Monday, June 20, 2011
Bread and why I love my kitchen appliances
1) The price is right. It is 5 speed--which I've found is plenty for when I'm mixing anything, and it also means that it's about $30 cheaper than the 7-speed variety.
2) It's small, so it's easy to find a place for it, which can't be said of everything in our tiny apartment!
3) It has a very powerful engine, so it will be able to mix through really stiff substances, like cookie dough or bread dough.
3) It comes with a set of dough hooks, which are curved and twisted in such a way that it effectively kneads the bread in the bowl!
So when I make bread, I use the dough hooks with my hand mixer and am able to mix the dough till it is almost fully kneaded. Then I put it out on a lightly floured surface and work it just a little bit to make sure that there aren't any random spots that are a lot more moist than the rest of the dough.
*incidentally, I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond... and I'm pretty sure Amazon is selling the same package, but I didn't check to make sure that they include the dough hooks. I did notice that buying them with the mixer as one of their Amazon "sets" wasn't an option. And I know that would be a really popular option, so I guess I just assume that they are included.*
This is probably my second favorite kitchen utensil, the immersion blender. I have used this for so many things.
The elements of goodness:
1. It comes with a food processor/chopping attachment--very helpful.
2. It comes with a couple different whisk attachments that will also attach to the hand mixer above! (rock awesome.)
3. Here are some things I've used it for:
Blending peaches to make jam
Making smoothies (I know it looks delicate, but it does just fine with the ice.)
Blending cooked pumpkin or squash for pies/bread/muffins. It gives such a smooth texture!
Making smooth, creamy soups
Chopping veggies to put in soups (or anything else that includes diced veggies)
Chopping apples for applesauce or cake (I could blend the sauce to make it smooth, but I actually like chunky applesauce)
Prepping carrots for carrot cake
chopping zucchini for bread
The list could go on and on.
But the really relevant thing that I use it for is for making bread crumbs. (I use the chopping attachment.) So whenever I make a batch of bread that is too dry or a little overcooked, there's no reason to throw it out! I just put it in the freezer (along with any bread that was going stale, or heels that we just didn't want to eat), and whenever I need some bread crumbs, I pull out our bag of frozen bread, let it defrost a little and then chop away. It's great having an easy, cheap source of bread crumbs because there are SO many ways to use them.
My next post (which I'll try to put up on Wednesday) will be some recipes/ideas for different ways to use bread crumbs.