Last night I finally experimented with the bread machine.
The first loaf of bread I had made was a recipe Richard Bonomo had given me, and he exhorted me to put the ingredients into the bread machine in precisely the order he listed them. The bread machine then produced a very yellow, crumbly loaf that was more like cake than bread, except that it was not sweet. It tasted very good but made a huge mess.
The second time I made bread, I used the "basic white bread" recipe in the manual Hardingfele had given me with the bread machine. This manual amuses me greatly, partly because it depicts both the bread machine and the loaf it produces as having happy, smily faces, but mostly because it always inserts the adjective "delicious" before bread, so that instead of giving you instructions on how to make bread, it tells you how to make delicious bread. I dutifully followed the recipe for white bread and noted that my machine wants the ingredients in the inverse order that Rich had listed them. The bread turned out fine but was still kind of crumbly.
Last night I thought about making Rich's recipe using my bread machine's preferred ingredient order, but what I actually ended up doing was combining the recipes. And it made DELICIOUS bread!! Bread that doesn't crumble! Bread that is off-white and rich and tasty! So for all my faithful readers, here is the Famous Hat Bread Recipe:
one cup warm milk
6 tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin, natch)
3 tablespoons of sugar
1.5 teaspoons of salt
2.5 cups of flour
package of baking yeast
One caveat: it does kind of mushroom up on top and make a mess of the bread machine, not to mention how undercooked the top is. Which is only a problem if you don't like undercooked dough. (Since I LOVE it, I don't consider this a problem!)