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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One of My Kitchen Servants

Kristine asked about bread machine recipes that I use.

When we first started using a bread machine, we borrowed one from a friend to see just how useful it would actually be for us. We just used the basic recipe in the manual, then moved on to some of the more "complicated" ones in there. When we saw that it would come in handy, we got one from a thrift store, which didn't come with a manual and so we got some books from the library. Really, though, once you are used to the size of your machine, you get a feel for what to do with a normal bread recipe to make it work in the machine. A basic rule of thumb is that a one pound loaf of bread uses about two cups of flour, a two pound loaf uses four cups of flour, etc. This can vary with the type of flour, but it will help when you are trying to decide what to do with a recipe to scale it for the bread machine. One thing is that different machines tell you to put the liquids and dry ingredients in the machine in different orders. I have found that it works better almost universally to put the liquid in first, regardless of what the machine instructions say, but you may find that not to work for you.

I found Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine to be a great bread machine book. Their No Pain Ordinaire is the best bread for toast, cucumber sandwiches, etc. I know that there are people out there who think that yeast risen breads are bad for you and that strictly sourdough breads are the only way to go. Although those kinds of breads are good for you, I figure God puts wild yeast in the air and on the outside of grapes and walnuts, so we can have bread and wine. Even the so-called yeast-less sourdough works because of capturing wild yeasts from the surrounding environment. And you can use your bread machine to help you make sourdough.

Also, if you happen to inherit eleventy billion bottles of beer and nobody in your house drinks beer, aside from using it in soup, batter for onion rings and lamb stew, you can replace your liquid in your bread with it for a really great bread. It's kind of liquid bread anyway, so now it's just bread even more so.

Anyway, I thought I had posted a lot of bread recipes on the blog, but it turns out I haven't. Here is an English Muffin Bread recipe that we like and a Whole Wheat Roll recipe that I modified for the bread machine (and then modified a little more).

A few more things: Using bread flour, or at least a higher gluten content flour, really makes a difference in good bread (this is true with or without the bread machine), SAF yeast, if you can find it, is the best dry yeast out there, use warm, but not hot liquid and always err on the side of too cold so as not to kill the yeasts and waiting about an hour before you slice your bread makes it much easier to do.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes from Rustic European Breads as well as some that are my own creations.

No Pain Ordinaire from Rustic European Breads

1 1/2 pound loaf

1 1/8 cups water (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine pan and run on basic bread setting.

Pain de Mie modified from Rustic European Breads

1 1/2 pound loaf

1 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup semolina flour
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons yeast

Combine ingredients and run on basic bread setting.

Cinnamon Pecan Bread

1 1/2 pound loaf

1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup pecans
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put everything in the bread machine. Usually instructions tell you to add nuts or dried fruits at the little beep that signals such things, with nuts, I just use halves added at the beginning and let the machine bang them up into chopped pieces. Run on your machine's whole wheat cycle for the best results with this, or the basic setting.

Sesame Semolina Bread

1 1/2 pound loaf

1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour
1 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Run on basic bread setting with dark crust to really toast the sesame seeds or whole wheat setting if you have that.

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

2 pound loaf

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Run on whole wheat cycle or on your largest bread size basic setting with a dark crust.

I use leftover oatmeal in whole wheat bread or white bread, reducing the liquid quite a bit. It takes a little while to get a feel for how much liquid to use, so I advise that you start with 1/4 cup of liquid and stay by the machine adding more liquid or some flour (I try to add oat or whole wheat to up the whole grain) as it looks like it needs it. Don't do this for the first few times when you need to leave the house, because if it grows so big that it starts to spill over, you can remove that portion before it starts to char in the bottom of your machine. Ask me how I know. Once you get it down, though, it is a great way to keep from wasting food, will cut your food budget a little because of that and will help you add more whole grains to your diet. If you are interested in any specific kinds of bread recipes, please ask, because we make tons here. There are a few I really like, but that seem a bit complicated if you are just starting out, so I thought I'd ease you in with these. I have a sourdough rye that is amazing. I'm still looking for a good dark rye, if anyone out there has a tried and true recipe they want to share.

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Thanks for posting your bread recipes! I used to make all our bread by hand, but my mom got us a bread machine for Christmas in '07 and now I'm spoiled. I now make almost all of our bread in the bread machine, except for an occasional no-knead loaf when I manage to remember to start it the night before.
Oh, and here's a dark pumpernickel bread recipe that I really like from The Bread Machine Cookbook.

Dark Pumpernickel
2 lb loaf

1 1/2 cups water
3 T vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa
2 T brown sugar
2 t instant coffee granules
1 1/2 t salt
1 T caraway seeds
1 1/4 cups rye flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 t yeast

I hope you like it! I especially like to serve it with soup.
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