With a family of 5, all of whom love carbs, we go through a lot of bread. Like half a loaf per meal, sometimes! And at the store, the healthy breads that also taste good can really add up! I think the combination of cost savings, convenience (making bread with a bread machine IS easier than keeping us stocked with store-bought bread, believe it or not!) and the great taste of homemade bread keeps our machine in heavy use week in and week out.
After our first bread machine broke (after much use), we upgraded to a pretty fancy one that had great reviews. I like that it has two paddles and that the loaf shape is a bit more like a normal loaf. My machine has a delay timer (woohoo!) so at least half the time I load it up at night and program it to have the bread warm and ready when we get up in the morning. Pretty great! We eat bread machine bread all the time plain, toasted, and for sandwiches.
I started out following recipes from either the booklet that came with our machine or this great bread machine book, which I still use occasionally. But over time I’ve developed my own recipe that is highly adaptable and usually turns out pretty delicious.
First off, if you are a stick to the recipe kind of person, this is the very basic recipe from the bread machine booklet that I initially based mine off of. I liked this one because it was not 100% whole wheat — while that is definitely a healthy option and there are good recipes out there for that, we like the texture of our homemade bread better when it’s mixed with a little white.
Italian Wheat Bread (from the Zojirushi recipe booklet)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 2/3 cups bread flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp basil (I never put this in!!!)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast, or 3 tsp rapid rise (if you have a “quick” cycle)
Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order suggested by your machine, and run on the “whole wheat” setting. Our machine makes 2 lb loaves, for those of you that have adjustable loaf sizes.
Following the next photo is my recipe. There are ranges for some measurements because I honestly do not measure exactly (except for the yeast and salt!) and tend to adjust wet and dry roughly depending on what I am using (if I add more whole wheat/whole grains or extra ingredients, I add more wet stuff like water/fat/honey/egg and add some gluten accordingly, etc). For the flour I really change it up each time — sometimes it’s all white whole wheat, often it’s half bread flour or all-purpose flour, half whole wheat or a whole grain blend (either store bought or me just combining a bunch of different whole grain flours to add up to the correct “total” amount). I never go 100% whole wheat or whole grain with this recipe (other than the “white whole wheat”), though it may work fine! I like to add potato flakes and dry milk powder (we use rice milk powder since we are dairy-free) which I think helps with moisture in the cooked loaf (it still dries out after a few days in the breadbox, though it rarely sticks around that long!).
Kristin’s Whole Grain Daily Bread
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 2-3 T dairy-free margarine, olive oil or coconut oil (butter would of course work too!)
- 2-4 T honey (sometimes a combo of honey & molasses or all molasses)
- 1/3 cup rolled oats (sometimes regular, sometimes quick-cook), rolled quinoa (recently discovered at Bob’s Red Mill in Portland), 7 grain cereal or cornmeal (put in with boiling water to help soften)
- 4 1/2 cups flour (anywhere from 1/3 white, 2/3 whole wheat to 2/3 white, 1/3 whole wheat. Sometimes 100% white whole wheat!)
- 2 Tbsp gluten, if you are not using at least half bread flour or all purpose flour.
- 1/4-1/3 cup potato flakes (instant potatoes)
- 2 Tablespoons dry rice milk powder
- 2 teaspoons bread machine or regular yeast (or 3 teaspoons instant yeast if using the quick cycle option)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Optional ingredients to add (choose one or two of these, probably not all at the same time!): 1/4 cup ground flax meal, 1 mashed banana or 1/2 cup applesauce/squash/pumpkin puree, 1 egg, coconut or almond milk instead of the water/dry milk powder, 2T orange juice concentrate in the water, 1/4-1/3 cup raisins or seeds of your choice, added during the “additions” beep (on my machine).
Put all ingredients in your pan in the order your machine recommends. I put wet ingredients in first, along with any grains that benefit from soaking (flax, cornmeal, oatmeal, etc), then flour and other dry ingredients, with salt in one corner and yeast in a well at the very top. If you are doing the time delay for overnight baking my book says you should not use egg, milk power or potato flakes, but I do the latter two up on top of the flour where it won’t get wet and we haven’t died yet!
You will find when you go “off recipe” a fair bit you may need to check in during the mixing/kneading stage to see how wet the dough is — once you’ve made bread a few times you’ll know how it needs to look, and can add a few tablespoons of water or flour if it needs it. The list of ingredients here may look daunting at first, but when you are mostly eyeballing it, it goes really fast — I can get this assembled and started in less than 5 minutes. I store most of my bread ingredients in canisters in the cupboard directly above the bread machine, so it’s a quick and easy prep and clean up.
Let me know if you try it, and how it works in your machine! If at first you don’t like the result, keep trying and tweaking, you will find the “sweet spot” for your machine and then it will all be easy….and delicious! Pass the jam, please!