DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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8 August 2013

How to make bread in a bread machine


Homemade garlic and herb bread.

Bread is part of our daily lives here. I make it most days and sometimes we buy a good rye loaf from our German baker. I'm happy to say though that I make good rye bread, so the loaf we buy from them at six dollars is only purchased when, for one reason or another, it can't be made at home. Very early on in my simple life I wanted to bake bread instead of buy it. It is possible to buy good bread but it's expensive and supermarket bread contains so many additives, I don't think it's worth eating. The following is a typical ingredient list for Australian packaged white or wholemeal supermarket bread:

  • Wheat Flour, Water, Baker's Yeast, Vinegar, Iodised Salt, Canola Oil, Wheat Gluten, Soy Flour, Emulsifiers (481, 472e, 471), Vitamins (Thiamin, Folate). 

So one of the first things I taught myself how to do was to bake our bread. It took about three months to get a loaf that I was happy with every day. I tried many recipes, reworked, adjusted and finally had a recipe that gave consistent good results.  I've kept tweaking it over the years and I'm happy to share that recipe with you. I know many are learning how to bake for the first time and others struggle, as I did, to get a decent loaf. Bread and soap making are the two subjects I'm asked about most at my library talks. Try this recipe and if it doesn't work, try it again the following day. If it works the second time, it just means you missed something the first time. The amounts must be accurate and you need a warm temperature in the kitchen to proof the dough.

This loaf can be made in a bread machine or completely by hand. I use the machine to knead the dough when I'm busy. One thing a machine is good at is kneading, and the machine keeps a steady warm temperature so that the dough rises well. When all that is done, I take the dough out of the machine and bake the loaf in the oven. The how to guide to making bread by hand is in this early post from 2007. Little has changed, except the recipe. I've developed this new simpler recipe that makes a good loaf, even for beginners. 

This bread contains gluten. I never make gluten-free bread. Gluten is one of the proteins in wheat flour. To make this bread successfully, you need to develop the gluten. That just means it must be kneaded for a long time. The machine will take over an hour to knead and proof the dough. If you do it by hand, you must knead vigorously for at least ten minutes. 


You need fresh ingredients for bread to rise. Use fresh flour and fresh yeast, not those that have been sitting at the back of the cupboard for six months.

BREAD RECIPE
  • Approx. 300 mls/10oz warm water - start off with 280mls/9.5oz water, and add more if the dough needs it. Make sure the water isn't too hot. It will kill the yeast.
  • 2 teaspoons dried/instant yeast *
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional) this helps the yeast to activate
  • 400 grams of high protein/baker's flour - it can be white, wholemeal, grain or rye. The only difference this will make to the recipe is the amount of water the different flours will need.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
If you've had problems in the past getting bread to rise, use a heaped teaspoon of bread improver to the above recipe and see if that makes a difference. 

* I never use any other type of yeast so please don't ask me about fresh yeast. I don't know.

Before loading the bread machine, add 280mls/9.5oz warm water to a cup and add the yeast and sugar. Stir it until it's dissolved. Give the yeast five minutes to activate and if the mixture looks milky or bubbly, the yeast has activated. There is a photo of this in the 2007 link. If the yeast doesn't activate, wait another five minutes. If it still hasn't activated, it must be dead/old yeast. You'll have to buy a fresh batch before you make bread.

Load the flour and salt into the machine then add the yeast water. Turn the machine on to the dough setting and let it start mixing. Keep an eye on it because you'll probably have to add more water. Let the dry ingredients mix and the add the rest of the water if it needs it. You may even have to add more water. It will depend on the weather and the type of flour you use. You're aiming to make the dough moist but not really sticky. When the dough starts the kneading process, it should turn into a nice smooth dough.

Last week's bread.
Uncut and cut.
Shaping the dough. You roll it into a spiral.
Last week's garlic bread.
I forgot to take a photo before I cut it. Oops.
This is the shaped loaf in the bread tin, sitting in the bread machine to rise.

When the dough cycle has finished. Take the dough out, shape it and put it in your bread tin. Let it sit with a clean tea towel over the top to almost double in size. If you kitchen is cold, you may want to do this by placing the bread tin into the top of the bread machine while it's still turned on. The warmth of the machine will help the dough rise (see above).  When the dough has risen, just before you put it in the oven, add seeds, polenta, oats or whatever you want to add, slash the top with a VERY sharp knife and put the loaf into a very hot oven - 220C/430F. Five minutes after it's in, turn the oven down to 200C/390F. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden and cooked.

