Returning to Australia last year meant having an oven for the first time in a long time. This got me inspired to bake some bread and I had a lot of fun experimenting trying to get it just right. The problem with baking your own bread is the time it takes and the mess it makes.
My Mum is an excellent bread baker but I noticed during my most recent trip to New Zealand that she does not bake in the oven anymore but uses a bread machine.
I used it once and was surprised how easy it was and it got me thinking about buying one and taking it to my house in Thailand as I have no intention of ever putting an oven into my kitchen there.
Relaxing in New Zealand during this time allowed me the time to catch up on some interesting blogs that I follow from people living in Thailand. One of them is called Beyond the mango juice and one of his recent entries was all about eating western food in a Thai village. He wrote about using a bread machine to bake your own bread so I left a comment asking about the possibility of buying a bread machine in Thailand rather then lugging one all the way from New Zealand. He did some searching for me and came across a website I had never seen before.
It was with some trepidation that I clicked on the link as Thailand does not have an online shopping culture and this is reflected by either the complete lack of shopping websites, or if you do find one, they are very poor quality and in a completely non user friendly format. A lot of companies do have websites which show their products but to buy them you have to go and visit their premises or if you are lucky fax (yes fax!) in all your details and then organise a bank transfer. Using a credit card is still quite rare and then only with face to face transactions.
The website recommended was for a company called. Verasu. I was blown away! It was just like you would expect in Australia although this was even more user friendly! No more then five minutes later I had purchased a bread machine and organised delivery to the village. No emails, no phone calls, no forms to sign just in and out the way it should be. They have a lot of great looking products for sale and I know for sure that I will be using them again and again.
The brand I bought was a Severin and it cost 5,900 baht ($190) for the machine and 200 baht ($6.50) for the delivery.
When we arrived in the village it was handed over to me by my sister in law with an excited look in her eye. She had just visited us a few months previously in Australia and had quickly become addicted to my bread with lashings of butter and jam and had already figured out what this new machine was meant to do.
So, to the whole point of this blog entry…. making your own bread in Thailand! For a basic loaf it is oh so simple. Just follow a basic recipe like this.
After adding your water, you need to add your flour. Make sure you use bread flour and not the all purpose flour that you see in many small shops in local villages. If you live in the boondocks like I do, you may have to stock up on some flour when in the big smoke. I bought mine at Tesco in Ubon Ratchathani and then some more later at Tesco in Det Udom.
My Mum adds a little sugar to her bread but my recipe said to use honey so I tried that and was happy with the result. I would have much preferred to use some local Thai bush honey but there is currently none available in the village.
Then add a splash of oil. Don’t use the cheap stuff, spend a little more and get some decent olive oil.
I liked to add some rolled oats for a little extra oomph and texture. I bought these from Tesco as well.
Of course you cannot forget the yeast. I bought this at Macro but am sure it could be found at Tesco or Big C as well.
Once all the ingredients are in, simply turn the machine on, chose the right settings and walk away.
Three hours later and your bread is ready.
This is a loaf I did with with oats.
This is another loaf finished without any oats.
This cut loaf is the one with oats in it.
Of course you can mix and match all your ingredients and make a wide variety of different bread. Wheat and rye bread, onion bread, raisin bread, French bread, oat flake bran bread etc etc. It is also great for getting your pizza dough ready.
Yummy, healthier (then a lot of store bread) and fresh! Your house will never smell so good! I roughly worked out that for a large 1 kg loaf of bread the cost of the ingredients comes to around 30 baht ($1).