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Earthnotes
Recipe File

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OKAY, YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA OF MAKING YOUR OWN BREAD. You even went out and bought a bread machine and, hey, okay, it makes a pretty decent loaf of bread, but...it's just not fluffy enough or doesn't have the texture you want, the one with the nooks and crannies that's so great for making toast. You've followed the recipes that came in your manual, but the final product has discouraged you so much, you've packed the machine away to collect dust.

Well drag it back out!

Whether making bread by machine or by hand the trick is to get the water and salt right. Although I posted plenty of bread recipes with the traditional amounts for ingredients, there isn't one of which I wouldn't change the liquid and salt amounts.

The thing with salt is that it controls the growth of the yeast. You can actually make bread without salt. Some cultures do or use very little at all. Guaranteed, you don't want the dough hitting the top cover of your breadmaker, but with a little experimenting you can get it just right and get the bread you want.

For a standard 1 to 2 lb loaf of bread all you really need is 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of salt.

Here's a basic recipe I've devised for a 2 lb loaf. You can work off of it to get just what you want by raising or lowering the amounts of liquid and salt. I've fortified it with an egg to provide protein. Often I add a handful of bran or a cup of raisins. If you have a favorite recipe the rules of liquid and salt amounts still apply. Often the manufacturors skimp on the liquid called for and suggest way too much salt. By the way, the lower salt amounts are great for people who are battling high blood pressure. Anywhere you can save on sodium is good. Once you've tried the recipe, look over other recipes in your manual you might want to try and adjust the liquids and yeast according to what you've discovered is best in your machine. Just remember to put the wet and dry ingredients into the machine in the order your manual instructs.

1½ cups water (includes egg, if using)
4 cups flour (I prefer unbleached King Arthur brand)
1 to 1½ tbsp sugar (depending on taste)
1/4 tsp salt (or less, if desired and your machine can handle it)
2 tsp rapid rise yeast (sometimes called bread machine yeast)

Put a small amount of water in the bottom of your measuring cup (so the egg will slide right out and you won't lose any), then add the egg and continue adding water until the total liquid measures the amount called for above (or whatever you have determined will work in your machine). Add water and egg combination to the bread machine pan, then continue adding the rest of the ingredients in the order your manual calls for. Usually that's in the order I have them listed. That's it. Bake your basic loaf. If you have crust control, try the light crust this time.

THAT'S IT! ENJOY!

And please let me know how you made out and if those changes make the difference for you.

As soon as time allows (HA!), I plan to add some bread machine recipes here.

Ernestina
The Backyard Herbalist




©2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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