Turn the loaf out onto a cake rack to cool.



I made this no knead Dan Lepard's Movida loaf for the first time yesterday but it wasn't a great success. I think I added too much water. The resulting loaf couldn't be cooked free form so I added it to a bread tin for baking. The bread itself was fine but I think I still prefer my loaf above because I have two periods when I load the bread machine and then get it ready for the oven and don't have to worry about coming back in ten minutes when I'm busy doing something else.

If you've had trouble in the past with your baking, I hope you try this recipe and tell me how it goes for you.  Happy baking everyone!

I APOLOGISE! I read the first lot of 13 comments, highlighted them all to publish them but then clicked the wrong button and deleted instead. I'm sorry to everyone who commented. I invite you to add your comment again if you have the time.


42 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda could you please tell me the brand manes of the flour and yeast you use and how do you keep you yeast fresh Cheers Affussa

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    1. Hi affussa. I don't use branded flour. I use organic white and organic rye flours from the bulk food shop or the organic supermarket. I use Fermex yeast 500grams and store it in the fridge. It keeps well.

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  2. "If you kitchen is cold, you may want to do this by placing the bread tin into the top of the bread machine while it's still turned on. The warmth of the machine will help the dough rise (see above). "

    !!!!!!!!!!!! Why didn't I ever think of this? By "turned on" you mean residual heat from the dough cycle with the power left on?

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  3. Yes Rose. You need to place a tea towel over the top of the dough (and machine) and it does a really good job of proofing the dough.

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  4. Hi Rhonda. Is there a reason you don't cook the bread in the bread machine? I am just in the process of looking for a good bread machine to buy. I have made your loaf by hand and it was great but with three kids under 6 I really struggle for time in the mornings to get it done. Can you recommend a breadmaker?

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    Replies
    1. Sarah, you have more control over the bread in the oven and I think it bakes better in the oven. You can shape it in various ways, or make bread rolls. I just use the machine as a work horse. I've always used Sunbeam breadmakers and have been happy with them although I'm not sure about the latest model, mine is a few years old now.

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  5. I am drooling over the garlic bread!! I've been wanting to try a bread machine.

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  6. It looks wonderful. I have to be gluten free at this point, so I need to get a new machine that's never been exposed to gluten and then get some good recipes on hand!

    XOXO

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  7. Hi Rhonda I have made your 5 minute bread every time I make soup it never lasts, we Finnish it before we Finnish the soup I love it . I don't have a bread machine I get my husband to knead the dough.

    Linda Ann

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  8. HI Rhonda, your post about bread is so timely for me, I have enjoyed trying to make bread but have struggled to have a consistent result, often it is very heavy and I understandably get a few complaints from the kids. I have really wondered what I am doing wrong? I will give this revised recipe a go and see if there is any difference. Regarding bread machines, I was given one about 10 years ago a Kambrook, and I was never happy with the bread I made from it so it has become a bit of a white elephant sitting on my bench. I think after reading this post that I may put it back to use to do the hard work as I too struggle to always find the time to knead the dough and during winter it is difficult to find a warm spot sometimes so the old bread maker may make a come back after all. Thanks for your continued inspiration and encouragement, you seem to always know when I need a little bit of a hand. I am also desparate to do a bit of a declutter so you have also motivated me in that respect too with your earlier posts. Take care and i look forward to hearing more from you soon. Julie-Anne

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  9. Thankyou Rhonda, I have struggled to find a good bread recipe for my breadmaker. I have given this recipe a go this morning and the results are fantastic. The bread is light and fluffy, which is a miracle as the bread is usually always quite heavy when I follow the breadmaker recipe book. I will definitely put bread on my daily routine now, or premake some loaves and freeze them. Thanks again, Deb

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    Replies
    1. That's great Deb. I'm really pleased it worked for you too. Thanks for the feedback.

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  10. gosh those photos of your bread have made me hungry! They say the more bread you make the more you get yeast spores in the air and that in turn creates better bread. I love the look of your coiled herb bread. I love to make bread, but then we generally eat too much.

