Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Making bread with a bread machine

 Firstly I apologise for the quality of photos. I'm not a very good photographer, my camera is a bit dated, and I don't have much patience when taking photos, let alone think about light, centering or whatever one is supposed to do to create decent photos.
I have a bread making machine, which is a few years old, and rarely used. Maybe it's the new year bringing enthusiasm for better quality foods (therefore life!)? but I decided to start making bread. I have never hand made bread, and I have lost the instructions that came with the machine, which is a Delta Bread Maker  from Aldi (good price). I have a bread making book, which is fabulous to look at as it has wonderful photos of delicious looking bread, but alas, a lot of the ingredients are not in my cupboard. The book is 'The complete book of Bread and Bread Machines'  
by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter.
So looking through some of the basic recipes and seeing what I had in stock, I gathered the ingredients to make my bread.
I had a packet of Wholegrain Seeded Bread Flour (lucky!), that was just out of date and needed to be used, so that was handy!

Recipe based on my bread:
500g of wholegrain seeded bread flour.
2tsp salt
2tsp unrefined cane sugar
1.5 tsp dried yeast - I have no idea how to use fresh yeast, and have always used dried yeast.
25g vegan margarine - I used Sainsbury's own brand, again , for convenience - it was in the fridge!
350ml water.
Keep the ingredients separate, as yeast does some weird things once activated.

The following instructions are for my bread machine, I believe different machines can react in different ways, so as most recipes say- check you machine.

First add the water to the machine.
Then the flour, making sure the water is covered. I based my bread on a medium size loaf.
The in separate corners put the sugar, the salt and the margarine. make a small dent in the  centre of the flour, not very deep, as the water is not to come through, and add the yeast.
Set the machine for a medium loaf, a medium crust. My machine takes 3.5 hours. Press the start switch a leave it to magically make bread :)

3.5 hours later, and a lot of whirling noises, the machine will bleep and the bread is done.
Getting the machine out of the pan is a trick and a half! The bread does not come out easily. The tin/pan is HOT! It needed a bit a tapping and banging the tin upside down, before the bread came out. Then the job of removing the blades that kneaded the mixture, which had now set in the bread. The bread machine comes with a handy little tool that hooks the blades and can be gently pulled out, leaving a hole and a tear in the bottom half of the bread, but I suppose that's normal.
I couldn't wait for it to cool down completely, so cut a slice of fresh bread. It was delicious. the break flour was tasty, the seeds could be tasted through the bread, and the consistency was quite dense, which I like, and the bread moist enough to be able to cut slices (it did not crumble- is what I'm trying to say). For our taste, it was too salty, but I understand that the salt restricted the dough from rising too much as it acts on the yeast. We tend to have a low salt diet, through choice, so it may not be too salty for anyone else.
The next day I decided to make another loaf, but this time use half the amount of salt and sugar (i.e. 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar). the result was a fluffier bread, which was less salty, but still tasty. Maybe I'll try 1.5 tsp of salt and sugar next to get something in-between. It's certainly nice to have freshly baked, homemade bread, and I definitely want to make bread regularly, and give up buying mass produced pappy bread. I find this bread to be much more satisfying and filling, and much tastier. Here's a photo of the two loaves next to each other which kinda shows the difference in texture/size (sort of!).
I have since found out that I can download an instruction leaflet from Aldi, the link being here.

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