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Apr 22

Baking bread the easy way




‘Bread is the staff of life’. Most of us take bread so much for granted that we wouldn’t know what to do if it no longer available. This is pretty much what happened to me, when I came to America. Sure, there is plenty of bread available in the shops, but it wasn’t what I was used to. The mass produced bread contains high-fructose corn syrup and tastes sweet to me. There are ‘artisan’ loaves available with plenty of seeds and whole grains, but they are pretty pricey. I had made my own bread in the past, but didn’t look forward to having to make multiple loaves per week, so I purchased a bread machine and worked out that I could make my own ‘artisan’ loaves of bread for about $1.50, which was about a 1/3 of the price in the shops.

Bread MachineBread machines are a fairly recent addition to the modern kitchen and the first bread machine was released in 1986 by Matsushita (now Panasonic). Most automatic bread machines available today are pretty much the same, with a integrated mixer pan, cooking element and digital controls. Pour the correct quantities of ingredients into the machine and 3 to 4 hours later you will have a perfectly cooked loaf of bread.

After experimenting with lots of different bread machine recipes, I’ve pretty much settled on 2 that I make regularly, 8 Grain bread and Yoghurt and bran bread. These 2 breads are simple to make, taste great and make good toast. I usually make them in advance, slice them, bag them and freeze them until needed. Since there are no preservatives in the bread you really need to eat the quickly or freeze them. When slicing the bread, I have found it is best to cut it when it has thoroughly cooled using a thin bladed bread knife rather than trying to cut it with a heavy bread knife when it is still hot. Though it is tempting to eat the bread when it is still warm, most home-made bread will tear when it is freshly cooked.

8 Grain Bread (2lb loaf)

8 Grain Bread

8 Grain Bread before mixing

  • 1 cup (235ml) water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups (700ml) strong white bread flour
  • 1 cup (235ml) rye flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 0.25 cups (60ml) rolled oats
  • 0.25 cups (60ml) wheat bran
  • 0.25 cups (60ml) whole millet
  • 2 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp golden flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp rapid-rise active yeast

Add the water, olive oil, salt and sugar to the bread machine. Gently add the white and rye flour over the water. Add all the seeds and the yeast. Set the bread machine to a whole wheat, 2lb, medium setting.

Yoghurt and Bran Bread (2lb loaf)

Yoghurt and Bran Bread

Yoghurt and Bran Bread

Yoghurt and bran bread has a soft and open texture. It is slightly chewy and has a little tang because of the yoghurt.

  • 1 cup (235ml) water
  • 0.75 cups (177ml) plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 cups (590ml) strong white bread flour
  • 1.75 cup (414ml) whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 cups (118ml) wheat bran
  • 2 tsp rapid-rise active yeast

Add the water, olive oil, salt, yoghurt and sugar to the bread machine. Gently add the white and whole wheat flour over the water. Add  the bran and the yeast. Set the bread machine to a whole wheat, 2lb, medium setting.



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