A new toy!

When it comes to shopping, I’m a bit of an SAS shopper – get in, get it, get out. I don’t usually feel the need to spend hours window-shopping, although I do make an exception when it comes to yarn – and also the Lakeland shop.

I’ve been buying gadgets from Lakeland for many years. Their catalogue is one of the ones that I will actually spend time looking at before it hits the recycle bin, and I do like spending time in their shops looking at the gadgets that have taken my eye in the catalogue in “real life”. So when small daughter, my husband’s cousin and I went to Liverpool last Friday, I made sure that I steered us towards the Lakeland shop. I had some vouchers to spend (a Christmas gift, believe it or not!) and although I could have spent them on something useful for the house, I had spotted something in the catalogue that I wanted to take a closer look at. Something useful, certainly, but something for me. It felt very frivolous to be choosing something that I didn’t necessarily need but did think that I wanted – but isn’t that the joy of vouchers?

This is what I found:

It’s a silicone bread maker.

I don’t need another bread maker.  I’ve got my Dad’s which works very well for our Soup Night loaf.  I’ve got my cake baker tin which cooks my sourdough loaves in the Aga.  But I do like making bread and I’m a bit of a sucker for gadgets which help the process along and I was very taken by the look of this – although a little voice in my head told me that this was surely just a gimmick which looked great in theory but would never really work.

I picked it up, and put it down again.  I looked at the display loaf and poked at it, wondering if it was real bread or not.  I ummed and ahhed and said that I should probably buy Something More Sensible.  Cousin Carol said that I should most definitely not, because vouchers aren’t always meant for buying Sensible things.  She picked up the bread maker and put in my basket.

Dear Reader, I handed over my vouchers and brought it home.

And this is what I did next.  I followed the recipe in the little book to make no-knead bread.  Oh, I love no-knead bread so much – it appeals to the lazy side of me perfectly!  You weigh your ingredients directly in the bread maker, mix them up with a spoon and ta-dah …

… your bread is all ready to be left to prove.  All you have to do is close the flap, cover the whole thing with a tea towel and leave it for six to eight hours (I left mine overnight).

The next morning, the dough had risen and I put the bread maker straight into the oven to cook. No bowls or sticky hands to wash.  Oh yes, this is my kind of bread!

The loaf that came out was a rather strange shape – like a torpedo or a boat, perhaps.  Not your usual loaf shape at all.

Cousin Carol and I examined the loaf.  It certainly smelled good, and despite the unusual shape it looked pretty bread-like.

“We’d better wait until it cools down before we cut it,” we said.

We waited.  For two whole minutes, and then we cut the loaf.  The texture was perfect and once I’d turned it over so that the flat bottom sat firmly on the chopping board, it was also super-easy to slice.

“We’d better let it cool down before we try eating it,” we said.

The butter melts so much better on straight-from-the-oven bread, don’t you find?

I was quite amazed.  Far from the bread maker being a gimmick which didn’t work at all, this loaf was one of the nicest non-sourdough loaves that I had made for a while.  And best of all – it tasted fabulous!

In the interests of research, we had to try a couple of slices.  No scientist ever does just one experiment, do they?  And then we had to toast some to see what that was like.  And then we had to toast some more to try it thickly spread with marmalade.  The result of our experiment was that it makes very good toast, and it’s even better with marmalade.  We started to run out of bread to do any more testing.

“We’d better make sure we save some for lunch,” I said.

My husband helped himself to the final crust.

I’m very glad now that I didn’t spend my vouchers on Something More Sensible instead.  I’ve made several loaves since that first one and each of them has turned out as well as that one did.  I’m going to try out the other recipes in the little book, and I’m going to see how my sourdough loaf cooks in the silicone mould.

Isn’t it great when a purchase turns out to be so much better than you expected?  It’s almost enough to tempt me to go shopping more often!

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16 Responses

  1. Unknown says:

    Wow! Your bread looks delicious and so easy to make. Unfortunately now I am following the Slimming World diet I can eat very little bread – just 2 slices wholemeal from a small 400 gm loaf a day, I do so miss a lovely chunky slice of bread more than anything.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      The novelty of this will have to wear off soon or I'll be needing to diet too! I'm hoping that it will be useful for making my husband's sourdough loaves which I love as toast but don't tend to eat much of otherwise. Good luck with your diet! xx

  2. Christina says:

    I do love bread but rarely buy it or bake it (to avoid binge eating). Your loaf looks delicious, so simple to make. I quite like the torpedo shape, you get two really crusty ends, perfect. x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      There's been a bit of binge-eating going on this weekend, I have to admit! I've been walking the dog at twice his usual speed this week to see if I can burn those extra slices off again! xx

  3. Unknown says:

    I love the idea of not having to knead it. I hate kneading becaus of how sticky it is. I'm going to discuss it with Mr B and see if we need one of these in my kitchen! X

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Well, I was super-impressed with it, as you'll have noticed! I think it's definitely worth considering! xx

  4. Unknown says:

    Ha ha SAS shopper! A woman after my own heart – unless it's yarn shopping off course. Bread looks really good, what a neat kitchen gadget

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It's impossible to squish yarn on an SAS mission so more time is always required for yarn shopping! xx

  5. Jo says:

    It looks brilliant. Do you use the normal ingredients you usually would? I can't resist freshly baked bread, especially whilst it's still warm so that the butter sinks in to it, yum yum. I use my breadmaker to do the kneading but then split the dough in to breadcakes and bake in the oven, this would be much less hassle. I think I'm going to join in with your sockalong, will you be putting up weekly updates for it? I'm just thinking about time really as I'm a really slow knitter, but I suppose I could just go at my own pace.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Yes, just normal ingredients Jo – flour, salt, water, yeast and olive oil. No sugar in this loaf and it works out fine. It'll be great to have you join in the the Sockalong. The posts will be weekly from the start day of 3 May and I'll be leaving them on the blog anyway so that anybody can pick it up at any time. There's no rush! I've put a new page in the header so that it's easy to find the posts later xx

  6. Campfire says:

    Oh my, I'm a breadmaking person as I have problems timing bread. This looks fabulous, no sticky breadboard when you mix before putting into pan. You say sour dough? Doesn't that take ages or is it like Artisan bread? I'm muchly impressed.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I have to admit that my first couple of sourdough attempts in this mould haven't been great, but I think that's down to me rather than the bread maker. More practice needed! 🙂 xx

  7. J9sHappiness says:

    Sounds like a great tool! Your bread certainly looks tasty. I wish I could smell it! J9x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I was stunned at how well my loaves have turned out with this bread maker – and I'm stunned by how quickly it gets eaten too! 🙂 xx

  8. Sue Geen says:

    any further progress on sour dough using this?

    • winwickmum says:

      No, I don’t use it for sourdough but I do get a fabulous loaf using Kat Goldin’s method (http://www.garturstitchfarm.com) – I wrote more about doing her online course in this blog post but I think Kat has a free recipe on her website which is the one I use. I cook it in the oven in a casserole dish and it works beautifully 🙂 xx

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