Today’s post is powered by bread.
I got a bread maker for Christmas.
I used to have a bread maker. It was called Tilly. Sadly the rigorous activities of the sixteen year old life mean that bread making is now much lower on the priority list than it used to be, and we had resorted to buying bread in. I was keen to not do this, and equally keen not to be spending what little free time I had kneading and proving etc. I love making bread, although I don’t have Tilly’s magic touch and the results can be variable. I just wish it wasn’t so time consuming, and worse, intermittently time consuming.
Hence the arrival of the bread maker. After several days of rigorous asking of friends and being intensely nosey, I opted for a Panasonic. I got this model. Naturally it was considerably more money than many others on the market. This is my skill. I have an unerring ability to plump for the priciest option/thing available. Sometimes I just have to look at it to know, that’s how skilled I am. Other times I do the research which backs up what I knew all along. I am high maintenance.
I wanted something that was reliable, and that if it did break down would be easy to find someone to fix, or to get parts for. I wanted something that would cook different sized loaves. I wanted one that could do sour dough and fancy pants breads and doughs. I love fancy bread. This one makes croissant dough, and panettone, and brioche. Be still, my carb laden heart.
I wanted something simple to use as well, because I am a bear of very little brain when it comes to technology, and if I can’t grasp it after five minutes and a desultory flick through the instruction book, I don’t want to play.
This fits the bill perfectly.
What I particularly love is that the ingredients are so straightforward, and the taste is hugely better than supermarket bread, even from their bakery section. There’s none of this preservative, and that weird thing that you think when you read the ingredients label; ‘why the hell would they put that in there?’ I reckon it costs about 55p for every large loaf I make in terms of ingredients. I’m good with that. If I buy artisan bread from our excellent local baker I pay about £2.50 for a medium sized loaf. It is delicious, but not feasible to keep up that kind of expenditure when we are rocking through a loaf a day, sometimes more.
I have used the machine every day for over a week now. Some days I use it twice. It produces, without fail, excellent, tasty loaves of bread which everyone falls on like the wolf coming down on the fold. It takes approximately three minutes for me to chuck all the ingredients into the machine and programme it, which is about as long as I want to spend thinking about these things. Then I go away and forget about it, which it turns out I am brilliant at (another top skill), and several hours later, we have piping hot bread.
What’s not to like?
So far I’ve stuck to standard wholemeal and white loaves on both the regular and quick loaf settings. As my friend Ann said, there is very little to choose between the regular and quick loaves, and the quick ones take half the time, which at the rate my lot eat, is excellent news.
There is a timer function if I want to make a loaf over-night. So far I haven’t experimented with this yet. I presume it will be as easy as everything else.
Today, they demolished my first loaf at lunch time, and I have gone all exotic with my second, which is a rustic French loaf, which I requires a mix of white, wholemeal and rye flour. It takes six hours to cook, so I am expecting European triumph in approximately three hours from now. Hopefully the children will be too full from their dinner to eat any, and it might survive until at least breakfast time.