This (and my food processor) gets the biggest workout in my kitchen. I was fortunate enough to be flush enough some years back to be able to invest in my fancy and beautiful Kitchen Aid and while I didn’t have much use for it back then I now use it every second day.
I use the mixer for raisin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake but primarily it gets used for making bread. I’ve talked about my dough/bread making before but really and truly our biggest weekly shop saving has been on bread (I may have gone on about this too in my frugal five). Not only has it saved us money but we are eating much better quality bread. In the UK the majority of bread is vegan, but not necessarily good quality, and in the USA (I’m afraid I don’t know about the rest of the world) a vegan loaf appears to be a harder find. This is why making your own is also a benefit.
I absolutely would not make my own bread if I had to mix and knead the dough by hand. As much as I aspire to make as much of my food from scratch I wouldn’t have the time for that. So I use the mixer.
I also take as many bread making shortcuts as I can. I’ve read so many bread making books and their advice makes the process much more time consuming than it needs to be. The whole ‘activating of the yeast’ or the don’t let your bread rise in a metal bowl’ and the ‘spray the oven with water’, pah! Who has time for that?! If you do have the time then these things aren’t a waste of time, they do alter the bread in various ways but I really, really don’t have time for faffing about. I once commented to a friend I should have a cookbook called ‘The Neglectful Baker’ because as much as I love baked goods I go about it in such a lackadaisical manner. Anyway, here’s what I do:
Easy crusty bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
I put the mixer bowl on the scales and measure out 500g bread flour and 500g plain flour.
Attach the mixer bowl to the mixer and throw in 2 teaspoons yeast and 2 teaspoons sea salt. Mix briefly.
Put 250ml just boiled water in a measuring jug and top it up to 625ml with cold water. Check it’s not too hot. Glug in a few good tablespoons of olive oil.
Turn the mixer on to 1 and slosh in the water and oil. Leave on. Put on timer for 10 minutes as a reminder otherwise it will mix for about 30 minutes. Go and sit and drink a cup of tea.
When timer is up remove the mixing bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or cling film and leave until doubled in size (I usually end up leaving the bread like this for 2-3 hours and no harm comes of it but I do have a cold house).
Take out dough (not bothering to ‘knock it back’) and divide in two. Place in well greased tins. Cover with the tea towel and let rise while you crank the oven up to 200C. When hot place them gently in the oven, leave for 30 minutes and then put the on a cooling rack.