Before we left for NZ, we had to decide what to take and what not to take with us. Some things were worth bringing, some not, some disposed of and not missed, but others we are really kicking ourselves for.
We didn’t think it was worth shipping our collection of empty ‘Bon Maman’ jam jars. Big mistake. It took years to collect these, which we used for jam making, and here Bon Maman is not as easily available, and jam & honey tends to come in plastic tubs. OK, we can collect things like coffee & Patak’s jars, but the finished product is not as appealing to the eye as home-made jam in a Bon Maman jar.
We did bring the breadmaker, but sold the aging Kenwood mixer – the breadmaker was a good thing, but having got into making soda bread and fruit loaf again, leaving the mixer was another big mistake. In the UK, a decent bread mixer with a real dough-hook and 1000KW motor can be bought for £110 on Amazon. Here, in the sales, the equivalent costs over $500 (£250), over twice as much. Amazon will not deliver a mixer to NZ, and the shipping cost via courier would be about £130, putting the cost of the item from the UK to almost the same as in NZ. This gives the clue to the price differentials, here the barriers to entry into the market are high, even though product has to be shipped from China (which is closer); there is nothing like Amazon here, and even TradeMe (the NZ eBay equivalent) sells unbranded 1000KW mixers for $400, only a little cheaper.
So, the bottom line is, no mixer for now, and getting a bit tired of the mess & effort involved in mixing up batches of dough by hand, I turned to the breadmaker.
Mixed a batch of fruit loaf (what I have called my sub-tropical fruit loaf) – mixed dates, figs, apricots, papaya, mango, cashews, pistachio and macadamia. Ran this all the way through on the cake setting, which is for yeast-free cakes and speciality breads, for 110mintes. This worked fine, as this produces quite a wet dough, and cooked perfectly.
I mixed up a batch of soda bread dough with the usual quantity as outlined here, using the mixer’s dough setting. This mix normally takes 90 minutes, as it is designed for yeast-bread, which involves proving the dough. So I ran the mix for 15 minutes and then finished the kneading by hand, and baked in the desktop oven in the usual way. This worked fine.
I mixed up a half-measure batch of soda bread on the cake setting, but the result was very small and stiff, so I cancelled after the mixing stage and finished off in oven, which worked fine.
Mixed a date and banana loaf, using pistachio with a small amount of fig, papaya and mango, on the cake setting, again this worked fine. So, this approach seems to give a good consistent result.
Mixed a batch of soda bread at normal quantities on cake setting, and let it run through the whole cycle. The problem is that the dough is quite stiff, and doesn’t really settle at the bottom, rather as a ball of dough, and doesn’t expand sufficiently to fill the bowl, so ends up as quite a dense ball.
Next trial I will alter the quantities as follows: 200g wholemeal flour, 200g white flour, 400g buttermilk, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt.
Also found that the breadmaker has a jam cycle, so next batch of fruit jam will be done that way!