What goes into your shop-bought bread? A lot more than you might think or want. But creating your own bread isn’t that hard. We checked out a bread making course with KitchenAid.
Look at a packet of shop-bought sliced bread, then look at the label. You’ll see about twenty ingredients, many of them incomprehensible, baffling and even a bit frightening. Do you really want that stuff inside you and your family?.
Basic homemade bread on the other hand usually contains just four ingredients - flour, water, salt and yeast. That’s it. Simple.
So, what’s stopping us from making our own? Well laziness perhaps. Anyone who has ever tried kneading bread knows what hard work it can be. But technology has the answer and has had for some time.
KitchenAid have been making stand mixers since the days when it was okay to refer to women as homemakers, as well portray them as little women eager to do all the chores before warmly welcoming the man of the house back home in the evening.
Gadget manufacturers then didn’t want to liberate women, they wanted to make their lives easier so that they could dress up ready for their husbands return. And lo, the KitchenAid was born in 1919.
The iconic mixer shape we know today arrived in 1930 and little of it has changed since, the silhouette is the same and parts made back then will still work in today’s models. In fact, a KitchenAid need never die as almost every part is replaceable.
It isn’t just beautiful to look at, it is very robust and can handle any amount of strenuous tasks and not just cake-making. And while many stand mixers claim to be able to knead bread, most make ominous creaking noises when trying and soon overheat or break. Not the KA though
The KitchenAid experience store in Wigmore Street is like a museum of modern art dedicated to the KA. They are everywhere and in a myriad of colours with the new centennial model amongst them and with all the clever attachments such as meat grinder, sausage stuffer, pasta rollers etc.
For the lesson, we all get one to share between two people and soon after getting kitted out with KA aprons we’re busy following baking tutor Lisa Marley's instructions, adding the basic white bread ingredients to the bowl, attaching the dough hook and letting the KA do all the heavy work.
For ten minutes the machine cheerfully chugs away, effortlessly turning a wet mix into a baby soft ball of dough. As soon as it’s done, the ball will be turned out into a bowl, made airtight with clingfilm and then left to rise then plaited.
Meanwhile we get on with another mix, this time for a Guinness Bread. Flour, oats, sugar, buttermilk and of course Guinness. Lift will come from bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. It’s a sloppy mix that you could stir together by hand, but why bother when the KA is on hand? Into a tin and into the oven the mix, after tutor approval, goes.
A quick clean up, the tutors are draconian about ‘no mess’, and it’s the last bread - walnut and date bread ring.
First the ingredients are mixed with the beater attachment and then the dough hook. It’s a heavy mix and would be hard work by hand, but the KA finds it a doddle.
By the time all the breads start coming out of the KA ovens we’re all a bit hungry; it’s been quite a long time since breakfast.
Mixed results, it’s fair to say. None are inedible by any means, especially not with butter and a quick jam made on the showroom hobs. Some look a bit wonky, but who cares? Appearance is not everything.
We tottered off laden down with our baked goods ready to delight our family or significant others.
A good day’s work made fun and enjoyable by the laid back, but determined, tutors.
You don’t have to have a KitchenAid at home to take part, but I guarantee that after attending you’ll be on the John Lewis website hungrily eyeing up the options.
For details of upcoming bread making and other courses, visit The KitchenAid experience store.
KitchenAid London Experience Store, 98 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 3RN