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Andrew Whitley's bread machine loaf

Because baking by hand isn't for everyone.

A bread machine loaf by  kae71463, CC BY 2.0

A bread machine loaf by kae71463, CC BY 2.0

With a bread machine you are in control of what goes into your loaf - and what doesn't. This gives you the chance to choose ingredients that will give you the kind of loaf you want to eat.

To avoid the additives that lurk in some packet mixes, use simple flours, preferably organic, stoneground and from a local mill.  You can always add a handful of soaked whole grains, seeds, nuts, dried fruits and spices to create different natural flavours and textures.

The longer dough ferments, the more tasty the bread will be.  Choose the longest available cycle, always remembering that you may need to reduce the yeast a little to prevent the dough rising too quickly and then collapsing before the loaf is baked.

Read more about bread machines


There are many makes of bread machine on the market so use this recipe in conjunction with the instructions that came with your model.

Pan sizes vary.  This recipe is for a medium-sized pan.

500g    Wholemeal bread flour (or white, or a mix of both)
5g        Salt
350g    Water
5g        Dried active yeast*
15g      Butter or olive oil - optional**

* or 10g fresh yeast, or 3g easy-blend yeast - though see the note below.

**You do not need to add any fat or oil but it makes bread slightly softer.


Unless your machine’s instructions say otherwise, pour the water into the loaf pan and, if you are using it, add the fresh yeast.  Disperse the salt in the flour and then sprinkle this over the water.  (If you are using dried or easy-blend yeast and/or butter or oil, place them on top of the flour.)  Secure the pan in the machine, close the lid and press the start button.

Follow any other instructions and prompts that may be required by your machine’s instruction manual.

When your loaf is baked, let it cool - hot bread can be gummy and harder to cut. Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy the flavour and texture of delicious, nutritious, additive-free Real Bread.


Easy-blend, quick or fast-action yeasts often have additives in them - always read the label!

Take care to add the ingredients in the order recommended by the bread machine manufacturer.

The dough cycle of most machines can be used simply to mix and prove this dough. This is useful if you need a hand mixing/kneading but then prefer to shape the dough yourself and bake it in an oven.

Baking times will vary, depending on the size and shape of the Real Bread you produce but as a guide, for baking the above dough as a bloomer or large cob, set your oven to 230-240°C and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, reducing the temperature to 200°C after the first 10 minutes.

About the baker

In 1976, Andrew Whitley left London and headed to Cumbria, where he created the wood-fired, organic Village Bakery Melmerby. A visit to Russia in the early 1990s led to him becoming an advocate of genuine sourdough bread. Andrew moved on in 2002 to found Bread Matters, publishing the award-winning book of the same name in 2006. In 2008 he joined forces with the charity Sustain to launch the Real Bread Campaign and later published the book Do: Sourdough. In 2012, Andrew and Veronica Burke co-founded Scotland the Bread.

Recipe text © 2019 Andrew Whitley

Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder.

Social sharing

If you make this, please share your photo(s) with the world on social media using #RealBread and other relevant hashtags, linking back to this recipe. Better still if we can see you in the photo, too: #WeAreRealBread!

Please don't forget to tag us, and the recipe's author. You can find us on:

Published Wednesday 20 March 2019

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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