I borrowed a friend's bread machine. Made 2 loafs so far and decided I want
The machine makes 1 or 1.5 lb loafs. I need to make small loafs. Even 1-lb
is too big. Since I like to experiment, the smaller the loaf the better.
Plus, I'm the only person eating the bread anyway.
A quicks search turns up a model called west bend just for dinner
breadmaker. It makes 3/4 lb loaf, and does it in 45 minutes. Quick
turnaround is good for experimenter, but I wonder if 45 minutes is taking
too much short-cuts. I also would like a programmable cycle so that there's
more things to experiment with.
Is 3/4 lb loaf the smallest loaf that bread machine can make?
I'm surprised that there are machines that make loaves that small. The
smallest I'd seen were 1 lb models.
Actually, not only is 45 minutes too fast, so is an hour. I wouldn't
suggest any machine, or cycle, that was less than 2 1/2 hours, and
longer is better. Remember, you don't have to be there to watch it.
With most machines you can load the ingredients at night and set it up
so you'll have fresh bread in the morning. Or load it in the morning
and you'll have bread when you get home.
As to sizes, you might consider letting your bread machine do the
kneading and such, then take out the dough, put it into several smaller
loaf pans and bake a number of small loaves. Or, you could make rolls.
Then, you can freeze the extras for later.
In general, the longer it takes to make bread, the better it will taste
and the longer it will last, which is another reason to not use the
"express" settings on bread machines. In France people tend to buy a
large loaf to feed their family for a week. The loaf is called a Miche,
and people talk about which day after baking the bread is at it's best.
Many people prefer that the bread be a few days old. We Americans have
an obsession with "fresh bread" that really doesn't have much of a
culinary basis. Many breads are better after they've had a chance to
breathe. So what if you can't finish the loaf in one sitting? It'll
last for a number of days, and chances are it will improve for several
of them. Have toast for breakfast. Make sandwiches to take to work.
Use bread crumbs to thicken a soup. Bread.... it's not just for one meal!
I know that you have already thought of this but, why not make a full
loaf, on the dough cycle, shape into smaller loaf and put into small
bread pans, rise, bake and when cooled, freeze the extra ones for later.
I was a hand-made bread bigot until a friend with trusted gourmet
instincts pointed out that you could wake up to the smell of fresh bread
without having worked during the night. So one birthday the GF gave me
a Breadman Ultimate (enlightened self-interest on her part; she too got
to eat the bread) which is now an indispensable accessory. It has a 1#
loaf setting, and on Basic cycle the difference seems to be 5 minutes
less duration than 1.5#. This is probably in the bake time. With a
vertical pan (not Breadman) and programmable cycles, you can probably
knock the loaf size down a bit more.
One thing I have learned with the machine is that working by weight
rather than volume, particularly for the flour, consistently yields
superior results. Yeah, the instructions usually say to check the dough
during first kneading and adjust moisture content, but that detracts
from the "load-and-forget" beauty. Heck, just convert to baker's
percentages and then you can scale that little test loaf up to whatever