By now you would’ve known that I got myself a bread machine if all those bread recipes haven’t clued you in yet.
Yes. It was either this or the magic thermal cooker (which I figured would help me make soups without watching the fire on the stove). In the end I chose the bread machine because I love bread!
And the best part, I didn’t have to buy the bread machine either.
I’d accumulated that many points on my credit card that I could redeem a Lebensstil Bread Machine from CIMB. I still don’t know how much the bread machine actually costs but I really don’t care. It’s a machine that helps me make bread so that’s that, right?
As I’m typing this, the smell of baking bread is wafting around. I don’t know about most people but I love the smell of baking bread. It’s so comforting and so homey. It makes me feel like some domestic goddess (not Nigella, mind you, she’s pretty much the ultimate domestic goddess) somehow. Even though I did not roll up my sleeves and knead away at the bread.
Purists will sniff at having a bread machine but I’ve made bread prior to getting a bread machine and I tell you, it was tough. Kneading bread is not exactly easy. It takes strong arms and lots of determination to make a good loaf of edible bread.
While I don’t mind eating ‘gwai lo’ bread, you know, the type that is chewy and full of mind-expanding goodness (oats, rye, barley etc), after sometime I want some soft textured bread. The kind that is similar to Gardenia and perhaps now Massimmo.
And while I do live near to a local bakery called Amei which bakes bread without preservatives, I somehow think I should be making bread. Call it an intense fascination with bread or the desire to cross one more thing off my list.
So, let’s see – how long have I had the machine? Possibly 5 months.
In that span of time, I’ve tried like 5 different types of bread recipes. You name it, I’ve tried it. Thanks to reading Flavours magazine and my bread bible, trawling King Arthur Flour’s website and a bunch of helpful blogs out there, I’ve experienced bread-making at its maniacal.
I tried the water roux method (tang zhong method which is clearly a favourite for most people who love Asian style soft breads and buns) and also the much-talked about Alex Goh’s sponge method. The sponge method is similar to tang zhong; the only difference is you don’t need to cook the flour and water mix, you just pour boiling water over the bread flour.
Both methods are good. They create breads which are soft like pillows. I even made sausage rolls. The only drawback was, the bread tasted good the day it got out of the oven. The day after, the rolls were a tad hard.
With a bread machine, it wasn’t that difficult to use either tang zhong or sponge method. I just put all the ingredients into the machine (all liquid ingredients plus tang zhong or sponge followed by the dry ingredients) and set it to the DOUGH programme. It kneads the dough and even proofs it. It does take a while though so this is not something you want to do on a day when you’re rushing around.
I finally tested a bread recipe which I really liked – the bread smells heavenly when it’s baking, it tastes soft and buttery (even without pats of butter) and fragrant and the best part, it retains its lovely softness the day after! Even Nic gave this a thumbs-up – we polished off the whole loaf in two sittings. That’s how amazing this recipe is.
And to think I almost passed it over!
I looked at the ingredients and didn’t see what made it so exceptional. And to think it is made entirely in the bread machine. All I did was eat the bread.
Here’s the recipe for the Pullman Loaf. It’s called Pullman because it’s supposed to be baked in the oven in a pullman tin (a bread tin with a sliding cover so that the bread is square shaped – like the kind of roti you get from your roti shop). I didn’t have one so I just decided to do it all in the bread machine.
Put the ingredients in this order in your bread machine:
190 ml chilled UHT milk
330 gm bread flour
30 gm caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt (do not put the salt near the yeast; salt inhibits the yeast)
Set your machine to BASIC and let it knead.
About five minutes into the kneading, open up your machine and add 25 gm of cut up butter.
Close the lid and let the machine do its work. After 3 hours, your bread is ready!
It will have a lovely brown crust (choose MEDIUM crust setting on your machine).
You won’t be able to resist slicing into this bread the moment it comes out of the bread pan. But resist you must. At least let the bread cool for 30 minutes. It will be eaten up with relish!
This is definitely the kind of no-fail bread recipe any newbie bread enthusiast can try.
Of course you can knead this bread by hand. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t tell you how it’s made but trust me, if you swoon over bread like me, go get a bread machine.
Calculate your credit card points and redeem one!
Or else, go buy one for yourself.