Saturday, November 8, 2008

How To Make Bread

No, this isn't a complex step-by-step tutorial on how to make a loaf of bread. This is how to get a bread maker to do it all for you. My first loaf of bread was the basic white bread recipe found in the bread maker's instruction booklet.

Start with the right ingredients. I learned that you have to use flour intended for bread to get good results. All-purpose flour isn't milled fine enough for bread makers. The bread flour cost $2.99 for 5 pounds--higher than the $1.97 I'm used to paying for generic all-purpose flour, but still tolerable.

The dry active yeast is another story. Let's just say I need to find a much cheaper source for it than the local grocery store. I paid $7.89 for a 4 ounce jar! Yikes! The sugar, salt, oil and water were already on hand and at minimal cost.

Measure all the above ingredients very accurately and place them in the bread pan in the order listed in the recipe. Insert the bread pan into the bread maker. Next, push a complex series of buttons, enter your four digit PIN number and close the lid. Walk away and have a cup of coffee, go stare at your chickens or whatever suits you. Come back in 20 minutes and you'll see a ball of dough. (That dark blotch on the top of the flour is the very expensive Neiman-Marcus yeast.)

The ball of dough goes through three 30-minute kneading and resting cycles. In that time the dough rises as the yeast burps. Then the bread maker bakes the bread and Presto! You've got fresh baked bread three hours later! The best thing about this entire process is that the mess is minimal. The only thing to clean is the bread pan.

The loaf of bread was just the right texture for my taste: not too light and not too heavy. The crust wasn't like bark and the flavor was just right. As I enjoyed a slice of bread with a pat of butter smeared on it the ideas began flowing in my head. Stratas, french toast, garlic bread, pita pockets, focaccia...the possibilities are endless.

Gift ideas also came to mind. Wouldn't a homemade loaf of bread with some little jars of preserves make your Christmas morning?

I'm out of control.


  1. Nothing warms my heart like seeing a kid with a new toy! lol The first time we used ours, when the kneading started and that thing started shaking it almost scared me to death. I ran to get Liv and told her the thing had come alive!

    Great looking loaf of bread, you sure are learning alot of new and useful skills. Good for you.


  2. I use my bread machine to mix the dough and rise a bit. Then I put it in a loaf pan and let it rise and then cook it in the oven. My maker make a condensed square bread so that is why I have opted to do it this way. Your loaf looks great!

  3. That would be a wonderful gift with some home-made honey butter... YUMMO!!

  4. Oh yes, the wheels are a turnin' now that I've got this wonderful gadget! Everyone is getting fresh baked loaves of bread this year, each with a flavor chosen for the recipient based on their personality. Won't that be fun?

  5. I Heart my Bread Machine. I learned how to make bread the old fashioned way, but that machine is SO much easier!

    Supposedly, you bread machine will also make Jam.
    I'm in the midst of trying to perfect my Dill Bread recipe. With fresh dill from my windowsill. YUM.

    As a gift with my machine, my Mom also gave me some of her dry yeast. I keep it in the freezer and I have yet to buy more. It lasts.
    But Neiman-Marcus yeast? Dude! That there's hig-falutin' bread you got there!

  6. Mmmmm. Yes, it would. Will you be mailing mine, or delivering it in person?

    That bread looks amazing. I think I need to upgrade my breadmaker. It's over 8 yrs old and only makes skinny small loaves.


  7. Wow! Nice bread!

    If you have a nearby health food store, you might see if they have bulk yeast for sale. We buy it by the pound, freeze most of it and just reuse the little jar the original batch came in in the fridge.

    We also bake most of our loaves in the oven... when we use all wheat flour and lots of extra grains, the bread machine tends to indent the middle for whatever reason... turns out perfect in the oven.


  8. Susan, bread makers ROCK. Dill bread, huh? Gives me an idea. I saw a recipe for it in the owner's manual for mine.

    Lisa, now is a good time of year to look for a new bread maker, if you're so inclined. Everything's on sale right now for the holidays. That's how I ended up with mine.

    Ron, thanks for the tips. I have yet to try whole weat flour or any whole grains in my bread maker. I am holding off until I get a better feel for the whole process. A POUND of yeast??? That must cost $1000 in our grocery store! LOL

  9. Hi Amy, I came back to see if you have gotten the breadmaker yet(post from a few weeks ago) and am glad that you like your new breadmaker and the bread!

  10. YD, I sure am glad I did a little research before I bought one. So far it's living up to my expectations and we are all enjoying the fresh bread. Thanks for stopping by!


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