Teach my DH a simple recipe for everday bread for breadmachine

gwloloJanuary 15, 2013

Can anyone suggest a simple bread that can be baked in a breadmachine and has consistent results? DH likes to bake our weekly bread which we use for breakfast (with almond butter/ jam) and occasional lunch for our daughter for school. He does not cook but is beginning to like baking. He has so far been using the Bob's RedMill multi-grain breadmixes. He is willing to stop using pre-packed mixes if I can give him a simple recipe that he can measure and do. So no sponges, overnights, take and shape by hand etc. We have a Zoji and I can set up a custom program. Something with whole grains is a must. We also have interesting and nutritive additions like flax meal, chia, nuts etc. but all these are optional.

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I'm going to suggest a couple books... The first one I give to my Bread Machine Class students. I've never had a recipe fail out of this book. It also gives excellent "Bread Machine 101" kind of information.

"Bread Machines For Dummies" - by Glanna Vance & Tom Lacalamita

"Bread Machine Baking For Better Health" - by Maureen B. Keane and Daniella Chace

Check your local library for these and other bread machine cookbooks.

Be sure to check the 188 bread machine recipes at King Arthur Flour linked below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bread Machine Recipes - King Arthur Flour

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 5:05PM
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The Bobs' Red Mill site also has a selection of bread machine recipes using their products. It might have something that might interest you and your husband.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bob's Red Mill Bread Machine Recipes

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Do you have a scale? If you do, I can post a very simple basic recipe which works perfectly for me. DH has hit or miss results. I think it's because when he scoops flour, he packs it down so the bread is dry and heavy. If you have a scale, it should be very easy.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 9:26PM
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This is very simple and always comes out great:

Best Bread Machine Bread

Original recipe makes 1 - 1 1/2 pound loaf

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package bread machine yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt


Place the water, sugar and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Let the yeast dissolve and foam for 10 minutes. Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast. Select Basic or White Bread setting, and press Start.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:08AM
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The best place to start is with the recipes that came with the Zojirushi.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:15AM
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Nancy zone 6

I use the recipe debbiega posted above I don't measure very accurately but it always turns out good, family & friends devour it. EAsy & I use it for most all of my bread based baking-pan pizza, sweet rolls, etc. I do tend to use butter instead of oil when I make regular bread, & olive oil when I make pizza. Not a big difference really. Frankly, I think it makes a difference in the bread machine even more than the recipe. I have an old machine, betty Crocker brand, one of the cheaper ones that were on the market at that time. The bake cycle is broken, but I don't use that anyway. I got a new bread maker, but old one makes bread much lighter & nicer that my new machine, or my previous ones. Gotta be something in how it kneads it, but it is significantly better. I don't know what I'll do when this machine dies.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:24AM
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I have a Willams Sonoma machine that's about a dozen years old. I use it at least twice a week and with the exception of having to replace a cracked pan last year, it's been a superstar.

My go to bread for daily family needs has evolved over time. It's mostly done by feel now, but here's my basic recipe:

1/3 cup mixed grains (this is my own concoction, but Bob's Red Mill 10 grain cereal is great)
1 1/3 cup boiling water

Mix this together and let it sit for about 1 hour. The mixture should be warm.

2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs coconut oil (butter or another fat would work too)
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs chia seeds
around 4 cups of flour (I use maybe 3 cups whole wheat and 1 bread, but you can play around to find the propotions you like)
2 1/2 tsp yeast

Because I'm so lazy about measuring, I take a look at the mixture a couple times during the first cycle to make sure it's not to dry or wet and adjust with water or flour accordingly.

I'm sorry this recipe is so darn vague.... I make this bread at least once a week, so I do it by feel now.

My go-to bread book is Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand. The link is below.

Good luck with your new machine. They are such fun and a great addition to healthy cooking. My kids and DH have gotten used to this bread and I much prefer them eating this over the store bought stuff.


Here is a link that might be useful: bread book

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Two important items for simple bread making:

1. If you are not using bread flour, add Vital Gluten.

2. Take the bread out from the bread machine to air on a rack as soon as it finished baking.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Thank you all for posting.

Grainlady- I will look into those books. We did try a couple of recipes from KAF. With the exception of the white bread, our results were so-so. The bread was fine, we were not impressed with the flavor. We really want a mostly wholegrain bread as we find that it sustains us better until lunch.

shambo - I have not seen that redmill recipes and will explore the site. Thanks for posting the link.

Jadeite --> I do have a scale and would love your recipe

debbyga --> My DD would love this bread but we really want to make a mostly whole grain bread. Have you tried substitutions to this recipe to replace some of the breadflour with whole wheat?

cloudy christine --> Zoji manual was the fist place we started with but recipes were just so-so.

