It's here! The arrival of the breadmaker

My, oh my. Who would have thought I’d have to come all the way to New Zealand to get my first bread machine, known here as a breakmaker? And who would have thought that an unemployed journalist could afford to buy herself one of these breadmakers? Well, if aforementioned journalist spends time surfing on Trademe, the Kiwi equivalent of Ebay, it seems that anything is possible. For the princely sum of $25 I purchased a PALSONIC Auto Bakery Breadmaker and we collected it tonight. What excitement!

Well, that was nothing as compared to the excitement felt by all the occupants of a certain wee house in Christchurch when the breadmaker was coming towards the end of its 3½ hour cycle. The yeasty, homey smell of fresh baked bread filled the air and the end product actually looked like a loaf of bread, albeit square – the cooking tin is not very loaf-like – but the proof was going to be in the eating. Well, you never know if you’re buying a pig in a poke with this online trader activity.

It’s reassuring to report that not only did the end result have the accurate appearance and smell but it also tasted like real bread. Phew! Apart from the fact that it was cooked in my own house, I have to say that I wasn’t hugely impressed with the first loaf. It was a bit too…normal for my liking. Time to pore over the recipes that came with the breadmaker and see what innovations can be introduced.

Caroline

Caroline

Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider, coming autumn 2014.

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11 Responses

  1. Sinéad says:

    As someone who used to bake a lot and just doesn’t seem to have the time any more, I love the idea of home-baking. Do you think using a bread-maker diminishes either the taste or baking experience? (Have been thinking of getting one so in your culinary wisdom, do you think I should invest in one?)

  2. Caroline says:

    Sinéad: I’ve always loved yeast cookery but, life being what it is, I don’t often have a half a day to devote to a loaf of bread. I was initially dubious about the merits of a breadmaker but an investment of $25 (€14 approx) was not much to ask and I now feel that I’ve been repaid several times over.
    Once the ingredients are in the house, it is as easy to make a loaf than go to the shop. For five minutes work you get the satisfaction of producing your own bread, the excitement of seeing how it turns out (especially if, like me, you can’t resist fiddling with the recipes!) and the evocative smell of fresh baking around the house.
    I’m interested in doing more experiments, like making the Hot Cross Buns, using the breadmaker to take it to a dough stage and then doing my own shaping and rising but the lack of heat in this house (no central heating in New Zealand!) is not helping me to progress any further with that at the moment.
    As regards taste, I don’t think that it suffers. But, then again, I wasn’t likely to be making this plain kind of bread by hand anyway. I know that it produces lovely loaves that make gorgeous toast – the greatest recommendation in my books.
    I would definitely be pro-breadmakers, then again I was lucky enough to get my hands on one very cheaply. Maybe watch out for second-hand ones in Ireland and, if you’re not feeling fully satisfied with the breadmaker baking experience, it’s always easy to cook other things while you’ve the measuring scale/cups out!

  3. James says:

    I’ve got a breadmaker and I’m going to try your hot cross bun recipe. I’ll keep you posted.

  4. Neva says:

    Hi,I don’t have a breadmaker myself but my mother does. She reported that ordinary ie plain yeast bread comes out pretty mediocre so she doesn’t make it anymore. But she has experimented and finds some of the more unusual breads come out great. So I’d say keep at it!

  5. Caroline says:

    Neva: Your mother is right. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting (although neglecting to document it here!) and there’s plenty of variations to try. Actually, at the moment I have a seed and nut loaf – walnuts, sunflower seeds and, because they were in the cupboard, almonds – cooling on a wire tray in the kitchen. Something tells me that it’s not going to survive ’till morning…

  6. Thom says:

    since you aren’t using the oven for anything else, you can let the hot cross buns rise in there. If electric, just turn it on for 30 seconds and then shut if off. If gas leave it on low for a minute. If it starts getting cold in the oven, just put a saucepot of boiling water in there.

  7. Caroline says:

    That’s a great idea Thom. Although we are living in a much warmer house now – the last place was just not yeast-dough friendly – there are still lots of drafts and that would be a great way of getting a draft-free rise. Thanks!

  8. claire says:

    Hi there breadmakers,I was so excited at the prospect of joining the ranks breadmakers, as I carted home my giant box containing a bluesky breadmaker. I hurriedly tore away all the wrappings, assembled my ingredients and then…..to my horror the instrution booklet was all infrench, well yes I am living in France but I had hoped that judging by all the multiple languages on the exterior of the box, the instrution booklet would be similar…. I went back to the shop and they were unable to help…Is there any one out there who has a bluesky breadmaker and a set of English insructions, just the basics would be great…I really wanted to make raisin bread…Hoping someone somewhere has an instrution booklet..Claire

  9. Caroline says:

    My heart goes out to you, Claire. I know what it’s like to be dying to try a new piece of kitchen equipment out and then be thwarted at the last minute.I’ve found another blogger who has a Bluesky Breadmaker – karlsfoodie – maybe Joanna would be able to help you with your search for English instructions?Otherwise, I would suggest that you get your hands on a generic breadmaker cookbook – I used a few of these in NZ and they gave you a good idea of what worked, irrespective of your machine brand. Best of luck and let me know how you get on!

  10. Mary says:

    Hi ClaireI know this is long overdue. Have you managed to get the instructions in English?I happened to stumble into the site because I happened to own a Bluesky Breadmaker and I am dying to get some links regarding this breadmaker. I migrated to Australia almost a year, and as usual we tend to purchase a lot of stuff from home to bring over. Now after comfortably settled in I want to open all my boxes and take out my kitchen equipments to use. To my horrors when I want to use the breadmaker, I found that there is no kneading blade. So what can I do without the kneading blade which is the most important part of the machine. Do you think it is possible for me to purchase just the kneading blade, can anyone please advise me.Mary

  11. Caroline says:

    Can anyone help Mary? I’m having major problems tracking down a Bluesky website to get any further information. Do you still have your breadmaker booklet? If so, there may be a number that you can call and find out more. The kneading blade should be easy enough to replace.

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