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Saturday, July 17, 2010

"The Perfect Loaf"

When I first bought a bread machine, I was ecstatic over the fact that I could make bread in a mere 3 hours.  After several flops, I realized that the bread recipes that came with the machine were utter trash, and made it my quest to find a bread machine recipe for "The Perfect Loaf".   After many hopeless rounds of trial and error, I think I have come very close to perfection.  In my eyes, this means a white bread which is high-rising, and tender, but still sturdy.  I think this bread fits that criteria!  It's perfect in sandwiches, excellent for french toast, and can be eaten plain, or with a smear of butter as well.

The breads is ready to go into the oven.  The white ones are dutch crunch, brown speckled ones are cinnamon swirl, and the plain, are well, plain.  

If you haven't already guessed, the bread in these pictures are TEENY! The length and width are just a couple inches each! (which makes the perfect for giving away as gifts) I bought the loaf pans from costplus, and they are fantastic!

This bread also has a secret cup of whole wheat flour that no one will know about!  I have actually used two cups of whole wheat flour, and it's still just as delicious, but I love the light color of this bread when you only use one!  I like to delude myself into believing that this bread must be healthy because it has whole wheat flour. :)

The bread is cooling on a "pastry rack" (aka. my toaster oven's rack).

The standard 9'' x 4'' bread pan will also work for this recipe, and if you just want delicious bread quickly, you can allow your bread machine to complete the whole bread making shebang. Those without bread machines, don't despair, I've included directions on how to make this bread by hand too.

The texture of this bread is phenomenal!  And look, you can't tell there is a cup of whole wheat flour!

"The Perfect Loaf" (according to Mia)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup warm water
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • ¼ cup buttermilk powder (or dry milk)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2c bread flour
  • 1c all purpose flour
  • 1c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbs vital wheat gluten
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (1 yeast packet)

METHOD A (Just Bread Machine)
   Make the bread your bread machine using the regular cycle, 2lb,& the crust color of your choice. Add the ingredients in the order you bread machine suggests.

METHOD B (Bread Machine, then by hand)
sing your bread machines dough cycle, make the dough for this bread.  Remove the dough and let it chill in your fridge for at least 30 minutes.  (you can drop the "chilling" step if you're impatient.)

method B1 (mini loaves) [MAKES 12]
Grease and flour 12 mini bread loaves (about 3 1/2'' by 2'' large) Cut of 3.5 oz pieces of doughs, and gently shape into loafs.  Let each piece of dough rise covered in a mini pan until the dough brims 1/2 inch over the top of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (set the time to 10 minutes at first) until an internal thermometer reads 190-200 degrees.  Rub the tops with butter if you want the crust to be extra soft. 

method B2 (a large 9'' by 5'' loaf)[MAKES 1]
Grease and flour a 9'' by 5'' pan.  Form the dough into a loaf and let it rise, covered, in the pan, until it brims 1 inch over the loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees until the internal temperature is 190-200 degrees(about 30-40 minutes).  Rub the top with butter if you want the crust to be extra soft.

METHOD C (By Hand)
   Combine all the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Kneed until smooth.  Let the dough double in size [covered & let rise in a warm place], punch it down, let it double once more, and proceed by looking at steps b1 (mini loaves), or b2 (large loaf) found in METHOD B.  Couldn't be simpler. :)
       Mini sandwiches made with mini bread.

P You can email me at nomachomp@gmail.com if you would like the recipe for either the dutch crunch, or cinnamon swirl bread.


  1. Am I your first visitor? Wow! I will try your mini loaves because I love my little mini pans, too! Thank you!

  2. Please try them! And let me know what you think! I'd love to know your opinion.

  3. I am looking forward to using your recipe. I do not like the texture of the bread machine bread, nor does it stay fresh long enough. I would guess it is the result of not using the "vital wheat gluten" as I have seen this in other bread recipes. Would also love the recipe for your dutch crunch or cinnamon swirl bread. Thanking you in advance... Toni

  4. Toni, please email me at nomachomp@gmail.com and I would be more then happy to share the recipes for the dutch crunch and cinnamon swirl bread. If you make the bread, please tell me what you think, I'd love to have some constructive criticism.

  5. Hi Mia:
    I will be happy to give you some feedback. I have made bread from scratch for years and was always happy with the outcome. When I used the recipe from the bread machine book I found that it was OK the first day but only good for toast after that. Thank you for the help. Toni

  6. I baked for mini loaves and two hamburger buns using your recipe and they are wonderful! I brushed the tops with a beaten egg and sprinkled sesame seeds on top before I put them in the oven. They are delicious!