So you can imagine my dismay when I turned on the KitchenAid and got nuthin'---no hum, no grinding gears or labored rotation, just complete silence over a bowl of proofed yeast. Fortunately, we have a slightly larger Hobart mixer on the same countertop, and so it was easy enough to pour the yeast mixture from one bowl to another and press onward. (More later about what I made with it.)
When I first started baking seriously and giving bread demos, (years before Breaking Bread with Father Dominic) people would often come up and ask me what I thought about bread machines. "They are an abomination unto the Lord!" I would thunder---only half joking---and then go on to pontificate about the physical, moral and spiritual benefits of kneading dough by hand. At that time bread machines were fairly expensive, but as they became affordable more and more people began asking me about how to convert my recipes to the quantities needed for a bread machine. I would proclaim myself a "Bread Flintstone" who didn't use such new-fangled gadgetry, and that was that.
However, when I was invited to host Breaking Bread for public television, Fleischmann's Yeast signed on as a sponser, who informed me that 50% of their business came from bread machine users. They actually wanted a clause in my contract that I would not say negative things about bread machines in public! I promised to behave myself, and the Fleischmann's test kitchens developed bread machine versions of any of my recipes that could easily convert, which we included in the cookbooks accompanying the show.
To my surprise, the reaction from viewers was overwhelming positive. Older women with arthritis would tell me how thrilled they were to be able to bake again using a bread machine. Single moms of children with food allergies would thank me for making it possible for them to get healthy bread on the table at the touch of a button. One woman who saw me at a bread demo actually mailed me the text of a prayer she used with her machine:
"I know I should be doing this by hand,
And yet I make no apology.
Instead I offer this grateful prayer:
'Thank you, God, for technology!'"
So my dough has risen and it's time to do some shaping. Tune in again later this week for a new recipe for . . . . but why spoil the surprise?