When I moved into my house sixteen years ago, I received a bread machine as a housewarming gift.  This ingenious little gadget mixes, kneads, and bakes bread all by itself.  All I have to do is dump in the ingredients and press a button, and three hours later I have a delicious, fresh loaf of bread.

This was a perfect gift, because it was something I’d never used before and never would’ve bought for myself.  I don’t use it every week, and I still mostly buy fully baked bread from the store, but I’ve used the machine to make quite a few loaves over the years. 

On Thursday, I set the machine to bake a simple loaf of white bread and headed upstairs to my home office.  I had a busy day with few breaks, so I didn’t check on the loaf until the very end of the day.  I opened the top and noticed two things immediately:  (1)  the loaf was much, much higher than it should have been, practically pushing against the top of the glass, and (2) it was still raw dough.

The bread machine went through its entire cycle of mixing, proofing, and baking, but the coils that heated up the machine were shot, so the baking cycle went through without any heat.  As a result, the bread just kept rising.

Out of curiosity, I pressed my finger to the top of the loaf.  It popped like a balloon—the top had risen and left a large air pocket in the bread.

I contemplated what to do for a few moments, then decided to pull the pan out of the bread machine and finish the baking process in my own oven.

Forty minutes later I had a deformed loaf of bread, double dense on the bottom, air in the middle, and a thin crust on top. 

It didn’t look like much, but it still tasted wonderful warm out of the oven. 

A few years ago the bread machine paddle stopped turning, thus preventing the dough from mixing.  My Dad fixed it with a replacement part bought off the internet. 

But this time I think it’s toast.  Sixteen years seems like a good run. Now I’m off to Amazon to find a replacement.