Thursday, August 25, 2011

Breadmaker for a day

For some reason, there's a recipe in the Edmonds book for breadmaker loaves (p22). Since I don't have a breadmaker, this posed a slight problem. Fortunately, my boss happened to mention having a breadmaker, so I asked him if he could bring it in to work sometime.

It seemed to me like I was offering a pretty good deal: just bring the breadmaker, and I'll make some nice fresh bread for us all during a random workday. This was not, however, sufficient inducement for Roger, who insisted that if we were going to have fresh bread, we had to have soup to go with it. Skimming through my remaining soup recipes, I selected mushroom soup (p87) as a suitable accompaniment.

Oddly enough, there are no soup-making facilities in our office, so I was forced to prepare the soup ahead of time. It didn't take long though - you just sauté onion and lots of sliced mushrooms in butter until soft, then stir through some flour, before gradually adding the liquids (milk, and more of that home-made chicken stock).

When you've got all the ingredients in the pan, you bring it to the boil and cook it for about five minutes until it thickens. The final step is to season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, but I decided to leave this bit until we were ready to eat it. Instead, I put it in the fridge overnight and turned to packing up the ingredients I'd need to take for the bread.

This morning I arrived at work bearing a crockpot full of cold soup, and a bag full of miscellaneous ingredients. A breadmaker had magically appeared on my desk, complete with instruction booklet and all necessary accessories. It's amazing what you can achieve by promising people food! At around 10am, I carefully measured all the ingredients into the breadmaker, and pressed the start button. Easy.

As the breadmaker thrummed away on the floor of the office, the soup was slowly reheating in my crockpot on the bench. As I headed away for a dental appointment, lunch was happily cooking itself in my absence.

When I returned, the office smelled like fresh bread and the loaf had about half an hour to go. It had risen so high the dough was pushing against the lid of the breadmaker, and I wondered if it would cook through ok. A quick peek under the lid reassured us that it would be ok. 

The bread smelled so good that we wasted no time in taking it out and cutting into it. The loaf didn't last long either: everyone was keen to try some. There were fewer takers on the soup, but those who tried it found it very tasty - and extra good with fresh, hot bread.

The bread was an undoubted success, but I actually consider the inclusion of a breadmaker recipe a bit pointless. After all, if you have a breadmaker, you've also got a booklet full of recipes designed for that particular breadmaker. Why would you go looking for a generic recipe in the Edmonds book? That said, a breadmaker is a pretty cool device: every office should have one!

The mushroom soup gets a thumbs-up from me. You get a yummy, filling soup from a few basic ingredients and minimal time and effort. That's the sort of recipe I like!

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