No more half-baked excuses – Farewell Old Friend!

We’ve had 15 really good years together. In fact, now that I come to think of it, maybe as many as 17 or 18? But last week I had had enough and it was time to face facts. Things just weren’t working out for us anymore… Oh yes, I tried to patch things up. A good rubdown and a few delicate sprays of WD40. But the result was still the same. Sunken in the middle, half-mixed and a patchy, white bottom…

I’ve been in denial for the last month. ‘Old faithful’ was tired. Had worked hard for me for years and was slowly grinding down. Or not grinding at all! 🙁 My old friend…the Panasonic Bread Bakery. Not a fancy machine. Just Bake and Timer. The Rapid programme took 3 hours. No viewing window. But repeatedly ‘best in test’. Purchased in Edinburgh, spent most of it’s life in Luxembourg and now destined for the recycling centre in Copenhagen. Farewell Old Friend…

And say Hello to my new friend, the Tefal Home Bread machine. Complete with all the mod cons we expect in 2010. A viewing window. 12 different programmes. Anyone for homemade pasta or jam? Don’t like a soft crust? No problem, you can have it as dark as you like. Heck, we can even rebake day-old bread in it. And this machine does b–i–g loaves. Or small. It’s your choice. You want your bread right now? Okay, pressing the start button…

…and here it is, 1 hour and 17 minutes later.

I’m glad to say my new Tefal is noisy – just as noisy as my old Panasonic. The Tefal actually got a bad review because of the noise it makes..but I like that! Because I have fond memories of my good friend M coming to stay with us in Luxembourg. DH and I had a small appartment. I was doing my ‘perfect hostess’ routine and had preprogrammed both the coffeemaker and the breadmachine. I ask you – is there anything better than waking up at 8am on a Saturday morning to the smell of fresh bread and coffee? I served breakfast and M had trouble looking us in the eye. He heard the banging noise during the early hours and thought it was DH and me – tee hee!

Have a fabulous foodie Friday! 🙂

PS: If you’re looking for a foolproof breadmachine recipe, I posted one last August. It’s right here.

Fail me never…

A have a small, red folder of recipes that I collected as a child. Cuttings from magazines (all cakes and biscuits!!), recipes from Home Economics classes at school and – the ones I now find most intriguing – recipes my Mum wrote down on the back of envelopes or notepaper from the office, or was given by friends and neighbours. One of them is called “Fail Me Never Gingerbread”.

Today I’d like to share with you my recipe for “Fail Me Never Bread Machine Bread”.

I love my breadmachine. Bought it over 15 years ago when I worked in Luxembourg – it cost a fortune then and the same model is still expensive now. It can’t do anything fancy, like bake cakes or make jam but, year after year it’s been the ‘Best in Test’ in the Good Housekeeping Magazine). It’s a Panasonic.

Now, making bread in a breadmachine is easy. Just throw in the ingredients, hit the button and off you go. Which is what I normally do. However, today I tried a new recipe which @MaritzaSylvia sent a link to on Sounded good, a wholemeal bread, but with cinammon. (And the Danes LOVE cinammon, so was sure to be a winner with the DKs.)

Only problem was, breadmachines come in different sizes and European ones are generally not as big as the ones Over There. (Another blogpost coming soon on European vs. USA cola sizes at Macdonalds. Has been a topic of conversation with DS9 for weeks.)

So I took the recipe and ‘eyeballed’ the amounts. Bad idea. Bread came out very heavy – with a big crater in the top. Tasted okay but looked terrible!

So here is my own, basic “Fail Me Never Bread Machine Bread” recipe which I’ve been using for the last decade:

½ teaspoon dried yeast

300 grammes flour (use at least one third white)

1 tablespoon white sugar/brown sugar or honey

2 tablespoons butter or any type of oil

1 teaspoon salt (or a little more if using sea salt, which I love)

220 mls water or milk (or apple juice if you like your bread crusty)

Makes a great, basic bread that the DKs love. We could happily eat our way through this as soon as it comes out the machine, smothered with ‘Kærgården’ (easy to spread Danish butter).

Now, to this basic recipe you can add what you want to ring the changes: handful of raisins or cranberries, cinammon, dried herbs, nuts, chopped fresh rosemary, some grated parmesan, chopped olives, chili flakes…

Just make sure, before you get too carried away, to check the flour capacity of your machine (take a look at the little book of recipes that comes with it) and stick to that amount.

OK – bed and book are calling. Night!