Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Making Bread the New-Fashioned Way

Back in November, coincidentally on the third anniversary of this blog, we got a bread machine. You may read all the reasons on that post.


Well, I am here to say it is a huge success. We have never looked back and longed for the old days of me making bread. And in fact, now that we have this beautiful little kitchen appliance, Tom does all the bread baking. He enjoys using it. He can experiment and if it doesn't work, no big deal. He just puts together some ingredients and lets the machine try its magic again. And magic it is. I swear to you that the bread tastes just as good as when I made it. It tastes wonderful freshly baked and it tastes wonderful as toast. Now, I'll turn over the writing to Tom, and let him explain how he does it.

Hi, Tom here.
The most amazing thing about the Zojirushi is how fussy it isn't. It came with both a recipe booklet and a demonstration DVD. I was amazed that you just dump all the ingredients in together and push the start button. Three hours and forty minutes later--for whole wheat bread--this beautiful loaf is ready. You can make all kinds of different breads; the booklet tells you how. Once we got the whole wheat down, we experimented by using three cups of whole wheat and a cup of Bob's Red Mill organic 6 grain hot cereal (wheat, rye, corn, oats, spelt, kamut, and flaxseed). Wow, what a nice addition to this bread. The bread machine kneads, rises, and bakes all without your attention. If you want to go to bed and have fresh, warm bread waiting for you when you wake up, set the timer. I don't often write testimonials so to speak, but with this machine I wanted to. In the photo below, you might notice a couple of unfamiliar ingredients. In addition to the flour and yeast, the recipe calls for dry milk and 'vital wheat gluten.' The whole wheat bread needs these two to help with the rising. We tried the whole wheat bread without them and sure enough it didn't rise as well and sometimes sort of sunk in the middle, as you may see here. A quick visit to the King Arthur Flour website and we were able to order these ingredients along with some excellent baker's yeast. Now every loaf is great.


The ingredients


And here is the finished loaf you've been seeing on the blog header for several days.

18 comments:

  1. You know about me and machines, Nan... :)

    Was baking bread by hand more than twenty years ago. I was a big Bernard Clayton fan and baked 3 loaves of his breads every Sunday (only two made it to Monday morning).

    I broke down some years ago and bought a Kitchen Aid to do the kneading. But I still finished by hand.

    Haven't baked bread in several years - gotta admit it's labor intensive. But nothing store bought is like it. And the way it fills your kitchen with some yeasty aromas!

    I wonder about the recipe and the need for "vital gluten" and dry milk. Gluten contents in flours vary certainly. Have you tried those marked "bread flour"? They have higher gluten content. The dry milk also aids in the rising and adds a bit more body to the loaf.

    Sometimes, a longer knead time can help. But you have to be careful you don't make a tough loaf.

    You're having me think about this machine now...I really miss those home baked loaves...

    - Jeff

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  2. Looks wonderful. But do not know if One Woman needs to make bread.
    In the past I made Sour Dough bread but there was too much for me and gave most of it away.

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  3. I have loved my breadmaker for years and years...I think I'm on my third.

    I also like to use the dough setting and make buns, challah, sweet breads, italian loafs etc.

    I've heard that particular brand of breadmaker is a very good one. I've always used black and decker.

    I have a particularly nice recipe called Ranch Buns on my blog which you might enjoy, it's one of my favourites :)

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  4. I have a bread machine, too, but don't use it very often. The reason is that the bread gets stale so quickly. Since it takes several days for us to consume it, I put it in the fridge sliced and in a ziplock bag -- but it gets very dry and hard.

    What's your remedy for this? Or do you eat the whole loaf in one day?

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  5. Aren't those King Arthur products wonderful! Unfortunately, shipping 30 lbs of flour from New England to Spokane, WA, can cost almost as much as the flour . . .

    The photos at the top of your blog have been unusually beautiful lately. May we see the goad again?

    md

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  6. I had a bread machine for 10 years that my children gave to me as a Christmas present, 2 years ago, it met it's maker and I have missed it so much...hmm I think I need to blog about it...maybe they will get the hint LOL. Nothing like setting the timer and waking up so fresh baked bread in the morning! YUM!

