Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hands on Dinner Party.

I love traveling and getting to know people.  One of my greatest adventures in life is doing hands on dinner parties in conjunction with Chef Brad Events.  They are so much fun.  This is how it works.  I plan the menu, print the menu, buy all the supplies, and organize each recipe in an area in the kitchen.

It's a lot of work and planning to make such an event happen, but it's worth every moment of preparation taken.

This process starts way before the quests arrive.  When they get there all is ready.  Stations set up for each recipes.   The fun begins.   Everyone goes to where they want to be in groups of 2 or more for each recipe, depending on what is required to execute the recipe.

This is when the fun begins.  Looks like total confusion, but in the confusion great things are happening.  Laughter and fun is the highlight of the event.  People getting to know others through the process of creating some really great food.  I love it with all my heart.  I love the creation that is going on and I love the feeling of community and togetherness that is happening.   It never has failed yet,  that perfect feeling of belonging and enjoyment that comes when many are gathered in a common cause,  especially the common cause of great food.

Couples Therapy.  They say a couple that cooks together stays together.
And they certainly look happy.   

Men love working with meat.  They are preparing lamb sliders. 

Taking a quick break.  

Lamb chops are amazing.  Marinated in olive oil and vinegar with spices.  Grilled just right. 

Now there is a spread to be enjoyed. 

Close up look at the Lamb. 

Wonderful cheese spread with fresh onions, mint, and  Zatar.  

Two of my favorite best friends now.  Amazing how spending three days in someones
home can change your life.  

Preparing the side dish.  

Passing around the pizza appetizer for everyone to sample 

Fresh fruit with nuts and a wonderful yogurt sauce.  

Making sure they are doing it right.  

Crab cakes and Chef Brad style street corn. 

The most important part of cooking is testing.  

Now that's a happy face.  I never know who I will be seeing at a  Chef Brad Event.  My dear cousin Janice showed up
at one and it was great.  We got to know each other a whole lot more.  She is amazing.
So,  "Life is all about Food".   Creating those wonderful memories are so important.  Food sets the stage for that to happen.  I am all about opening up your homes and your hearts and letting people in. It makes the journey so much better.

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Challange

This blog was a fun experiment that I wanted to do comparing the Wondermix to the Kitchenaid Mixer.  Watch the video and read the blog.  So much fun.   I love my Wondermx even more, and I really didn't think that was possible.


Dough that is so silky soft. 

Nothing like fresh baked bread.  With a Wondermix your bread can look like this.  I promise.  

From one loaf to 6 large loaves the Wondermix can handle it.

So most of you know that I am an avid bread maker.  I have been making bread since I was a teenager  and that was a long time ago.  I learned how to make bread by hand and actually perfected making great bread by hand,  even my whole wheat bread was really great.

I have to confess that it was a 6 hour process from start to finish and when I baked bread I made sure I was going to be home for the better part of the day.  It is a process to say the least to make good bread by hand, especially 5 loaves at a time.  I had to mix it adding flour until I got the gluten somewhat worked up and the next process was letting it raise and punching it down and letting it raise and punching it down and finally forming it into loaves and letting it rise a third time before finally being able to bake it.   It was a long process to say the least, but I loved it and I loved the light bread that I made.

One of the reasons I decided that my bread turned out is that I always shared at least one loaf with someone.  That was my insurance policy and it always worked.  I made bread like that for years.  In fact I taught many to make bread.  I served a mission for the LDS church and I taught the women how to make bread by hand.  It was white bread, because whole wheat was not to be found on the island.  After my mission I continued to make homemade bread on a weekly basis.

I remember my first mixer,  I should say my wife's mixer, because she had one when we got married.  It was a Braun and made the worst bread ever.  Actually looking back it make great bricks, but those are hard to eat and a waste of time and money unless your building a brick bread  house.  She also had a grinder,  I hated it as much as I hated the Braun.   It was loud and messy and given the choice I made white bread so I would not have to grind.

I remember borrowing a Kitchen Aid and it was good for cookies, but did not make bread and I did burn out the motor making cookies, bread would have been impossible.  Especially the size of the batch I always made.