Arabella - you recipe sounds similar to grainlady's mildred bread.. although her sponge raises longer I think. The 4+ 1/3 cup seems like a lot of flour for a 1.5 lb loaf. I really like the ingredient list but am not sure if DH will think the hot water part is too much complication. He really does not cook at all.. so this is a bit endeavour for him. What is your multigrain mix? I would rather mix my own instead of buying bob's red mill.

dcarch --> We do remove immediately and transfer to a wire rack. We also wrap with a big piece of linen and keep it out until it cools completely to the core. We then store in Debbie Meyer bread bag for a week or so. I do habe vital wheat gluten. Is there a rule of how gluten per cup of whole grain flour?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Unfortunately, bread machines use the direct dough method (the fast modern method) to make bread, and thereby you miss many aspects to increase "flavor", which is why I try to use the sponge method, especially with 100% whole wheat bread. The sponge in "Mildred Bread" can be as little as 2-1/2 hours, but I generally let it sit overnight for convenience. I also get some additional flavor by using homemade kefir, which is a fermented dairy product similar to yogurt. Yogurt and buttermilk also add a lot of flavor and tangy taste. A standing period is a valuable step to the texture, as well as flavor. The loss of flavor is even more prevalent if using the Quick (1-hr.) Cycle.

Another way to add flavor is to remove the dough from the bread machine as soon as the kneading is done and retard it in the refrigerator. Pan it and bake it in your regular oven. "The cold forces the yeast into dormancy so it is no longer gobbling up all the available sugars. The bacteria then can feed and produce some of their flavorful acids, which add subtle complex flavors and enhances keeping quality."

When it comes to adding vital wheat gluten, I personally don't use it unless there is a high ratio of low-gluten or gluten-free flour in the recipe. Too much gluten will make the bread tough, so "more" isn't necessarily "better". There is more than enough gluten in most whole wheat flour milled from hard wheat (winter or spring varieties) and even all-purpose flour, to make a great loaf of bread without the additional gluten. The rule of thumb is to add 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten for every cup of low-gluten or gluten-free flour that is being used in your recipe. Bagels and pizza dough can also benefit from the added elasticity of high-gluten flour, but it's not necessary if you are using high-protein bread flour.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Sorry, I should have mentioned my machine does 2lb loaves.... although I usually take it out and form it into 2 loaves. I'm not sure, but I'd guess they are each a bit over 1 lb. Like I mentioned, I'm kind of loose about quantities and go by feel.

The mixture is very similar to the Bob's multigrain mix, with the addition of steel cut oats, spelt and no corn (one of my kids is sensitive). I'm sorry to not be more specific, I know that can be frustrating, but it's just a bin labeled "multigrain" that I have on my counter and the ingredients are ever-changing depending on what I pick up.

Sometimes the loaves are more/less dense depending on what the mix of grains is that week. It gives us a little variety though!


    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Just an additional comment: I have two bread machines, a Zojirushi and a Panasonic. They are both good machines, but I have found it absolutely necessary to check the dough in each machine during the kneading process. Even when I'm using tried & trued recipes, I still may it find it necessary to add a bit of liquid or flour to the kneading dough. There are so many variables when making bread -- from the moisture of the flour, the humidity in the air, the extra drops of milk, etc. I never just add ingredients and then walk away.

This is especially true if you're going to bake in the machine. If you take the dough out after kneading, you can manually adjust the liquid or flour level before setting the dough aside to rise. You have a lot more control that way. However, if you're going to bake the dough in the machine, you need to be sure your dough is "good to go" before letting it hit the rise cycle.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 4:34PM
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GWlolo, here's my recipe, taken from the booklet that came with my machine. See notes below.

18.25 oz flour*
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs dry milk
2 Tbs butter
1.75 Tbs sugar
1.5 cups water
1.25 tsp SAF dry yeast

*I make up the flour by weight with about 50% bread flour, 40% atta (very finely ground Indian whole wheat flour, substitute white whole wheat if you prefer), 10% flaked grains - rolled oats, kamut flakes, spelt flakes etc.

You can raise the % of whole grains to your liking, but for us this recipe has a nice balance between the nutty flavors of grains and good crumb and crust from the white flour.

My bread machine, a Panasonic, has a yeast dispenser in the top. I think it would make little difference if you put the yeast on top of everything if your machine is different.

If you prefer a larger or smaller size loaf, I can post those recipes too.

DH has made this same bread with wildly varying results. On Sunday after he turned out a solid brick, I made exactly the same recipe and got a well risen, crusty loaf. We finally decided the problem was that he was using the cup measure for flour, and he presses down as he scoops. So I recommend that he (and your DH) use a scale.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Cheryl- I am going to try this. We have atta at home as we make Chapatis all the time. I have oat and spelt flakes. What size loaf does this make? My Zoji is rated as a 1.5lb bread machine. Also what kind of dry milk? Regular nonfat dry milk or do you need special KAF baler's dry milk or the whole drymilk from Mexican store?

