Entry: How Rude! Thursday, January 27, 2005

Comment left on my site Wednesday:

"I love to make bread too, but I make the bread, I do not delegate that very pleasant, calming, almost therapeutic task to a machine. Bread machines were devised by the Japanese, a culture that has no historic connection to real bread. 

Real bread, of course, is made by hand--it is "artisinal" in the best sense of that word. Breadmaking becomes a craft, one works the dough with one's hands--and arms, and shoulders. You punch the dough, massage it, roll it under your palms. You look in after it, as it quietly sits and rises. You work your life and the life of the bread together, so you can be there when it needs you, to punch it down, to shape it, to bake it.
I have never eaten bread made from a bread machine. I do not want to. Bread is too closely connected to the daily life of humans to let a machine do it, and do such a poor job of it--of bread making--at that.
Do yourself a favor. Make bread by hand. Touch the dough. Make it live for you. Just throwing flour and yeast and water into a machine and then eating the results is more than I can stand to contemplate. -- Ron"

I have no idea who this Ron person is. He didn't link an e-mail address or website to his name. But don't you think it's a bit rude to go to someone's site and leave a comment criticizing her bread-baking methods? I work hard on my cooking and baking, I work hard on this site, I pay for this space on the 'net. Ron, maybe you should take a better look around the site. You would find that I do not eat bread "from a machine" either. When I bought my machine, it was my first real venture in cooking. I had no idea what I was doing. But I quickly learned more and more about bread baking, and grew to depend on the machine less and less as time went by. I do often mix my dough in the machine, if time doesn't allow otherwise, but I NEVER bake in it. When I do mix dough in the machine, I always at least punch the dough down myself, hand-shape it, and bake it in my oven. I love the feel, the texture and the smell of dough in progress. I totally respect bread and all its wonderful qualities. I am the biggest fan of "artisanal" breads that I know! I even spent almost a month last fall experimenting with sourdough, from flour to starter to bread. I am currently reading "Going with the Grain" (by Susan Seligson) and drooling over all the ethnic bread recipes in it. I can't wait to try making some of the Middle Eastern breads! So please, before you criticize someone's methods and say things like "more than I can stand to contemplate," know what you're talking about. And for Pete's sake, if you do do something like this again, don't be so careless as to post the same comment twice!

There. I feel better. He'll probably never read that. I'm sure he was so grossed out by my writing about my bread machine in my "about me" entry that he'll never come back. Of course, I really didn't explain in that entry that I don't actually bake in my bread machine anymore... but seriously, that really got to me. I saw that comment last night and literally lay awake for quite some time thinking about it. Maybe I have too much time on my hands, if I get that upset over something like this. But that's just me. I always want to please people. I can't stand having people angry with me, or thinking so little of me. Now that I've ranted, I can go to Portland and Boston for a couple days feeling just a little calmer.  =)  Have a great weekend, everyone!


Diane Patterson
February 16, 2005   02:47 PM PST
Hey Ron -- get back to us when you grow your own *wheat*, bucko.

Seriously, what a moronic thing to say. You have nothing to be ashamed of, however you make your bread. No need to justify yourself to that troll!

Actually, I'll go as far as to say you have nothing to be ashamed of if you buy good artisan breads fully-made.

Scratch that: shame only begins when you buy "Iron Kids" bread and not a moment before.
February 14, 2005   02:30 PM PST
Ron's example of "baking snobbery" is rediculous. I don't agree with his "breadophile" logic.

I am a student learning pastry/baking. I have had past experiences in the baking & culinary industry.

I would like to state a few points:

First , most people who purchase "artisian" breads - can't tell infact if it was indeed frozen bake-off, meaning the bakery /grocery bought the dough from a factory that was made & pre formed-- gasp -- by automated machines. And the bakery/grocer proofed & baked it.

Less than 50% of bakeries are "scratch" - using all their own formulas, scaling by hand etc.

With that being said what really is baking? Is it the thought and time - wether automated or not- that goes into creating something? Is it Being able to control the ingredients that go into your product?

Who is the better person - someone who enjoys the end product, or someone who is casting stones at those who can evolve with technology or modern equipment.

I have made bread by hand, & tasted bread machine bread. And guess what ? The chemical reactions & fermentation stay the same. The end result, is bread. The fact that home bread baking in any form, continues to exist is really great.

IF Ron wants to go after someone - go after the giant corporations - adding chemicals to their product - like Potassium Bromate[which has banned internationally except for the U.S, & that is carcinogenic(causes cancer).

--- Amber (culinary novice)
January 30, 2005   04:55 PM PST
I have an ABM. I am on my 3rd in the last 10 years. I love using it. I bake in it sometimes. Not always. I usually make the dough in it and then form it and bake it in the oven. I just bought an antique Fire King bread pan that I love to death. It makes the most beautiful loaves.

I think this guy Ron is nasty. He obviously has never used an ABM, and never wants to. Some people are like that. They have a bad image of the bread machine. I did at first too until I tasted one of the loaves my mom made in it.

Since then, my mind has changed completely. My husband says I make better breads than the stores. I have to agree. The only one I can't seem to conquer is a NY Style Jewish Rye Bread. I have tried every recipe and still can't get the right taste. Other than that, I make a fine challah, great pita bread, good naan, pumpernickel bread, white bread, you name it.

Love my ABM. I have an Oster Expressbake. It works well.

My latest foray is into Whole Wheat breads. I never get a door stop anymore.

So keep making your dough in the ABM, and forget about jerks that tell you nasty things. If they don't have a nice thing to say, then they shouldn't say anything at all!

January 27, 2005   11:45 PM PST
I say hats off to you folks who use the machines to make good bread! I make all our bread by hand - but mainly because the only mixer we have is a food processor. Or I shoudl say "had". I decided to use the food processor for a recent batch of bread and BROKE the shaft on the machine... so much for me using a machine!

This Ron is an idiot. He said it all when he said that he had never even eaten bread made with a bread machine. I have on many occasions. It was good. And I'm probably one of the biggest food snobs out there.

Sure, there can be something satisfying about hand kneading. But it's hard work and sometimes tedious. If the machine works for you - use it! And don't worry about the idiots who waltz in just to insult you and then waltz out again.

I've been toying with the idea of using our handcrank pasta maker to knead dough. There is a fellow who posts in the newsgroup alt.bread-recipes who swears by it. He says the dough has never been silkier.

-ejm (aka llizard)
January 27, 2005   10:49 PM PST
Where do we get this idea that the only food worth eating is food prepared by hand?

As a retired Navy baker, cook and chef, I've baked innumerable loaves of bread and scores of pastries, pies and cakes. We couldn't have survived without machinery in the ship’s bakery. The crew always appreciated good food, regardless of the method.

At home, where I still bake, I delight in presenting a sweet batch of home-baked cinnamon rolls to a church potluck.

Do my buns only have value if I've had some sort of spiritual encounter while kneading the dough? I don't think so. No one has ever said, "Our lives were enriched because you worked your life and the life of the bread together." Not in my circle of friends.

Now, for the record, a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the 5-quart bowl rests on my Formica-topped counter. I wouldn't have it any other way. All my bench work is done by hand out of necessity and because I enjoy it.

And, yes, I kneaded my bread by hand last Saturday at the Winter Camp Cookoff in Colusa, California.

Chef Steve
Editor, Dutch Oven News
International Dutch Oven Society

Leave a Comment:


Homepage (optional)