Bread Maker Recipe – Whole Wheat Bread

February 10, 2010

After some experimentation, and a return to the basics of just how flour and yeast work together, I've finally met one of my major food goals when it comes to bread making. I've come up with a satisfying 100% whole wheat recipe for the bread maker. It has a light crust and texture, and a gentle chew. The harsh tones normally found in whole wheat bread are greatly reduced.

I'm very excited about this. Now I can enjoy whole wheat bread – real whole wheat, not that stuff they call wheat bread in the grocery store – as daily bread.

We don't have to put up with mixing white flour with whole wheat flour for good results in the bread maker, anymore. We can increase our fiber intake and replace many of the simple carbs in our bread with more complex ones, and we don't have to give up fluffy texture or flavor.

1 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon dough conditioner
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put the ingredients in the bread maker loaf pan in the order listed, or the order recommend by the manufacturer.* Use the whole wheat cycle, light crust.

When the cycle is complete, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack, covered by a kitchen towel, before slicing.

If you want a softer crust, try this secret trick. Once the bread has reached room temperature, place the loaf in a plastic bag and let it sit for an additional 30 minutes. This will ensure the remaining steam softens the crust.


*In this recipe I actually violated the manufacturers suggestions. Sort of. In baking, sugar can be though of as a liquid, so I put the oil, salt and sugar in with the water, and then put the flour in, over the top. My feeling was that this would more evenly distribute the sugar and oil throughout the dough, before the yeast hit it and started working. I wasn't wrong. This simple step actually mad the difference between a passable loaf, and a tasty one.

Bread Maker Recipe - Tuscan Bread

February 3, 2010

Tuscan bread, or Pane Toscana, is made without salt. There are some interesting historical reasons, stemming from taxes and trade politics, much like the the American colonist's response to the Stamp tax and other taxes levied by the British government in America's pre-revolutionary days.

During the Middle Ages, Tuscany's neighboring provinces controlled the Italian salt trade and, in their greed, levied heavy salt taxes all around. Rather that give in to such bullying by their rivals, the Tuscans created breads that required no salt at all. And now you can make it in your bread maker.

Tuscan bread has a more yeasty flavor than most bread maker recipes. It can quickly become stale so it's best to eat it as soon as it's made. Interestingly enough, many Tuscan cooks developed other dishes that use stale bread as one of the ingredients.

Necessity really is the mother of invention, even with bread recipes.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 cups white flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon dough conditioner
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Place the ingredients in the bread loaf pan in the order recommended by your manufacturer. Use the French loaf cycle and the dark crust setting.

Enjoy this bread with your favorite Italian dishes. If it goes stale before you can eat it all, make croutons or use it as a thickener in soup.

Photo by Dimitar Tzankov