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handmade bread

in Old style MoneySaving
825 replies 87.1K views
I know that there are some real breadmaker fans on this board but I just can't see the point. The bread they make is just like shop bread...will I be crucified for saying that?
I've always made my own bread (even when I was a student - so geeky). I don't bother kneading so it takes me about 10 minutes, including clearing up time. It has a crunchy crust and a very springy inside, with quite big holes. This is how I do it:
Somewhere between a 1/2 and 3/4 of a bag of strong bread flour (I use all white, if you want brown bread I would recommend using 1/2 and 1/2 brown and white flour or the bread won't rise properly)
dessert spoon dried yeast (or one sachet easy-blend and no sugar)
teaspoon sugar
handful pinenuts/sesame seeds/walnuts/sunflower seeds whatever (non-essential, is yummy without)
teaspoon salt
about 1 - 1/2 pints water

1) mix sugar with about 1/2 pint of hand-hot water, whisk in yeast, leave in a warm place until about an inch of froth on top
2) put flour, nuts/seeds, salt in a bowl, whisk the yeast mixture so the froth is amalgamated, stir into dry ingredients, then pour in probably about another 3/4 pint water, stirring all the time, until all the flour is mixed in and the mixture is very sticky, far too sticky to knead. Leave to prove in a warm place until roughly doubled in size.
3) thoroughly grease a bread tin - I use butter as oil never makes a proper film and it's very annoying if the bread sticks
4) Give the risen dough a brisk stir with a knife to knock the air out of it. Pour into bread tin. Leave somewhere warm until risen slightly above the top of the tin. Bake in a hot overn (200C or thereabouts) for about 1 hour
5) Take it out of the tin and knock the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow it's cooked, if not pop it back in the oven for another ten-fifteen minutes.

If I'm in a hurry I use a sachet of easyblend yeast, put the mixture straight in the bread tin and just let it rise once.
It's important to have somewhere warm for the bread to rise, I'm lucky enough to have an Aga but on top of a radiator/in an air cupboard is fine. The cooler the atmosphere, the longer it will take to rise. If you want to let it rise overnight, it will rise in the fridge!
These quantities are really approximate as different brands of flours absorb different amounts of water. Basically the dough should be like a very very thick batter, or plaster just before it goes hard. It doesn't matter if it's wetter or dryer, you just need to cook it longer if it's very wet.
This doesn't take long - I work full time and make a loaf every evening.

What do other handbakers do? Would breadmaker fans ever be converted?
Debt at LBM (20th March 2008) £13,607
Debt currently [strike]£11,667[/strike] [strike]£11088[/strike] [strike]£10,681[/strike] [STRIKE]£10354 Hurrah 24% paid off[/STRIKE]
Oh dear ... back to £12944 9% paid off :rolleyes:
Hurrah £10712 22% paid off


  • I know that there are some real breadmaker fans on this board but I just can't see the point. The bread they make is just like shop bread...will I be crucified for saying that?
    I so agree with you.

    The big advantage of handbaking for me apart from superior taste and moneysaving is that I can bake four loaves at once.

    I've posted my recipe several times before- it's based on Delia's. I also use a no-knead wholemeal recip very similar to yours.

    Breadmakers -can't see the point :D
  • I have a BM but do prefer the taste of Hand made bread. Unfortuately I lack the strengh to do serious kneading so I now let the BM do that and the first rise and then I let it prove out of the BM and bake it in the oven.

    I still use the BM for a complete cycle if we run out of bread unexpectedly and the BM can make a loaf overnight for me.

    BMs are really about timesaving for most people I think.
  • morwennamorwenna Forumite
    844 Posts
    The big advatage to me of a breadmaker is the timer setting - when you leave the house at 7:30 am and don't return until 6:00 pm, knowing there is fresh bread in the BM and a stew in the SC is a lifesaver! However, I enjoy making bread in the conventional way and as I have been off this week, have enjoyed "baking up a storm!" (The kids have enjoyed it too!) :D
  • I use my BM just for the mixing, proving and kneading processes. I don't like to cook my loaves in the BM - I tend to shape the dough into rolls and loaves.

