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Kitchen Adventures: Rising for the great bread challenge

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

On a cold and rainy night, I decided to try to make some bread, even though I’m not very good at it. Because I was slightly bored at the time I came up with the idea for the great bread challenge.

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As I name the contestants please hum the “Rocky” theme song in your head to humor me.

In one corner sat a hand-me-down bread machine that never has been used. In the other corner, traditional bread making.

I’ll confess this challenge was not exactly a scientific experiment because I actually made two different types of bread. If it had been an exact science I would have made the same kind with the two different methods. But, it was a last-minute idea and because of a lack of ingredients or time to look up similar recipes, the experiment was not exact. Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” will be so disappointed.

For the bread machine, I chose a simple white bread recipe from the owner’s manual. That’s the first place I suggest you look for bread machine recipes. After you get used to the way your machine makes things, venture out to other recipes.

For the traditional bread method, I used a recipe for a cinnamon and honey twist bread. And I was able to use good local honey.

The bread machine has one major benefit on its side — limited mess. You basically dump all the ingredients in, hit start and the machine does all the work. That’s a major point in its corner.

The recipe I chose for the traditional method had its hang ups, I had to make some changes to the recipe and it was extremely messy. First of all, I used regular flour and sugar instead of what is listed in the recipe. I don’t normally keep the organic stuff in my pantry, because it’s often expensive. I also didn’t have almond extract so I just doubled the vanilla.

The major problem with this recipe is that the dough is really sticky. It says to add more water if needed but I had to add a bit more flour as I kneaded the dough. The process of cutting the dough and twisting it didn’t work quite as well either. Because it was pretty sticky I wound up with more of a circular braid than the lovely twisted wreath that was pictured with the recipe.

While the breads were baking, I made my supper for the evening. I’ll share this little trick with you because there isn’t really a recipe, but the dish I made is very yummy — fried ravioli. Purchase a bag of frozen ravioli, usually found near the frozen breads at the grocery. I’m a big fan of cheese so I just used the cheese kind. Then you fry the ravioli in olive oil until golden brown. It only takes a few minutes. Top with your favorite spaghetti sauce, cheese and spices. Simple, easy and yummy.

After dinner, the breads finally were ready.

The bread machine loaf looked really good. It tasted good, too, but it wasn’t quite done in the middle. I’ve heard this is a common problem with bread machines. It was easy with no mess but had a slight problem in the final product.

The cinnamon bread was very messy, didn’t turn out looking like it was supposed to but tasted great.

So in the end, who won the great bread challenge? My vote went to the fried ravioli.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.