The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How heavy is a 2lb loaf?

Martyn's picture

How heavy is a 2lb loaf?

Yes, I know, that's a stupid question. But when I read the instructions for my bread maker, it just doesn't make sense.

Basic white bread recipe for a 2lb (900g) loaf:

water 360ml

skimmed milk powder 4tbsp

sunflower oil 4tbsp

sugar 3tsp

salt 2tsp

strong white bread flour 960g

yeast 1 1/4 tsp

If this is for a 2lb loaf, why do we start off with more than 2lb of flour? I also have to say that the recipes in the book are terrible and do not work out, I have made several heavy flour bricks and have now resorted to making bread by hand which I am enjoying very much.I think that it's instructions like this that get bread machines a bad name and probably result in many being left unused after a first try.

mrfrost's picture

Ditch the manual, as far as recipes are concerned.

Start with the bread machine recipes at Probably the most consistent and dependably reproducible recipes you are going to find(especially if you are able to weigh your ingredients).

What make and model machine, by the way?

Martyn's picture

If it's a typo, the proportions of ingredients are the same throughout the recipe book for all the breads. Since reading the Baker's Math formula in the handbook on this forum, I realise that the recipes are far too dry.

The machine is a Breville Auto-Bake. I have to admit though, it's got me interested in bread making, and it's fast becoming a passion :-)

mrfrost's picture

All three comments on that machine at amazon-uk, agree and seem to make it obvious that the formulas are wrong. Recipes from manuals are pretty lousy anyway(in general).

Since it seems like you are probably not in the US, you will probably need to do some measurement conversions but it will be worth it. Download the Josh Madison Convert program(free) if you need to, and use any of the thousands of free online great bread machine recipes to be found. You can actually make about any bread recipe, whether or not it's  written for a machine. Just make sure not to make too much dough, as there is only so much room in a machine for it to rise.

Again, you cannot beat the recipes at as a starting point.

Make sure to use a high(er) protein flour(11-12% or so), or add vital wheat gluten for a nicely risen loaf.

Martyn's picture

Thanks Mrfrost, the comments on Amazon have put my mind at rest. I've sent an email to Breville customer services, so I'll wait and see what they say.

I am indeed in the UK as you suggest, isn't the world a small place when you have the internet. The folks here are a mine of information and most friendly and helpful.

hutchndi's picture

"I have made several heavy flour bricks and have now resorted to making bread by hand which I am enjoying very much."

Welcome to my world Martyn!

My first introductions to bread baking involved a bread machine I recieved as a safety award at work. The recipe book included in the box contained recipes that looked as long as the ingredient list on a bag of wonder bread. It was not what I had in mind at all. A few short months later and I was baking sourdough by hand. I now use flour, water, salt, my own starter which was shared with me freely by friends...and thats it. If you are finding enjoyment in making your bread by hand, keep going and do not look back!!!!!! When I started there was not a site quite like this one that will help you along immensely, and you will quickly find that what might immediately seem a daunting amount of information will seem to fill your cranium as fast as those fantastic hand made loaves your making will fill your stomache.

And honestly, do you really want to know how to bake that awful basic white bread recipe?

spsq's picture

Don't give up the bread maker completely!


I love my bread maker for a couple of things.

1.  Mixing very wet doughs until they stop being too sticky

2.  doing the kneading for an extra loaf of bread - I make two by hand, the breadmaker makes a third and they all go in the oven at the same time.


When you're feeling a little lazy, practically any recipe for a loaf/flatbread/pizza dough, etc, can be started in your bread machine and finished by hand.  I still love mine!

spsq's picture

The indicators of 1 1/2 lb, 2 lbs - is just a guideline to tell you approximately how much dough your bm can handle.  For example, you couldn't throw in a double recipe - about 4 lbs - without overtaxing the machine.

wmtimm627's picture

I own a Cuisinart bread machine and the recipes that came with it were spot on. That being said, the best recipes I found were in "The Bread Bible" by Beth Hensperger. There is a section in the back for bread machines that has produced some of the best loaves I've ever made.

On occasion, I weigh a loaf after baking and it's usually pretty close to what the recipe says it will be. Perhaps with heat and evaporation, the weight of ingredients has nothing to do with the finished weight.

Martyn's picture

I have just received an email back from Breville. They apologise for the errors in the cookbook and have attached two recipe books that I am assured have good formulas that work well. I may give some of them a try if I get too rushed for time to hand bake.

I'm just getting ready to shape a half and half loaf (strong white flour and wholemeal) and pop it in the oven :-)

Happy baking!

Matt H's picture
Matt H

Once you have answered this question: Who is buried in Grant's tomb?