My bread machine was resurrected before Christmas to make some seasonal breads. The favourite was a Scandinavian recipe full of chopped cherries, orange zest and almonds, and seasoned with ginger, nutmeg and vanilla. I know that bread making is easy by hand, but if your kitchen counter is anything like mine in terms of size and its ability to double as a collecting post for stuff that just hasn’t made it back to its proper home, it’s not the place you want to get messy with flour and dough.
On alternate days I have been setting the machine to bake overnight, the biggest pleasure from this is the smell of new-baked bread first thing in the morning. Today was a bread day, and I duly waited for the bread to be cool enough to cut for a crusty breakfast and landed two thick slices on the board. But wait a second. Hold the slathering of butter. What do I do now? There are some nut butters in the cupboard, but I am not feeling in a nut butter kind of mood, just a creamy, golden, unsalted kind of mood. It seems an emergency strategy is required to preserve the fresh-baked experience, and I remember reading somewhere that if I chill olive oil in the fridge it will set hard for spreading. So, I await this experiment in dairy deprivation which hopefully will save me from purchasing one of those sorry looking butter alternatives.