The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ISO Bread Machine Textbook (not a cookbook)

JustJoel's picture
JustJoel

ISO Bread Machine Textbook (not a cookbook)

I bought a bread machine a few months ago. I love it. I can use the timer function to have a simple French bread loaf filling the the house with aroma when I wake up in the morning, or I can make a more complicated loaf using a starter, using the dough setting, then forming the dough by hand, proofing it, and baking it with whatever method. I’m obsessed, I admit it! (Last year it was canning, and the year before, it was sous vide.)

I've purchased several books (Kindle) about bread making in general; they’re all very interesting and I’ve learned a lot from them, but most of them are very artisan based; mixing the dough and kneading it by hand several times, folding etc etc etc. And most of the starters are days-long affairs (I have commitment issues). And I have several bread machine cookbooks, some very good.

I need (no pun intended) a textbook for using bread machines; converting non-machine recipes to machine recipes, baker’s percentages for the machine, and methods for forming and baking dough that’s been processed but not baked by the bread machine. I’ve searched extensively, but all I've been able to find are cookbooks; helpful in a way, and with many excellent recipes, but no real basic “do this for a brioche, do this for a rye bread, do that for a French loaf” kind of instruction. Are you following me?

Any suggestions would be welcome. Digital editions are particularly appreciated, as my kitchen has no room for cookbooks and textbooks. Neither does the rest of the apartment! My poor iPod, which is new, is aging in dog’s years from the accidental flour dustings, the oil splatters, and the water splashes! But it’s my new, favorite “kitchen appliance!”

JustJoel's picture
JustJoel

Most of the recipes in the best breadmaking textbooks call for, what is to me, an enormous amount of flour, like a kilo! I only need to make one or two small loaves at a time. We don’t give our puppies any human food, and there’s only two of us, and my crappy apartment freezer is tiny.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I used to own a small Zojirushi that would make a 1 lb loaf.   They don't make that same model I had but I see they do still make a mini bread machine that does a 1 lb loaf.    

You can easily just divide your recipe to figure out the amounts for a smaller loaf - but depending on what machine you have it may not be able to make a decent loaf with smaller amounts.

 

JustJoel's picture
JustJoel

I did get one of those one-pound Zojirushi machines. I made three loaves and shelved the thing. It made bricks, not bread. I’m very happy with my Westbend; it has a wide variety of cycles, a timer, and it makes both 1 1/2lb loaves and 2 lb loaves. The dough cycle handles any but the toughest doughs, and it’s (relatively) quiet.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I guess I don't know what the problem is that you're trying to solve.  If your machine can make a small loaf but your  book only lists recipes for larger loafs, just adjust the amounts down.   Some recipes deliberately use 1000 grams of flour because 1000 is a nice, round number to use for dividing to get the percentages of each ingredient.    I find a nice ratio for a small loaf is 350 grams flour and 250 grams of water and 7 grams salt --- you'd have to figure out the perfect amount of yeast and this is about 71% hydration so if you like a stiffer dough, use less liquid.   You could take your bread book recipe and enter the flour/water into this calculator http://breadcalc.com/ and see what the hydration is - then adjust the flour and water down while keeping the same hydration.

I had wonderful luck with my old Zojirushi - but any bread machine is something where you have to measure ingredients carefully and keep notes as you zero in on the magic proportion of ingredients that your particular bread machine works with best. 

For example if it rises too fast and then caves in by the time the baking cycle starts - you can reduce the yeast or reduce the sugars or increase the salt or reduce the liquid  (etc.)    And if it rises too slowly and the baking cycle starts before it's fully risen, then you can reduce the salt or increase the yeast or increase the sugars or increase the liquid (etc.).