Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bread!

So my KitchenAid stand mixer (which I got cheap at Tuesday Morning because I couldn't decide on a color when I got married but which you should definitely register for when you get married if you're not already married) came with a dough hook. I actually had a certain amount of trouble adjusting to my KitchenAid because it came with just ONE beater, or rather, one place to ATTACH the one beater (it actually came with three beaters: a mixing beater, a whipping beater, and a dough hook). I grew up using my mom's KitchenAid, which had two beaters, and I was initially suspicious of the change. But the moral of this story really is, my mother has been married 32 years and her KitchenAid still works like new. My grandma Irene was still on her first KitchenAid until quite recently. KitchenAid is one of the last companies in the world making high-quality, sturdy-ass appliances that last until kingdom come*, and according to the internet, if you call them because it's "making a funny noise" or "I can smell something burning-y" they basically just send you a new one.

But the second moral of the "KitchenAid stand mixers last forever" story is that they come in colors and while Harvest Gold was awesome in 1965, it's still with you in 2007, so I wouldn't pick a trendy color, because the KitchenAid you get in 2007 is still going to be mixing cakes in 2057. Just so you know. (I got white.)

Anyway, my KitchenAid came with a dough hook and I am constitutionally incapable of not playing with toys, so eventually the temptation became too great and I had to try the dough hook. I like to bake (and I do it pretty well, although I'm not that great a cook generally), but I'd always been afraid of bread because it was supposed to be hard. But eventually temptation overcame me and I tried one of the bread recipes that came with the mixer. (Yes, the mixer comes with a cookbook, including this totally Katamari Damacy cheeseball thing.)

So I sort-of want to tell a story where the bread was really hard and catastrophic, but in point of fact I didn't even fling flour all over the kitchen with the mixer (which does occasionally happen). The bread, an herbed baguette, worked exactly like the recipe said. It was a little denser than I would have liked, but it was bread, and it was tasty, and we ate it all. Then I made French bread, which, again, worked just like the recipe said.

Yesterday I made whole wheat bread, which is supposed to be super-hard because you don't get nearly as much rise out of whole wheat flour as white flour. I was eager to attempt it because I don't recall actually eating white bread (other than French bread) until I was in high school and had it at a friend's house; we always had wheat bread growing up and we basically only buy whole grains in my house. I find white bread horribly creepy in texture and totally tasteless. But again, when I made the whole wheat bread, it worked just like the recipe said. I didn't get quite as much rise as I might have liked, but it's quite tasty and the texture is fine.

I have to confess that as pleased as I am with the bread, I'm a little disappointed with the smoothness of the undertaking, because most of my stories (blogged or otherwise) revolve around me being a complete klutz and making a catastrophe of everything in sight, which is generally how my first attempt (or first dozen attempts) at everything goes. It happens so often that it's a meme in our house; when Mr. McGee calls from another room, "What are you doing?" I often reply, "Making a catastrophe, stay there!" Or sometimes, plaintively, "I made a catastrophe, I need help!"

Really the only downside to the entire enterprise is that when you mix up the yeast, sugar, and warm water, it smells like a friggin' brewery -- and not in a good way!



*We should also take a moment to note that KitchenAid mixers are still made in America -- in Ohio -- and assembled by hand. They cost it, too, but they are SOOOOOOO worth every penny.

10 comments:

Paul Wilkinson said...

my kitchen aid is basic black. (it's slimming and goes with everything) LOVE IT. have had it for nearly 10 years. They are pretty much indestructible. Worth the investment. Invest in some of the attachments. I bought the meat grinder. Cut up a chuck roast when they are dirt cheap, mix in a couple of garlic cloves or other spices while grinding....best burgers EVER.....

Also recommend the Cuisenart 11 cup food processor....also in basic black...

My Flock Rocks! said...

I still have my Mother's Kitchen Aid standing mixer that has to be over 50 years old. It's the original white with black writing. It still works after all these years even though it is an absolute eyesore. I still have my Mother's Sunbeam electric frying pan too that I use at least a couple times a week. I use it when I have to fry or saute some thing and don't want to get my stove dirty. It also works like a charm (knock on wood)...

East Bluff Barbie said...

My first Kitchen Aid mixer experience was when I was about 8 and decided to make cookies all by myself, while we had guests from out of town. I put in my ingredients and turned that puppy on high. It took a good hour to get all the flour, etc. off every surface of the kitchen and myself. It had the guests entertained and the cookies still came out okay. My mom still has the mixer too.

BeanCounter said...

I bought mine when I was 15 (white, the only color you could get in the boonies back then). About a year later my grandpa traded me mine for a brand new bigger model (also white). Sometimes I miss the smaller model with with its lift up head as opposed to the raise and lower bowl of the larger one. All these years later and it still doesn't feel quite right. Maybe I am doing something wrong?

So far I have resisted the temptation for attachments, but it seems like the cooking mags are going through a homeade pasta fad and I might give in soon. I do have an extra bowl, which is very handy.

Eyebrows McGee said...

I need to get off my butt and get an extra bowl, since a lot of the cakes I do require multiple bowls, usually because of elaborate egg-white preparations.

Maybe I'll look into the meat grinder. I was sort-of mind-boggled by the attachments available!

Eyebrows McGee said...

Oh, and mine's the smaller one with the lift-up head. The only thing I DON'T like is that since the bowl isn't offset, like it used to be on some of the older ones, it's hard to pour things in while it's mixing. Or at least hard for this klutz.

Ms. PH said...

I am still using my grandmother's Kitchen Aid which she bought in the mid-1950s. It is fantastic. I would never think of getting a new one!!

StfRon said...

I love my black kitchen aid- I use it primarily for neopalitan pizza dough, but I'm also going to get the sausage stuffer attachment soon, to satisfy one of my new hobbies. 'Chartucerie'

Jennifer said...

OH, I don't have a stand mixer and am so jealous. I keep checking on amazon.com, they sometimes have refurbished kitchen aid artisan mixers on sale. I didn't know they sold mixers at Tuesday Morning, though, so I'll have to check out their prices.
(I,too, can't decide on a color but have been leaning towards the red)

Josh said...

We love ours. If you ever see the show How it's Made on Discovery or the Science Channel, it's an awesome show, they have a episode where they make Kitchen Aid mixers. My wife and I watched it and both said, "Wow, I had no clue" when it was done. What a great product.