First, sorry its been so long. Just to get that out of the way. Insert excuse of your choice. Also, no promises about increasing regularity of posts, it may happen, it may not 🙂
Second, I made bread! In a machine of course, due to feeble arthritic hands, but still exciting for me. I made the first loaf on Saturday but there are no photos because it didn’t exist for long enough! As soon as it had cooled down enough to cut, Tim and I devoured it 😀 yum.
I was very pleasantly surprised the first one came out so well, because I had been warned that it might take a few goes to get it perfect. To me, it was perfect! But Tim found it too heavy. Which is not to say it was heavy at all (it really wasn’t), he just likes his bread so fluffy it’s hardly there. He actually seems to prefer plastic bread to real bread 😦 So yesterday I made another loaf, this time letting it rise for 20 minutes longer. I opened it up and there it was:
It did indeed rise more than the first one, despite looking a bit small as it was kneading. This is the light crust setting, at least we both agree about preferring pale crusts 🙂 This is what it looked like cooling on the tray:
I was very happy with it, especially as I made a mistake on this second one! The first went exactly right, I followed the instructions carefully to the letter, but this one I had evidently got a bit over confident from the first success. I didn’t check my way through the instructions and ended up forgetting to put the blade in! For anyone who has never used a bread maker, that would mean it just didn’t work at all. It would make noises but not mix the ingredients and then heat up a mess of water with flour on top and I dread to think how horrendous a mess it would make…
I didn’t panic though! I fixed it and hoped for the best and it worked – phew! In fact, the hardest part about making bread this way (apart from making sure you don’t forget something vital) is getting that blade out of the loaf.
I expect I’ll get better at removing it, but remember the bread is still hot at this point. As this is my second loaf, notice the bread is on its side. This I learned the hard way, the first one I put upside down and squashed the top flat.
Although this one did rise more than the first, it is really awkward how you have to do it. The machine bleeps 4 times before the final ‘it’s ready come and get it’ bleeps. The first is to add extra ingredients like fruit so they don’t get pulverised by the kneading. I have no idea what the second is for, I couldn’t find a clue in the destructions! The third is the one I needed to press to give it an extra ten mins of rising time, then again for another ten. The final one is to give it extra baking time.
But it doesn’t tell you when this bleep will happen so I had to lurk and rush from the lounge to the kitchen. Of course I tried it at the second set of bleeps, which didn’t work and made me cross. I was relieved to figure out that had been the wrong bleeps! But I had to lurk for over an hour and we don’t have a one of those kitchens you sit in. To us the kitchen is a room for tasks, not for lingering, we do that in the lounge. But hey ho, now I’ve done it it would be easier next time. Except I think his next loaf will be the French style and see if he prefers that.
Now I’ve managed basic white bread, and fluffier white bread which hopefully will last a few days, I want to try making some more unusual bread. But what to try first? I fancy seedy bread, banana bread, apricot and spice bread, rye bread, cheese and herb bread, spelt bread…
I have enough white flour for one more loaf before I have to go buy more. When I go I can get rye flour and spelt flour and wholemeal as well as more white. Hehe, I shall be buying myself a bunch of flours! 😉
I think I’ll try seedy white bread, if I have enough seeds left Otherwise I shall have to stock up on those too.
The only problem now is calories! Home made bread might be healthier than plastic bread, but it has at least as many calories, if not more, and because it’s so delicious I want to eat lots more of it…