Why bake your own bread?
With a bread machine it doesn’t take much effort, but it does take some. It’s probably best to be honest with yourself and if you don’t see yourself making bread on the weekend or evening as a fun activity, then don’t spend the $ to go down this path. It’s not frugal to store an unused bread machine in your basement. Another consideration is it takes a bit of skill to cut bread slices, if that is not something you are into, again, maybe don’t go down this path.
How many ingredients do you need? Six plus water
Here’s a list of ingredients for my 50% whole wheat recipe:
Ingredients from a major bread manufacturer (18+water):
I don’t have any reason to like my machine over others on the market, but it has been going strong for 3+ years and works just fine. It’s a Rosewill R-BM-01 for 1.5 and 2 lb loaves. I paid $39.99 for it from Newegg.com in 2013. Here’s a similar machine.
Bread making approach
I prefer to make the 1.5 lb size (for two people). I leave the machine in a seldom-used room so we don’t have to listen to it, and just take the mixer bowl to the kitchen and back to the room when making bread. No moving the machine around. I clean the mixer bowl by hand with water. My bread machine makes loaves that have a small indentation in the middle of the bottom of the loaf from the mixer. To avoid this I tried moving the dough after mixing into a bread pan and baking in the oven. But I found this to be too much of a hassle, so now I just cook it in the bread machine and deal with the small hole in the bottom.
Ok let’s make bread:
- Remove any remaining crusty bits from the mixer before you start and rinse it out with water to clean
- Add ~¼ teaspoon of salt to the mixer
- Add a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar (can substitute regular sugar)
- Pour water into a regular sized coffee mug up to ½ inch from the top.
Microwave the mug for ~30 seconds until the water is warm but not hot (don’t want to kill the yeast). Add the water to the mixer
- Add olive oil until it forms a circle the size of a baseball on top of the water, approximately two tablespoons (I don’t measure because I don’t want to clean the measuring cup)
- Add 1.5 cups of whole grain flour and 1.5 cups of white bread flour. If you like less whole wheat you can also do 2 cups white and 1 cup whole wheat
- Make an indentation in the middle of the flour when you add the last cup and add a teaspoon of bread machine yeast
- Set bread maker to: 1.5 lb loaf, medium crust, basic bread setting (machine settings may vary). My machine takes 2h53min
- When bread is done follow the bread machine instructions to safely remove the loaf and let the bread cool at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before cutting and eating. (DW has been known to cut a piece before 20 minutes). I set my phone timer so I remove the bread from the machine very soon after it is done cooking
I use a Prep Solutions by Progressive Adjustable Bread Keeper. There are no preservatives so plan on eating it within 5 days.
That’s it. Great bread with minimal effort and minimal ingredients.