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December 2023
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All change

It’s strange how lives evolve. I got my bread maker in 2006 as a Christmas present. My husband was not convinced this was a good present but our son didn’t like bread and we’d been throwing out part eaten loaves because we couldn’t get one small enough for when we could eat it. Commercial bread is designed to be good when you buy it but has an unbelievably short shelf life as a result.

Being a busy working family, we both worked and our son was in school, life was hectic and this gave us a means to enjoy bread. The Queen of France may have asked, why don’t they eat brioche, but I love English bread and French loaves. White, brown, mixed grains: it’s all good to me. Initially, I cheated, I used mixes. I still do, very simple, and guaranteed results in 1 hour 55 minutes.

With lock down, mixes were not available, so I started with flour, oil, sugar, salt, water, and yeast. I started to seek out alternatives. My baguettes are lovely with home made soup (a different proposition).

Now, my mum thinks it’s lazy to have the bread maker, but it means I can set it off to mix a dough and all I need to do if not making a cooked loaf is shape, finally prove, and bake. For the working family, this is luxury – the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Today, we’re having tea cakes for lunch. 2 hours 20 minutes to get the dough ready for cooking. 15 minutes final proving, then baked for 20 minutes. It’s a meal, not pud. While still warm, we spread butter on and eat.

Yesterday, after a busy couple of days in the capital, I had a fresh baked roll with brie for lunch. 8 minutes baking from the freezer and heaven on a plate. Not 100% healthy but soothed my soul and filled me up. Kept my levels where I needed them too. Home-made bread works so much better than commercial loaves.

I’m pottering about the house, contemplating making some pasta for use over the next month – freezing before shaping means this is perfectly fresh and takes moments to cook.

One day, my bread maker will die. My husband says if that happens and I am also toast, he’s not replacing it.

Even if he’s not around, I am no longer convinced life would be worthwhile without my bread. (Oh my days, I’m an addict!)

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