Using an automatic breadmaker

I bought my breadmaker from the goodwill (charity shop), there were no instructions or manual, so it was trial and error getting the recipe right. I did try searching the internet but all I found were pages that had been copied from one another, and they were not much use.

breadmaker( Click the image for a larger view in a new window. )

You make bread by putting all the ingredients into the pan (see image below), then starting the machine, it does all the mixing, raising etc and finally cooks the bread, all in the same pan.

Very easy and labour saving. I bought mine to save energy. This machine is small but my stove (cooker) has a huge oven, it was so wasteful to heat it just for one loaf.

Making bread with an automatic breadmaker

When using a breadmaker the technique is different from making bread by hand. You let the machine do the work of mixing. That means you put all the ingredients into the pan at the start, it is important to put add them in the order shown in this recipe, I'll explain why when describing how to use the timer on the breadmaker.

Recipe

Make sure you add the ingredients in this order

Cold water 300 grams
Salt 8 grams
Lard or shortening 10 grams
Wholewheat flour 400 grams
Sugar 25 grams
Dried yeast 15 grams

That's a total of 758 grams, after baking the loaf will weigh around 665 grams, so about 80 grams has been lost in the process.

Different breadmakers will have different sized tins, the particular one has a capacity of 2.56 litres, that was found by putting the tin onto my scales and then filling it with cold water, right to the top. As 1 ml of water weighs 1 gram you can read off the capacity. If your breadmaker has a bigger tin then you will need to multiply up the quantities of ingredients to suit your machine. An easy guide would be to use these quantities, then look how big the final loaf is, in relation to your tin and then multiply up. For example if your loaf is halfway up the tin, then try using one and a half times all the ingredients. Don't try to get the loaf to fill the tin completely or it may rise over the top and make a mess!

Technique

pan for automatic breadmakerThis is the tin or pan that goes into the breadmaker. Inside at the bottom there is a small mixer paddle that does all the hard work. The paddle stays in the whole time, including the cooking. It is coated with non-stick material like pans, so it comes out of the loaf easily. That means you have a small hole in some of the slices of bread.

Click the image for a larger view with dimensions in a new window

Weighing the ingredients

breadmaker tin on scalesThe easiest method is to weigh the ingredients, it's far more accurate than messing about with measures based on 'cups' - so how big is a cup? Your cup may be twice as big as mine, whereas 300 grams is 300 grams, using grams also cuts out any differences that are caused by the water being at different temperatures. Water should be cold for bread making.

My scales (shown here - click the image for a larger view in a new window) have a button that resets the scale to zero, so you can press that after each ingredient is added.

Start with 300 grams of water, then the salt directly into the water. Next comes the lard or shortening, I slice it thinly from the packet and drop the pieces into the water. 10 grams is not much, so take care the first time so you don't have to remove any.

Next is 400 grams of flour, wholemeal or wholewheat is my choice. There is a difference, wholemeal means all of the wheat grain, wholewheat means the wheat germ has been removed.

BEFORE you add the sugar and yeast, make a shallow hole in the top of the flour. Take care not to press too hard or you will push through to the water below. The idea is to keep the sugar and dried yeast dry until they are in the machine and the machine starts. This is really important when you are using the delay timer on the machine, otherwise, if you are starting the machine immediately it's not important.

bread ingredientsThen add the sugar and yeast. Your ingredients should now look something like this. Note how the yeast is sitting in a shallow depression in the top of the flour, the sugar is directly under the yeast. If the yeast and sugar get wet then the yeast starts to consume the sugar immediately, when you are using the timer that means the loaf will not rise properly.

Click the image for a larger view in a new window

Next, transfer the tin into the machine, taking care not to jolt it as you lower it into the machine. Now set the controls on your machine and start the machine.

Setting the breadmaker controls

breadmaker control panel

Control panel

The basic controls are simple, setting the delay timer is a little more complicated so it's on a separate page.

There are 7 different programs, shown as a list on the left-hand side of the control panel. The Menu Select button cycles through them, each time you press the button the display shows the program number, then after a few seconds it reverts to the time as shown here. In this case the time is showing 3 hours 00 minutes - that's the time to completion of the program - when the bread will be ready.

The programs do the following:

1 Basic bread making, takes 3 hours to complete.
2 A faster version of bread making
3 for French type bread
4 the quickest program, on this machine it takes 1 hour 50 minutes
5 for wheat breads
6 just makes the dough, allows it to rise, then stops
7 does the bake only

The color (colour) button cycles through three different levels of brownness for the final loaf. So basically it cooks the loaf hotter or cooler. On this machine I find the Light setting best.

Start/stop does just that.

To set the machine for Quick program with light crust

finished loafPress Menu Select until the display shows 4

Press the Color button until the display shows 4L

Press the Start / Stop button once

The display will now show the time to completion and the machine will beep. As the time goes by the display will be updated so it shows the remaining time. The machine will now start and perform the mixing, rising, kneading etc and finally bake the bread. A delicious smell will come from the machine and it will beep repeatedly to tell you when your bread is ready.

Always remove the bread as soon as the baking is complete, otherwise it may cool in the pan allowing condensation for form which will makes the crust damp.

Use oven gloves to lift the tin out of the machine, then turn it over and carefully shake the loaf out, do not use any utensils to help the loaf out or you may damage the non-stick coating on the tin. Put the loaf onto a cooling tray as shown.

When it's cooled, enjoy!

There is a certain amount of trial and error because you don't know exactly how light or dark the finished bread is going to be. I suggest you start with the medium bake and then try the others. Once you taste that home-made bread you'll never want to go back to that store-bought bread again.

Other bread recipes

Once you have the breadmaker you don't just have to make bread with it. You can make cakes and lots of other recipes.

I'll be adding recipes here once I've tested them and adjusted the quantities to suit my machine.