Making bread

I have not had much luck with kitchen gadgets. I have bought ice cream making machines, electric steamers, lean mean grillers, espresso machines and many others. Some have not worked as advertised or proved to have an inconvenient devil in their detail. Some have been more trouble than they were worth. My food processor does not get used very often because its cleaning time usually exceeds the time it might save.

A few [e.g. a juicer] appeared to have been produced by the Japanese art of Chindōgu.

The local charity shop will not take electrical gadgets so some of my bad buys are in the attic and others have gone to live  with friends and family.  This latter option is often just a stop en route to the dustbin.

The tools that get the most use are the simple ones, especially my Sabatier knives and a couple of the super sharp Global knives. They work every time, are easy to clean and no plug is required.

I had thought about buying a bread making machine, but the experiences above had deterred me. Then I read a review of bread makers in 'Which' [the UK consumer magazine] and began to check out what was available on Amazon.

Eventually I decided not to buy Which's Best Buy [too heavy] and went for the Panasonic SD-257WXC Automatic Breadmaker [which had excellent reviews on Amazon].

My motives for buying a bread maker were

  • Supermarket bread is just plain nasty.
  • Supermarket bread contains additives and too much salt.
  • I wanted to try different types of bread.
  • To prove I don't learn from experience.

What I have found after several weeks of bread making are
  • It is amazingly easy to make bread. Just put yeast, flour, sugar, salt, butter and water in the machine and press start. No kneading or pounding required.
  • The bread tastes much better than anything from the supermarket.
  • It does not contain additives and I have found I can reduce the salt content even below that recommended in the [well written] manual, much less the level in supermarket bread. Most recipes suggest about 6 grams of salt for a medium or large sized loaf. That is about the officially recommended daily consumption of salt for an adult. I suspect the official levels are too high and I use 3-4 grams per loaf.
I have tried several different breads [curry and mango, pesto and pine nut etc]. I have used the machine for baking cakes and doing some of the work of making rolls. It makes a mean brioche.

The manual has lots of recipes but I have found I like wholemeal best. I didn't like supermarket wholemeal, but the machine makes a superb wholemeal loaf. I use a mixture of 25% strong white flour and 75% strong wholemeal flour and add a tablespoon each of poppy seeds and sesame seeds. 

Finally, here is a video of a commercial baker making croissants.

1 comment:

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Trying to cutback on carbs!! If I made a loaf of bread, I would eat the WHOLE thing... All by myself and at one time!!