My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, (which was back in February, by the way). I told him that I had been thinking that a bread machine would be a really good addition to the kitchen. Sometimes, we can go through 4 loaves of bread in one week. (now that is combined us and Daycare). It is not so much that good bread is expensive, but also that good bread is hard to find. I have often made my own bread, but then something will happen and I run out of time, and we are left without.
So, given that he likes when things are simple, off he went to shop for a bread machine. Given that he is one of the larger consumers of bread in our house, he has his specifics of what he likes in bread (usually the Country Grain loaf from Cobs suits him nicely). So, he didn’t ask me what my specifics were for a bread machine, he just went shopping.
He came home with a Black and Decker “All in one” bread maker.
He chose it because it had the whole grain loaf option as well as the “standard” bread pan. (Which means the loaves are standard loaf shape rather than square and up and down like most bread machines). I don’t know if I would say, “Standard” is totally appropriate when describing the size of the loaf, which comes out reasonably tall, but it is certainly more like a conventional loaf of bread than any bread machine loaves that I have seen.
The first loaf I made was the whole grain loaf from the book that came with the “Robot boulangere” as it is called in French (so Rob has nicknamed it “the Robot”). The loaf was very nice, but the recipe left a bit to be desired in terms of a whole grain loaf goes. 2 cups of whole wheat flour to 4 cups of white bread flour, plus added flax seeds and sesame seeds. However, it was low salt, no preservatives, low sugar.
Then I started to play. I began with the dough recipe that comes in the book. This is so you can make the dough in the machine and then bake it in your own oven. I took that one from its all white flour recipe to one with 1 cup white and 3 cups whole Spelt flour. It was beautiful. And the buns were delicious. I sliced them in half lengthwise and we used them with Sausage and peppers one night instead of pasta.
I did some searching on the Web for whole grain bread machine recipes. I found lots. I chose three that used only whole grain flours. I tried each of them. Let’s just say that we won’t make them again. Each one tasted good. And would be fine served along side some soup (to dip the bread in !). But you couldn’t use them for sandwiches. They were just way too heavy. Each time, the kids were like, “Mum, can’t you just buy bread?”
I went back to the recipe that came with the machine, and I started playing around with the ingredients (now that I was more familiar with the machine). First, I made one with half and half, whole wheat to white. It was very good (almost the same as the original one). Then I upped it again, to 4 cups whole wheat, 2 cups white. Finally, 5 to 1. Then I started subbing in other flours. I also did some reading about vital wheat gluten, which is the protein from wheat flour, after it has been hydrated and then the starch has been washed away. What is left is simply the wheat gluten. Typically, Bread flour has a higher protein content than regular all purpose flour, so if you are substituting other flours for bread flour, the recipe is more successful when you add 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten per cup of flour used.
And now, here it is, the final recipe, which has been kid tested and husband tested, and passed. And still pretty healthy and clean (and definitely better than store bought!)
Whole Grain Bread Machine Loaf ~ makes one 2lb loaf.
Put these ingredients in order into your bread machine pan:
2 cups buttermilk (or soured skim milk = 1 7/8 cup skim milk + 1/8 cup vinegar or lemon juice), room temperature
1/4 cup warm water (80-90F)
1 1/2 TBSP oil (I used Canola, as Grape seed left a taste)
2TBSP Maple syrup
1 1/2 TSP salt
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup Oat flour
4 cups whole wheat or whole spelt flour
1 cup All purpose flour
Make a small bowl in the top of the flour, and place 3 tsp active dry yeast in it.
Sprinkle 4 -5 tsp vital wheat gluten over the top of the flour.
Set your bread machine on the setting for Whole grain loaf, and for a 2lb loaf.
Please feel free to share this with your friends on Twitter and Facebook!