Intro to Breadmakers
Choosing a Breadmaker
How to Make Homemade Bread
Intro to Breadmakers?
I have noticed several articles re: using a bread machine. This is something I have never used. I used to make homemade sourdough bread by hand, but sometimes that's a little time consuming. Could I possibly get some feedback on the best machines, recipes, and different opinions on this?
Try Breadmaker Out First
If it is at all possible try to borrow a breadmaker from a friend for a month or so to see if it is the thrill you think it might be. I clean houses for about 20 families, perhaps half these folks own breadmakers. After the first few months they quit using their breadmakers and never used them again. I too have done the same thing, even after a long discussion with myself before buying the fool thing. Yesterday I took the 2-year-old breadmaker to the local thrift shop. Do try to borrow one and see if you really want one.
Breadmaker Tips to Share
I have a West Bend bread machine which was probably not a top of the line product. It was given to me at Christmas and was purchased at Wal-Mart. However, it works and works consistently.
Here are a couple of tips that I can offer to you.
- Borrow a book from your local library written by Lora Brody. She has developed recipes that are specific for different types of machines. I have expanded the variety of bread I make with her recipes, as they have always been successful.
- Store your yeast in the freezer or refrigerator. The freshness makes a huge difference.
- Purchase your "basic" items at a warehouse store - bread flour, dry milk and yeast can be stored for a longtime.
- For convenience I have made my own "bread mixes" to have them quickly available. I purchased a box of 1-quart Zip-loc bags and started filling them with the ingredients for my favorite recipes. I use a permanent marker or pen to label the bag. After all the dry ingredients are in the bag excluding the yeast, I make a list of the wet ingredients that need to be added to the recipe. Using a small index card you can list the type of bread or dough and all the wet items for several types of bread.
- My family prefers oatmeal bread, cinnamon rolls and pizza dough so those are the ones that I always have available.
The homemade bread mixes make great inexpensive gifts.
Two New Breadmaker Recipes
I have a WestBend Automatic Bread and Dough Maker Machine and I absolutely love it! It makes a loaf-shaped loaf versus the round-shaped. I have had it for approximately 4 years and have used it hard! When I had first gotten it, there was a problem with the pan, and after calling the company's support number, they sent me a new one without a hassle. It "knocks" when I use it now, so it may be on its way out, but I'll definitely replace it with one from the same company. I've included 2 recipes that my family, after enduring quite a few experiments, prefers.
Sandwich Bread or Rolls
1 cup + 2 Tbs. (9 oz) water
3 Tbs. butter, margarine or vegetable oil
3 cups flour
1/4 cup dried milk
3 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. bread machine yeast
Set machine for a 2 pound loaf
Thin Crust Pizza
2 tsp. bread machine yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. dry milk
3 cups flour (Bread machine or all-purpose)
1 cup water
2 Tbs. olive oil
If you can get a hold of Laura Brody's Dough Relaxer, it makes it much easier to work with this dough. Add according to directions included.
Set machine for Dough. After it's finished kneading, remove pan from machine. On a floured surface, pull dough out of pan and divide in half. Cover each half with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow to rest 15 minutes.
Roll out dough to 3/16" thick. Place on pans. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. Bake in oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove and top as desired. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
This recipe is also great hand shaped in thin loaves of bread or sub rolls.
Alternative to a Bread Maker
I have several siblings who own breadmakers, I do not. A few of them make bread occasionally and spend money on bread mixes. One of them makes her own mix and a couple of them put all the ingredients into the breadmaker, let it mix and rise. But they take it out of the breadmaker before the last rise, put it into bread pans and bake in the oven because it has a better texture. (Yes, I come from a large family.)
I, on the other hand, have invested my money into a quality KitchenAid mixer. It is powerful enough to mix bread with the dough hook. In fact, I just mixed up a batch of dough a few minutes ago and am letting it rise. I really don't see the advantage of having yet another appliance in my house that really doesn't save me any time. It only takes a few minutes to mix basic bread dough. You can even freeze it like the convenient stuff in the freezer aisle. My KitchenAid also has several attachments and I use it for everything. I have the meat grinder with sausage stuffer and make my own sausages. You'd be amazed how easy and better tasting as well as cheaper it is. With the grater/slicer pickles are a cinch, and grated cheese, cole slaw, and the list goes on. The food strainer made a lot of baby food for 3 kids and I still use it for applesauce and pumpkin puree. You can also get a grain mill attachment, but I don't have that one. I have owned mine for 12 years with no problems and my mother-in-law's in still going strong at least 20 years old.
So, in my opinion, resist the urge to get all the fancy kitchen do-dads, and invest in one, good quality, multi purpose appliance. Then you don't have to worry about where to put them all!
Breadmaker Very Easy to Use
If I were to buy my breadmaker over again, I would choose one that produces smaller loaves in diameter. The one I have produces bread so large it is difficult to fit into a standard zip-lock sandwich bag.
I am not much of a cook, but I like fresh bread so I buy Krusteaz's bread doughs from Smart and Final. It is very simple to make these. Place one cup warm tap water in bottom of breadmaker, pour in pre-packaged bread mix, dig a little well with your finger and put yeast in there and cover the yeast with the bread mix flour. Simple as that and Krusteaz has several different kinds of bread in one box. Very economical and tastes great! As for size, like one pound or two, that would depend on your bread-eating rate. Don't store in the refrigerator, as it will dry out more quickly.
A Firm Believer in Breadmakers
I have had two different breadmakers and am a firm believer. Here is the information I have found useful:
- I have calculated my costs to make wonderful wheat-oatmeal bread at $0.80 per loaf. You cannot find any bread for that price, especially of this quality. I make all our bread, including sandwich buns.
- Always use bread flour---I have found Gold Medal is best, and the price above includes the cost for this name brand.
- Wal-Mart supercenters sell a brand of yeast called "SAF"---it is superior to anything else, and is cheaper.
- I originally had a round breadmaker with the domed glass lid. It walked itself off the counter one day and was ruined. I now have a Regal Kitchen Pro----it is wonderful. Has many settings for white, wheat, sweet, French, jam, and dough. Wal-Mart has them for less than $50.00.
- Sourdough breads need some adjustment to be made in a bread machine, but turn out fine. Donna German has a book about sourdoughs for the bread machine.
- It usually takes a few times (a couple of weeks) to really get to know your bread machine and get good results. Don't give up after 2 tries. Give it a little time and you'll get results worth keeping.
- Always warm the water to 105 to 110 degrees--you will get the best results.
Wheat-Oatmeal Bread Recipe for Breadmaker
9 oz. warm water (105-110 degrees)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 Tbs. butter
2 cups Gold Medal Better for Wheat Bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
Internet Information Available About Breadmakers
You may want to join this group - firstname.lastname@example.org. They have lots of ideas and everyone on the list uses a different machine. Just go to "Smartgroups.com" and go to bread-machine and subscribe or you could just email them using the above email address and put subscribe in the subject line and see if it works for you.
Take the Next Step:
- Check sale prices for breadmakers at Amazon.com
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