Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Adventures in bread-making

A few years ago I presented my parents with a bread maker, thinking this was the perfect gift as they always like fresh baked bread – who doesn’t!

To my surprise they didn’t take to it… so I took it back, back to my kitchen that is :)

Having recently reorganised everything in said kitchen I was able to make some space to set up the bread maker under the stairs where it wafts its smells up the stairs when it’s nearly done.

I’ve never had much success with it before now but I am now determined to get it right. So I wanted to chart my adventures here along the way. Here’s the recipe which seems to be the most successful:

225ml warm water

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp yeast

4 tbsp vegetable oil

400g wholemeal flour

1 tsp salt

Small handful each of seeds/chopped nuts

1. Add the water, sugar and yeast to the pan and allow to stand for 10 mins – it should bubble slightly.

2. Add the oil, flour, salt and seeds (poppy seeds, whole sesame seeds, chopped hazelnuts)

3. Set the bread maker to the wholemeal brown loaf setting and in 4 hrs 15 this little loaf comes out:


It’s a pretty dense loaf, nothing like what you might buy in a supermarket (which I consider to be a good thing). It doesn’t rise massively so I’ve been adding a bit more yeast although this doesn’t seem to have much effect. It does have a nice crust which I’ve struggled to achieve before.

Has anyone tried using bread makers before? Got any tips?!!!


  1. I do have a bread machine, and make most of the bread we eat. (But I barely ever eat bread....so it's really bread for my husband's daily sandwiches.)

    He's partial to white bread or oatmeal bread. I definitely haven't mastered whole wheat bread yet...even with my trusty bread machine which is smarter about the whole process than I am!

    Have fun!


  2. I was just commenting to my hubby how I would love a bread machine for Christmas this year. If I get one, I'll share any tips I gather with you.

  3. I have one that needs to get back into use, as it makes wonderful bread, even whole wheat!

    Trying to generalize the recipes, most have1-2 teaspoons of yeast for about 1-2 cups liquid, and 2-4 cups of flour. Some also have a small amount of vital wheat gluten added 1-3 tablespoons.

    Whenever you are getting used to a new bread machine,or new recipe, you should plan to keep an eye on it, especially during the initial mixing and the baking cycles, just in case you need to make adjustments. When the dough is mixed, open the lid and touch the dough, it should feel a bit sticky, especially for whole wheat, as it will absorb more liquid during the kneading and rising cycles. If it is too dry, add more water by the tablespoon, letting it be absorbed, before adding more. If it is too wet, you can add more flour - about a tablespoon at a time. If you keep watching the dough as well as the finished loaf, you should be able to make the loaf closer to the type you want.

    One of my favorite series of bread machine books is Bread Machine Magic, and the other two in it's series. They are by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway, and although I've had them for a wile, the original was revised in 2003, and I would think you'd be able to find them at the library (or possibly at an online shop). The reicipes are written in American cups, so not directly translatable into weight measurements, but they've all come out very good. Another great book I have is called Electric Bread, and has also been out for quite a while, but if you can't find these, I'm sure there are others out that will also have good recipes.


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