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Is A Bread Machine Cheating Mummu?

Updated on April 21, 2011

No Bread Machine In Grandma's Kitchen

I had such a hang up about using a bread machine, that I returned one I received for a gift without ever giving it a try. After all, what would my grandma say? She managed the whole process, step by step by hand all those years and I certainly didn't want the quilt of doing otherwise.

That early, and I mean EARLY morning when I padded down to the kitchen for my first one on one lesson from Mummu (Finnish for grandma), I was truly excited to learn how she made that amazing Nissua and the dark, round loaf of rye bread that was often on our breakfast and dinner plates. And, ohh, the Limppu, another dark bread, with a molasses base.

Since there was no recipe, I did my best to take quick notes while still managing to decipher the thick Finnish accent. She was the pro here, and I was determined to learn her ways. We heated milk, and added flour, and kneaded and pulled and kneaded and twisted. It was a whole lot more work than I had imagined . . . and she did this several times a week with ease! Her hands were weathered and tired, and yet she managed to have fresh bread on her table every meal. And, of course this was all done between canning, and chopping wood, and laundry, and running meals to neighboring Finns. I can't tell you what all this Mummu had to show a young woman.

Bread Machine #Two

Then came the next bread machine.  This time it was a nice thought from my husband who had watched me put out bread the old fashioned way, and thought he would give me the gift of easier baking.  Now, what to do.

Okay . . . so I peeked at the booklet that came with the machine and lifted the lid just a bit to see inside.  This certainly would be cheating, wouldn't it?  I mean, my grandma literally used a stove heated by split wood to do her bread making.  And what about rolls, how in the world would it be any help at all with doing up a batch of rolls?  I didn't return the bread maker; I simply let it sit for several months before my husband asked if I was ever going to give it a go.

I admitted my whole guilty conscious over the matter of using the bread-maker.  I knew it sounded silly, but I just didn't think it was necessary, or even helpful when it came to the issue of the rolls, or banana bread, or many other baked foods. 

Braided Bread
Braided Bread

Facing The Machine

I did it. I used it.
I gave it a go and tried one of the recipes in the little recipe book that came in the box. The bread wasn't anything special, but I'll tell you what, that bread machine did a pretty darn good job of getting it done. I watched every step through that top window and was quite impressed by the way the machine kneaded and raised the bread until it was a nice glossy ball of dough. It went on to bake it to just the right doneness and the crust was quite nice.

But . . . my favorite Finnish recipes? Would I really make use of this bread maker? I did some poking around on the internet and what I found made me think I may have found a new friend.
I found the "dough" setting. I'm going to admit to everyone reading this that I let the darn thing do all the hard work for me . . . there, I said it!

Even my old, scratched out notes from when I was 12 years old worked out when I put all the ingredients in the metal container and set it to the dough setting. After it was done with the kneading and the rising, I did my part with the braiding and the baking in the oven. I could use this same method to shape my rolls and pop in the oven as well.

We had come to a compromise! Would Mummu be disappointed in me? I think not. She managed to smile and nod when I used an electric oven vs. her wood-stoked behemoth. She didn't say a word when I whipped out the store bought potholders that weren't crocheted and year-worn, so I'm thinking she was a woman who would understand the modern conveniences. I'm enjoying my bread machine and given a chance, I suspect she may have too.

What Would Mummu Think About Bread Machines

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