    It's just convenience as I can work at my desk upstairs without worrying about forgetting about it!

    The buzzer reminds me that its motoring away downstairs.
    :D Thanks to MSE, I am mortgage free!:D
  • Ok, I can see the advantage of BMs for people who are out all day, but I'm not sure they save time. When I owned one it took 4 hours to make 1 loaf. Now I handbake 4 loaves in 3½ hours.

    3 mins measuring out ingredients
    4 mins kneading (Count Rostov's recipe doesn't require kneading;) )
    2 hours rising -during which time you can go out and do your shopping or whatever you like.
    3 mins knocking back and shaping
    40 mins proving
    40 mins baking

    I wait for the loaves to cool then place in plastic bags and freeze. They seem to be easier to slice after a bit of frost;)

    I do this twice a week and those 8 loaves see my family of 5 through toast, sandwiches and bread with soup at weekend lunches. OH eats a fair bit toasted in the evening.

    I generally make a batch of 15 rolls as well (slightly different and quicker recipe - 2 hours 15 mins) which does OH and the kids 3 packed lunches.

    And no hole up the middle:D
  • ToonieToonie Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    I'm considering making bread or at least bread rolls for the first time as the price of bread is becoming outrageous and really using up a lot of our food budget. Any tips or recipe suggestions as I will be doing it by hand?
    Grocery budget £2069.85/£2400 yearly (approx £200/month-any leftovers from the monthly budget go into the savings pot which can be used for stocking up/price rises as needed)

    Savings Pot £130.75

    Saving for Christmas 2023 #15 £ / £365

  • CRANKY40CRANKY40 Forumite
    5.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Debt-free and Proud! Name Dropper
    I've copied your method and will have a go at that. I have arthriris in one hand, so the kneading thing can be a bit hit and miss.
  • well i like using the bm, it does the hard work for me whilst i potter about doing everything else, or like today its on timer so when i get back from shopping it'll just need tipping out, split into two tins and then baking.

    and it is much easier for me to have the bm take the strain, then i have time to catch up with all the threads on here ;)
    Nonny mouse and Proud!!
    Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience
    Amor et metus. Lac? Sugar? Quisque massa vel duo? (stolen from a lovely forumite!)

  • edited 13 October 2009 at 6:02AM
    thriftlady_2thriftlady_2 Forumite
    9.1K Posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    edited 13 October 2009 at 6:02AM
    Soft bread rolls -makes about 15

    Mix in a large bowl

    1½ lbs white bread flour
    ½ lb wholemeal bread flour
    you can use all white flour if you want white rolls
    2 tsp sugar-optional
    2 tsp salt
    4 tsp easy-blend yeast Have since found 3 tsp is perfectly adequate. Might even be worth trying with less.

    Stir in

    ½ pint hand-hot milk
    ½ pint hand-hot water
    I generally use milk from the fridge and then top it up with just-boiled water

    Mix together to form a dough.

    Knead the dough for about 4 mins, until smooth and elastic.

    Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 1½ hours.

    Knock back (give it a good thump all over to knock the air out) and knead again a few times.

    Shape into rolls about the size of a cricket ball. Place them on greased baking trays (I get 15 on one very large tray, they spread a bit and join together so you have to tear them apart when baked).

    Leave covered with the damp cloth for 25 mins.

    If you want flattish bap-like rolls then press them down with your floured palm before putting in the oven.

    Bake at 210-220 c for 15-20 mins.

    If you want the tops to remain soft then cover the tray with a clean dry cloth as soon as they come out of the oven. Allow to cool.

    Rolls freeze well.
  • kate83kate83 Forumite
    290 Posts

    If I'm in a hurry I use a sachet of easyblend yeast, put the mixture straight in the bread tin and just let it rise once.

    How do you do it with the easy blend yeast?
    Is it just mix all dry ingredients and add about 1 1/4 pint water all at once - then continue as recipe?

    I normally use a bread maker but will give this a go and see if it comes out any different, just noticed there's no fat in your recipe, doesn't it need any? - just most have butter or oil to keep bread moist, wondered if it made a difference
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