Bread is one of my favourite foods. I’ve been baking my own bread for about 4 years now, using a breadmaker. I’ve tried making it by hand but all that kneading just defeats me and it is so much easier with a machine. It is very simple – you just put all the ingredients in the bread tin, choose the appropriate setting, press start and leave it to knead, prove and bake. My breadmaker has a little dispenser so you can add nuts, or dried fruit. Or there is a dough setting – doing all the hard work for you – and then you can shape the dough into rolls, baguettes, plaits, croissants or whatever takes your fancy and bake them in the oven.
I vary what I make, sometimes using a packet mix, which does give a very good result. My favourites are Cheese and Onion, Ciabatta and Mixed Grain. Other times I use fast acting dried yeast and the Very Strong White or Wholemeal flour, sometimes making half white and half brown bread. I recently bought a Country Grain flour – with malted wheat flakes, rye flour and malted wheat and barley flour and mixed that with the very strong white flour to make this loaf:
For this I used 1 teaspoon of yeast, 250 grams of the Country Grain flour, 225 grams of strong white flour, I½ teaspoons of sugar, 1¼ teaspoons of salt, 25 grams of butter and 340 ml of water and set the breadmaker on the wholemeal setting. It took 5 hours to make and bake. There is a rapid setting as well but I find that the bread doesn’t rise as much and it takes more yeast.
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