I wanted to make some black bread after seeing it on Master Chef the other evening. After surfing the web I came across a recipe that I thought I could manage. It contained fennel seeds, caraway seeds, cocoa, coffee granules, rye flour, bread flour, syrup, dark brown sugar as well as the usual water, butter and yeast. I expected it to taste sweet and of chocolate but it didn't. It was very light and fluffy though not as black as I wanted it to be, more dark brown. The toppings I used were dressed crab and tomato for one lot and cream cheese, chopped cornichons and prawns for the other. The bread didn't overpower the toppings at all.
I only make bread in my bread machine, I'm not fit enough to do it by hand - it's hard work isn't it!!! My kitchen has quite a few gadgets, the one that I found the most disappointing was the juicer. The one I couldn't do without is my food processor, I bought my first one about thirty years ago. Just recently I got rid of my Moulinex electric hand mixer, I'd had it forty years so it had seen good service. Another gadget I've had for a long time is my electric carving knife, it's great for cutting bread as well as meat.
Another thing I find very useful in the kitchen are the Teflon baking sheets, they last for years and nothing ever sticks to them. For my baking I buy the ready cut greaseproof paper circles for the bottom of my sandwich cake tins and the cake and loaf baking tin liners, it saves energy not having to cut them out like I used to. I've also got a multi-size foldable cake pan, the sides slot together and you can make from a huge cake to a very small one. Recently I've been using measuring cups instead of weighing, this is because of the recipes from the USA that are on the internet. I have bought myself some decent digital weighing scales though, they weigh starting at one gramme. I'd love to hear what anyone else has in their kitchen and what their favourites are and what was a total waste of money like my juicer.