Through the power of marketing, last Christmas, my wife started dropping hints that she would like a KitchenAid mixer.
‘Just think of what lovely and ‘good for you’ bread I could make, if we had one of these mixers’
Of course, I relented and purchased a ‘blueberry’ KitchenAid Artisan mixer which, five months on, is still being used on an almost daily basis.
Tonight, I found myself ruminating over the making of bread. As a fifteen year old, I had taken a part time job working in a bread shop in Slough. This had involved getting up so early, something teenagers don’t cope with at the best of times, especially when the start time was 6 am.
I recall that I had got quite good at fashioning dough into rolls and pleating long rolls of dough into plaited loaves. We used a fantastic butter gun that would spray a thick film of butter onto the baking trays to avoid the rolls from sticking to the tray. The highlight would be each morning after the initial rush to make some bread, using concrete style mixers to do the mixing, us ‘bread makers’ would stop for a cuppa and a fresh bacon roll, the roll being taken from the main oven…. and relax!
So, since my wife has started to bake her own bread, the aroma of freshly baking bread has taken me back to my teenage years growing up in the seventies. This was an era when a six minute piece of music, almost operatic, could become number one in the charts! *
Have you ever wondered about the history of bread making? Our civilisation has only had access to electricity for around one hundred years, whereas Jesus was fond of breaking bread two thousand years ago!
My own mum, God rest her soul, used to bake her own bread. She was testimony to a healthy life style, living to the grand old age of ninety eight. She had baked bread for her whole family – brown bread – very good for you. Her loaves used to weigh in at a substantial weight! One slice of bread for breakfast would set you up until lunchtime, especially if coupled with a boiled egg, that my Dad would make for the whole family at some ungodly hour. By the time the rest of the family came down for breakfast, the boiled egg had gone stone cold and was not very appetising.
Back to bread. Bread needs proving. Its not all about working! Bread knows that it needs (no pun intended!) to be rested as well, before being baked in the oven. My research indicates that us humans were consuming some form of bread as far back as 23,000 years ago!! We would mix the ground grains with water and then by leaving in the sun, a bread like crust would be formed.
I’ll leave you with this thought – imagine going back to those Upper Palaeolithic periods but being able to take your KitchenAid mixer in blueberry! That would certainly cause quite a stir!
*Bohemian Rhapsody, as if you didn’t know!