After my less-than-successful first attempt at making homemade wheat bread earlier this week, this second time was MUCH better. It looks a bit unusual since it rose higher than the bread machine basket — It tasted better than it looks, so unlike the earlier “brick bread” which the birds enjoyed today.
What happened?On my disastrous first try shown here, I let the bread machine knead the dough, then, removed it to finish its rise, and baked it in a loaf pan. It never doubled as expected.
This time, the process was completed IN the bread machine from kneading to baking, AND using a different recipe, which most likely also helped (a LOT) and there was that difference in looks, texture AND taste.
There were recipe changes too: I did NOT use all whole wheat flour (as the previous recipe called for). This time, I cut the King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour with King Arthur All Purpose White Flour, which claims to have a higher gluten content then other all-purpose flours. And, instead of just water, combined an equal amount of orange juice. Less salt was used as well and unsalted butter instead of cooking oil.
THANKS to fellow bloggers who offered encouragement, especially veteran bread bakers, Lois (From Lois’ Hands) Christer (The Cottage by the Crane Lake Part Two) and Steve (Out on the Prairie). Several folks commented that they had never tried bread making, like myself, until now. But, the bread machine certainly makes this an easier process — especially when everything works right. But, as it’s not the same as a fresh oven-baked loaf of bread, I’ll give that another try soon.
This Welbilt bread machine was a thrift store find 2 years ago. While many need a good cleaning, this one was very clean as in hardly (if ever) used. It sold for the bargain price of $5 and included the original user manual (another rarity). At that time, other bread machines were being sold in local thrift stores. Lately I haven’t seen any, including at the thrift store where I volunteer. Maybe the economy and the rising cost of basics, like bread, has more folks baking at home?
IF you're interested in finding more about bread machine baking tips, this book is a great resource (another thrift store find). Also check out The King Arthur Flour website where there’s a wealth of bread making information and recipes. Here’s a few from Baking Tips and Ingredients for Bread Machines:
- Yeast likes to eat sugar, but doesn’t like salt. But, TOO much sugar in a recipe will slow down the yeast.
- Yeast likes an acidic environment; increase the dough’s acidity by replacing some of the liquid with an acidic liquid: orange juice, lemon juice or vinegar.
- Use a good quality active dry or instant yeast.
- Don’t use artificial sugar substitutes; they don’t help the yeast.
- To make “successful” whole-grain breads in a bread machine “cut” grain flours with high-protein all-purpose or bread flour, to provide the gluten necessary for rising.
- Salt is a yeast inhibitor. Salt-free bread will rise quicker than bread with salt. Don’t use salt substitutes in the bread machine, they don’t work.
- Liquids activate the yeast and combine with gluten to form the elastic strands that help bread to rise. Too little liquid, results in a hard, dense, poorly risen loaf; the gluten is tough and unable to expand. Too much liquid, the loaf rises, then collapses; the gluten has expanded and thinned too much.
- Bread machine liquids include water, milk, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, soft fruits, liquid sweeteners, eggs, butter and vegetable oils, in either liquid or solid forms.