't like to throw away things casually, particularly when they're hard to replace. I'm very glad I was able to figure that out!

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