The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

converting bread machine recipes back to hand kneaded

Ditzi's picture

converting bread machine recipes back to hand kneaded

I don't have a bread machine, but I like some of the recipes. How do I convert back to hand-kneaded? I like making bread the old-fashioned way because kneading is a great way to work out frustrations and anger.  Works better than trickling water, aroma therapy, etc. does for me.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Any ABM recipe I have converted to hand making has been fairly simple and straight-forward. Combine the liquids, and if necessary, raise to a temperature of between 90 and 110 degrees F. Careful with adding eggs, they tend to cook above 130° or so, so make sure you keep the liquids down below 100°.

If using Active Dry Yeast, add to liquids. If using Instant Dry Yeast, add to dry. This has been proven to be a wives-tale, but it looks great on paper! (50 years ago, it was probably good to 'prove' your yeast. Today, it's unnecessary unless you know for a fact your yeast supply is old and/or questionable.)

Combine your dry ingredients in a seperate mixing bowl. Add wet to dry, mix. I would at a minimum do an autolyse at that point, but would recommend a Frisage before that. Once autolysed (typically 20-30 mins for commercial yeast, 45-60 mins for sourdoughs), knead away, then bulk ferment.

I've had extremely good success, but one other note... it is a real good idea to convert ABM recipes to Baker's Percentages on paper first. It is real easy to spot problems with hydration and 'out of reasonable range' ingredients like yeast, salt, etc.

- Keith

ejm's picture

This is pretty much the same as I've done, except I'm much more casual with the temperatures and only ensure that the temperature is not higher than "baby bottle temperature" so that the yeast won't be killed.

The only things I'd add to Keith's instructions are

Shape loaf (or loaves), cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise to double - use the flour dusted finger testing method: press gently on the side of the loaf - it should very slowly spring back. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how it quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough.

Bake loaves for about 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven. 375F if there is a fair amount of sugar in the dough; 400F if there is no sugar.


On July 16, 2009 - 7:23am, JIP wrote:

My question is, Why bother??.

So that you can make raisin bread just like Sunmaid raisin bread, one of the few really good commercially made breads:

It's really fabulous raisin bread. The only changes I made to the Sunmaid recipe were to use fewer raisins, allpurpose flour rather than bread flour, one egg rather than two, and active dry yeast rather than instant. The resulting bread is great!! And easily as good, if not better than the really expensive storebought version.

JIP's picture

My question is, Why bother??.  There are so many excellent regular non-bread machine recipes out there why would you need to convert rather than just use a conventional one in the first place.  The only reason I could imagine is you don't want to buy a new book to have to get new recipes.