When Andrew and I got married we had a bread maker. Just a little Breville one that you put breadmix and water into and then turned on. I would put it on when I got home from work and just before bedtime, the bread would be ready. The smell of freshly baked is pretty intoxicating and we would have to cut it straight away and eat it with butter and jam. It tasted so good that we often had a second piece each. The squat, broad loaf would be half gone and no actual meals covered.
The loaf was a tricky shape for sandwiches, too small to have just one, too big for two, and the end was no good as there was a hole where the metal mixer had been. In the end the mixer wouldn't come out to be cleaned and it all became too hard.
Last week, on Shrove Tuesday, my friend Kristy posted a link to some sourdough pancakes she wanted to make. I decided that I wanted to bake sourdough bread. Kristy is a self-confessed bread bore so she not only leant me some good books on the subject, but gave me some of her sourdough starter, meaning I could get baking straight away.
To give an impression of speed, though, would be very wrong. Baking bread is a drawn out process. The steps themselves don't take very long, but you have to wait for an hour or so inbetween steps. I fed the starter on Friday night and didn't have a baked loaf until Sunday morning. It was glorious, though. I have just split the starter to give some to a colleague and I bought more baker's flour on the way home. I'm going to get up early tomorrow to start some brioche.
Of course I have time for a new hobby!