We have had bread-makers for close to fifteen years now. Yes, oh yes, the first one was because of my gadget addiction – it was the very front of the adoption wave and this is where I was. Thinking about it, this is where I still am most of the time; I just have smartened up and find ways to satisfy my addiction only when someone else is paying for it. Otherwise, it is carefully controlled.
We have made bread for a very long time. In fact, there are places in Europe, particularly traditionally poor agrarian economies, where bread was the main food. My Bulgarian grandmother still used to ask not ‘shall we have lunch’ but ‘shall we eat bread’. Now this is basic, this is primal and this is very important. Of course I have a liking for bread – great smelling, substantial, tasty bread that gets hard and moulds. Not the white, fluffy plastic rubbish that lasts longer than my spectacles.
My grandmother used to make bread by hand, using the flour my granddad had milled from the wheat that they grew on their land. My mum bought bread from a bakery where it was made and baked only speciality breads herself; like the special Easter bread we have in Bulgaria. I used to buy factory bread and long for the one my grandmother made. Until in 1995 when we bought I bread making machine, this is. After that all changed and with few short interruptions we have made bread ever since.
These are the five reasons we will never be separated from our bread-making machine.
1. Bread is cheaper
This is a money blog so this reason has to trump all others. Even if you don’t manage to cut a deal on the flour, or make bread using flour that is very expensive (like granary for instance) a loaf of bread works out much cheaper than buying it. Just as an illustration using ASDA white flour a loaf of white bread will set you back exactly 36 pence (30p flour, 2 p other ingredients and 4 p baking). If you add an egg to this you will pay 54 pence. If you compare this with the price of bread in really cheap supermarkets it may not appear so inexpensive. But we are talking quality, and when we talk about quality we talk M&S. A loaf of basic white bread there costs £1.35; a loaf of chiolla bread costs a staggering £2.29. Wow! I just realised that we have recovered the cost of our bread-maker (cost £104) in about three and a half months.
2. Bread is nicer
It is true; anybody who has tried the bread that comes out of our bread-maker can confirm this. It is partly the machine – we have a Panasonic which is the Rolls-Royce of all bread-makers and was the first to design one (on the market in 1986 by, then, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co). To design this machine the engineer had to work for a year in a bakery – otherwise he could not get the kneading right. Apart from that, we have become truly creative with bread – we mix flours, we put seeds in and we experiment with different nuts. My all time favourite is wholemeal bread with hazelnuts. Pure bread heaven!
3. It is convenient
Making your own bread, even in a bread making machine, may appear fiddly. But putting a loaf on only takes 4 minutes, though; I really timed it. Most contemporary bread-makers have delay function so you can programme your loaf to be ready when you are – when you get up (freshly baked bread for breakfast; now how about that?), when you get back in from work or for a specific occasion. LG advertising used to read ‘your own bakery open 24 hour a day’. It is all true.
4. It is healthier
Have you wondered how bread today stays fluffy for so long? Or why does it have this plastic aftertaste? Stop! It is all about preservatives and too much yeast. Neither is very good for us; in fact there have been studies linking the up surge in allergies with the increased amount of yeast and preservatives in our bread. I did some research on this one and I did it in M&S. Remember about quality? Well, one would expect that food there is healthy. Why did I count eleven, yes eleven, ingredients in wholemeal bread? The one I make in the bread-maker has only five – flour, water, salt and sugar (very little bit), and yeast (again small amount). It doesn’t contain anything beginning with E, I can assure you.
5. It is versatile
Bread making machines don’t make only bread. Recipe books have been expanding rapidly since the yearly years and now include broche, croissants, gluten free bread and cakes. With a little bit of experimentation they can make anything. In fact a friend gave me the recipe for pita bread and she became a Goddess in my household in the space of 62 min (this is how long it takes from ingredients to pitas in the over, swelling nicely). Not to mention pizza even better than the (now second) best pizzeria restaurant in the world I ever had in San Gimignano! After all, I do have a husband and three sons.
Few sensual pleasures compare with the smell of freshly baked bread. This is what makes a dwelling true home.