Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blender Bread

I never thought I would make bread in a blender. Yet that's exactly what I did yesterday and I can explain why in two words: extensor tenosynovitis (ET). Unless you are a physician or have had ET yourself, chances are you don't know what I am talking about. Until day before yesterday I didn't either and believe me, I wish I never learned. It is diabolically painful (and this, from someone who is known for having an abnormally high threshold for pain).
ET is a repetitive stress injury and I got it from watching Grey's Anatomy on my handheld device. Which is why I should sue both ABC and the manufacturers of the device. Although maybe not ABC if they let me pick my doctor from the show...
See, what happened was that I was trying to get ready for Season 8 (which just started) by watching all seven previous seasons (which I had never seen before). That's 148 episodes and by episode 140, I guess my left hand grew tired of holding the thing up so that I could better see MerDer drill holes in people's skulls. It gave up without prior notice, leaving me unable to tie my shoe laces, cut veggies, feed my levains (which had to be forcibly dehydrated, poor babies), mix bread and, worse, hold my youngest (one-month old) granddaughter in my arms.
However since:
  • I own one of the powerful blenders you can see demonstrated at big warehouse stores
  • I got a grain attachment for it (for these seeds or beans which might damage my regular mill)
  • This grain attachment came with a booklet of recipes
  • Two of these recipes looked interesting: one for sourdough bread, one for hearty multi-grain yeasted bread
  • I had levain galore (as usual)
I decided to combine these recipes by just replacing the yeast by liquid starter.
The blender was going to do the work, so I didn't have to worry about anything, right? Well, almost true. But let me tell you, I still found it exhausting to make bread that way. Too many ingredients. Weighing 5 g of this and 7 g of that countless times to get just one loaf in a 8.5 x 4.5 pan! Call me lazy but I don't think it's worth it.
The original multi-grain loaf recipe makes no mention of salt (did they just forget it or is it deliberate?) and eschewes bulk fermentation. The dough goes straight from the blender to the oiled pan. It is supposed to rise in 30 minutes, go into a 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes and voilà, bread done.
Well, it didn't quite happen that way. The blender did a good job of milling the minute quantities of millet, buckwheat, flax seeds, wheat, spelt, rye, barley, sunflower seeds, etc. It did mix the dough reasonably well (but I had never had a dough come out at 87°F before and that, even though I used really cold water). I added salt (which is listed as optional in the sourdough recipe). I did upend the blender over the pan to let the dough drop gently into it. But I waited almost 5 hours for it to rise enough to go into the oven (and it had been in a warm place all that time). In all fairness I must say the recipe for the sourdough bread indicates that it might take anywhere between 30 minutes and 8 hours, depending upon the temperature of the room.
The result is as can be seen above. Not pretty but better than just edible. Will I make it again? No. Will we eat it? Yes. At least I will. It actually tastes very healthful. I am hoping it's good for extensor tenosynovitis.


  1. Wow! I did all seven seasons over several months....:) I hope you get your pick of doc... not Mcdreamy? Your heart in the center of the loaf is a nice touch. I hope you heal fast... there are more episodes!! Take care...

  2. This is a classic example - probably the best ever! - of "when life gives you lemons... "


    quite a nice loaf of bread you made, MC

    I hope you recover quickly, though - this sounds like a very hard injury to go through, amazing how we take for granted being able to type, hold gadgets, and yes... knead bread!

    take care....

  3. this was hilarious to read and a great way to make something that is actually painful sound funny. love your writing. hope you get better soon!

  4. MC,
    Please take good care of yourself and hope you get better soon. I love you first photo, last year I was so eager to try the blender bread too but I forgot about it after my move to new apartment.


  5. @Teresa, thank you! My hand feels a bit better already (complete rest + ice-baths -not the full-body kind fortunately- seem to help. No, I wouldn't pick Derek. He's been getting on my nerves lately. Too self-righteous/centered, don't you think?
    @SallyBR, thank you! I know, I find it amazing too. It really brought home the fact that our body has its own agenda...
    @Barbara, thank you! It certainly help to laugh!
    @Kim, I don't think it's worth the work but it truly tastes more than fine. It isn't much to look at though...

  6. Hi MC, no I would not pick Derek either, he is treating Meredith poorly in my opinion. Let's see... I think I would pick...well I think the most self assured confident doc there is a lady...Bailey. None of the men docs are that exciting, they need some new male docs!! ;)

    It's good to hear that you are doing better. Maybe just stick with dough folding for a while?

  7. Hi Teresa, you are absolutely right and I like Bailey too. I also like Torres. But I think Meredith is growing into her own. Her offer to let Derek have full custody and her only visiting rights instead of both of them losing a chance at the adoption was astonishingly mature.

  8. Hello MC,
    Sending best wishes to you for a quick recovery, and hope you are feeling better now.
    Your bread sounds delicious and full of good things.
    :^) breadsong

  9. The bread looks good for a bread made with a blender. I think my blender would die if I try to made a bread dough with it.
    Congratulations on your granddaughter. I hope you getting well soon and can hold her in your arms.

  10. I hope you mend quickly...I known how you love your bread...and the need to knead!
    Remember to change hands next time...

  11. @breadsong, thank you so much! I do feel a bit better but then the temptation is always to do too much, isn't it? So i have to watch for that. The bread was actually good and i was sorry to see the last slice go this morning...
    @Stefanie, I wouldn't try that in a regular blender either. This machine had to work like a maniac to first grind, then knead. It was a bit scary actually. Thank you for your sweet words about my granddaughter. She's very precious...
    @Judd, thanks! To make sure I don't overdo it, I am not reactivating the levains any time soon. Yes, changing hands would have been a good idea but then maybe both would be out of commission! I miss making bread though...



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