A Simple Bread Recipe for a Bread Machine
Written by Randy Watson
It is not really winter here in San Antonio, yet. We have not really had any days that have stayed below 50 yet for the whole day. Yea, we did have some really cold days the other day when it got down to 31 overnight. It is 51 degrees at 4:00 this cloudy Sunday afternoon. It was less than a month ago, we were still hitting the century mark on the thermometer, so no, my blood has not thickened up yet.
Although, we are not always known for arctic cold winter snaps in South Texas, sometimes we do get into the twenties or rarely into the teens overnight. Anyway, ever since I was a kid, one of the things my mom started us doing to keep us out of trouble was bake bread when we could not go outdoors to play. I have been baking bread ever since. I have tried baking many different styles and flavors of breads.
Nowadays, most of the breads I make are just the typical sandwich loaf or dinner bread. But, I have experimented with French and Italian rolls, cinnamon and raisin breads and even some gluten free breads. I have made breads with mesquite flour, rice flour, bean flour, wheat flour and even regular bleached white flour. You name any kind of bread, I have probably tried to make it. At home I usually bake a loaf or 2 every week. I may have given up on the cinnamon swirl, buns. rolls and croissant breads. But I still make a pretty darn good plain sandwich loaf, once or twice a week.
Over the years, I have learned what works for me and what does not when it comes to baking bread. Sometimes, I am lazier than other times, so for the lazy times, I use a bread machine. I can mix up a dough batch and have it in the bread machine in less than 5 minutes. (Here is a hint. If you want a loaf of bread in the summer and you are not already using the oven, just use the bread machine. It will help keep the kitchen cooler in the summer time.)
For my bread machine, I use a really simple recipe that works and does not fail me too often. The recipe is just a plain and simple white or white/whole wheat loaf. When baking bread I usually use bread flour, instead of general purpose flour. Bread flour has more gluten in it to keep the dough from collapsing. The bread flour will also cause the bread to look a little bit yellower than if you use just the general purpose flour.
My bread machine makes a 2lb loaf. Adjust to 3 cups of flour if you have a 1 ½ lb loaf bread machine.
Here is my bread machine recipe:
- 1 ½ cups of room temp to warm water (75-100 degrees)
- 4 generous cups of bread flour (may use 3 cups white bread flour and 1 cup of red wheat flour)
- 1-2 teaspoons of salt
- ½ teaspoon of dry yeast (do not proof yeast)
Pour the water in first, then flour, sprinkle in the salt and dry yeast. Set the machine for a plain white loaf or wheat loaf. (Wheat flour takes longer to rise.) I like to set my crust to dark, turn it on and let it run. Check the machine after about 5 minutes. If the dough is too watery, add a tablespoon of flour, if too dry, add a tablespoon of water and start the machine again. Once the consistency balls up and is not soggy or gooey, close the lid and let it do its thing. In about 1 ½ hours the house will be smelling really good. In about 3 hours, (3 hrs 40 min for a wheat loaf) you will have a hot loaf of bread.