Takes too much time, and it looks -hard-
Yeah right, whatever. Luckily for Christmas, my in-laws to be were kind enough to buy ‘us’ (meaning me) a food mixer (at Neil’s request, to try to stem some of my mess making tendencies). I have to admit, having not had access to one for the previous 28 years of my existence, I struggled to think of what to do with it. Yes it was wonderful, but it looked scary sat there in it’s box the size of a cupboard. Jamie and Nigella clamour for the use of such a tool in their books, so it must be worth it.
Finally plucking up the courage, I unpacked it.
So far, so good. Most of the contents of the box was (predictably, with hindsight) packaging. There were, granted, a few scary sharp blades in there, but all in all not a bad compact setup. Definately not scary. How can something with only one knob ever be scary? (I said -THING-).
Tucked down the side was a recipe book. Well, where better to start? The first night I made pizza dough and it didn’t go too badly.
Then I realised I was now the proud owner of a bag of strong white flour and some yeast. Could I? Would I? Hell yes!
Catch me slaving to mix and knead a sticky mass of flour and water? Hell no!
It was a little late at night and I was high on sugar ( always the best time to try new ideas I find- pass the sweets!). So I carefully measured out the ingredients and added them to the mixer. 5 minutes later I had dough. Actual dough. And it was easier than making the pizza base! I carefully placed it in the prerequisite warm place to rise, then squished it down and divided it to rise again. 30 mins in the oven later and I had my first two loaves. They weren’t the prettiest or the best risen, but I was proud.
Now Neil at this point was quite full having had quite a large supper of spaghetti bolognese or somesuch (I can’t remember exactly), and then stuffed himself with (probably) Christmas cake. He was also engrossed on catching up on the huge backlog of TV we had accumulated on I-player. I found myself batting my eyelids at him to get him to try my new creation (I was at a disadvantage as sugar was not on of the ingredients in this case). A few minutes later, we both had a large slice in our hamster-like grasps and were less than elegantly nomming on fresh warm bread soaked in butter. The loaves just about survived 24 hours all told. One didn’t even have time to cool.
Scrolling forward about a month, I seem to have replaced our local supermarket as provider of the household bread, which now nestles in the freezer between the mince and the icecream waiting for an upcoming date with some butter and sandwich filling. Apparently ‘it tastes of something’. It certainly gives me a warm glow. The actual amount of work involved is tiny, even the washing up (for once!), and the result is cheaper than shop-bought ‘fresh’ bread too.
(Recipe from Kenwood Creative Food Processor Cooking by Becky Johnson)
Makes: 2 small (half pound) loaves
Time to mouth: 2 hours of mostly waiting
Prep: 1.5 hours of mostly waiting
Cooking time: 30 mins
450g strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt (I prefer to just use one)
25g margarine or butter
2 teaspoons (or 7g) fast action dried yeast
300ml warm water (200ml cold, plus 100ml boiling mixed together)
oil for oiling
How to make it:
- Fit the mixer with the dough tool if you have one, or a knife blade.
- Put in the flour, margarine and salt and mix together for about 30 seconds. (Full speed)
- Add the yeast and pulse to mix.
- Whilst mixing, gradually add the water until the mixture begins to form into a dough. You may not need it all.
- Allow to mix for a few more seconds to knead.
- Turn out into a large bowl and cover with cling film or a damp towel. Leave somewhere warm for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a little by hand to get rid of the excess gas.
- Separate into two loaves (I prefer to make one big loaf- shaped lump then cut in half with a bread knife and reshape slightly).
- Place onto an oiled baking tray, allowing space to expand.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°c/GM7, which provides the heat to help the final rise.
- Sit dough on top of the oven (i.e. on the unlit hob) for 30 mins to make use of this heat.
- Bake in the oven for 30 mins.
- Remove from oven to cool and meanwhile bask in the warm glow of smug homemaking induced pleasure.