Since this is our first of many posts that will be about bread, we had better start with some ground rules. The UnChef is also the Lazy Chef. Making bread was never on our radar until the invention of the bread machine. We got our first one about 20 years ago. It was a Citizen and did us fairly well. The main problem was that its loaves were small and were also round, resulting in awkward slices. Nevertheless, off and on, we used it in fits and starts and enjoyed its results.
About a year ago, on a whim (and because it was on special), we bought a new machine (pictured at left). It allows three different sizes and results in a traditionally shaped loaf. Although cycle times are longer, the product is far superior and consistent than with our previous machine. Unless otherwise noted, all breads discussed on these pages will be for this or similar machines. With both machines, we have found that with a little jiggling, any recipe both conventional and bread-machine can be adapted to fit your own machine. From our personal experience, the most critical factor is the amount of liquid. In most recipes, we find ourselves slightly increasing the amount of liquid called for. Once the dough has been thoroughly mixed in the machine before the first rising, the outside of the dough should be slightly sticky to the touch. If insufficient liquid is present, the dough will not rise as much and may not cook thoroughly throughout. Your own results may differ. There is no substitute for experience.
Today’s Recipe – Cream of Wheat Bread
|milk||2/3 cup||1 cup||1 1/3 cups|
|marg/butter||2 1/2 tbs||1/4 cup||5 tbs|
|sugar||1 1/3 tbs||2 tbs||2 2/3 tbs|
|salt||1 1/4 tsp||2 tsp||2 1/2 tsp|
|gluten, optional||1 tbs||1 1/2 tbs||2 tbs|
|bread flour||1 1/3 cups||2 cups||2 2/3 cups|
|cream of wheat||2/3 cup||1 cup||1 1/3 cups|
|yeast||1 tsp||1 1/2 tsp||2 1/2 tsp|
As you will soon learn, if you begin to follow this blog regularly, I am a huge fan of substitution. There are some that are virtually standard for me. In most of my breads, I substitute molasses or honey for sugar. In brown breads I usually add molasses and in white breads I use honey. Normally, I use grapeseed oil instead of margarine or butter. Here I used half oil, half butter, simply because I had a small piece of butter to use up. Not having cream of wheat in the cupboard, I used oat bran which we did have. I almost always add the optional gluten because it lends a better consistency. Finally, I also add a couple of tablespoons of ground flax seed for good measure. The resulting loaf is shown in the picture above.