Sunday, 17 January 2010

All about Bread

Day Forty Five.

I used to bake bread on a regular basis. There was something satisfyingly earthy about sinking my hands into a big bowl of wet organic flour, and then wrestling with the bulging lump of springy dough until I felt it had been tamed. Then putting the bowl in the airing cupboard, protected beneath a clean tea-towel, and coming back to find it twice the size it had been only half an hour before. The smell of freshly baked bread. The rich, moist slices, hot and buttered...

I gave up kneading by hand and baking in the oven when we came across a perfectly functional breadmaker in a skip up the road. A quick online search gave us a free, downloadable manual, and that was that. Whenever we neared the end of a loaf, we would throw the fresh ingredients into the machine, and three hours later (accompanied by some frenzied beeping!) the new loaf would emerge - steaming - from within.

Eventually that breadmaker broke, after two or three years of regular use. An internal malfunction meant that it would not recognise any of the pre-set programmes. We took it back to the skip, and started hunting around for a replacement. We were given an unwanted breadmaker, but it only lasted a few months. Then we went back to cheap sliced wholemeal bread from the Co-op. It wasn't all that great.

About a year ago, a friend offered us another breadmaker, and we readily accepted. But when we tried to use it for the first time we found that there was no paddle, so apathy set in and the machine gathered dust in the cellar. A few months ago I managed to order a new paddle on eBay, so we were all set. We just couldn't be bothered. Nothing happened. More dust gathered.

What I'm trying to get round to is the fact that finally, finally! - today I succeeded in summoning the motivation to get the breadmaker going again. I downloaded this new one's manual, and cleaned the inside and outside. I got the yeast going, and just as it was frothing found that our store of organic flour was not only mouldy, but providing bed and breakfast for a small family of maggots. I almost gave up, then decided to go next door to Spar to buy some (non-organic) wholemeal flour. They only had white. Then I gave up.

But luckily our thoughtful tenant decided to bike down to the Tuffin's supermarket and buy some decent flour for me - beautiful organic wholemeal flour, fresher than I've had for a long time. I threw everything into the machine, and now, almost four hours later, I have a lovely (if a bit sunken, having missed the best moment for the yeast), tasty, homemade loaf. Worth every obstacle!


  1. Oooh!!! I've just decided to try making bread for the first time ever. We don't have a breadmaker though, so will be trying it the old fashioned way.

    Also, I've nominated you for a sunshine blog award. Please feel free to copy the photo from my blog and post it on yours.

    T x

  2. Homemade bread is ludicrously tasty, and always seem more effort when you haven't done it for a while, so well done for getting everything sorted out. On a related bready note, I've got homemade pizza cooking in the oven right now. Phwoar!


  3. Brilliant - I've been making 'bread of the hand' more and more but still love the bread machine. The best of the many devices we surround ourselves with I recon. I have been uncovering other reasons to make your own bread - not least the undeclared enzymes and GMO's added to commercial bread...
    you've inspired me to write something about bread too. I like the blog :)