The Bread from 20,000 Fathoms

What I was expecting...

What I was expecting…

I tell you, that Mary Berry’s got a lot to answer for. Wife away, football on TV and what am I doing? Baking. Not a sentence I ever thought I’d write: but never say ‘never…’

The seductive smell of freshly baked bread to greet me as I stumble downstairs tomorrow morning. But only two slices for breakfast: must remember my diet and the iron will-power I’m famous for.

And what a treat for Ben – home alone with a perfectly baked loaf. Should keep him going until at least lunchtime…

But first, some energy bars. How difficult could they be? We all have our favourites among the TV chefs but let me be blunt here. If Nigella can do it, I can do it. I may not have the pulchritudinous charm of the domestic goddess but I can tip oats and nuts into a roasting tin with the best of them.

“What are you making, Dad?”

I showed Ben the recipe. “Nut bars,” he said.

I sighed. “Hand crafted artisan breakfast bars if you don’t mind.”

“How long?”

“Half an hour. I’ll call you.”

I tipped the sugar and melted butter into the oat mix. Was that the phone ringing? The offer of my own show? Simply Dad? Dad’s Christmas Kitchen? Sadly, no. My own fault for not owning a leopard print kitchen knife.

Enough of my lost career. On to the main event. Yeast, check. 500g of flour. Yep. Water and the other bits and bobs. Should I chuck the left over sunflower seeds in? No. Keep it simple. Let the bread machine do the work. That way, nothing can go wrong.

I set the timer, submitted my request for a dark crust and left the technology to it…

…And came downstairs eleven hours later to the smell. Oh, the smell. Freshly baked bread. Nothing better.

Should I have a look straightaway? No. My psychologist wife tells me the ability to delay pleasure is the sign of a higher life form. So, feed the animals, empty the dishwasher, make a cup of tea – and then I’d look at my perfectly formed loaf. Maybe just one extra slice wouldn’t hurt…

I walked over to the bread machine. Lifted the lid…

‘That’s funny,’ I thought. ‘I don’t remember sprinkling cheddar cheese on the top.’ And if I had, why had it formed orange blotches?

I closed the lid. Opened it again.

And why was my perfectly formed loaf stunted? Why hadn’t it risen? Was the bread machine faulty? Above all, what was this wall of flour round the outside?

The Wall. I hadn’t made a loaf of bread: I’d made a scale model of the Seven Kingdoms. In dough.

What I got: a scale model of the Seven Kingdoms

What I got: a scale model of the Seven Kingdoms

I wept, ate some cornflakes and went to work.

Two hours later I received a text from my son. What happened to your bread?

Don’t know. Disaster. Saving it for Mum

It looks like a chemical warfare experiment. Something from a horror film. Something that fell into goo and mutated horribly

It’s not that bad

Dad, if Frankenstein’s Monster ate bread he’d eat this. It’s been demonically possessed. If I turn it over there’ll be 666 on the bottom

Thanks for the vote of confidence

Do you know there’s something embedded in it?

I didn’t.

Something silver. It’s sort of stuck. Like Excalibur

Well pull it out

Ben declined the offer. Apparently he didn’t want to contract a deadly virus. Six hours later Jane identified it as the paddle from the bread machine. “You didn’t put it in properly. The dough didn’t get kneaded.”

She smiled kindly at me. “Don’t worry, darling. It’s not a failure. It’s a learning experience.”

Then my wife and son started sniggering…

Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and “very, very funny” to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here


  1. This is brilliant. I’ve done the Nigella bars and they’re amazing! Hope the bread smell isn’t too far away…

    • Thanks for that: really pleased you liked it. Yep, on with second version of my Nigella bars now. Seem to OK as they’re disappearing to Ben’s bedroom at a rapid rate…

  2. Oh dear, at least you tried. I have become a bit addicted to making bread. I buy those small flavoured packs and treat myself to home made rolls for lunch… in fact i think I should do it again

    • Oh, God, you know how to tempt a man. I’m so easily seduced by some home made focaccia. 50 Shades of Bread in my case…

  3. These breadmakers are ace, foolproof even. Alas not quite idiot proof. Make jolly good toast though.

    • Mastered the slow cooker last year, Barry. Obviously it’ll be the bread maker this year. ‘Appen it’ll be a while before I try anything as complicated as a toaster though…

  4. This is utterly hilarious. The text exchange from Ben is pure genius. Bravo Ben! We got a bread machine a few months back and love it… But then, we’ve never had this happen…….!

    • Thanks, Amie – just you wait: there’s nothing quite like teenage sarcasm for keeping you under control. Obviously your OH far more technically adept than me – or maybe he can put a square peg in a square hole, which I clearly can’t…

  5. I can relate! Many ‘learning experiences’ in this household. 5* effort! What’s next? Middleearth muffins?

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