Gas station without pumps

2020 April 9

Bread-machine bread without the bread machine

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:48
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For many years (since 2004) I’ve been baking bread in a bread machine for bread-and-tea at work. I’ve been using the same recipe for almost the entire time, so I’ve memorized the ingredients and the order I add them to the bread machine:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2–3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2–3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp dry yeast

Tomorrow I plan to make the bread, but without the bread machine.  This will provide some challenges, as my house is not warm, unlike the bread machine when it is letting the dough rise (they say 82.4°F, which probably means 29°C±1°C).  I’ll probably have to increase the rising time, possibly substantially, to compensate for the lower temperature.

The bread-machine cycle that I use is “basic wheat”, which last 3 hours and 40 minutes—I’ll probably have to allow about 6 hours for the increased rising time.  I found an online manual for the bread machine,, (the paper one is near the bread machine on campus, so currently inaccessible),and looked up the timing it uses for the basic wheat cycle:

  • 40 minutes preheat
  • 13–18 minutes knead
  • 45 minutes rise
  • punch down
  • 20–25 minutes rise
  • punch down
  • 30–35 minutes rise
  • 62–67 minutes bake

The times supposedly vary with the room temperature.  The baking temperature is given as 254°F–290°F, which seems a little cool to me, but the baking time is about twice as long as I’d have expected also, so perhaps these compensate (I’d have chosen 30–40 minutes at 350–400°F).  Perhaps I’ll do an instant-thermometer test to see if the center of the loaf gets to 190°F, as I’ve seen recommended on the web.

To get as close to the bread-machine style as possible, I’ll do the initial kneading in our KitchenAid mixer using a dough hook and the first two risings in the mixing bowl.  After the second punch-down, I’ll shape the loaf and put it in a greased loaf pan (we don’t have any non-stick ones).

After this week, I’ll probably switch to more usual recipes intended for hand kneading—I just wanted to see whether I could come close to the standard that I’ve been doing for bread-and-tea.

Update 2020 April 10:  I started the bread at 10:10 a.m., using the dough hook on the KitchenAid mixer to mix and knead the ingredients for 10 minutes (probably too long). I oiled the ball of dough and let it rise in the mixer bowl (with a wet dishtowel over the top of the bowl) until 11:57 a.m., when I punched down the dough.  I let it rise again until 2pm, when I dumped the dough out onto the counter and punched it down again.  The ball of dough was too large for my largest bread pan, so I split it in half and used two oiled loaf pans (one of which was too large for the half ball of dough).  I let the dough rise in the loaf pans until 3:55 p.m., when I put the pans into a preheated 275°F oven.  At 4:30 and 4:45, I checked the temperature of the centers of the two loaves.  The loaf in the larger pan, being not as tall, was done (about 190°F), but the taller loaf was only about 175°F in the center, so I left it in the oven, turned up to 350°F for another 10 minutes.

The crust was not as crisp as from the bread machine (probably because of the oil on the ball of dough and on the bread pan, but the crumb was pretty much the same as from the bread machine.

I ate almost half the smaller loaf during the longer-than-usual bread-and-tea, and I sliced and froze the other loaf for sandwiches over the next couple of weeks.

For future bread-and-tea, I’ll try out more interesting bread recipes.


  1. Glad to see someone else is using the zojirushi. Those things are great. I’ve since started making 5-minute Artisan Bread. Google it or look at YouTube. Too late for tomorrow’s loaf, maybe next time?

    I just figured out the optimal way to make a wood-fired pizza oven using the gym ball method. I hope to build that this summer so I can bake bread too.

    Comment by Rich — 2020 April 9 @ 20:34 | Reply

    • I have a lot of bread recipes (we have about 15 shelf-feet of cookbooks), so I’m not in danger of running out of recipes to bake with. This week is just an attempt to continue the bread-and-tea tradition—last week I baked scones, and next week I have no idea what I’ll bake. Brioche? pita bread? who knows?

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2020 April 9 @ 20:56 | Reply

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