New gadget – jury is still out

I’ve been missing the taste of home made bread for a couple of years, since the house move deprived me of strength to knead.  K came to lunch on Thursday, bringing a superb loaf of bread which she told us had been made without hassle in her bread-making machine. “Shall we?”  said I.  

“Let’s look into it” said Jock, so I did, quailing a bit at the prices.  
“Second hand, perhaps?” I thought, and clicked on le Bon Coin – a free small-ad site, geared to localities.  A photo grabbed my eye, and a minuscule price, with the big advantage of it being a ten minute drive away.

25.4.15 bread machine

An hour later  we carried the ‘new’ machine proudly into the kitchen.  Snag:  no yeast, and the corner shop was closed for holidays.  The Boulangerie was open, and sold me some fresh yeast.  Second snag:  all the recipes for bread by machine use dried yeast, so an empirical decision was taken on how much fresh to use and how to incorporate it into the other ingredients which have to be added in strict order.  

Careful reading of opaque and repetitive instructions led to tentative switch-on-and-pray.  The next three hours were punctuated by occasional weird noises until an urgent sounding ping told us the bread was ready.  

A very odd shaped loaf  (not enough yeast, unevenly distributed) was extracted with difficulty, and trial slices were cut as soon as it was cool enough to handle.  Verdict? Texture OK, taste so so  – Jock’s perpetual cry of “needs salt” was for once justified.  I’m supposed to be on a salt-free diet, but you can’t make decent bread without salt, so I had put in about half a teaspoonful.

25.4.15 first loaf

When we go to the market today we will get some dried yeast and try again.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll write it off to experience.

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All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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28 Responses to 6-word-Saturday

  1. I hope you persevere with the breadmaker. We love ours – it’s nothing fancy just a very basic model from Lidl.We tend to go through the mixing,kneading and first rise in the machine and then turf out the dough and shape it, give it a second rise/prove and then bake in oven. The shape produced by the machine is not very interesting IMHO – and we have had instances where the paddle at the base gets stuck in the loaf during cooking which leaves a rather inelegant hole!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Romi says:

    Homemade bread is the best. I hope the dried yeast will work well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosemary Bimson says:

    Hi Viv, I have had a bread maker several years now and find it a boom, as as yet not found a decent shop brought one. Each manufacturer will tell you their way of adding the ingredients, some put the dry in first then the liquid others the opposite. It really doesn’t matter as long as the yeast doesn’t come in contact with the water, if you are delay starting it, it’s fine. I have adapted a recipe and use it every time with varying results. I mostly make a Granary loaf but do not use all Granary flour. My mixture is 2 cups, they came with the machine, Granary/Wholemeal, 1cup White. It’s not such a dense loaf. Now, not wishing to bore you, I have tried many white flours but the one I always go back too is a Canadian one, Carr’s or Waitrose Canadian white. Gives a much better rise and Andy tells me it has something to do with the way it’s grown, it’s a much harder wheat than ours.
    If your next loaf doesn’t meet your expectation don’t give up on it as you can always use it on the “Dough Only” setting. When it’s finished just tip it out, reshape and either put onto a baking sheet or tin, allow to rise again then cook in the usual way. I do this all the time now with excellent results.
    Afraid I can’t comment on “Fresh Yeast” as I’ve never tried it. Always wanted too but sadly it’s not readily available here.

    Here is my recipe in order
    2&1/2 Tblsp Milk Powder
    1Tblsp Sugar
    1&1/8 Teaspoon Salt 1&1/8 cup warm Water
    2&1/2 Tblsp Oil

    3 Cups Flour – 2 Brown – 1 White
    1&1/4 Teaspoon Yeast – Dry

    Select Dough Setting and wait.

    Hope this helps, not hinders😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh Rose, that’s really kind. I always used to make granary bread on a 2/3 granary to 1/3 white, when I was making by hand. Can you use fresh milk rather than powdered?

      I hope you’re both keeping well and still enjoying boat life.


