It Must Be A Duck

Jessica has owned her bread machine for over a year and swears she has never gotten edible bread out of it. “Help me,” she begged. “I end up baking bricks. You bake bread all the time.”

“But not in a bread machine, I’ve never used one,” I replied, worried that I, too would produce warm, yeasty bricks in the thing. “I don’t know…”

“It can’t hurt to try, I’m desperate,” she said, and it was clear this was important to her, so I agreed to try.

First we went out for an excellent fortifying brunch. Yes, with mimosas. It was great.

Then we went back to the house and settled in to bake bread. We found a recipe for challah, downloaded the instructions for the bread machine, and I set to loading ingredients into the pan.

“Wait. Why are you doing that like that?” Jessica asked in bewilderment as I spooned flour lightly into a measuring cup.

“That’s how you’re supposed to fill the flour cup, and then you gently even it out like this.” I carefully drew the spoon across the top of the cup, sending flour cascading back down into the paper bag. “You don’t scoop or pack flour, you use a very light and easy hand. Scooping it compresses flour into the cup and you end up adding too much, and then your bread turns out dense, like…a…like…” I was beginning to understand.

“A brick,” she finished, comprehension dawning.

Turns out she’s a scooper. I told her not to do that anymore, and I think it may change her life.

We got everything into the machine, and turned it on, and then I had to go to book club. Jessica promised to send me the results. “And if it’s a brick, it was the machine all along and I’ll throw it out,” she vowed, a bit grimly.

Soooooo fast-forward a couple of hours, and she sent me this:


Well. Would you look at that. I guess I can use a bread machine after all.

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