The batch of hot cross buns this year was more luxurious than before, with craisins and dark choc chips and lots of spices. Beats a store-bought bun any day.
I’m still baking bread, but these days I’ve changed my method. The bread machine is still my number one helper. It mixes, kneads and raises the dough. I do the second knead and the proofing, and of course, the baking. When I get it right, the loaf is really wonderful.
One thing that can’t be beat is the smell of fresh bread.
In the past year, we have discovered the joys of a bread maker. Its primary job is to make bread, of course. I make a loaf most weeks using my own ingredients (not pre-mixed stuff). The bread tastes great, and I know that it contains no preservatives. Some people might think that using a machine is the lazy person’s way of making bread – the clever machine kneads, rises, proofs, and bakes – but if it works, why not?
Last Easter, we made hot cross buns, again with the help of the bread maker. This time we used it to mix and raise the dough but did everything else manually. Again, it tasted lovely, and it wasn’t too sweet like store-bought buns. We hope to make another batch in a week or so when Easter comes around again.
Lastly, we use the bread maker to make pizza dough. There’s an art to rolling the dough out thinly and then strategically arranging the ingredients, but the result is a great tasting pizza that’s isn’t overloaded with salt and fat.
We’ve had some wonderful pizza parties where everyone made their own pizzas. It’s a novelty to many people to make their own pizzas, but it really shouldn’t be.
Even though we have had the help of a bread machine, baking isn’t rocket science. It does however take thought and preparation. Making pizza from scratch takes more than 20 minutes, which I suppose is time that most people don’t seem to have, but the convenience comes at the cost of taste, and health. We ate store-bought pizza the other week, and even the healthy choice pizza (sparing in meat and cheese) made me thirsty. That never happens when I eat homemade pizza. It makes me wonder at the amount of salt in pre-made food.
The supermarkets however are determined to sell convenience, and they seem to be slowly stripping their shelves of basic baking ingredients. For example, we can’t seem to buy dry yeast in canisters anymore, only in packs of 7g ‘single use’ sachets – no good to me since I use yeast by the teaspoonful, less than 7g worth. This is not the only sneaky thing the supermarkets have been up to. C’mon, why do you need pancake mix when the real thing is so easy to make? All I can say is, don’t be afraid of flour and dough, peoples. It really can be your best friend if you take the time to get to know it.
Last Christmas I got what has proven to be the best of gifts – a bread maker. Before this, I had never made bread before – working with yeast and dough seemed so daunting, and time consuming. Now I can make loaves like this. Well, the machine does.
My bread maker has rarely gone into a cupboard since I got it because I’m addicted to the smell and taste of freshly baked bread. Who wants to eat store bought bread after this?
It’s been awhile since I posted. I hope that everyone has had a peaceful Easter, and if you have been holidaying, a relaxing time. I have a lot of posts to catch up on, of course. My first offering is the batch of hot cross buns that I made (with the help of the breadmaker) on the Easter weekend. It was a pretty good first attempt, if I say so myself, and the homemade buns were divine.