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Old 10-13-2017, 11:00 AM   #1
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Revisiting bread makers

So, I got the Zojirushi mini bread maker. I made four different loaves; each was only acceptable as a brick to use in the garden. I may keep the machine for just that purpose (not really. Iím gonna sell it on ďlet it go,Ē I think).

I bought a standard size (1 1/2 to 2 lb loaf) from West Bend. The bread it makes is very nice indeed! Iíve only made two loaves so far; a cinnamon raisin loaf and an olive/onion/feta loaf. While both sunk a bit in the middle, they are both delicious. I hope I can come up with a solution to the sunken middles without using the oven to bake the loaves. Otherwise, why have a bread maker, right? Iím sure Iíll graduate to hand formed loaves to bake in the oven, but for now, while Iím learning, I like the ease of the full automatic cycles.

My main beef with West Bend machine is that the included instruction and ďrecipeĒ book is poorly written and very frustrating (and itís not translated from Chinese to German and then to English by a person who only speaks Dutch, so thereís no entertainment value, either). It makes no mention of the ďadd ingredientsĒ alert and the recipes are just lists of ingredients, with no suggestions for additions, substitutions or variations.

I did buy a couple of cookbooks on Kindle. One called itself the ďencyclopediaĒ of bread maker bread; it barely mentioned bread makers! The other is a very well written book, but every recipe it has contains added gluten. Iím not gluten sensitive, but isnít this an unnecessary ingredient if youíre using bread flour? Itís not exactly an item you can find at your local supermarket! (To be fair, Iíve never looked for it at a supermarket. Now that Iím aware of it, Iíll probably see it in every aisle!)

If you have any suggestions for reliable cookbooks for bread makers that are available on Kindle, please let me know! Any tips you have from your personal experience with bread makers and recipes would be greatly appreciated too!

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Old 10-13-2017, 11:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by JustJoel View Post
...Iím not gluten sensitive, but isnít this an unnecessary ingredient if youíre using bread flour? Itís not exactly an item you can find at your local supermarket! (To be fair, Iíve never looked for it at a supermarket. Now that Iím aware of it, Iíll probably see it in every aisle!)...

There is a bread maker flour offered by several brands. It has a higher gluten content than even bread flour. Apparently, the extra gluten helps to prevent sunken loaves or loaves that didn't rise enough and, as a result, resemble bricks.
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:59 AM   #3
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King Arthur Flour's web site has 99 bread machine recipes, from pizza crust to cheesecake. Check them out!
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:48 PM   #4
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I made a loaf of French bread, using the timer. We had hot, fresh French bread at 7:30 AM. It didnít look much like French bread (I know, i know, knead and proof the bread in the machine, then form a loaf and bake it in the oven. I didnít have the patience), but it tasted like it! Got a few more breadmaker cookbooks on Kindle, which have some great recipes. Think Iím gonna try a cranberry almond loaf for tomorrow!
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:00 AM   #5
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If you have any suggestions for reliable cookbooks for bread makers that are available on Kindle, please let me know! Any tips you have from your personal experience with bread makers and recipes would be greatly appreciated too!
You may check this book https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Brea.../dp/0754821021
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:42 PM   #6
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If I were designing a bread maker...

Well, Iíve got a few months of experience with my new best friend, and while Iím having a bang-up good time with it, Iíve become aware of some itís shortcomings.
1. No interior light. I keep a flashlight next to the machine.
2. Display isnít lit either.
4. The dough cycle has no ďbeepĒ for nuts and fruit.
5. I canít program the dough cycle. If I need different rise and knead times, I have to use the mix cycle and turn the machine on and off.
5. The icons on the display that indicate the progress of the dough are hard to read (really small) or understand (cryptic. If they were larger, Iíd take a pic of the icons and show you!) And it would be very nice if the machine gave time remaining for each step, not just the whole cycle.

It would also be nice if it had Bluetooth, so I could program it, and keep track of the progress of my dough from a remote location.

I know some of you will say ďthen ditch the machine and use your hands and a stand blender or food processor!Ē But I have no room in my kitchen for the stand mixer and all of its attachments, the food processor seems inelegant and fraught with problems, and my arthritis puts a real damper on hand kneading for any length of time. And Iím lazy, Iíll admit it.
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Old 01-04-2018, 02:02 PM   #7
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You know Joel, all your bread threads have made me want to make bread. I should get out the short ladder and climb up to the very top of a cupboard and pull out my very heavy bread machine. I will wait until Dx is over so she can break my fall (ok,steady me or the ladder) or call 911 when I drop it on my toes. It is heavy. Which is partly why I didn't haul it down to the basement where I have extra cupboard storage, and partly why I put it up so high, so I would have to be really serious if I want to use it.

The only thing I remember about bread machine bread is I didn't care for a fully cooked loaf, and rather just used it to mix and remove the dough to the oven for baking. So it will be like starting over. I am pretty sure I put the recipe booklet in the bread canister. It better be there!

Well, I conveniently did not buy yeast (yet,) and I think I have been to the store twice since this bread making feeling has come over me.

I have plenty of AP flour. Before Christmas, I bought 5 lb for baking, and then went shopping again, and must have had a senior moment as I bought flour again. Can I just use AP for bread baking? Or should I buy bread flour? How about yeast. I like regular yeast rather than instant. Although I think it is simply the word "instant" that sticks in my craw.
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Whiskadoodle View Post
You know Joel, all your bread threads have made me want to make bread. I should get out the short ladder and climb up to the very top of a cupboard and pull out my very heavy bread machine. I will wait until Dx is over so she can break my fall (ok,steady me or the ladder) or call 911 when I drop it on my toes. It is heavy. Which is partly why I didn't haul it down to the basement where I have extra cupboard storage, and partly why I put it up so high, so I would have to be really serious if I want to use it.

The only thing I remember about bread machine bread is I didn't care for a fully cooked loaf, and rather just used it to mix and remove the dough to the oven for baking. So it will be like starting over. I am pretty sure I put the recipe booklet in the bread canister. It better be there!

Well, I conveniently did not buy yeast (yet,) and I think I have been to the store twice since this bread making feeling has come over me.

I have plenty of AP flour. Before Christmas, I bought 5 lb for baking, and then went shopping again, and must have had a senior moment as I bought flour again. Can I just use AP for bread baking? Or should I buy bread flour? How about yeast. I like regular yeast rather than instant. Although I think it is simply the word "instant" that sticks in my craw.
I often use my bread machine for processing and then shape and bake the loaf in the oven. The only time I really use it to bake is when I want fresh, hot bread in the morning; I put the ingredients in the pan, set the timer and, oh what a treat!

AP flour should be just fine, depending on the loaf you’re making. AP flour has less gluten than bread flour, so you might wanna add a few teaspoons to help the rise and the texture.

Your bread maker sounds like it’s really old! Maybe you should invest on a new one, if you’re planning on using it a lot. Except for the Cadillac models (like Zojirushi), there are many excellent machines for under $100.

Have fun! That’s the most important thing!
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:02 PM   #9
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I use AP flour for most breads and it works fine: no-knead, ciabatta, yeast rolls, etc. They're all delicious.

I also use Fleischmann's Bread Machine Yeast because it works in the oven or bread machine. I keep it in the fridge. I'm not sure cake yeast is available anymore; it was replaced by instant yeast because it's more reliable. You don't even have to proof it before use.

If you want a newer bread machine, you can often find them at thrift shops for great prices. I bought a second one because it came with three bread machine books, all for $3. Then I donated the extra bread machine
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:06 PM   #10
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Meant to include this. Click image for larger version

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