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  11. That looks so yummy! I realized I'm not getting enough fiber and have switched to a super seedy, nutty bread but would like to make my own as long as it doesn't come out heavy as a rock.

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  12. I'm like Julie-Anne - my bread turns our very heavy too! Actually my husband used to enjoy making it. We may try this revised recipe and see if we can get it right. I bought a bread maker years ago and hated the results and haven't bothered with one since! I'll keep you posted on results of experiment. We'll try it either tomorrow or the weekend. We will do ours without the bread maker.

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  13. Sarah in AdelaideAugust 08, 2013 8:15 pm

    I have been making bread nearly all my adult life. Now that I have 2 children I make 3 or 4 loaves a week, mostly in the bread machine, using organic light wholemeal flour. It took a while to perfect the recipe but now we have consistently good bread. I buy 20kg of flour at a time from Four Leaf Mill just north of Adelaide. Even with the 1 hour drive to the mill, our bread is mcuh cheaper than bought bread. Bread making is the single biggest food money saver in our house. If my children are going through a fussy eating stage I am more than happy for them to eat home made wholemeal bread with real butter and raw honey or home made jam for dinner. I use 2 tsp of Wallaby bread improver in each loaf; I find it helps with rising and keeping.

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  14. That bread looks great, Rhonda. I don't make a lot of bread but sometimes make some in the bread maker but the loaf is so high that it is difficult to cut as I used to try and cut it when it was warm. Now I make it the day before and put it in the fridge overnight and it cuts well the next day. I will try baking it in the oven one of these days though.

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  15. As empty nesters too, I struggle with keeping fresh bread on hand. It takes us 3 days to finish a loaf and by then it is dried out. If I made bread daily I would be throwing the remainder away daily. I have yet to find a good solution.

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    Replies
    1. lana, either make smaller loaves or make a hightop loaf like the one above (it's just two separate loaves baked in the same tin together) and freeze one half. :- )

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    2. Save the unused bread, let it go stale and make bread crumbs. That wad what my grandmother always did, and I do it, too.



      Emma

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  16. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks for the post, I have been failing at my kneading and will use the bread machine. I have been wanting to make garlic/cheese bread but again failed.
    I read your post and you don't say when do add the garlic..are you adding it on top of the spiral dough?? sorry its late and I am confused. ta :)

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    1. Ali, I bake the bread first, then pour in the garlic butter along the cut and brush the top of the bread. I also have some butter left over so we can add a splodge to each slice.

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    2. Do you add the herbs in the bread dough before baking.
      Would love it if you posted how you make this.

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  17. How beautiful! Such lovely loaves! I make mine by hand, however. And I need to make some soon; it has been awhile.

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  18. Your garlic bread looks amazing, I think I will have to put some on tomorrow evenings menu! I always use my bread machine like you, to knead and rise the dough but then cook it in the oven. My husband won't eat bread cooked in the bread machine, he says it looks like a house brick.

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  19. The bread maker has been a welcome tool in our busy home. A tip is to take out the paddle after the second rise. We would always have a large hole in the bottom of our loaves which was tough to deal with for sandwiches.

    - Annemarie

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  20. That garlic bread spiral looks like something I MUST make. Must! I quite enjoy baking bread and am so glad to have picked it up. Beats supermarket bread any day.

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  21. Can anyone recommend a good bread maker? Which brand is best? Can I do this recipe the old fashioned way without a bread maker?

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  22. I used to make bread fresh in my bread machine every other day back home in New Zealand, and I could buy ingredients by the bulk - MUCH harder to find here in Australia, all the packages seem tiny! That said - I add sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and - when I can find it - kibbled grain or spelt. I also add one egg, a 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil (not too much, or the bread has a bitter olive oil taste), and a good dollop of organic live Greek yoghurt; that just seems to give the bread more density without compromising softness. It also means you don't need to add sugar, plenty of goodies for the yeast to feast on. You do have to adjust the ingredients, particularly the water, but once you get a rhythm going, it's clockwork. Lovely, delicious, hot clockwork.

    We have a three year old Breville Baker's Oven breadmaker, hardest working gadget in the kitchen.

