This easy recipe for a basic malted brown loaf will become your to go recipe whenever you make bread.
Good bread is one of life’s greatest pleasures, I think that the Pythons got in wrong in the Life of Brian, and really it should be the bakers who are blessed. With just a little skill, and practise, it really is very easy to make good bread at home, the trick is to use all your senses to assess the dough – sight, smell, touch, taste and the sound it makes when you knead it. Bread is visceral, you need experience to know when it is ready for the next stage of the baking process. Recipes are very useful but flour, yeast, proving temperature, water, style of kneading all make a huge difference to the proving and the finished loaf. But please do not be scared of making bread – it is both satisfying and rewarding and is a skill that will stand you well for the rest of your life – the only downside being that you will start to look down at commercial bread and wonder why you ever bought or ate it.
We made our loaf in the Tefal Cuisine Companion, cooking food processor, whose controlled knead speed and proving temperature take some of the bread variables out of the equation leading to more consistent results for the inexperienced baker.
- 300g whole meal flour
- 300g malted white bread flour
- 400g lukewarm water
- 1tsp dried instant yeast
- 1tsp salt
- 2tbsp olive oil
- Place the kneading/grinding blade in the bowl of the cuisine companion.
- Add all the ingredients, and knead at speed 5 for three minutes.
- Then set program P1, which kneads the bread for a further two and a half minutes before a forty minute bulk raise at 30 degrees.
- Using a spatula or scraper, get the dough out of the bowl and roll into a cylinder shape the size of your loaf tin. Oil the loaf tin, and place the dough in it.
- Cover the tin with a plastic bag or shower cap and put it somewhere warm, but not hot, for a second raise for about 45 minutes.
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 40 minutes. The loaf is cooked when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
The Cuisine Companion is Tefal’s cooking blender/food processor, competing against the likes of Thermomix and the Froothie Optimum Thermocook. At its most basic the machine cooks whilst it either stirs or chops. It offers sauce, soup, slow cook, steam, pastry and dessert programs and comes with four different blades: cutting, mixing, whisking and kneading. The bowl is large enough for most household tasks, with a capacity of 2.5 litres. A steamer basket that fits inside the bowl is also supplied.
It’s controlled using an easy to understand touch screen control panel on the front. The simplest way to use it is by the pre-set programs: for example, there are two soup programs, program 1 for a smooth soup and program 2 for a chunkier option. We’ve found that the best way to get to grips with machines like this is to thoroughly read the instructions, and then make a few simple recipes that are supplied with the machine. The Tefal recipe booklet contains 300 different recipes (100 first courses, 100 mains and 100 puddings) that they advertise can be combined into 1 million menus; we feel that this is more of a mathematical construct than serious dietary advice, but there are some tasty looking dishes included, such as fig, ham and walnut cake, classic risotto (the Tefal is especially good for risottos), polenta, vegetable couscous, classic custard, and hollandaise sauce.
A gadget’s utility depends a lot on how much time is saved by using it, and the Tefal does particularly well here, mainly because it’s dishwasher safe: an essential for us. We also thought that it is robustly built, and the control panel is easy to understand whether using the pre-set programs or going off-piste and rolling your own. We also liked the way that each blade easily drops onto the central spindle, making it straightforward and safe to swap them to use the right blade for each job – when we made risotto, the plastic stirring blade kept each grain whole rather than blitz them down to a mush.
It is a good solid machine and is especially good for the classic one pot type dishes – stews, casseroles, risottos (when we were first testing we made risotto 3 three times a week). It makes prep a breeze, simple drop in the ingredients, chop them, fry or sauté them, then add liquid to cook. It is perfect for the busy family, you can set the cooking time and walk away leaving the Cuisine Companion to safely do its thing. It has a handy keep warm function so is perfect when family members are coming and going and eating at different times.
I was impressed with the whisk – it whipped up a huge pavlova in a matter of minutes, I’ve also made smoothies and soups in it, as well as an impressively smooth custard.
However, we did have a few niggles. Temperature control is to the nearest five degrees, so it can’t be used as a sous-vide substitute, unlike the Froothie (temperature control in the Cuisine Companion is impressively steady). We’d like a larger valroma style steamer attachment as the Thermomix and Thermocoook have.
The maximum operating time is 2 hours, so it’s not really a replacement for a slow cooker. The way the lid locks on means that the bowl can’t have a defined spout which makes pouring smoothies and soup difficult. The small cap in the main lid doesn’t let much steam out, meaning that frying takes far long then it does in a conventional pan.
We also think that compared to the minimal bowl design of the Thermomix or Thermocook, it is slightly over engineered, the lid contains a seemingly unnecessary extra plastic dish, and the way the plastic is attached to the cooking bowl means that the mouldings fill with water in the dishwasher.
With the addition of a spout, simpler bowl design and full manual control over time and temperature (to the nearest degree) this could be our ideal cooking food processor. For busy mums with a family who enjoy classic one pot dishes, it has the potential to become trusted second pair of hands in the kitchen.
Tefal Cuisine Companion is currently retailing at £699 with a three year guarantee, John Lewis are currently offering a free additional bowl with purchase.
For another perspective read Dannii’s review.
You might also be interested in Lucy’s review of the Tefal Cook4Me – a multicooker with pressure cooker function.
We received a Tefal Cuisine Companion for review. All opinions our own.