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A new project for a new beginning.

I could tell you how I was pushed out of the SF by  housing market by the death of my landlord and the greed of a corporation, I could whine about how no one wants to rent to a service connected, disable veteran with special needs and terrible credit.  I could tell you how a faceless nameless corporation raised my rent from $750 a month to $1,850 a month and what that did to my budget on my fixed VA Pension and Social Security Income and my quality of life. I could complain about a lot of things that happened the last couple of month, but I won’t, instead I am just sucking it up and moving on.  

I put listings all over CA via Craigslist looking for housing in my price range, and was I SURPRISED when the responses to my ads came rolling in.  80% of the hundreds of replies I got were from the Chico area, I was offered $150 to move in, first month free, no credit checks. I soon learned the wonders of timing, school had started when my ad went up, and Chico landlords were looking at no one even looking at renting their apartments till next year, sitting empty for a whole year.  My situation looked VERY attractive to them, a stable older man, willing to sign a year plus lease, with a guaranteed and fixed income.  My disabilities actually worked to my favor in Chico, landlords were willing to make improvements and accommodations KNOWING once I was situated I was pretty much their for life! (I had been in my old apartment 10 years, and this was very appealing I learned to landlords that turned over apartments to college kids every year!  The writing on the wall, just 3 hours north of SF, and a $48 train ride away, I could have a 3 bedroom 2 bath house on a 3/4th and acre for $1100 a month, I can rent out the other 2 rooms for $350-$400 no problem. So I moved to Chic.

So now what to do with my time.

But Chico is a small town, and services are few and far between,  and activities revolved around outdoor activities. So what to do in Chico to keep busy.  I have already decided to look into volunteer activities. But I need something more, so inspired By Julie on Julia  I have decided to bake my way through Beth Henspergers’s The Bread Lovers’s Bread Machine Cookbook  with my Reville Bread Machine.


The bread machine was a Major splurge during as “shopping therapy” session, and is by far the best appliance I have ever owned . There is nothing more rewarding than fresh bread in the morning.  With 300 bread recipes I figure it will take a year of one loaf a day to do this project, taking Pictures and writing about the process everyday!  
So every  evening in my new wonderful Chico kitchen I am going to prepare a recipe from the book, and and the next morning I am going to write about the process of making the bread, post  the recipe and show a film of a Buddy, and new roommate Paul, from http://ShanaginzWithPaul.Us  trying the bread, and discussing it. Paul is blunt  and honest with his opinions, and a hoot to boot!

And so it begins:

Loaf #1 - HOMESTYLE WHITE BREAD 2 Pound Loaf

1.5 Cups water
1.5 Tablespoon Honey
2.5 Tablespoon butter
4 Cups Bread Flour
3 Tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 Tablespoon toasted wheat Germ (Substituted Oat Bran)
1.5 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten
2 Teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bread machine yeast.

The cool thing about making break in a bread machine is that you just dump the ingredients into the machine and let the machine do the work, or so they tell you.  I have found  out different.


First I always reserve about 3 tablespoons of the floor to get the dough ball the right consistency.  I find that you need to manage your machine the first 5 minutes or so, make sure all the floor is incorporated from the corners of the machine, and that the dough is not to dry and flaky, or to moist and sticky, my machine’s book says nothing about making sure the consistency of the ball of dough is correct, this is the fun part, touch and finger the dough, if it is sticky add some more flour, if it is dry and flaky add some water.  


Notice the dough hiding up in the corners, take a spatula and incorporate that into the ball, and get anything out of the corners to make a great loaf! I can tell you from experience that it makes all the difference in the world in the out-come of the bread.

The next thing I have learned is while the Breville Bread Maker Book that comes with the machine says that adding Wheat Gluten is OPTIONAL,  Wheat Gluten is NOT optional if you want a high rising, nicely textured bread.  If you leave out the Wheat Gluten the bread comes out dense and stiff, not light and fluffy like most people prefer.  I have started to put a little extra in when I make heave Wheat Breads making them lighter.

Now, here’s the scoop, in a bread maker you just put the ingredients into the machine in the order listed in the recipe, liquids first, ALWAYS. And Yeast Last, always.

After the first 5 minutes you just leave the machine to do its business.  At the end of the second kneed cycle my machine beeps to tell you to add extra ingredients like nuts and such.


The last “secret” I have found is to get the break our of the machine and on to a cooling rack quickly when the machine beeps done. I first hit the stop button, and then unplug the machine carefully, and then remove the backing pan, then poop it a couple of times down on the cooling rack until the bread plops out.   Sometimes you need to run a chop stick around the loaf to loosen the loaf up, the chop stick can then be used to pry the loaf out if need be.  The Baking pan is NON_Stick so do not use a knife or something that will scratch the finish.  


I always leave my loaf upright to cool.  I am not sure if it even matters, but it is just my anal way I like the loaf to sit and cool how it cooked.  You absolutely do need to let the bread cool, and the extra moisture created during the baking phase evaporate or the bread will taste funny and the texture won’t be right.

