Mmmm, BREAD!!

Back in the 1970’s when my mother had a problem losing weight, she said that the hardest thing to give up, and the thing that made her fat, was bread. Now, I don’t know how true it is that bread made her fat, but I do know that giving up bread is a difficult thing to do!

There are so many different types of breads to choose from – crunchy and soft, sweet and sour, dark and light, rich and lean. All delicious.

I’m not much of a bread baker, but I have tried my hand at a few. I admit to using a bread machine quite often, but not always.

One that I make in my bread machine most frequently is called a rustic Italian loaf, although the results – while tasty – aren’t like any Italian loaf I’ve seen before. It’s easy to put together, and doesn’t contain dairy, which is important to me, and uses oil rather than butter. This recipe makes a 2# loaf, although my Cuisinart recipe booklet also helpfully provides quantities for 1# and 1-1/2# loaves. Put the ingredients into the bread bucket in the following order, and use the French/Italian Bread program:

1-1/4 to 1-1/3 cup room-temperature water (depending on the weather)
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
4 cups (17 oz) bread flour
1/2 cup unprocessed coarse wheat bran
2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tb sesame seeds (optional)

I also add a heaping tsp of diastatic malt powder. According to KAF, “Diastatic malt powder is the “secret ingredient” savvy bread bakers use to promote a strong rise, great texture, and lovely brown crust. Especially useful when flour does not have barley malt added, as is true for most whole wheat flour and many organic flours.”

My recipe calls for 1-1/2 cup of water, but I had a problem with the loaf over rising and then collapsing, leaving an unsightly indentation in the top of the loaf. The problem disappeared after decreasing the amount of water. The malt powder helps too.

I highly recommend weighing flour, rather than measuring, as the amount can vary widely depending on how packed the flour is. Flour should weigh about 4.25 ounces (120 grams) per cup. I have a small digital scale that measures pounds, ounces, kilograms and grams.

I also frequently make an Italian Panettone bread in the bread machine, and it turns out surprisingly well, although a little more dense than I would like. I’m planning on making an overnight slow-rise version that isn’t made in the bread machine, and I have obtained some of the disposable paper pans to bake it in. Panettone is a delicious rich bread that is good plain, or toasted with butter. Here is the recipe I will be using:

King Arthur Flour – Overnight Panettone

I also make ciabatta rolls from time to time, using this King Arthur Flour recipe:

Chewy Italian Rolls

It requires a long rise of the sponge or “biga”, and the dough is a bit sticky and tricky to shape, but the results are delicious! You can see in the photo that even KAF’s rolls are not perfectly shaped.

I am learning as I practice making my own bread, and I am now much more confident and willing to try something new. At Easter time I made my first loaf of braided Challah and, although not perfect, was pretty good. Next time I will add another rise for a better crumb.

I know some of you here are bread bakers. Anything new for us to try?

This entry was posted in baking, Hobbies & General Interest, Recipes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Mmmm, BREAD!!

  1. stella says:

    I forgot to mention – I’m going to make my own flour tortillas this week (probably tomorrow). I did it once before, but this time I’m using lard. Another thing I want to try is English muffins.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The Tundra PA says:

    Oooohh, Stella, maximum YUM factor! And such pretty pictures. I’m with your mom, bread is my downfall. I love it more than any pasteries, and if I have any hope of losing weight it is the one thing I must give up. Fresh warm bread with butter nearly brings me to tears of joy. A bread machine is the one appliance I’ve never allowed myself, because it would destroy what little self control I have. I love to read your recipes, gaze longingly at the photos and imagine the incredible smells of fresh bread… I’ll go eat some lettuce now…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. OK, as I take a break during the day, I pop in to look at pics etc. But for bread – I have a folder of bread pics!!! Here are 2 that include of course – Bacon! Thank goodness there is no smell-a-vision on computers!

