Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Saga of the Missing Dough Hook

I guess this story really begins more than 30 years ago in 1970. Before my first wedding, my mother insisted on buying my trusseau (my daughter wasn't quite as lucky). So whatever I didn't get at my bridal showers, she bought...everything from linens to dishes, pots & pans and beyond...including a Sunbeam Mixmaster just like hers.

My mother was a fabulous baker, creating the tallest, lightest, fluffiest Angelfood and sponge cakes (especially for Passover) and the meringue toppings for her famous lemon meringue pies, formed perfect peaks. I still don't have the knack to perfectly cream butter & sugar like she did for her picture perfect cookies. I never saw my mother happier than when she was baking (it goes without saying that the same was true for us).

That Sunbeam mixmaster lasted waaaay longer than the marriage (that lasted only eight years) and, truth be told, I did covet the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixerlike Giada, Ina , Anna, and all those other great TV chefs had. So it really shocked me that the day the Sunbeam died, I burst into tears...and I could still cry today. It was that magical attachment to my mother who died way to young (55) way back in the '70s.

That said, I have to admit, I rushed out the very next day to buy the red KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer. You know how it is..."the king is dead, long live the king". It came with the whisk, paddle and dough hook, plus and added bonus...a grater attachment. I used the grater once ( Cuisinartis much easier to deal with) and I never, not once, used the dough hook. Until a month or two ago, I never made a loaf of bread other than the tradition of making challahs with my daughters and their friends.

Then my daughter, Joanna, who's been making bread in her bread machine for years, got a new one as a gift and she gave me her Toastmaster Bread Machine hand-me-down. Now I'm hooked too. Which finally leads me to the real story....

The thing I love most about fresh breads is the crust, not just the crispness but the shape and color. Challah looks a certain way, as do sourdoughs and baguettes and...well, the list is as long as there are types of breads. Needless to say, a bread machine, while taking the work out of kneading, does nothing for the esthetics of bread. So a number of people, including my daughter told me to use the breadmaker to knead, and then to remove it and shape it myself and bake the bread in the oven.

And several others told me about a fantastic book, perfect for me who likes immediate gratification with little work....Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. Naturally, the first thing I did was take my KitchenAid out of the cupboard and....where's the dough hook????? Somehow, in the move from Toronto to here in Halifax, the dough hook went missing. It figures, now that I actually (3 years later) want to use's nowhere to be found! Finding a replacement is not as easy as it sounds. Few stores that sell KitchenAid actually carry any attachments. And all the new ones come with the three main beaters - whisk, paddle & dough hook, so I went on line and I could buy one for $20 plus $18 for shipping (unbelievable!). Instead I found a local kitchen appliance service store here who would get it for me for just the $20 and have it here in a couple of days.

As soon as I have it in my hot little hands, I'll whip up something wonderful and share it. In the meantime....check out the lovely

Wine & Rosemary Focaccia

(pictured at the top of the post) I made with the help of my trusty bread machine.


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Hi Ruth,
I enjoyed the story of our dough hook! All's well that ends well!
I look forward to your bread story!

NĂºria said...

Oohh I wish I had one of these wonderful machines too! I saw a bread machine for sale 1 month ago: digital with multiple functions to bake bread or pizza dough... a beauty! It costed 45 Euros and that is very cheap! By the time I got to the shop... there were none :(

Kalyn Denny said...

I have that book and made the whole wheat and bran bread just mixing it with a spoon. You should try it. (I love the book but haven't done my bread post yet.)

Ruth Daniels said...

I've already written up some bread I'm ready for the new book!

Nuria, sorry you missed out on the deal...I just missed out on the Cuisinart Griddler...we'll both have to wait for the next sale!

Kalyn, I'll definitely have to give that one a try.

Stay tuned for more breads.

giz said...

Loved the story - can totally relate. Thankfully my mother is still alive and still has her sunbeam and still uses it to make the highest sponges I've EVER seen. I have the same Kitchenaid and I somehow never get the same outcome. I think it's just a different kind of love. Thanks for sharing.

Katie Zeller said...

My KitchenAid looks different than everybody else's... the 'head' doesn't tilt but the bowl raises to meet it...Hmmmmm

Ruth Daniels said...

Giz, I must say...when this KitchenAid dies (and hopefully not for a long time), I'm back to Sunbeam!

Katie, your's looks different because yours is more powerful, more professional, and the bowlsize is bigger. The one thing I don't like about the KitchenAid I have is how messy it is when you add ingredients or try to scrape down the sides of the bowl. How is it with yours?

Kitchenaid Artisan Blender said...

I enjoyed the story of our dough hook! All's well that ends well!
Thanks for post.