Friday, November 20, 2015

Further Adventures in Bread Making

I started out using my bread machine for basic French bread and sandwich bread, which has worked out very well. Those are still my favorites, but I felt the need to branch out for some more bread variety.

I'm sure no one who knows me is surprised to find that I first tried banana bread. It doesn't fit nicely into any of the pre-set mixing-and-cooking programs on the machine, so I followed this recipe and used the dough mix setting, followed by manually setting the bake time. My first attempt didn't completely mix all the ingredients properly, resulting in some small pockets where the dry ingredients had baked into a sort of crumbly mess. Easily remedied on future attempts by using a spatula to assist the machine's stir paddle, making sure everything got mixed up properly.
Bread of bananas.
That turned out nicely, with a bit over an hour of cook time. Slice it up, add butter, great snack or dessert.

Next I attempted a recipe from the bread machine's booklet, honey and almond bread. I'm not a big fan of nuts in bread, but they're OK as long as they're chopped up small enough. That part I was able to handle, but unfortunately the actual bread part didn't work too well. It didn't rise much at all, which in turn meant it didn't cook properly.
Hard to tell by looking, but trust me, that honey-and-almond loaf turned out dense and doughy.
I tried the recipe twice, just in case I screwed it up the first time, but got the same result. I suspect the issue lies with the yeast...either not enough of it, not the right temperature, or the wrong mix of other ingredients for it to activate properly. So I gave up on the honey bread for now. I may try it again someday, but I'll be finding another recipe to use.

Next, I decided on another bread machine booklet recipe, whole wheat bread. It was more similar to the successful recipes than the honey bread one, so I felt fairly confident that it would work. The main difference is using whole wheat flour, and sunflower oil/water rather than milk/eggs. And indeed, it turned out nicely. 
Wheat bread. Very brown.
It doesn't slice quite as easily as the white sandwich bread, so I probably won't make it too often, but it goes really well with soup or stew. Might use it more in the winter when hot soup sounds better than a sandwich.

There are tons of additional recipes out there, so I expect to try more bread types in the future. Already got my eye on a cheddar cheese bread recipe.

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