Monday, January 26, 2009
Bread Machine Tea Bread (or, Can This Tea Loaf Be Saved?)
Normally I wouldn't share a recipe and tell you to make it at your own peril, but that's exactly what I'll be doing today! You see, last year I was searching for some particular tea books online and came across a great buy on "Bread Machine Sweets and Treats - Featuring Tea Breads, Coffee Cakes, and Festive Desserts for All Occasions." Last weekend, I decided it was finally time to make something from the book.
I decided on the Cranberry-Orange Bread, only I didn't have an orange and used a lemon instead, which proved to be prophetic. The recipe said to bake the loaf on the bread machine's quick cycle, so I did. It smelled yummy while baking, but apparently the "quick cycle" was the "too-quick cycle," and out came a heavy, yeasty, square-shaped lump of dough. I popped it in the oven to try to salvage it, but no go. Since the book was written in 1993, I decided to go back and read the introductory chapters to see if bread machines have changed in the last 16 years. I learned that a "quick" cycle should be just an hour less than a normal cycle. Alas, that's not the way my machine operates. You have your basic cycle, which is about four hours; the dessert cycle (and a few others), just under 2 hours; and the super-duper quick cycle, for bread in an hour. So yesterday I tried again, opting for the dessert cycle this time, and I'm 90 percent pleased with the loaf that resulted, especially since I did have an orange on hand this time.
But if you look at the very bottom of the loaf, you can see a small line where the bread didn't fully bake. I sliced a piece and baked it in the toaster oven a few minutes, and both DH and I thought the taste was great. I just can't figure out how to make this cook properly in the bread machine -- and really, is it worth it? Tea bread isn't *that* hard to make, after all. If I go this route again, I may just end up using this book as "inspiration" and jazzing up some recipes that came with my bread machine. But in case you want to give this a whirl, here's the recipe as I made it:
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons butter (cut in small chunks)
2 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Add ingredients to the bread machine pan in order listed. I baked this loaf on the dessert cycle (1 hour, 55 minutes), and as you can see it needs a tiny bit more baking, but my machine doesn't allow me to adjust the time. If you decide to try this, a) good luck and b) I'd love to hear how it turns out!