Who owns a bread machine? Hands up please.
Who owns a bread machine that languishes in a cupboard, never used? Keep your hands up.
That was me, until recently. My bread machine sat in the bottom of my pantry for – I kid you not – at least five years, unused.
If you own a bread machine, you may know this story. I stopped using mine because it made terrible bread. Really terrible bread.
I tried several recipes, all to middling success. It was SUCH a downer. I even tried bread mix, and admittedly it made okay bread then, but what’s the point of buying bread mix, right? I may as well just buy bread. So I gave up after a while and put the machine away and it just… sat there.
Earlier this year though, I decided I wanted to give it another go. A quick search for bread machine recipes sent me to this recipe for butter bread. Since it contained butter and real milk (as opposed to milk powder like many recipes) it seemed like it could get an okay result.
And the first try of the recipe gave me… pretty good bread. Much better than anything I had tried before. It wasn’t perfect though: it rose too much and didn’t have quite enough flavour, but the texture was excellent – airy and soft. But it was good enough to excite me – I could sense that I just needed to tweak the recipe a bit and excellent bread would be in my reach.
Well, it’s taken six weeks of experimentation – less yeast + more salt, more yeast + same salt, less yeast + same salt, etc etc – and I believe I have finally nailed the recipe for really, really good bread machine bread.
A few things: the bread takes almost 4 hours from start to finish. It needs some planning ahead because it’s best if taken out as soon as it’s finished baking. If it gets left in the bread machine, the crust gets a bit tough.
Just like any home made bread, it only stays fresh for a day or two. I store it in the fridge after a couple of days for toast – but you know what? It makes EXCELLENT toast. Seriously good toast, almost the best toast ever.
I guess different bread machines might give slightly different results. My machine works best with the exact quantity of ingredients listed below, but if you try it and your bread rises too much or not enough, try adjusting the amount of yeast by 1/4 teaspoon. It’s surprising what a difference just 1/4 teaspoon of yeast can make.
I’m so, so happy that I have finally cracked this bread. I’m going to look for a good plain white bread recipe next but I think this will be my go-to bread machine recipe for a long time.
- 1 medium egg
- 115g butter
- 300ml milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 500g plain bread flour
- 1 teaspoon bread improver (optional)
- 1 & 3/4 teaspoons instant dried yeast
- Chop the butter into small pieces.
- Add the ingredients to your bread machine in the order listed: egg, butter, milk
- Next add the salt and sugar - sprinkle these around the edge of the tin.
- Next add the bread flour and bread improver.
- Finally, make a hollow in the top of the flour and place the yeast inside the hollow.
- Set the bread maker to a french setting, medium crust, 1kg loaf (this is a triple rising setting). If your breadmaker doesn't have this setting, use the white bread setting.
- After the bread machine finishes, remove from the pan immediately and let the bread cool on a rack.
- Don't slice until the bread is completely cool and store in the fridge after a couple of days.
Adapted from allrecipes.com.au