Once upon a time, I couldn't go a single meal without rice. I would feel wrong if I didn't have rice. However, as I started to get older and got to try foods from different cultures, my tastes also started to change. I could go a meal or two each day without rice. Slowly, I could go a whole day without rice. Now, I can go many days without rice. But like most humans, I love carbs. And my rice substitute of choice is most definitely bread.
I've only learned how many types of bread there are in the past few years. The varieties are endless and the flavour profiles are all so different. I love a loaf of freshly baked bread, with a nice crunchy crust which you tear into and then expose the soft internal filling. Bread can be eaten with some many things, from simply with just butter or some spread, to mopping up rich sauces from stews and casseroles, to using as a carrier for cured meats and cheeses.
With thanks to Brad from Kitchenware Direct, I was offered a Cuisinart Bread Machine to review. I've always had a preconception that bread machines are not that useful, but after using the Cuisinart, I'm a total convert. I don't know why but I always thought the bread machine mixed, kneaded and proofed the dough, but you had to bake it in the oven yourself. I also thought you had to tend to it at every stage. Imagine my surprise after reading the instruction manual (yes men do read the instruction manuals sometimes) that I learned I could throw in all the ingredients and the machine did the rest all by itself.
The Cuisinart Bread Machine is actually a really simple device. There's not much to it. It's a nice metallic box, which opens up and has a non-stick basket inside. There's a few buttons which you use to select the type of bread you're making, the size and then you hit start. It's all rather simple, which I like. If only the machine could remove the paddle that mixes the bread itself. That would really make it truly amazing.
The recipe booklet has heaps of recipes in it. All the recipes list exactly the quantity of ingredients you need, then it's a simple process of putting in the ingredients in the right order (exactly as listed in the ingredients part) and hitting a few buttons. Below is what I needed to throw in for my banana bread. I timed it and from taking out all the ingredients, measuring them, and throwing it all into the bread machine, it was easily under 30 minutes. If only I could eat a whole banana bread as my dinner. Then it would really be one of those 30 minute dinners. Unfortunately, banana bread does have a tiny bit of sugar and butter so it's probably best to just eat a slice. Also like those rapid dinners in many cookbooks, there are other time factors they don't count. In this case, the reality is that although the mixing part takes 30 minutes, the baking part does take a bit of time and is slower than an oven. The banana bread takes 90 minutes to bake, and I would estimate that an oven would take half as much time.
The banana bread is super awesome with such a light crumb and wonderful flavour. Similarly, the carrot bread is amazing too. Spread with some good butter, both breads are stunning for breakfast or afternoon tea. I've made them so many times already, probably nearly 10 times in the past few months. I may have put on a couple of kilos in weight. So yes, there is a deadly side to this Cuisinart Bread Machine.
I made the plain white loaf and that too had such a great flavour. I put it down to the good French butter that I used. I served it in a variety of ways, each tasting amazing.
I've gone on to make a variety of rolls, pumpkin bread and just weird stuff I've thrown into the bread. I'm yet to make my durian bread, but that is coming soon. I'm trying to work out which recipe to use and substitute the durian in. I totally love this machine and it has really made me enjoy bread even more. There is nothing that can compare to freshly baked bread, both in taste and the wonderful aroma. You can throw all the ingredients into the machine the night before, set the timer to cook it and wake up to enjoy the most wonderful fresh bread. The smell is truly intoxicating. Spread some plain butter onto the bread and I swear, you too will have a Religious Food Experience (RFE), where the simplicity is so delicious you would literally close your eyes and just savoured the flavour and go "mmmmmmm". Perfect.
I received the bread machine courtesy of Kitchenware Direct.