Everyone’s got one, and yet very few people use it: a breadmaker. When we brought ours home after we’d been given it as a Christmas present, our neighbour spotted it coming out of the car. He shouted, “Take it back and keep your money. You can have ours – it’s never been used in 20 years!”. Well, we didn’t and I have actually used it, for quite a few things. Here are 5 of my favourite things to make in the breadmaker.
Using a breadmaker
I think the key thing to using the breadmaker more often is to have it on display, or in a place that’s easily accessible. Ours is right in the open on a shelf in the kitchen. A breadmaker will save you money. A bag of flour is about 80p and you can get roughly 3 loaves of bread out of one bag. Yeast is less than £1 per 100g and you’ll get about 14 loaves from one tin. So not only is it more economical, you’ll also get the bonus of an amazing-smelling house whenever you bake. Most breadmakers have a timer on them, so you can set it away before you got to bed and wake up to fresh bread!
My favourite recipes for the breadmaker
I first made pizza in the breadmaker with Rob’s daughter, when she was about 12. She loved the whole process of making the pizza dough, and when we’d finished, I remember she grinned with a mouthful of homemade pizza, “best pizza ever!”
Cheese and Bacon Bread
To hell with the diet! You need a breadmaker that you can add things to at the appropriate point in the cycle. These Panasonic breadmakers have a raisin and nut dispenser, but other additions are equally welcome. Mine beeps at me that there’s an opportunity to add stuff, and cheese and bacon feel like a perfect combo to add to the bread at that point! So yummy.
Way back in 2011 when Hugh Fearnley-Whittenstall was hard to avoid, the Guardian published a set of his recipes that changed my life. Savoury cake. You absolutely HAVE to try the goat’s cheese, raisin and hazelnut loaf in the breadmaker. It is super, super divine. The ham and olive cake is astonishingly good with a dry, sparkling white wine. Oh, I can taste it now!
Packet Mix from the supermarket
Those fancy properly-homemade recipes aside, there’s really nothing wrong with a pre-made packet of bread mix from the supermarket. It won’t save you quite as much money if you just buy a plain type, but if you go for something fancy, like sundried tomato bread, or 3 seeds, you’re saving money, and time. My sons love to help with the breadmaking, and when it’s a packet mix, they decide which one of them will do the water, and which one gets to pour the packet in. Of course we take it in turns to open the top and take a peek at the various stages of baking.
Plain White Bread
The old ones are the best. Remember the taste of soft white bread with a delicious crust? Remember how it smells, fresh from the oven? Remember spreading butter over a chunk while it’s still warm?
Go on – dig the breadmaker out! And if you don’t have one, now might just be the time to correct that.