I remember my first real mixer.  It was an Ultralux mixer.  Expensive, but I was convinced I needed it. It was hard to use and soon I bought my first real mixer,  a Bosch.  I remember the woman explained that I could leave out the two risings I had been doing for a long time.  I was not convinced.  After all I had been making bread for years and I knew it had to rise three times to develop the gluten and make perfect bread.   I decided I would try the method she told me once just to prove I was right.  LOL.

I made bread and to my absolute astonishment it was the best bread I had ever made.  And I have to say with arrogance that my bread was good.  But with the machine it was the best ever.  I have never gone back when using my bread mixer to letting it rise three time.

I learned that in just over one hour I could mix and bake 5 to 7 loaves of bread from start to finish.  It changed my life forever, that first mixer I bought.  From mixing the dough to forming loaves and letting it rise, bread making became a new passion for me.

Every once in a while I tried using the Kitchen Aid over the years.  The kitchen aid does some things well, but bread making is not one of them.  Yes it will do it, but it takes more time and the end result is not like the bread I get from my Wondermix.  

I finally discovered why there is so much ugly bread on Pinterest.  Most of them are using the Kitchen Aid to knead the dough.

The purpose of this blog is not to slam the Kitchen Aid,  it has it's place, but not in the kitchen where bread making wants to happen.  It just cannot do what the Wondermix does.  Just to clarify,  my first real machine was the Bosch and it is a great machine,  I have a tender place in my heart for the Bosch, but I am always looking and searching for a better way, that is how I found the Bosch in the first place and my constant search for better led me to the Wondermix.  I adore this machine in every way.  If you own a Bosch,  no need to get rid of it, but if you own a Kitchen Aid and want to make bread, take a good look at the Wondermix.  It's amazing.

Back to the story.  Recently I just wanted to know how the Kitchen Aid stood up to the way I make bread.  So we got a Kitchen Aid, the big one.  The professional one and I did a side by side test.  It was an interesting thing.  I have to say that I was worried after all I have said about the Kitchen Aid that it just might work.   It almost did, almost in the fact that it did knead the dough, but the dough was tuff and heavy and the end result was heavy Pinterest Bread.

As I added flour, flour went everywhere and in the end I had to add up a pound more flour before it pulled away from the sides of the bowl.  The more flour added the dryer the bread.  That is the beauty of the Wondermix.  Less flour needed, lighter bread created.

It was a great exercise for me to do.  I noticed after while watching the Video that I didn't even have to pay attention to the Wondermix bread, good thing that was,  the Kitchen Aid took all my concentration.  Just keeping it from moving off the counter was a job.  In all fairness to the Kitchen Aid,  I think I might have turned it up to high,  but I did it on the same speed of the Wondermix.  And in the end it really doesn't matter the speed, it still took more flour the the end result was not at all the same.

The biggest difference was in the dough.   The Wondermix dough was silky and smooth.  The gluten was developed perfectly.  The Kitchen Aid dough was tuff and the gluten was not developed.  It would require two risings at least to make develop the gluten.  Adding more time to the process.

Something the video did not show was what really happened.  I was so concentrating on mixing the dough that I forgot to put in the yeast.   Actually something I have done before.  It's a simple fix with the Wondermix.  I realized that I had forgotten the yeast about one hour later when we were talking and I realize the dough had not risen yet.  For the Wondermix dough I simply just put the dough in the mixer and turned it on and added the yeast.  I let it mix for a minute and it was ready to form into loaves and let rise again to bake.   For  the Kitchen Aid,  I tried it and the dough was just to stiff.  I really felt I was going to burn out the motor.

One more comment.  I love how light the Wondermix is.  I was amazed that even at how heavy the Kitchen Aid is it still walked around the counter.  That I never expected.  The foot print of the Wondermix and it's light weight make it for sure a great machine to have in the kitchen.

So,  I will stand by my conviction.  The Wondermix is the ultimate bread making machine.  The Kitchen Aid is not a bad machine, but it does not do bread the way the Wondermix does.  In reality the Kitchen Aid dreams about doing all the Wondermix does.   And the Wondermix does all the Kitchen Aid does and so much more.

I love my Wondermix.  I love all it does and all it will do.  It's a wonderful machine made to last a life time and during your life it will save you time and in the process you will become an award winning bread maker, or at least a bread maker your family loves.

Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy