Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Bread and Serendipity
After Friday's demise of my bread machine I went on-line and priced new ones, finding that the new version of the one that just died seemed like a pretty good deal. I went onto craigslist and ebay and found very little. I decided to wait until I was near the store that had the bread machine in stock to skip the shipping fees, so I knew I had to wait until Friday of this week.
Sunday, I checked the "free" listings on Craigslist, I've stumbled onto some very cool freebies over the years. There it was. A listing for a bread machine had been posted twenty minutes earlier and it was in the same bitty town in which I live. I emailed that I wanted it and could pick it up as soon as I heard back from her. Within two minutes she replied and I was rushing to grab the machine before someone else got it. As I neared the address I saw a couple in a pick up who were gesturing as if one was giving directions and the other drove hesitantly down the driveway of the house where the bread machine was located. I turned into the driveway too, careful on the slick icy surface. I pulled my car into the pull out on the side of the driveway and hopped out of the car. The man in the truck asked if he had just parked in my space and I replied that I was just there to pick up the bread machine. I was so happy when I saw a look of incomprehension on his face, he wasn't there to pick up the bread machine. The people in the house must have been doing a New Year's clean out, they were after something else. We chatted for a second about scoring cool stuff on Craigslist and I scooped up the machine. The man recognized me as one of his customers at a local fruit/vegetable and vegetable plant starts roadside stand, we laughed about it being a small world as I hugged the machine and worked my way back over the ice back to the car. I breathed deeply and laughed as I closed the car door, placing my precious on the floor on the passenger side, so it wouldn't tip over.
Once home I took a good look at the machine, downloaded its manual from the manufacturer's website and thought about its good and bad points. The pan had a trace of bread on it, but when washed the pan was completely unscratched, it had been used a couple times, at most. I was surprised at the chart of the cycles of the machine, they all seemed pretty short. I think there was a race for marketers to make the bread maker with the shortest production time, great, except they hadn't consulted the yeast. Yeast doesn't hurry. So, I wasn't surprised when my first loaf did not rise as much as I would have wished. I have baked Sally Lunn loaves many, many times and this was the first one that was not spectacularly raised. I will probably use the whole wheat setting for my default on this machine, it has longer rise times, faster is not always better. The next day I made pretzels, they were great and they weren't dependent on the machine for rise times.
I decided to calculate the payoff time for my machine (Dad is no longer around to do it for me), it cost me five miles of driving to get the machine and five miles to arrive back home. Ten miles, my car gets over 34 mpg and a gallon of gas is about $3.39...so rounding numbers a bit, the machine cost me about a dollar in gas. The loaves of bread I buy are around $2.89. It has paid for itself already. If I do the Federal reimbursement rate it then cost me about $5.50, so considering I made 14 soft pretzels and a loaf of bread, even accounting for the ingredients, it has still paid for itself.
A very cool word, love the sound of it.