Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homemade Bread-Machine-Bread

I LOVE homemade bread! But it takes a LOT of time if you're doing the kneading yourself. I feel like it takes all day. Mix, knead, knead, knead, rise, smoosh, roll, rise again, bake... I used to try to make 4 or 8 loaves at a time, then freeze the dough. That worked ok, but when the frozen loaves ran out it would be a while before I had time to make a whole bunch of dough again, then I'd end up buying bread anyway.

That's why I started using the bread machine for fresh bread. However, I don't care for the high density and weird shape that the machine gives the bread.

So I compromise:
I use the bread machine for kneading only because it cuts down on a LOT of the work.  The machine does the kneading for me so I can go about doing other things around the house. I put it on the dough cycle, then I shape the loaf and bake it in the oven so it looks, feels, and tastes how I think fresh bread is supposed to. Since I started using this method I haven't had to buy very much bread at all. I make a loaf about every other day; more on the weekends (or in summer) because everybody is home from school and work and we go through it a lot faster. We are all turning into bread snobs. Also, I have recently discovered that bread can be baked in a slow cooker, which is really amazing on these sweltering summer days! I'll explain at the end.

This recipe is slightly modified from the whole wheat recipe that came with my machine:

Place in pan in the order listed:

1 egg, with enough warm water added to equal 1 cup
3 T olive oil
2 T honey
1/2 T salt
1c. bread flour (this is very important, it helps the dough rise)
2 c. white whole wheat flour
{at this point spread the flour around so it's flat-ish and covers all the liquid. Tap the pan on the counter a few times}
slightly heaping 1/2 T yeast (I use quick-rise yeast)

Put machine on "dough" cycle.
When cycle is done, take dough out of pan and flatten into rectangle (about 8" x 12") with hands or rolling pin onto lightly floured surface (I use the wheat flour here because then the bread doesn't stick to the pan as much after being baked}
Starting at a short end of the rectangle, roll tightly into loaf shape, squishing the ends with each turn to keep air out.
Fold both ends slightly under the loaf and place into greased loaf pan.
Cover with towel or cloth {I use a cloth napkin} and let rise until the top of the loaf is about 2-3 inches above the top of the pan.
Bake in oven at 350 for 25 minutes {ovens may vary}.
If you want to try baking it in your slow cooker, just shape dough into loaf, and place in lightly greased crock. Cook on high for about an hour and a half (you'll want to watch it the last 20 minutes or so to make sure the bottom doesn't burn). To make the top of the loaf brown and crusty, place under broiler for about 5-10 minutes.

A couple of notes about my bread making:

*Depending on the room temperature and humidity, rising time can vary. If it's been several hours and seems to be done rising, but still isn't high enough, bake as-is. It won't be as fluffy, but it's still pretty good. There are a lot of factors that affect rising. I find that if the dough is too dry or too wet it doesn't rise well. I don't always have the perfect rise, but I always have delicious bread!

*If humidity is high (in summer), use a little less water or a little more flour
*If humidity is low (in winter), use a little less flour or a little more water
*When I say "a little" I mean a LITTLE - tiny little. Like a teaspoon.

*Regular whole wheat flour is slightly cheaper, but the white tastes SO DELISH - my opinion, you could definitely use whichever you prefer.

*When I was shopping for a bread machine I could not find a single one in a store. There are a lot online, but I ended up getting TWO given to me by friends who never used theirs, which I think is the case with a lot of people, so ask around and find out if any your friends have wedding-gift-bread-machines sitting in a box in the attic. ;)



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3 comments :

perpetuallydaydreaming said...

Thanks for hosting the link party! It's my first one!

Kendra | Our Homemade Happiness said...

I have a bread maker and love it! I just wrote a post about it recently. I'm very happy with the bread, but I'll have to bake it in the oven sometime to see what I'm missing. I didn't know you could bake bread in a slow cooker! So cool!

Debi said...

This is a great idea. I never thought of doing this. I have a Blog Hop, and I would love it if you would link this post. You can find it at
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/07/surf-spray-and-wednesdays-adorned-from.html
It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
I hope to see you there. Have a great Day.
Debi Bolocofsky
Adorned From Above
www.adornedfromabove.com

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