The Machine

A friend of mine posted on Facebook asking for people’s opinions of bread machines. I chimed in that when I was younger, I hated the stuff that came out of my parents’ bread machine. I also added that Lane had a bread maker collecting dust in the basement and that she was welcome to give it a spin. Many people chimed in that they love their bread machine and it makes fantastic bread, and I started to slowly reconsider. Then, this friend purchased a bread maker, and has been raving about the bread she makes ever since. More reconsidering. What pushed me over the edge was that we threw out almost an entire loaf of bread because it started to get moldy, because we didn’t use it for school lunches in a timely manner. Lane and I don’t eat much store-bought sandwich bread. I don’t like the taste and I hate knowing there are all kinds of chemicals and preservatives in it, which is what usually leads to me making more and more things at home instead of buying them. I realized this isn’t the first nearly entire loaf of bread we’ve thrown out recently and that maybe if I made bread I actually wanted to eat, we wouldn’t throw away so much bread.

Reconsideration over, I went to the basement and retrieved the bread machine from my “stuff Lane thinks we’re keeping that I’m really going to sneak into a donation bin” pile its resting place and then proceeded to hunt down a manual for it online. The whole wheat bread recipe in the manual seemed like as good a place as any to start, especially considering that it only called for ingredients I’m used to putting into bread when I’m going to make it by hand. I can pretty safely say we’re not going back to buying sandwich bread. This turned out great, and the kids were the true test. They LOVED this bread. I gave them each a slice to try with dinner and they devoured it, including the crust, and asked if I could make their sandwiches for school on it from now on. Considering that I can buy a whole five-pound bag of whole wheat flour for under $3 and that five-pound bag will make me around seven one-pound loaves, even when you factor in the cost of the other ingredients that go into the bread that’s a good savings. When you also factor in that we’re not wasting half of the bread because in order to avoid the crusts the kids leave half of the bread behind or throwing it out almost an entire loaf at a time, that’s even better. It also hasn’t escaped me that this is much, much better for everyone in the house- the fewer processed foods I feed to the people I love, the happier I am.

I’m sure that bread machines vary and so I can only attest to the fact that this recipe worked fantastically to make a one-pound loaf of bread in the bread machine we have (this model, which they don’t make any more but is very similar to this model). After a lot of research I did find that most bread machines call for very similar recipes, as long as you pay attention to the size of the loaf the recipe yields. Putting a two-pound loaf recipe in a machine with a one-pound capacity isn’t going to work out so well. You could make this recipe without a bread machine and I’ve provided directions for that below as well, but I haven’t tried this recipe without using the bread machine. My two cents concerning buying a bread machine if you don’t already have one is that the amount of money you will save by not buying store-bought bread will pay for the bread machine sooner than you think. I can buy a five-pound bag of whole wheat flour for under $3 which will make me about seven one-pound loaves of bread and even the cheapest store-bought whole wheat bread costs about that much. This is a great way to avoid store-bought bread if you can’t be home all day waiting for dough to rest and rise.

bread machine whole wheat bread

Bread Machine Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C. plus 3 Tbsp. warm (80 degree) water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (or melted butter)
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

Directions:

Remove the bread pan from the bread maker.

Pour the water into the bread pan, then pour the oil into the bread pan.

Add the sugar and salt to the bread pan.

Add the flour to the bread pan.

Sprinkle the yeast over the flour.

Lightly tap the bread pan on the counter two or three times to settle all of the ingredients and make sure they are spread out to all corners of the bread pan.

Place the bread pan into the bread maker, and ensure it is in place correctly according to manufacturer’s directions.

Close the lid and select the correct program for making whole wheat bread (mine has a setting for whole wheat bread, refer to the manual for your model to determine the correct program).

If possible, during the kneading process, check to ensure that the ball of dough looks right and is slightly tacky to the touch. If the dough is too sticky, add a small amount (up to one Tbsp.) of additional flour.

When the bread machine has finished baking the bread, carefully remove the bread pan using oven mitts, and turn the bread pan over to release the bread.

Remove the kneading blade from the bread, then place the bread upright on a wire cooling rack and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

To slice bread, use a sharp, serrated knife.

Makes one, one-pound loaf.

Source: Toastmaster manual

To make this bread without a bread machine:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the water,sugar, and yeast and let the mixture sit for five minutes.

Combine the flour and salt, and stir the flour mixture into the water mixture with a wooden spoon.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a tacky ball, kneading for approximately 12 minutes.

Cover the dough and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes.

Knead the dough on a floured surface again for about 12 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.

Cover the dough and put it in a warm place to rise, for about 30 minutes.

Punch the dough down, and shape into a loaf on a baking sheet or put it into a loaf pan, and place it into a warm place to rise again for one hour.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 50 minutes to one hour.

Remove from pan, allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before slicing.

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