Loaf Dishes: Bake Your Bread Yourself!
Mmm…! The crunch of a good bread is just brilliant! And the selection in Germany is better than in just about any other country. Whether it is whole grain, sourdough or raisin, the art of bread baking is the epitome of local food culture. That is why many Germans abroad face the same situation: if you cannot shop at your favourite bakery around the corner, you may just have to make some yourself. Let us not forget those with discerning palates or gluten, special additive or spice allergies since baking at home is a real alternative to throwing in the towel. After all, people who bake their own bread know exactly what it is made of.
Unfortunately, many lack everyday leisure to bake bread daily. That is why amateur bakers gravitate toward bread machines which mainly decrease the time-consuming dough kneading process. Load the ingredients, select the desired programme and press start – it is that easy without making a huge greasy mess! You can follow a recipe or use pre-made baking mixes, whichever strikes your fancy.
The operation of the machine is always the same: the dough ingredients like water, flour, salt and yeast are placed into a baking tin along with one or two dough hooks. It is best for the machine to add the liquid ingredients first and then the dry for easier mixing. Next, select a suitable programme and start the machine. After kneading, the dough needs to rest before the warm mass blossoms in the dough container. When all is said and done, it takes up to five hours for the bread to be ready. Some machines admittedly offer quick baking programmes that only take an hour. A built-in timer included in almost all models makes it possible for the bread to be ready at a particular time, making it perfect for an enjoyable breakfast. To use this feature, those experienced with the equipment recommend making sure there is an extra compartment or distributor for the yeast so it is added just before baking. Otherwise, it may be the case that after prolonged contact with water, the yeast will have lost its effect and the bread cannot rise.
To be perfectly honest, the bread may look a bit odd: because of the shape of the baking tin, bread from a machine tends to turn out somewhat square and boxy. Some machines leave a hole in the centre of the loaf where the hook once was in the dough stage. There are also certain dough hooks that retract before baking. And another often cited shortcoming of the bread machine: the crust is generally not as crisp as its oven baked alternative since there is no heat from above. Bear in mind that crispiness capabilities vary from one machine to another. Most machines offer a wide range of browning options from light to medium to dark and by now, one in particular is even capable of air circulation. In exchange, most use less energy than an oven. Affordable versions are available for as little as 50€ though the Mercedes of bread machines will set you back €230.
Almost all of these machines are capable of making not only bread – they can also produce jam or even yogurt! Pound cake also turns out quite well in a baking machine. If you still prefer using the oven, the machine can also be used to knead and proof the bread dough. Keep in mind that conventional hand mixers fall flat because of the weight of the dough. One last tip: if you do not especially care for warm bread, take it out and let it cool down on the grate. It will be easier to cut later.