I started baking bread nearly two years ago. Several months of complaining about the English bread* bore fruit and for my following birthday I got a Cookworks bread making machine!
*It´s quite difficult, if not totally impossible to get a proper equivalent of Czech bread in England. Not speaking about the fact that I don´t consider “toast bread” to be bread. I am lucky that there is a shop with Slovak/Czech/Hungarian products where I live, so I can get fresh rolls and buns sometimes. They have breads as well, but they´re pre-packed and pre-cut. Once we bought some good bread from a small bakery, but it was really expensive. I found some nice breads, especially brown, seedy ones, in Morrisons etc., but I still wanted to have bread as much close to the one I know from the Czech republic.
So I started experimenting. After some more or less successful tries I started to find out how to combine different amounts of various flours and other ingredients with respective programs on the machine.
Later on I discovered prepared bread mixes and recently I haven´t baked from anything else. It´s quick, easy and cheap.
I usually buy the mixes in Tesco. You can pick from different types and flavours. I like the parmesan and sun-dried tomato mix by Wright´s and there are more nice flavours available.
Generally, I still stick to basic bread without any specific flavour, because they´re versatile. What will you do if you feel like having a slice of bread with butter and honey and have only chilli bread at home?
Sometimes they have a mix for spelt bread in the Slovak shop and that one is great! It´s one of the closest to the bread I ate back home. I always look for it in the shop and stock up if I find it. This one and the Sourdough bread mix from Tesco produce, from my point of view, the best breads.
I got a chilli and garlic mix for beer bread in one of the previous Flavourly boxes. It was the first time I baked bread in the oven and it was also the first time I baked bread with beer (I used Bavaria). It turned out to be pretty good, a bit denser than I prefer, but the taste was unique. And it stayed fresh quite long. Last, but not least, baking beer bread has one undisputable advantage – you can drink the rest of the beer! 🙂
I still haven’t tried to prepare the dough by hand from individual ingredients, let it rise and bake it in the oven, mainly because it´s more time-consuming than baking with the bread machine. However, if you know some proven tips, recipes or links, feel free to post them in comments. Thanks!
What about you? Do you bake bread? If so, do you bake it in a bread machine or in the oven? Any tips or tricks?