Monday, October 17, 2011

Cook: Machine Bread

I love my bread machine! It's nothing fancy, a black & decker I've had it 3 years now, and I think you can get them for around $100. In our house, the thing is a work horse!

Hand made from back at
my old kitchen
There is nothing like home-baked bread, and with the machine it's dead simple. I've made hand-made bread as well, and it does taste even better (probably all the blood, sweat & tears that goes into it!) but machine made is still a hundred times better then store-bought.

I've been too wary of whole wheat to try it yet, but it's something I need to get too.

I use a really simple recipe:
- 3 cups flour*
Oops! The yeast did not activate
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp (- or +) sugar
- 3 tbsp fat (oil, or butter) - I use olive oil most often
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast

The trick is to activate the yeast in the water before adding it to the machine. However, if you're distracted by children, and get too busy and the water isn't warm enough, you just end up with a nice treat for the chickens! The bread would also look like this if my yeast was dead.

*In the States you want to use bread flour, in Canada, our flour is different (more coarse) and you can use all purpose or bread. I prefer bread flour.

We also make tons of pizza dough in the machine, which makes mixing dead-easy; plus it's timed to rise in a warm spot away from any bugs, pets or kids.

If you don't have a bread machine, no-knead is a really fun recipe to make. I've done it a few times and it gives you a really nice artisan style bread with little effort, great for a holiday dinner. It's also super cheap to make since you're only using flour, salt & a tiny bit of yeast.

Here is a recipe from the NY Times. I've got one kicking around here that was from the 1800s, but can't seem to find the book I wrote it down in, I don't think it was much different.


  1. We have a bread machine, but haven't had all that much luck with it - our bread always turned out super dense. I'll have to try out activating the yeast ebfore adding it in!

  2. I used to have problems with really dense loaves, and I think activating the yeast is what I did to solve it. I know my first few loaves you could bounce off the counter! :) Now they are very soft and fluffy. Actually there is another in there right now, the smell is making me hungry!