Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's That? Wednesday: Take that Sara Lee!

Doesn't that make a nice kitchen decoration?
See the picture to the right?  That is my new bread machine, which has been sitting in the box next to my refrigerator since the week before Chinese New Year (CNY).  If you didn't have CNY marked on your calendar and are not sure how long ago that's been approximately 2 months.

When I brought it home, my former Ayi, who spoke English, shook her head and said, "They should print the manual in two language, English & Chinese."  That was not encouraging!

My English scribbles next to the Chinese characters.
Jamie and I thought we could scan, upload the instructions to the computer, and then use Google translate to convert the Chinese to English.  When that failed, probably by operator error, we both scoured the internet looking for English versions of the manual or a website or blog that had already translated the instructions.  That was strike two.  So, yesterday I mustered up my courage to ask my Chinese language tutor if she would help me translate the manual. When she clapped her hands with giddiness I knew I had hit jackpot!

Less than a 1/2 hour to go!
Most Chinese don't bake and most don't even own an oven, which means making bread is an unusual task.  My tutor told me that is why the instructions were very detailed and spelled out each step.  It wasn't a wasted lesson; I actually started to recognize a few characters.  And, I thought it was so interesting listening to my tutor try to translate some of the words.  She would try to explain it, second guess herself, and then look it up on her phone.  To "let the bread rise" in the machine literally translated to "ferment".  Whole wheat flour translated to "wheat powder" and the most confusing was "milk powder".  I pulled out a cookbook from the US I had received from my aunt at Christmas and, yes, the recipe called for dried (powdered) milk.  The funny part was that my tutor kept trying to tell me that this was baby formula.  The Chinese characters might translate to baby formula, but I don't think the recipe really calls for Similac or Enfamil.  Today I tried asking my new Ayi (using my toddler Chinese language skills) and she also tried to tell me it was baby formula.  I'm still working on how to best translate those Chinese characters!  

Anxiously waiting to see what the middle of the loaf
will look like.
I threw caution to the wind and made my first loaf last night.  However, I chose a recipe that did not call for baby formula.  I do remember a few failed attempts with our family bread machine growing up, so I was cautiously optimistic (which is how I describe a lot of things here).  I was like an impatient kid and kept peeking in the top window to look at the dough.  Sure enough, it actually started to rise (a.k.a ferment)!

The bread was done after the girls went to bed, so Jamie and I enjoyed our warm, fresh bread in peace. The picture I will not post is me sitting in bed, eating my homemade bread, and watching the first two episodes of Downton Abbey, season two.  Some things are private you know!

The finished product, 100% whole wheat bread.
No baby formula required!

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