Who doesn’t like fresh, crusty, home-made bread?!!
Several years ago I bought a Panasonic Bread Machine (I had another make before this but it wasn’t good – the paddles kept breaking off into the dough!) – and I use it a couple of times a week. My husband only really likes white bread so I tend to make him his own loaf. I have to say that this machine makes the best bread – I’ve almost never had a failure with it. I tend to use bread mixes a lot as I’ve found them nicer than messing around with my own ingredients but for *my* bread I do add a few extras and this is what I’ve shown in these photos. I still use the basic all-in mix for a white loaf but add a load of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients and use orange juice instead of water for the liquid part. If I’ve got fresh oranges around then I’ll add some finely grated zest to it for some zing.
At the designated time (this machine does have a dispenser for fruits and nuts but it’s broken, unfortunately, so I have to set a timer) I add the fruits. I chop-up a mixture of dried apricots, mango, cherries, cranberries and crystallised ginger and keep this in a container. Because the dispenser is broken and therefore there’s no physical container to limit me – I think I probably add far too much of this mix, the loaf cannot rise as much as it should and it weighs quite a lot more than the plain white one but I don’t really care! I also throw in some omega mix seeds for a bit of crunch. This breadmaker has three settings for the colour, I usually pick ‘light’ because all the sugar in the fruits make it darken quite quickly.
I personally don’t like the regular dried fruits – currants, raisins etc. – so this mix of mine has just the bits I like.
You can see the inside of the loaf in the photo below – the fruit mixes quite evenly around the loaf which actually looks brown rather than white. That’s the cinnamon of course but I do sometimes add some extra wheatgerm to it also. I’ve tried this with a wholegrain mix and it was horrid – this is when I’ve failed, was more like a brick than a loaf and I don’t think even the birds enjoyed it.
It makes the best toast ever, IMHO, and I’ve got to admit that I eat a couple of slices of this very lightly browned for breakfast most days. Got to watch when toasting though ‘cos the sugars mean it’ll burn easily so don’t take your eyes off it for long. No jam on it, just a bit of butter – although sometimes, when it’s really fresh, I will eat it totally naked (the bread, not me!). I’ve known my son make a tuna sandwich out of it which I think is rather weird but, each to their own I guess.
I hope, if you like to make your own bread, you’ll try something like this yourself. Let me know how it turns out. What a pity we don’t have smelly-vision – the aroma is divine whilst it’s baking.