I have been eyeing a KitchenAid stand mixer for a few months now. When they first came out – okay, when they first came out again a few years back – I wasn’t buying into all the hype. But I also didn’t cook and bake nearly as much as I do now. I was completely satisfied with my hand mixer – seriously.
Nate and I moved in together in the summer of 2011, which meant the marrying of our stuff. He had an old Krups stand mixer that was a hand-me-down from Mama Marsha. I’m quite sure he never used it. But, I made some really good use out of it over the last year and half. Here’s what it looks like:
Once I started baking a little more, I realized that it didn’t have quite as much power as I thought it should – it couldn’t handle large bread doughs and thick cookie doughs. Finally, I came to the conclusion that I should invest in a new stand mixer for myself (I rarely spend a lot of money on anything, let alone kitchen gadgets – unless you count my awesome fridge!). Like almost any large purchase I make, I did a lot of research before making a decision on what I wanted. From what I found, the new Cuisinart and KitchenAid were fairly similar. Part of the reason I went with the majority and wanted the KitchenAid was because Mama Marsha had one, so we could swap attachments.
Just last week, I got my 20% off one item coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond, plus I saw that KitchenAid had a $30 mail-in rebate, which made the $350 Artisan Series $250 – a $100 savings! I immediately told Nate that I was going to get it, to which he responded, “no”. After a conversation, he said he didn’t think it was money we needed to be spending now, which I understand, but was sort of annoyed as I rarely buy myself anything, I’ve wanted this for a while, and I had the patience to wait until I could get it $100 less than regular price. But, I agreed, and begrudgingly decided not to buy it.
Turns out, his parents had purchased one for us for his birthday/our Valentine’s Day gift. I found out the next day. I was so surprised and super excited to start using it. Mama Marsha said it wasn’t the Artisan Series, which I didn’t really mind – as far as I know, the only difference is the Artisan has more power and a larger work bowl. Anything was an upgrade from what I’d been using! Here is my new baby:
I knew the first thing I wanted to make was bread – my sworn enemy. I had recently had lunch at Panera Bread, and I have always loved the tomato basil bread. I get it on any sandwich I order. It’s so light but packs so much flavor! After a quick Google search, I found quite a few copycat recipes. I’m not sure why, but I settled on a recipe from The Keenan Cookbook. It was a fantastic choice on my part, because this bread turned out so tasty! It was hard to be in the kitchen while this was baking. The tomato and basil combo smelled heavenly, which is exactly how the bread tasted. Someday, I’ll master this bread thing…but I think this is a great start!
Tomato Basil Bread
Source: Adapted from The Keenan Cookbook
Servings: 1 loaf
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add basil, parmesan, tomato paste, sugar, olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper. Gently stir until ingredients are combined. Add 2 cups flour and start mixer. Once dough begins to come together, add an additional 1/2 cup flour. Add additional flour if needed to form a stiff dough. Continue kneading dough for 1-2 minutes in mixer, or by hand for 3-5 minutes.
2. Transfer dough to greased bowl, turning once to cover all sides of dough with oil. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour, in a warm place.
3. Punch dough down and knead for 1 minute. Shape into a round loaf and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for another hour.
4. With a sharp knife, cut a large “x” into the top of the loaf. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.