Thompson Al Fresco

On Bread Making and France

Y’know one of the best things about France? The bread. Y’know one of the worst things about France? The bread!

Let me explain; the bread is delicious if you’re eating it fresh and as it comes, whack some cheese on it and you’re away. Stick that same bread in a toaster and you, my friends, will be wildly disappointed! For some reason French bread, in general, just doesn’t toast properly. It burns, or it doesn’t brown, or it just doesn’t taste right. You can of course buy French toast in packets, but it’s not the same! This is where our bread maker comes in; it makes delicious, toastable bread for us to munch on, as well as saving the day when we forget to buy bread!

Thompson Al Fresco

Having such wonderful, local, seasonal ingredients here makes for scrumptious home made bread too in a variety of flavour combinations; garlic & herb, fougasse or cheese & lardons. And you can also whip up delicious, lower sugar jams in your bread maker to put on your fresh bread too! In fact, my mum is diabetic and regularly uses her bread maker to create various jams using home grown, or locally sourced fruit. They’re lovely on scones and she can indulge a little because they don’t have quite so much sugar in them.

And if you’re driving somewhere on holiday you can make up some sandwiches, pack them in a cool bag and take them with you on your holibobs to an Al Fresco holiday parc, in France or elsewhere to save on the cost of buying a meal at a service station or restaurant.

We find it’s always handy to take some made up sarnies with us on road trips, it saves money and means you can stop and snack whenever you get peckish. Win win really!

What do you use your bread maker for, if you have one? Is it a vital part of your kitchen equipment?

I received a bread make in exchange for this post, all opinions are my own.

4 comments

  1. Steve

    I used to have a bread maker and loved parmesan and sun dried tomato bread. Big thick wedges of it, hot after it came out of the maker with butter melting into it. Heaven. The smell was lovely around the house. It was even better toasted as well. My mouths watering just thinking about it. Wish I had space for another bread maker, but my Tefal Actifry, microwave and JML halogen cooker have monopolised all the space.

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Mmmm sounds wonderful!
      Shame you don’t have space for one now, we have various other things like a microwave and a grilling machine and stuff but we’re lucky to have the space for it all.

  2. Sheri

    I’ll tell you the secret 😉 True French bread is simply flour, water, and salt (There’s even a great cookbook by Ken Forkish just those ingredients in the title). No sugar to caramelize in the toaster, and no fat to keep it tasty even 20 minutes after baking. It must be nommed immediately and completely. If any is left over, it is good for feeding the ducks, freezing for bread crumbs, or even for adding to your levain (starter or sponge for the next loaf). I taught myself to go outside the machine, so to speak, with a bread machine by first joining an old email listserve group (or whatever they were called in the old days before the interwebs) then branching out to using it for dough only, then getting tired of baking in a teeny tiny apartment kitchen in 115°F summers in Arizona, USA. Then within the past few years I’ve started kneading bread doughs with my stand mixer (my wrists are wonky), or making non-knead breads, and experimenting with all kinds of natural yeast (levain, starter, sponge, barm, whatever you want to call it) as well as “regular” yeast breads and joining a great Google+ group. I love baking bread, and learning about the science of bread. I’m so glad you wrote this post.

    If you want to make bread in a machine for your sandwiches (are those sarnies?) make sure to use a recipe with some type of fat (olive oil is good but butter is my favorite, of course), and a small amount of sugar (you usually don’t need a lot). It’s not the sugar that diabetics have to watch out for it’s the number of total carbs. I’m sure there are programs online that can help you enter a recipe’s ingredients and help you figure out serving size and number of carbs.

    Can you tell me how your mom makes the jams? Are they refrigerator jams or do they need to be canned (I hate canning). Can I make them in a slow-cooker instead?

    Love your blog, and you, Livi.

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Ah interesting! I didn’t know that! Everyday’s a school day, eh!
      Yes, definitely needs to be eaten fresh, anything leftover gets made into breadcrumbs here like you say.
      Google+ has some great groups!
      We tend to follow to recipe book that comes with the machine for a good loaf, (yes sarnies are sandwiches!).
      I didn’t know diabetes was a carb thing, I thought it was sugar. Interesting.

      Jam wise, Mum puts all the ingredients in the jam maker and sticks it on the jam program and off it goes. You wont be able to make them in a slow cooker because it needs to be “hot hot” heat. Because there’s not as high a sugar content in the bread maker jams, as soon as you open them they need to be refrigerated but can be stored in the cupboard before opening as long as it’s a sterilised jar and the lid is on tight. Unsuitable for canning.

      Thanks for the lovely comment 🙂

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