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A Real Loaf from your bread machine

Does your kitchen cupboard harbour one of the UK's estimated 10 million or so unloved bread machines?

Fancy a cheaper way of enjoying fresh, Real Bread?

Then try this simple, recession-busting recipe from Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters to rekindle your relationship.

Before you start

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

With a breadmaker you are in control of what goes into your bread.  So choose ingredients that will give you the kind of loaf you want to eat.

To avoid the additives that are sometimes hidden in breadmaker mixes, try to use simple flours, preferably organic, stoneground and from a local mill.  You can always add a handful of natural grains, seeds, nuts, fruits and spices to create different flavours and textures.

The longer bread dough ferments, the more tasty, digestible and nutritious it is.  So 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.

'Easy-blend' or 'fast-action' yeasts often have additives in them.  If you want to avoid them, use ordinary dried yeast or fresh yeast. 

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

The recipe

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

500g    Flour (wholemeal or a mix of white and wholemeal)
5g    Salt
350g    Water
5g    Dried yeast (or 10g fresh yeast, or 3g easy-blend yeast)
15g    Butter or olive oil (optional makes bread slightly softer)
875g    Total

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 instant yeast and/or butter or oil, place them - not touching each other - 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 is less easily digested).  Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy the flavour and texture of Real Bread made with simple ingredients and no additives.

The 'Dough' cycle of most machines can be used simply to mix and prove this dough, allowing you to make different shapes and bake them in a conventional oven. 

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