I got a bread machine at a thrift store last year for $25. Couldn't resist the "deal", plus I was curious about its usefulness. I made pizza dough and white bread in it a few times, from the recipes in the user guide, and they were so-so. Kind of dense and dry, but good for toast. I figured it was either defunct as a second-hander or that's just how machine bread comes out. But recently I tried a recipe from one of my cookbooks (and King Arthur bread flour instead of the cheap store brand), and a whole new world opened up over the machine's potential.
I've made this recipe twice now, both times using the delay timer. Once I put it in the machine Sunday morning and we came home hungry from church to the heavenly yeast-and-cinnamon scent. The second time was even better - I put it together Sunday night and we awoke Monday morning to the smell of fresh bread - quite the pick-me-up we needed at the dreaded start of the week. The cookbook I got it from calls it "Cinnamon Raisin Bread" but it's so much more than that to me. It's Leaven Heaven.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast (1 packet)
1 cup raisins*
1. Place all ingredients except the raisins in the bread machine pan in the order your bread machine suggests (usually wet on bottom, dry on top). Put the raisins in last.
2. Process on the sweet or basic/white cycle. (I processed on basic, with light crust.)
Tough, huh? Oh, it's so delicious warm, toasted, french toasted, leftover, dipped in milk, etc.
*Of course you can improvise with the dried fruit. My favorite is Trader Joe's Golden Berry blend, but I've also done Craisins and dried black currants.