Grainlady- thanks for the great explanation of the chemistry at work here. I have found that using too much vital wheat gluten gives it an off taste. I tried the ascorbic acid in the whole grain bread (our other recipe) and both times, the bread was a tad too tangy for my family's taste. I will continue to experiment with long retardation and hand shaping of loaves as I love it but I can only do it when I have the time. For reliable availability of bread for breakfast, I am inclined to let DH own this.. And maybe he will be ready to expand his horizons in a few months :)

Sambo--> so how do you know when the bread is ready to "go". How would you describe the texture of when u need to add more water or more flour? How do you add so that it is not too much and incorporates throughout the dough?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:09AM
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Question - For the tangy whole grain bread - did you use regular (red) whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour? Red wheat is more acidic tasting than white wheat and that could be what contributed to the "tangy" flavor, rather than the small amount of ascorbic acid.

I'll also catch this question...

"How would you describe the texture of when you need to add more water or more flour? How do you add so that it is not too much and incorporates throughout the dough?"

In the book, "Bread Machines for Dummies", this is instruction #3 in nearly every recipe.

Open the lid after the machine has kneaded the dough for about five minutes. The dough should be formed into a very soft, sticky ball. If the dough is sticking to the sides or bottom of the pan, you need to add a bit more bread flour. If the dough is crumbly - not into a ball or the ball appears firm - add more water. Your machine still has kneading time and will work the water into your bread dough. Check on your dough until you are satisfied that a soft, sticky ball has formed.

It is better to err on the side of a wet dough than dry. The dough ball should hold its shape as a ball, not a pool, and not a shaggy dry mass. When you touch the dough ball with your finger it should leave a little dough on that finger.

Add the water or flour a tablespoon at a time until you have the texture you want.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 4:58AM
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GWlolo - it makes a large loaf. I would guesstimate it at 1.5 lbs judging from the weight of the ingredients which total about 25 oz. The Panasonic recipe has 3 sizes, medium, large and extra-large. I can post the medium version tonight if you like. We make the extra-large size because DH goes through a lot of bread.

Shambo - can you compare the Zo to the Panasonic as far as loaf sizes go? I know you have both.

I've made it with regular nonfat dry milk as well as KA Baker's dry milk. Try regular dry milk if you have it to see how it works for you. I think KA Baker's dry milk improves the texture, but if you don't like the bread, this won't make a difference.

The SAF yeast does make a difference. It has ascorbic acid in the yeast which definitely gives the yeast a boost. If you increase the proportions of whole grains, this will help lighten the bread. Unless you want dense, grainy bread?

I love atta! It has great flavor but the superfine grind makes a light, tasty loaf. I use it for all my wheat breads. It makes great pancakes too.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Luckily for me, Grainlady answered the dough question. If I check the dough and it's crumbly, I know I have to add liquid. If the dough just seems a bit too stiff but not really crumbly, I often just spray it with water. That way I don't over moisten it. If the dough more closely resembles a batter, then I add flour. Grainlady's right about adding liquid or flour just a tablespoon at a time. Then set your timer for 3-5 minutes and check again.

The Zojirushi makes a traditional shaped loaf, so it's very easy to slice and use as toast and sandwiches. The Panasonic I have (see below) makes a cross between a traditional loaf shape and the bucket/vertical shape of older bread machines. It's a little more awkward to slice for toast and sandwiches but not horrible by any means. You can see some customer pictures on the Amazon link. That might give you a better sense of what I'm talking about. Also, Amazon has another Panasonic model that might produce a more traditional loaf shape.

Here is a link that might be useful: Panasonic SD-YD250

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:56PM
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I wanted to post back in this thread and report my successes.

Over the weekend, I baked the bread with Jadeite's recipe using a scale as she recommended. I used 50%bread flour and the rest was a mix of atta, a bit of spelt flour, some oat flakes and a couple scoops of chia. The bread rose well and was a great for breakfast with nooks and crannies. DH loved it and his only feedback was that it could do with a pinch more salt. I think that was my mistake and I used only 1tsp of salt.

Yesterday I baked the white bread that Debbyga posted. It rose beautifully and is very fragrant. A couple of white bread recipes I had tried from KAF were just OK flavor wise. This bread was much better. I think maybe it is because of the bread flour instead of the APflour that the KAF recipes called for. DDhas been sick with strep and has not been able to keep food down. She just ate a slice of this bread and said that it tasted yummy and would like it again for dinner. Yea!
Ngraham- you are right. Tis recipe is a keeper.

Debbyga's white bread

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 8:06PM
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