I'm in a bread baking binge right now. I've probably made more bread the last two months than the whole year before. My family loves it. They have missed homemade bread.
I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to kitchen gadgets. I hate cluttered drawers so if a gadget doesn't earn its keep, it joins the giveaway pile. I love that I can make bread without much more than a mixer and measuring utensils.
But I'm adding a new item to my list of necessary gadgets.
Ed's boss (who doubles as his brother) gave him an instant-read thermometer for Christmas. While Ed looked forward to using it the next time we made pork loin, I wondered if it would help my bread baking.
Even though I've made bread for many years, I have one problem I can't seem to improve. I often under-bake bread. I think my oven must run a little hot because if I bake as long as some recipes require, the result if over-baked bread. But in my fear of over-baking, I pull bread out too soon. Far too often I watch bread sag on the cooling rack as it collapses into a doughy center. I've had loaves that had an awful gummy hole in the center from under-baking. Such a disappointing end to an afternoon of baking.
But this winter, though I've made a number of new recipes, the loaves have been perfectly baked every time. Except this week, when I forgot to use my new handy-dandy thermometer and pulled the sticky buns (a recipe I've made many times) out of the oven too soon.
Ed's new thermometer (which I've claimed, but he enjoys the results from) is a ThermoPop. I've been impressed by its ease of use. One handy feature is the light which allow me to read it easily in the shadows of the oven. Just this week I picked up the latest issue of Cook's Country magazine and saw they were reviewing instant thermometers and ThermoPop received the very highest rating.
Just a note, though I love Amazon for many purchases, the ThermoPop is far cheaper when purchased directly from the company (ThermoWorks) than from Amazon. This is one time you can't assume that Amazon is cheaper.
What kitchen gadget do you consider indispensable?