    King Arthur has not only lots of nice recipes, but I read the comments for ideas as well. Thanks for a happy post on a somewhat gray & stressful day. Off to get some icky stuff accomplished now. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    • Ooops! sorry in a rush:

      Bacon-Onion Spiral Bread (maybe not as pretty as above flower design,but I’m sure tastes just as good!)
      Swirled with a savory bacon and onion filling, this impressive spiral bread is very good on its own, and makes for an epic sandwich. Shown used in grilled cheese sandwich:


      12 ounces sliced bacon
      1 1/2 cups finely diced onions
      3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
      1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
      1 teaspoon paprika


      3/4 cup lukewarm milk
      2 tablespoons water
      2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
      1 tablespoon bacon fat (or butter)
      1 large egg
      2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
      1/2 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
      2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
      1 teaspoon salt
      2 teaspoons onion powder, optional; for enhanced flavor
      1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for brushing on the dough


      To make the filling: Cook the bacon until crisp, reserving 2 tablespoons of the fat. Drain the strips on absorbent paper until cool, then finely chop and place in a medium bowl.
      Cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a heavy skillet set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and add the onions to the chopped bacon. Stir in the flour, pepper, and paprika; set aside.
      For the dough: Combine the milk, water, butter, bacon fat, egg, flours, yeast, salt, and onion powder. Mix and knead until the dough is soft and supple; cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
      After its first rise, pat the dough into an 8″ x 18″ rectangle. Brush with some of the beaten egg mixture, and spread with the bacon filling, leaving 1″ at the short end uncovered. Roll the bread up from the short end toward the uncovered edge, pinching the seam closed. Place seam-side down in a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it domes 1″ above the rim of the pan. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
      Brush the top of the risen loaf with the remaining beaten egg mixture. Slash it, and bake for 30 minutes. Tent with foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the inside of the bread measures 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer.
      Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

      Gotta run – Enjoy! 😉

      Liked by 4 people

    • czarina33 says:

      Beautiful breads!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Stella, I am just seeing a blue box here, so apologies if I have duplicated anything you posted. I have never seen that happen before.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Well, after posting my comment this showed up. Weird. Anyhow, I look forward to seeing that later. You know I am a sourdough addict. Start it growing every year the first day I step outside in the morning and the air tells me fall is coming. Two or three weeks later I have a bubby and aromatic starter ready to go, and a hungry house of men ready to eat the bread and soup that are my favorite meals all winter.

      Might not be that way this year. Almost the whole danged family has gone on the Keto diet.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Menagerie says:

    This is the challah recipe I started with, but I use half honey and half sugar. This bread rises more than any bread I have ever made in the oven, so just be aware of that when you size your loaves. Also, do the egg wash a second time, right before you put the loaves in the oven. That way you get the loaf nice and shiny all over, not just on the top.

    For me, this was the video that started my curiousity about challah bread. Even though there is no recipe, and they don’t speak English (I am guessing it’s Hebrew, but danged if I know) it’s a great way to learn to braid the bread, which is just great fun. I usually do the 6 strand braid, but I have done the 3, and my granddaughter loves to do the twisted rolls.

    I was initially unsure I would like this because it has so much sugar in it, and I do not like sweet bread at all, but it is a great tasting bread, not nearly as sweet as I feared it would be.

    I do like sweet breads that are supposed to be sweet, as in cinnamon rolls, breakfast breads, etc. I have an appointment, but when I get back I will post some more of those recipe links. I have two that make awesome, fun to make Christmas presents and are not only beautiful, but quite easy to make.

    I am a pretty good baker, but I never spend much time or effort on beautiful food, a downfall I have. That’s why I love all these bread recipes. I can easily make them look just like the pretty pictures.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. hocuspocus13 says:

    Coffee Bean Tincture…


    If not out contact her


  6. Lucille says:

    Those photos..the thoughts of such yummy goodness…the debate to let the diet DIE…OH…OH…OH…OH…I’m getting faint…my breathing is heavy…hyperventilating…thunk-thwap-boing…hit the floor.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Menagerie says:

    The third one is so easy that I let my five year old grandson and my six year old granddaughter do the twists after I cut the bread. It is just as delicious as it is easy.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Menagerie says:

    Here is a go to easy bread, just as delicious as any other. The Guinness gives a strong taste. If you want a bread with a little less punch, you can use any beer. I like a Belgian wheat beer a lot too.

    Liked by 2 people

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