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  23. I tried Dan leopards sour cream loaf a few weeks ago (found via your link on weekend reading) and it was fantastic. I will definitely make it again - the minimal kneading is great and the crumb had a good bite. My standard recipe is similar to yours, though I often add a splash of olive oil to the mix. I wish I made bread more often, though sometimes when I'm not going anywhere I decide to make bread rather than try to get 3 kids out of the house and to the bakery. Bread making is way simpler than that! When we settle in to our new place (we move in 1 month), I'd like to try to get into a bread making rhythm. Maybe? Hopefully the oven is decent.

    Anna

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  24. Hi Rhonda,
    I was wondering if you could do a post on how to knead. I've found that most books say knead the dough in the same way they say chop the vegetables. there seems to be a lot of assumed knowledge in them.

    thanks,
    Aimee

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    Replies
    1. Aimee, if you look at that 2007 link, there are instructions and photos for kneading.

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  25. Hi Rhonda, I made your white bread recipe using my KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook and baked it in the oven, the crumb and crust were great but I found it a little tasteless, I guess I am used to commercial bread with way more sugar. Perhaps a bit of olive oil would liven it up?

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  26. My husband and I made the bread a few days ago - and it turned out great! The baker's flour was the magic ingredient! We didn't need to worry about a bread maker, thank goodness. I think the positive experience this time renews our inspiration in bread making!

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  27. Hi Rhonda, my bread recipe is similar to yours. I started baking my own bread in an effort to give up sugar and seed (vegetable) oils. I got this recipe from Sandra Reynolds at the $120 food challenge and it costs about $1.20 per loaf to make. Her secret is to use ordinary plain flour and add 1 tspn bread improver per 500g. This works out cheaper than using strong (bakers) flour and yet amounts to the same thing. 280 mls water 2 room temp, 500 g plain flour, 1 tspn salt, 2 tspns dried yeast and 1 tspn bread improver. Put them in the bread maker in the order listed, select large size and that's it. I haven't had a fail in daily breadmaking using this recipe for 12 months. The ingredients list on the breadmaker mixes reads the same as a supermarket pkt of bread, long lists of numbers! My bread has 5 ingredients, one of which is tap water and all of which my great-grandmothers would recognise. A good rule of thumb I think!

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    1. anne, if you're adding bread improver then you're adding a few extra ingredients. Bread improver, if you're using the commercially available one and not vit c, contains quite a few ingredients.

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    2. Eek, you're right, I thought it was just gluten. It also contains emulsifier 481 which you say is banned in Europe? My Additive Alert book (by Julie Eady) says that 481 has no known adverse effects. A quick google search led me to the European Commission's consumer food safety page and 481 is listed in their database of additives as approved for use. Do you have a source for the banning of it in Europe? I don't want to eat it if possible but I also don't want to spoil my lovely bread recipe because of a potentially harmless substance! How DID our ancestors make their daily bread? I guess it was coarser/denser/drier. We have been "spoiled" by the modern manufacturing of food and its a long, hard road back to simpler times I'm finding. Thanks for pointing me to my bread improver ingredients list.

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    3. You're right too Anne. I just checked 481 and it's fine. I must have looked at another number. I think the ancestor bread was much coarser bread and probably a lot of rye too. That lasts as a good loaf better than the wheat breads do. Happy baking!

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  28. I've both baked bread with a bread machine and without, and although the shape is nicer if you bake bread in the oven, I must confess that I'm too lazy to bake bread frequently, if I don't use a bread machine.

    So at the moment we buy sandwich bread (whole wheat) during the week, and I make special bread for the weekend.

    I hope that I can get a bread machine soon, though, because I prefer home made bread. It's also healthier.

    I was actually shocked to see your "recipe" at the top, until I read that this is what to expect when you buy bread at the supermarket. You're so right.

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  29. I only found your blog yesterday and loved what I read. I have ordered your books to assist with our simplification when we retire to Tassie in 2018.
    I made this recipe today for lunch. It was very easy and turned out to be the perfect size for lunch for 3 hungry adults.
    I have made potato and leek soup for dinner tonight, and I will try out your other bread recipe to see how that one turns out. I have told my husband that he is going to get sick of hearing your name. LOL. He is prepared, bless his heart. Thank you Rhonda.

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    1. Welcome Trudy. I hope you try the other bread recipes too. :- )

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