For people who care about their food

Mr Not Delia tries the new bread machine

A small, oddly shaped loaf of bread-making machine bread

Is it a snail? Is it an armadillo? Is it a skull in profile?
No, it's Mr Not Delia's loaf of white bread

Not Delia bought a new bread machine recently. (At least this time round she didn’t buy it and tell me it was my Christmas present, which is what she did a couple of years ago when she bought a commercial salamander.) Anyway, I thought I’d have a go at making something in it.

The instruction booklet that came with the machine had several recipes, so I thought I’d start off small and simple with a 500g wheat bread loaf (the very first recipe in the book). Unfortunately, as I looked down the list of ingredients I realised that although they’d translated the recipes from German, they hadn’t bothered to do it properly – so I was struggling to work out exactly what “wheat flour type 1050” and “wheat flour type 405” were. In the end I improvised, used bread flour and plain flour respectively and hoped that would be near enough.

I nearly fell into the trap they’d set for me. The recipe lists the dry ingredients first (starting with the yeast) and then the liquids. However, the operating instructions tell you to add the liquids first, then the dry ingredients ending with, yes, the yeast. It really does pay to read the manual sometimes.

Having wrestled the baking tin with the ingredients back into the machine – no easy task – I pressed the appropriate buttons and was rewarded with the dough-hook springing into action. Only three hours and thirteen minutes before ND and I would be enjoying beautiful, freshly-baked bread…

In the end, it took rather longer than that.

When the programme’s finished, I had to figure out how to get the loaf out. It had to be sooner rather than later, both because the tin (being metal) was going to contract more quickly than the bread and grab it even more firmly in place, and also because leaving the bread in the tin was likely to end in its getting soggy as the steam condensed with nowhere to escape to.

But it wasn’t that easy. For starters, the whole thing was bloody hot (well, it had just come out of an oven, hadn’t it?). The loaf was pretty tightly wedged into place, and as the baking tin is non-stick knives were out of the question. In the end a wooden spatula came to my rescue.

However, long before taking the loaf out I’d already realised that 500g of dough was not really big enough for the tin, and that since it was a quite large rectangular tin, all the dough had ended up to one side, resulting in a rather strangely-shaped loaf (as you’ve already seen above).

Once I’d got the loaf out I realised that, predictably, the dough hook wasn’t in the baking tin any more, but was now embedded in the bottom of the loaf…

A loaf of bread-making machine bread from below, showing the dough-hook still embedded

This one looks a bit like one of those Sellotape dispensers, doesn't it?

Since the dough hook is made of metal and is also non-stick coated, the same strictures against sharp implements applied and, of course, it was also pretty hot (though not quite so hot by now). A plastic Japanese-style (pointy) chopstick was my friend here.

As it happened, the bread itself was quite tasty, if a tad on the heavy side. It put me in mind of the loaves my mother made during the bread strikes in the mid-1970s. She improved as time went on, so maybe practice will make perfect. We’ll see.

9 Responses to “Mr Not Delia tries the new bread machine”

  1. Alan H

    Oh dear. Sorry it turned out like that. I must admit, it takes a while to get a working recipe for the bread machines. It seems to take quite a bit of experimentation. When you get it, It’ll work for ever.
    Accurate measurements are critical, I’ve found.

    Anyway, here’s my tried and trusted half whole wheat. I’m from England, and find the bread here in the States too sweet:

    300 ml Water
    1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
    2 Tbsp Honey
    1/2 Tsp Salt
    290 Grammes Whole Wheat
    168 Grammes Bread flour
    38 Grammes Vital wheat gluten.
    1 1/2 Tsp Yeast

    Heat the water until luke warm.

    Add wet ingredients first.

    Make “well” in the flour and place yeast in well.

    Bake on Whole Wheat setting.

  2. Not Delia

    Thanks for your comment and recipe, Alan. We had a bread machine before but unfortunately had to “lose” it on one of our house moves.

    This new one is a completely different shape and larger than I had realised when I bought it. As you say, it’s just a case of trial and error. We’ll get there.

  3. Mr Not Delia

    Accurate measurements are critical, I’ve found

    Looks as if it’ll be me using the bread machine from now on, then – Not Delia doesn’t do measuring ingredients. 😆

  4. Adi

    I find that the best bread machines are those located in a local bakers. There’s something magical about that fresh bread smell and far be it from me to tarnish it by associating it with some mishapen blob of bread 😀

  5. Not Delia

    LOL! It’s rather ironic that our favourite baker, Peter who’s a Belgian man, has recently relocated right on our doorstep just when I get interested in breadmaking. I don’t think Peter has much to fear. We’re only playing with it.

    Maybe we should’ve given him Mr ND’s armadillo to see what he thought of it.

  6. Mr Not Delia

    @Adi – You’re supposed to eat the stuff, not put it on your mantlepiece. 😈

    Seriously, though, it was quite tasty – and it toasted well, albeit very slowly.

  7. NothingLikeDelia

    The most useful tip I can give is to find out what time the loaf actually starts to bake (after all the kneading and rising time). A few minutes before then, take out tin and plop dough onto a floured surface. Fish out dough paddle. Pat loaf gently back into shape, return to tin, return tin to bread machine, voila one loaf without great big crater in the bottom
    Also makes the loaf easier to get out when cooked, especially if you grease the spindle with a little butter before plopping the dough back in

    Anyone else considering breadmaking – keep an eye on Lidl, they sell one for about £25 from time to time which has a longer tin with 2 paddles, makes a more normal shaped loaf than the much more expensive models. Works great, 3 years warranty, how can you lose? 🙂

  8. Mr Not Delia

    Thanks – I’ll give that a go!

    The craters have been very variable in my most recent loaves. Sometimes I’ve been lucky and they’ve gone almost straight across the loaf, so there’s only one or two slices that get a very big chunk out of them. Rarely the paddle’s finished up going almost straight along the loaf, so there are several slices which look as if someone’s deliberately put a nick in the bottom crust.

    The Lidl bread machine sounds great – apart of course from having to fish out two paddles 😈

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