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The Quest for Domestic Greatness – Bread Making

I didn’t really make any new years resolutions this year but I did decide I was going to stop spending ridiculous amounts of money on eating out/ takeaways and we were all going to eat better and I was finally going to get a grip on domesticity.

I dug out my slow cooker ( bought in 2011 and seal taken off plug in 2017), I reset my online shopping password and I bought all the vegetables and all the meat and I cooked and cooked and cooked. Litres of soup, decent lunches,  proper dinners  – every. single. day. Jesus its time-consuming, the eating well isn’t it?

Then I decided to take it up a notch because I got cocky. I have a milk man. Its grand , the milk arrives like magic three mornings a week with fresh orange juice on Fridays. Fancy. I  had to switch to paying him online as it was getting awkward when he was showing up at the door and I had no cash on me. I never have cash on me. I only remember to pay the milkman when the bill reaches utility bill amount but I pay and the milk keeps appearing  without having to make conversation so it’s grand. Apart from Christmas week, the milkman called in to say Happy Christmas. ……..This translates to I am calling in for a Christmas tip. There should be a milkman etiquette book, I did not know this. I did not have cash so I awkwardly half hand shook/half hugged him instead. ……..Not the done thing, apparently. Apart from all that awkwardness, milk being delivered, very handy. Stops some of the daily the trips to the shops .

So back to taking it up a notch. Bread. I decided I was going to make ALL the bread we would need and the  frequent trips to the shop would become a thing of the past. I was introduced to “five-minute artisan bread” it sounds so simple and perfect. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t take five minutes. I couldn’t do it. I tried. The first loaf didn’t rise. The second one didn’t rise and was like concrete. The third one resembled me, a big floppy mess.

I read for hours online about respecting the dough, choosing the flour. I was dreaming about bread. Then because I am as entertaining in person as online, after boring a friend rigid with my bread making woes, she spotted half price bread makers in Lidl and alerted me to this fact. I don’t know if it was carrying the bread maker or getting the toddler into her car seat whilst holding a bread maker  that was the culprit but I pulled a muscle in my back, all for the bread.

I hobbled around undeterred and slightly high from illicitly gained pain relief and prepared my first loaf. Yes I was downtrodden and injured but I was going to succeed. After an hour the smell of fresh bread filled the house. I was smug. Smug as someone who makes their own bread. Then the time came to take it out and it hadn’t risen properly. To be fair my first-born gave me much encouragement and tasted all the bread I attempted and made all the right encouraging sounds.

At this stage I had to take to the bed due to severe pain in my back which allowed me more hours to read about flour and yeast. I was cycling fast down into a bread making spiral.

I bought all the different types of flour. I spent a week making loaf after loaf. None of them right. I could see the husband flinching every time I opened the press. I could see him trying to choose the right words to say step away from the flour and being silenced by my oh the bread will not beat me retaliation stares.

There was flour everywhere through out this dark  time.  Little piles of it on door handles and in the detergent drawer of the washing machine, flour on the dog, flour on the kids, flour on the floor. I blocked the sink with dough. I looked like a 90s party girl on several occasions I was covered in so much white powder. A very nice shop assistant pointed out the white stains to me one day in the supermarket and the toddler told me on another day I had something on my chin. It was  dried up dough. I found dough on my stomach another night when getting ready for bed. Hot.

Eventually through my new-found extensive knowledge of respecting the dough, I made semi edible bread rolls by using both the bread maker and the oven and a sum total of about 56 hours of my time and probably over a hundred euro. I was so ready to open a very tiny niche bakery that can cater to 4-6 people daily with small appetites.

That was over a month ago. The bread maker, the big huge bread maker, sits taking up much-needed space on my kitchen counter, smirking at me. If you are looking for a bread recipe you’ve come to the wrong place, look online, I can’t help you.   I have moved onto baking……….

5 thoughts on “The Quest for Domestic Greatness – Bread Making

  1. helenlouisechandler says:

    This could be me! I have the enormous bread maker, taking up approximately 40% of worktop space, and I have the NY resolution not to eat packaged sliced bread (I read the ingredients list on a loaf :-(). Unfortunately, what I don’t have is fresh, wholesome, delicious home-baked bread with which to nourish my family. Sometimes we have horrible homemade bread. Sometimes we have no bread at all because I’ve forgotten to load the bread maker until ten minutes before the hungry clamouring begins. And sometimes we have store-bought ready-sliced bread because they’re all hungry and I’m tired. Very occasionally we have delicious artisanal sourdough from the bakery by my husband’s office, but we have to negotiate a bank loan for that, so it’s an occasional treat. I have made chocolate fridge cake today, though.

  2. beatingmyselfintoadress says:

    The ONLY bread that has EVER worked for me is porridge bread, basically brown soda bread. One tub of natural yogurt, two tubs of porridge oats, two spoons of olive oil and a spoon of bread soda. Mix, bake, eat. Any other bread I’ve ever tried, turns out hideous. Bread you leave to rise, no-rise bread, rolls, packet mix, none of it ever works. Just buy the bread. Just buy the damn bread!

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