After about six months that bread making machine died, and I bought one. I had come to enjoy the control of making bread using all natural ingredients, without preservatives or sugar added. I started to buy bulk bread flour -local wherever possible -and use my own ingredients. Here is a home made foccacia_ so yummy with our own rosemary and salt on top.
We learned to slice bread -which is quite a skill! At one point we bought an electric knife, but I was convinced I would cut my fingers off so it has now been relegated to the dreaded "second drawer" in the kitchen!
The years went by, and the bread-making got better. I have now a number of recipes I make regularly: fruit bread, Russian Black bread, and a mixed grain loaf.
After a while I realised that I could take the dough out of the bread making machine before it cooked it, and finish it in my own loaf tin in my own oven We preferred the shape of this loaf, it didn't have the funny hole in it from the bread-making beater, and the crust was crustier.
I then learned about making sourdough, and after one catastrophe in creating a starter, I developed a sour dough starter and since then have been making sour dough bread at least once per week.
This week the story took a new turn: my bread making machine died!
I had been expecting this for a while, so I had my plan ready. I had done some research and discovered that it was possible to get a stand mixer with the capacity in both motor power and bowl size to mix the sour dough. I had toyed with the more expensive KitchenAid, but careful reading of its capacity for dough made me turn to the Kenwood Chef XS model, with a 1200 W motor, which can make up to 2.4 kg of dough. My usual sourdough is half that, so I knew that I would not be overloading the motor. The nice thing is that the Kenwood was about 2/3 of the price of the others, and has a 5 year warranty.
The method is pretty easy. I add the ingredients according to my normal sourdough recipe:
- 350mls warm water
- 150 grams of sourdough starter, at 100% hydration. (when I have used this amount of sourdough starter, I replace it with 75 g flour and 75 g of warmish water).
- 50g olive oil
- 600 g bread (strong) flour
- Salt (about a teaspoon)
Transfer to an oiled bowl and leave for 2 hours.
Back in the machine for 5 more minutes, then into the oiled or buttered tin for the second rise. I have a large plastic box I put the dough in, and put it somewhere warm. Sometimes this is outside -in winter I chase the sun coming in the windows which face north. When it is outside I add my 'bread rock" to the top of the plastic box in case the wind comes up and blows it off.
On very cold days I have been known to stand the bread tin in warm water in the sink. Warmth is vital at this stage!
When the dough gets up about 2cm beyond the top of the loaf tin, I put the oven on to warm up to 230 C. When the oven is hot, I slash the top of the bread, and put it in for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven back to 180C for 25minutes. At this point the house smells wonderful -baking bread is fabulous!
I turn it out onto a rack and leave it until quite cool. This is important to getting good slices, and also the bread steams out of the oven. It will last longer if it is cold before you slice it up.
We usually put half the slices in the freezer.
Pumpkin bread ready for soup!