|Paul Hollywood really does know how to make bread. Look here.|
They'd be wrong. I usually rush home in the evening, flinging open cupboards to see what I can throw together to make something vaguely edible, wondering if I can defrost a lamb chop or two before the starving better half gets home for his tea.
I try not to get all my food in supermarkets and manage to visit a proper market now and again. I'm always drawn to those specialist stalls piled high with wonderful things like olives stuffed with garlic.
I had visions of waking in the morning to the smell of freshly baked bread, just begging to be smothered in butter and jam. I could make my own walnut bread – or a nice sourdough or a focaccia loaf – for a fraction of the price. Bread so delicious that Paul Hollywood would ask me to be a guest on his show.
As with so many of my plans to turn myself into a domestic goddess, this idea was destined to go awry.
I blame my mother.
I mentioned the word breadmaker to her and she said she'd got one she never used any more. She scrabbled around in the back of her cupboard before emerging with a scruffy looking machine that looked like a huge white concrete block.
"Does it work?" I asked dubiously.
"It did the last time I used it," she replied, wiping it down with a damp cloth.
She neglected to tell me that this machine had been made at the dawn of bread-making technology. I half expected to have to light a small fire in its base by rubbing two sticks together. And it had no instructions or recipes.
I should have stopped right there but I thought I'd give it a go and went on the internet to try to find the necessary information. I thought I'd sussed it out and as soon as I'd got all the ingredients together I started to make a basic white loaf.
I switched on and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. It kneaded and rested; kneaded and rested. I peeked through the little window at the top and everything looked very… well, very doughy. So I left it to work its magic. Then as it switched to bake mode – click – all the electricity went in the house. I reset the trip, hoping it was a coincidence, and switched the breadmaker back on. The electricity fused again.
Not wanting to tempt providence any further, I removed the dough from the breadmaker. It looked a bit "bready" so I thought I'd cook it in the oven. Not a great success. I left it cooling on the side and went out.
When I got home the better half was smiling brightly – an unusual and slightly worrying occurrence. I glanced down to find he was using my beautifully crafted loaf as a doorstop. Oh very funny. Very blooming funny.
I've given up breadmaking for now.
I might start making it myself, especially after hearing Paul Hollywood say that kneading dough gets rid of bingo wings. If that doesn't work, then £3 a loaf for an artisan loaf is beginning to sound quite cheap.
If you want to know how to make bread properly, read Paul Hollywood's Bread (UK), Paul Hollywood's Bread (USA).
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