Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Domestic Revolutions

With a grand title like that, you may be expecting news of changes of world-shattering proportions in the Used-to-Bees household.  

But I have to tell you that this is actually about two very small and easy changes we made recently, that have had effects far greater than we'd have imagined, most notably on our finances.

The first change was prompted by a trip to a Sainsbury's outside our local area.  There we saw the 'JUGIT' milk system, and as the jugs were free with two bags of milk, decided to give it a go.  

It even works if you put the bag in upside down!

We were impressed with the system when we used it - all the more so because I had been constantly ranting getting ever-so-slightly annoyed with our usual milk cartons which refused to pour without dribbling. With my love of crumb- and dribble-free work surfaces, the Jugit is a great help!  What's more, you can freeze the bags of milk (I haven't actually done this yet, but it says you can), so buying a full week's worth of milk is now an option, without filling half the fridge.

Luckily the Jugit milk bags are available in full-fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed varieties, and in our local Sainsbury's.  Some Asdas and Tescos stock them, as does Ocado.  You can see where it's available on the JUGIT website.
At the risk of sounding like I'm being paid to advertise this product, I would wholeheartedly recommend it - convenient, dribble-free (unless you let an untrained teenager put the next bag in!  Train 'em up to do it right, or dribbles - nay, torrents - of milk will pour forth!), and eco-friendly.

The second change is to do with another daily staple - bread.  For quite some time, our bread machine has stood unused and we have been eating a variety of (mostly sliced) breads from the supermarket.  

cookuk.co.uk


Now I know there are people out there who love to make bread properly, by hand, with lots of pleasurable kneading, and teacloth covered mounds of dough proving in some warm corner, but for us, a breadmaker is the only way we're going to have fresh bread on anything other than a very irregular basis.

Throwing a loaf together takes very little time, and the results from our Panasonic Breadmaker are great.  The one irksome bit of the 'throwing it together' has always been the requirement for 15g of butter/margarine.  (It's amazing how irksome weighing out a lump of butter can be when you've got a machine to do most of the work anyway, but there you are!)  I decided that doing a bulk-preparation of lumps would be the way ahead, and it is amazing how over the past few weeks, because the little pats of approximately 15g  of butter have been there, ready to throw in, we have never once run out of bread.

Look - here's an amazing step-by-step of how Mr U-t-B does it!  These photos could revolutionise your life!!!

Other brands of butter are available...

Use the 50g markers on the wrapper to help

PS This is NOT my hand! Actually, looks like it might belong to yesterday's gargoyle!

5 x 50g lumps

Divide each 50g lump into three -  16.6666g (recurring) of buttery goodness in each one!
(I doubt the extra 1.6666g recurring will ruin the recipe)

Wrap

Snip

Store in fridge or freezer


Astounding!
(For my next trick - how to teach your grandmother to suck eggs...)

So, since we fired up the old bread machine, we haven't bought a single loaf from the supermarket, and our pockets have benefited in a number of ways.  

One - bread machine bread is surely cheaper than most half-way decent tasting loaves from the supermarket.

Two - Breadmachine bread is not damp and does not go mouldy, sweating away in a plastic bag and ending up in the bin.

Three - When we were buying bread from the supermarket , we often had to top-up half-way through the week.  This involved either a trip to a local shop (and the exorbitant prices charged there)  or a trip to the supermarket, where no doubt we would buy additional things just because we saw them (and we're easily tempted).

Four - I'm sure it's no coincidence that since beginning our breadmaking crusade, we have used less diesel! So it's another eco-friendly choice!

The only problem with all this is that whilst I have lost the milk dribbles, the crumbs have multiplied exponentially!  And delicious bread = expanding waistlines, so we could be needing new wardrobes soon...

13 comments:

  1. The bag of milk is a very clever idea. That's a serious reduction in waste. You're making me feel guilty about my bread machine, as Son 2 asked for some home-made bread the other day and I did precisely... nothing. French supermarket bread is, of course, cheap and fresh and yummmy. And the supermarket is 2 minute's walk away from our home. You can see why I don't make much bread any more.

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  2. Great idea with the milk - I love my bread maker, but go through phases of using it all the time, then not bothering! It makes a great fruit loaf though!
    x

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  3. I've never come across bags of milk or the JUGIT jugs before - they look so handy!! I'll definitely keep an eye for those next time I'm in Sainsbury's as I loathe milk dribbles - yuck!

    Mmm the smell of warm bread in the bread maker is just bliss, that must be a lovely aroma wafting around the house :-)

    Jem xXx

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  4. Blimey that's given me a kick up the behind.
    It's like an episode of The Good Life.
    I've always been tempted by a breadmaking machine, now I'm definitely going to look into it.
    Top tips
    x

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  5. That milk system is a great idea, I bought it once or twice (but they were out of jugs) - must look into it again as we seem to get through gallons of the stuff and my freezer is always full of milk.
    We have a breadmaker too and I use it everyday, so much nicer than the shop bought stuff. I use sunflower oil instead of the butter as I got annoyed with weighing out the butter and a previous breadmaker (which kept packing up and was sent back) had slightly different recipes and suggested this option. 25g butter = 1 tablespoon of oil, if you fancy an even easier option!

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  6. Love my bread machine! Haven't bought bread in more than a year.
    As for the Jugit, that's interesting. I buy the long life shelf milk because we use so little of it, no one drinks milk here I just use it for cooking.

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  7. The Jugit system will be music to my husband's ears who is incapable of making a cup of tea without leaving a pool of milk behind (apparently he is incapable of wiping it up too, grrrr). I will have to see if they have them in my Sainsbury's. You have inspired me to use my breadmaker again - it's only been used for pizza dough recently and must be desperate to make a decent loaf of bread.

    x

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  8. I have a similar system for my milk here that I bought about 15 years ago from a small family hardware store. I love it because there is no mess. I also have a bread maker that I have taught everyone in the family to use. And the varieties are endless and no additives and cheaper.

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  9. brilliant post! and i LOVE the butter pats.
    i have a dusty bread maker in my pantry maybe i should give it an airing!
    keep up the good work
    jooles x

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  10. I tried one of those milk jug thingies & hated it ! No one loaded the bags properly & we'd get a pool of milk inside it ! We seem to get through very little milk these days too.

    Your homemade bread must taste lovely

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  11. Wish I lived in the UK as the Lakeland bread mixes are WONDERFUL! I have had them at my friend's- just too heavy to lug back to the US. I don't think our store-bought bread flour is as nice as yours, either! (Not that I need to be eating very much bread!)

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  12. Well im glad you wrote this post!
    I've been thinking a while about getting a bread machine as i rarely get my act together for real bread making, and i am getting exceedingly fussy with supermarket and even bakery bread.
    You make it sound so hassle free with top tips, so as i have a wedding anniversary soon.......
    Milk idea sounds brill too!
    Gill xx

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