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  7. The loaf looks perfect! My bread machine would see a lot more use if I just left it out on the counter...it's such an effort to drag it down from the closet. We've been experimenting from a cookbook called Electric Bread, but always return to the basics.

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  8. I've honestly been contemplating a bread machine. I love the whole wheat recipe and how you added all those important extras!!

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  9. I was salivating whenever I saw that half-loaf of bread. Now I know the rest of the story.

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  10. gosh!! I really need one. not sure if they have it in Thailand, the version you have. Maybe I'll skip iPad and invest in this bread making machine. :D

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  11. I may have to take the plunge on this one. I bought a cheaper model (Sunbeam?) that was never satisfactory. But your enthusiasm is contagious.

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  12. I had a bread machine and I loved it but I ended up giving it to my younger daughter because I was always making bread and gained alot of weight! Beware!!

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  13. Go for it, Jeff! It's worth every penny. The loaves are never tough. They are perfect. They smell great. They taste great. We've also made raisin bread and white bread. Each was excellent. Need more testimonials??? :<)

    Ernestine, I could eat it all by myself!

    Niki, I'll check out the recipe. We've made plain bread only, but some of those you mentioned are very appealing.

    Gigi, we don't eat it all in one day, but probably three. I got a steel breadbox from Kohls. I put the loaf in a loosely wrapped plastic bag and keep it in the bread box. Doesn't get stale or hard. But this is one of the reasons we originally bought the bread machine, as you may have read on the link. It makes just one loaf so I don't have to worry about it going stale, and it is just so easy that we could make it every day if we wanted.

    So, Mary, does that mean that King Arthur products aren't sold in your grocery stores? If you go here:

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/about/

    It says they are sold in all fifty states. Maybe you could ask if your fave store doesn't sell the flour. (And thanks for asking - I'll see if they goats are especially cute soon!)

    Linda, I hope your hints work!!

    JoAnn, I believe that about all small appliances. If they aren't out, they won't be used. I like uncluttered shelves but I think I've got a sort of happy medium between what I need and that spare look.
    We are big bread fans, so don't mind the look of the bread machine, the bread box, and the toaster oven. :<)

    Staci, it is worth every penny if you love bread, and we do!

    Margot, I loved this!

    Jessi, I sure would! You may order it online from a variety of places. Worth every penny if you love fresh baked bread.

    J.G., I'm glad it's 'contagious.' We sure do love ours.

    Sherri, I've made our own bread for almost forty years. We couldn't live without it.

    Val, and it tastes as good as it looks!

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  14. That bread looks so delicious! I liked it when you had that photo on the blog header :o)

    I've been looking at the Zojirushi mini bread maker. I haven't committed to it yet, but I am seriously pondering. Home made bread is one of the best things ever.

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  15. Hey gighawaii -

    I found from experience that breads made with a higher fat content (ie butter, milk, etc) tend to stay fresher/softer longer.

    If your breads tend to go stale quickly, you can freeze a sliced loaf - or half a loaf - in a plastic bag. Then, when you thaw it out, leave it inside the plastic bag until it reabsorbs all the moisture that you see develop on the inside of the bag. Freezing tends to dry the bread out by drawing out the moisture content. Leaving it in the bag as you thaw will restore the bread a bit more effectively than simply taking it out of the bag and thawing it out on the counter.

    Some folks have restored bread by briefly zapping it in the microwave. Not as good as fresh - but softens it up a bit.

    But the most effective way to keep the bread from going stale - eat and enjoy it as soon after baking as you can!

    - Jeff

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  16. Nan, Thank you SO much for pointing out that King Arthur is sold locally. We shop always at a place called Rosauer's and they don't carry it. But about a mile and a half from my house - walking distance if flour weren't so heavy - there's a Safeway that has it. Whoopie!

    md

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  17. Terri, we couldn't be happier with it!! I'll be interested to hear if you get one, and what the mini is like.

    Jeff, thanks so much for taking the time to tell Gigi all this! Very kind.

    Mary, I am so happy you can buy it out there! We have tried every organic whole wheat flour out there, and KA's little red bag is the best ever. Great success, great taste, not heavy. Perfect.

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Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.