6:57 PM PT: Paul sprained his knee today, and is laid up, so his video taste tests will have to wait till he is feeling better.  I can tell you the Homestyle white bread was wonderful,l the texture was heavily, and it toasted up really nicely. Smothered with butter it was so wonderful I have almost finished the 2 pound loaf of it today.  Stayed tuned because tomorrow I am making Shepherd's Bread.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

    by l3m0n on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 03:43:12 PM PDT

  •  Chico is a great town (6+ / 0-)

    tho' a bit hot in summer.  Best wishes, my friend!

    •  Luckily I have central air and heat! (0+ / 0-)

      A land locked, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, what is not to love, but the cost of  living is a third of the city, and there is a lot of culture here, and the people are so friendly!

      - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

      by l3m0n on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 06:39:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome to Chico! (4+ / 0-)

    Welcome to the Blueish area of the "Great Sea of Red" that is the Central Valley of California. Enjoyed alll the Nice things you Wrote about my Hometown Chico, Ca.

  •  Good move, but--- (4+ / 0-)

    but you didn't move far enough north. The best place for diabled vets living on the pension and SS is Oregon. Especially outside Portland in the smaller towns.
    And I lived in Chico all through the 80s

    Rents are cheaper and so are property values. there's good stuff to be bought still for $100K and less. that could be right across the street from the beach in Florence, say or 10 miles from Bend, right in Springfield, or in Corvallis which is just like Chico only a river runs through it. (Chico Creek is not a  river). being a disabled vet, I get a 40% break on  my property taxes.

    Oregon makes being a disabled vet a lot easier than CA.Disabled vets get free car registration, free hunting and fishing licenses, free access to state parks.
    there's no sales tax in OR which gives you a 9% break on about everything you can buy in CA other than food. gas is also cheaper

    EVERYBODY says how much the VA healthcare is better here than in CA. I used to get mine in the Oakland VA and I can swear to this.

    OK, having said all that, if my whole life failed and for some horrible reason I  had to live in CA again, it would  be Chico. What I loved best was bicycling through Bidwell Park. I restored a lot of houses in Chico, check the Sapp house on 3d and Normal. I was the one who restored that in the first place, now theyre redoing it again 25 years later. I also did the Bullard House on 1st and Oleander and the Chapman House on 12th st. I was on the Chico Architectural Review Board for 4 years, '86-90.
    My exwife was a Spanish professor at Chico State. she still lives there, so does my brother, another retired professor. My son was born in enloe and grew up there
    Fun place

    Another Oregon Plus: Blue State, Bluer than CA. I live outside Eugene---everyone I can vote for is a Democrat. Governor, both senators, 4 out of 5 Congress people. Both my state reps are Dems. legistlature is one house split and the other one Dem s. the OR government is actually functional, unlike some states to the south I could mention.
    Chico's had the Herger plague for decades and now theyre going to get someone just as bad.

    someday, if youre lucky, you'll move to Oregon

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 04:18:12 PM PDT

    •  LOL, maybe some but not soon ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Chico really is a fun place, I have given up on  VA Healthcare l;ong agao, and my special physical problems (Generative Back Disease) require more specialization and TLC than the VA is able to provide.  I see a specialist in SF, which I will continue to see monthly.

      My cousin lives outside of Portland, and I think Portalnd is a great place, unfortunately the treatments I get for my back are extremely experimental and being managed at UCSF, so moving to Oregan is a little out of the question, though I am glad you wrote such wonderful things!

      - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

      by l3m0n on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 06:45:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  check out Wilbut Hot Springs (4+ / 0-)

    I used to go there a lot in the early 70s. Remote and very laid back. I just googled it. and it still looks very nice. It was clothing optional then, with an organic garden, and great hot spring pools plus a cold freshwater pool. Ecstasy!

    •  Useta go there in the 70s and 80s (4+ / 0-)

      I worked there for a week for free room and board once..
      I hear its gotten really pricey since. Thats not exactly close to Chico, about 2 hours drive. Not far from Clear Lake.
      I now live in the same county as Breitenbush Hot Springs which is a lot like Wilbur, cheaper too

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 04:27:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was a terrible fire near Wilbur (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina, glorificus

        this year. It was saved from burning, but lots of the surrounding area got torched. I live in the Clear Lake area and Chico seems like a major metropolitan area to me!

        There's a fellow you might want to meet, Dave Miller, who owns Miller's Bake House up in Yankee Hill near you. He has his own  Austrian stone wheat mill, buys wheat from local farmers, and sells his stuff at the Chico Farmer's Market. I bet he would sell you some of his fancy flour.

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 04:39:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good for you, Jeff. Keep writing. (0+ / 0-)

    Always glad to see your posts.

    "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

    by glorificus on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 05:24:22 PM PDT

  •  Great Diary l3m0n. Rec'd And Tipped. (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the link to Paul's page and all the great movies on it.

    I bookmarked it. I so needed some good movies. I've watched practically everything on Hulu. I'm going back to watch Blood In, Blood Out later.

    California must be beautiful!

    I love home baked bread (although, I never made any), and will be reading this diary series.

    Thank You!
    [Continually Updated] Links For Our Marines All Our Troops And Veterans

    Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

    by rebel ga on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 06:31:39 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately Paul sprained his knew earlier today (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rebel ga

      So he is pout of commission for a few days laid up in pain, so his taste tests will have to wait till he is feeling better. I love fresh backed bread too, and I am making it daily! LOL.

      - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

      by l3m0n on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 06:49:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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