Last year I got an unexpected Christmas bonus from work, and spent it on a breadmaker. Our cheap one had broken, but I’d never really got the hang of it anyway. Peter could make a decent loaf, but mine always turned out like bricks, no matter what I did.
Despite my initial enthusiasm, in many efforts over the past year I’ve failed to make anything other than what is referred to in our house as ‘peasant bread’ (pretty much entirely solid) or ‘good for toast’ (not-quite-cooked-enough).
It’s a bit daft having a fancy breadmaker and buying bread from the shops, so I’ve decided this is the year I finally learn how to make a decent loaf. The other day I made bagels using the dough setting, and they were a complete success (if not entirely round). Then I made that bizarre shape you see at the top of this post – I can assure you it was a perfectly decent loaf of bread, despite outward appearances.
For my third attempt, I tried raisin bread from the recipe book that came with the bread machine (which, I note, also has a recipe for ‘curry and mango chutney bread’).
Since then, I’ve made another two plain white loaves that have also turned out very nicely indeed.
So, what’s my new secret?
Er, following the instructions. You see, I kind of was before (kind of) but it turns out the instructions for this breadmaker are slightly different to the ones for the old breadmaker. Once I read them properly, weighed and measured everything, and put it in the machine in the right order, and, er, didn’t open the door to peek while it was cooking (like I did with the first oddly-shaped one above) it’s made a perfect loaf every single time.
Just goes to show – sometimes you just need to do as you’re told.