Alison Boston, Baking, Food, Home, Recipes

Raisin-Nut Bread – Bread Machine Update

This whole wheat bread has no raisins.  Compare the color with the loaf pictured below.
This 100% whole wheat bread has no raisins. Compare the color with the 75% ww/ 25% white, raisin-loaf pictured below.

I promised an update on my bread machine baking experience as written about here, and recently blogger Jennifer Morgan from Military Zero Waste tweeted the post, so figure I’d best stick to my promise!

There have been many successes and a few failures with my charity shop machine.  Not the least of which was the time it vibrated right off the counter during the kneading process, and landed on the floor!  I picked it up, plugged it back in, and it continued baking right from where it had left off.  I don’t remember what that bread was like, but it was definitely edible, even if one side was raised higher than the other.

This dented bread machine needs to be covered with a thick towel when baking bread, to stop the draught that made uneven loaves.
This dented bread machine needs to be covered with a thick towel when baking bread, to stop the draught that made uneven loaves.

With a lid that no longer properly closes, all the ensuing loaves of bread were oddly shaped, with one end of the loaf higher than the other – as a result of the slight draught where the lid didn’t close properly.   Now I lay a plush towel over the top; problem solved.

Another problem I had was getting the crust the way I like it – slightly chewy.  I’ve discovered leaving the bread in the closed machine for 15-20 minutes after the cooking has finished will make a chewier crust.  More than 30 minutes and it’s just soft. You can experiment with the length of time to get the crust just how you like it!

Lately I’ve been enjoying this recipe for raisin-nut bread:

Remove baking pan from machine before adding the ingredients to avoid spills on the electrical element!

Add to baking pan:

  • 1&1/3 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 T Demerara sugar 
  • 4 tsp fat (butter, marg, oil)
  • 3 cups sifted whole wheat flour 
  • 1 cup sifted white flour
  • DO NOT MIX! 
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour, and place 2 tsp yeast in the well. 
  • Stop here for a basic loaf. 

If you want something healthier, and more substantial, sprinkle the following ingredients on the top of the flour, around the edge of the pan – careful not to spill any onto the yeast.(You can of course, add the yeast AFTER.)

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup raisins 

Bread machine books tell you to add these ingredients after the mixing is partly done and the machine beeps.  I like to put the bread on before going to bed, and set the timer so I wake to the smell of freshly baked bread.  The mixing process partially breaks down the nuts and raisins, resulting in a denser texture, and richer, sweeter flavour.

This bread gets it's dark color from the raisins.
This bread gets it’s dark color from the raisins.

The loaf pictured above pic is what remains of yesterday’s efforts – the baking of which was a comedy of errors:

  • put all ingredients in pan before going to bed
  • placed pan in machine
  • set timer to have ready for breakfast 
  • went to bed
  • woke up in morning, bread not baked, timer at same setting as night before
  • oh – something went wrong with timer – it’ll be ready when I get home tonight
  • got home 8 hours later, bread still not baked
  • oh, forgot to push ‘Start’ button
  • reset to mix and bake immediately 
  • Oh no, in haste, selected ‘Rapid’ (1.5 hours faster than WW setting) 
  • 2 hours later bread finally baked and a wonderful loaf it was indeed! 
  • Small amount remaining is proof of it’s deliciousness. 
Amazing, Techie Stuff

HardHack 101

Photoshop CS6 Superstition
Photoshop CS6 Superstition (Photo credit: Mikmac)

So I’m, taking a  web design course at Camosun College. After the first class, we’re sent home to do a 30-day trial download and install of Photoshop CS6. Which I do. And getting to the part where I finally get to do my homework – using various tools in Photoshop to manipulate images – was one heck of a hardhack!

First I have to navigate the Adobe site that wants me to join the Creative Cloud to download Photoshop CS6. I do that – glancing at the various software on offer in the cloud, and to my delight see inDesign, and think “oh boy! I can make some books!”- but am far too focussed on getting Photoshop installed to spend any quality time studying the goods.

So of course I join the Creative Cloud and download a trial version of the software, but when I go to install and run it, an error message pops up saying that it won’t run on ‘this type of Mac’. I throw my hands in the air and groan.

Conroe die
Die of Intel Core 2 Duo processor codename ‘Conroe’.Conroe die (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What do you mean?! “Won’t work on this type of Mac!?” I explode.


Google searches.



Finally I find this:

Adobe Drops 32 Bit Mac Support with Photoshop CS6.

A bit dated, published March 26, 2012, I read it and weep.  And am enraged.  My feelings and thoughts are indescribable. I am disappointed by my own ignorance, but more so, enraged by Adobe’s attitude. It makes this a story that touches on one of those topics I don’t like to write about, none the less, a topic that drives my life and crashes headlong with my core values.

I am disgusted that Adobe would say there aren’t enough customers working on 32bit Macs for it to be worth their while to provide support. This is what I call beating down those on a lower rung of the technological ladder, and locking out a sector of the population as they do. I wasn’t the only student in the class faced with this problem. We are, after all, students on a government sponsored Employment Skills Access Program.  The government pays the tuition, and buys the software; being able to run Adobe Photoshop CS6 on a home computer is a requirement of the program.

Most people would have given up at this point, found some cash and bought a new PC laptop.  But not I.  Nah.  I’m up for a hardhack.  And once I get over my initial bafflement as to how I’m going to get over this hurdle,  I start listening to a little voice that’s been nagging in my brain ever since the problem first arose: “Bet it’ll run on your old MacBook.”

So the old MacBook is studied and yes, lo and behold, it’s one year younger and has the required core goods to run the élite Photoshop CS6. Its Intel Core2Duo is just that bit newer than the Intel Core Duo in the iMac.  In all other ways, the guts are almost identical. A quick search, and I discover that the Core2Duo will run 64bit, whereas the CoreDuo won’t, so I start some serious hardhacking.

The 2×1 gig ram chips are taken out of the iMac and swapped with the smaller ram in the MacBook (can you believe it! even less ram!), then the MacBook is updated to OS 10.6. Only problem the DVD drive keeps spitting out the boot disk, so I put it in an external DVD drive, run it through the iMac (which also spits out the disc), and make a boot drive on a usb stick, then install it on the MacBook, download all the updates, download and install Photoshop and all its updates – and yes it runs.  And I get my homework done, and even get some sleep!

I’m left with a beautiful 6-year old, 20-inch iMac that won’t run Photoshop CS6, but in all other ways is a superb machine; and a 13-inch, 5-year-old MacBook that will run it!   I buy 2×2 gig ram chips for the MacBook, swap the 2×1 gigs back to the iMac, and I’m in business…

…running the latest Adobe Creative Suite on a beaten up, 13″ MacBook that’s travelled with me through 54 addresses in 5.5 years, has a busted audio jack, a bitchy DVD drive, and a blue line down the left-hand side of the screen. But it runs. And with that 4 gig of ram, one could say it almost screams – if it weren’t for the “it runs hot” problem…

Though I gotta say, in spite of the MacBook’s shortcomings, it still works and gets the job done.  Even with all it’s been through.  Just like me.

I’m delighted I solved the problem, and did all the work myself.  I’m just appalled that I had to do it.

Why should a perfectly good machine be put out to the recycle bin because the technology – in just 6 short years – has out-paced it, especially when the makers of the software could provide support, and have chosen not to because the few customers, who are still running 32-bit Macs, aren’t worth the trouble?  We’re talking ‘not worth the trouble’ profit-wise; but Adobe, maybe you should reconsider your policy?