25 August 2012

My best bread recipe

I make bread almost every day, and have done for many years. Lots of people have asked for my recipe, so here it is. 

I love that I am in complete control of the ingredients, it is much cheaper than bought bread, and it avoids all those planet-contaminating things like packaging and transport (although of course the ingredients have to be packaged, but I buy the flour in bulk in 5kg paper bags).

I use a breadmaker machine, and just add the ingredients in the order listed below. See my note at the bottom of this post on why I think they should always be added in this general order even if the instructions to your machine say the opposite.

Hand-made bread is fantastic fun and I love doing it, but the breadmaker is so fast and convenient. 

Our favourite bread

1 tsp dried yeast granules (not the breadmaker kind)
1.5 c standard white flour (not 'strong' or 'high grade')
1.5 c wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar (or use honey, or molasses, or a combination)
1 Tblsp gluten (this makes it rise better and gives it a finer texture. Using high grade flour should give the same result)
Extras: 1-2 Tblsp of seeds, e.g. sesame, sunflower, linseed, pumpkin seeds
1 Tblsp oil
1 c plus 1-2 Tblsp water

Press start. 
When finished, remove from breadmaker and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before turning out of the bucket.

Slicing is easiest with a good bread knife and a well-cooled loaf.

~ If it is too squishy, add a little less water next time. If it's too solid, add a bit more.
~ If you want all-white bread, use only white flour and add less water - try 3/4 of a cup instead.
~ Try making rolls by mixing it on the dough cycle, shaping into balls, coating them lightly in flour, and sitting them on a baking tray to rise in a warm place (e.g. an oven at 40oC) for an hour (and cover them with a clean teatowel during rising), then baking at about 200oC for 10 minutes or until they just start to turn golden on top.
~ Almost irresistible when warm with real butter on top.
~ Don't expect it to be nearly as good the next day, because it stales quickly. It still toasts well, though. I often slice and freeze what's left over at the end of the day for toast or breadcrumbs. 

Bread bucket full of ingredients, just before the water is added.
This smells sooo good!

How to preserve the life of your breadmaker by always putting the yeast then dry ingredients in first: 
Some breadmakers ask for the liquid to be put in first, followed by the dry ingredients with the yeast on top. Mine doesn't, but my previous breadmakers have, and I think this was one of the reasons for their repeated early deaths. 

This is why: I usually put this on before bed, and set it to be ready when we wake up in the morning. If the liquid is put in first, the seal around the paddle (the moving bit that does the kneading) is frequently soaked in water for hours. And it is this seal which always fails and leaks within a couple of years.

I haven't tried putting the dry ingredients in first in a different breadmaker, but I will if/when I have one again, being vehemently opposed to buying a new bucket or even entire breadmaker every two years (because the buckets by themselves are so expensive). I see no reason why it shouldn't work just as well - all the machines work basically the same way. The only important thing is that the yeast and the water are separated by the floury layer, so that the yeast doesn't get activated too early and be spent by the time the mixing gets going.


  1. Thanks for sharing this brilliant recipe, it has become my go-to recipe, love it!!


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