      • Rosemary Bimson says:

        I don’t see why not Viv you would just have to adjust the other liquid slightly. I also meant to ask if you actually made a starter with the fresh yeast, as you would if making by hand, as I suspect that may make a difference. I am going to look out for fresh yeast over here. I think the bread taste even better with fresh

        We are both fine and start our summer cruising tomorrow. We will start by taking in the Birmingham canals for a month, I then go on a weeks walking holiday with my brothers and sister in law. South West Coastal Path this year. Not all of it as we only walk for 4/5 days. On return we will head off for Oxford and the Thames taking in the Kenneth & Avon.
        In Septmber we are hiring a narrow boat, with friends, and going to Scotland starting in Edingburgh. We will take in the Falkirk Wheel. Why hire? Well there’s no connecting waterway between England and Scotland. If we want to use our own boat we would have to take it out of the water, put it on a lorry and the drop it back into the water in Scotland. That would probably be just as expensive, maybe more, as it is to hire, so no contest really😊

        Maybe next year we will hire in France.

        Good luck with the bread. I have some rising at mo. Made 2 baguettes and 1 loaf. Just waiting for it to finish proving before baking. I’ll post a picture later😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s about time you had a blog, Rose – to show us all your adventures. Did you watch Timothy West and Prunella Scales Great Canal trips? They did the Scotland trip, including that fabulous Falkirk Wheel, a couple of weeks or so ago. They have their own narrow boat, but hired in Scotland. You could probably watch it on i-player if you missed it.

          What I did with the fresh yeast was to crumble it with the sugar, and scatter it as evenly as possible on top of the flour. It didn’t work well, but I think I got the quantity wrong.


          • Rosemary Bimson says:

            Viv, googled Fresh yeast quantities against dried yeast quantities and came up with a conversion table at Dovesfarm.co.uk.



            Liked by 1 person

  4. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    I have flirted with the idea of getting one of them, but there are so many good breads one can buy nowadays. Andrew and I went through a brief phase of making sourdough a long time ago, but it was a heck of a lot of work and time. If there was a machine that would make sourdough, we might have tried it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda says:

    Hi Viv…I liked your post. I once made bread before going to bed and I put all of the ingredients in the machine, turned it on and went to bed. Then in the middle of the night I heard a big crash, and found out that the machine had vibrated and walked off the counter and crashed! That was the end of my bread making!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tialys says:

    Persevere! The only thing I’m not keen on with bread makers is that they always produce the same shape loaf. However, there is usually a setting whereby you can make the dough, shape it how you like it and bake it in the oven so all the hard (kneading) work is done for you and you can supply the finishing touches yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. colonialist says:

    At the ‘miniscule price’, even if there is utter failure the experiment won’t be a costly one. I would say there is every chance of success if you slavishly follow recommended doses.
    I bought an iron on auction today – and resented the miniscule price when I plugged it in and nothing happened. However, some probing in the innards revealed a thermostat problem which I eliminated. Yay! There is a spare inexpensive iron for our maid to destroy instead of a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. pherecrates1 says:

    Keep at it! I regularly made bread in bread-maker an it was wonderful ….. Most of the time ….. Occasional interesting outcomes when I experimented!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. middlegirl54 says:

    You’ll hit upon the right mix eventually.


  10. Mlissabeth says:

    Doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as it tastes good, in my opinion.


  11. I found when using my sons that combining the dried yeast and dried ingredients, flour, salt, sugar, made for an evenly risen loaf. I also learned to make sure both little stirrer thingies were properly engaged down below. How wonderful.. if noting else the kitchen would have been filled with the scent of baking bread! I love that smell! c

    Liked by 1 person

  12. magicalmysticalteacher says:

    Keep trying—you’ll get it!

    6 Words on Light and Shadow

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ron. says:

    You’re right, V: Kneading is half the fun. But the machine WILL satisfy. Trust me.
    Funny Story: My best friend (gone now) was an avid (traditional) bread baker. Knead, wait, knead, wait, bake, wait, eat. I mostly made cookies, citing the fact that bread was too much work and, when you were done, you had no cookies.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Georgia says:

    Home made bread is so much better than store bought bread. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have a bread maker, which is, at the moment, banished to the loft because we were eating too much delicious fresh bread! 🙂 It doesn’t replace the pleasure of making your own by hand, but the results are very good.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. restlessjo says:

    I’ve never made bread in my life so am much impressed with your efforts. I always used to love the smell of it baking at home when I was small but the habit never rubbed off on me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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