Why does my bread machine hate me? I've tried the same recipe twice in the last few days, and neither has worked.
We got a Zojirushi bread machine years ago. Many years ago. Like, I suspect, most bread machine owners, we used it a lot for a few months, and then stopped. The machine then sat there like a small piece of gym equipment. I honestly don't know how long it's been, but I'm guessing something like 5-7 years. Long enough, certainly, that our 11-year-old daughter has no memory of us ever using it.
Anyway, I got it in my mind to try it again, and both loaves have been failures. In both cases, I'm trying the same recipe - a dill bread from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. The first time, I skipped one detail in the recipe - I didn't let the cream cheese warm up to room temperature. Other than that, though, I did everything I thought I was supposed to, including leveling off the dry ingredients and whatnot. We're using all completely fresh stuff, too - brand new packages of bread flour and gluten and yeast, and yes I'm being careful to put the wet ingredients in first, then the dry on top, and the yeast last, as per the machine's instruction book. The result could best be described as a mass of dry, hard crumbs rather than a loaf of bread. Some Googling found a forum that suggested that using something other than room-temperature water might have been the issue.
So I tried again today. Room-temp water, room-temp cream cheese and butter, and otherwise obsessive attention to detail in the recipe. The result was a slight improvement, but still not what I want.
I didn't think to take a picture of the first loaf, but you can see the result of the second here
So what am I doing wrong? Is it possible that something has gone wrong with the machine from sitting on the counter and being ignored all those years? Or is it me?