Posted by: Kate | September 29, 2011

Baking Bread

Since school started in September, I have been baking our own bread, rather than buying it. We have had a bread machine for years (a gift) that we use in spurts. I am trying to use it regularly now. The cost of good bread continues to rise, and like everyone else our paycheques don’t. So we are trying to find ways to feed a constantly hungry and growing boy, as well as let Mr. Kate have some variety in his lunches (instead of left-overs every day), without going to the poor house. I’m not 100% sure that baking the bread is a huge cost-saver, as the cost of the ingredients has also gone up, but at least I feel a little more in control. As we can go through a loaf of bread in two days, it’s nice not to have to either buy bread all the time or have my freezer over-loaded with bread bought on sale.

I use the recipes in the bread machine book, although I’m comfortable enough with it now that I know I can use any sugar, any fat, and either milk powder or real milk. I make a white/whole wheat blend, and often add seven grain cereal or oatmeal as well. The only reason I don’t do a full whole wheat is that the crust gets too chewy, and you can’t select crust “doneness” on the whole grain setting.

The guys of course love it most when I make white bread. The only thing I make that is white bread is dinner buns. They are perfect for stew, or as was the case for this batch, chili.

I may experiment with letting the machine rise the dough and then taking it out and rising it outside the machine and cooking it in the oven, same as you do for the buns. The guys like it so much because of the density of the finished product, which I think you may get even with whole wheat if you didn’t rise it the second time in the machine. Worth an experiment or two.

My machine is a Black and Decker All-In-One Bread Machine, and is about 15 years old. It amazes me how well it holds up.

I’d love to hear from people who bake their own bread. The reality is I’m not likely to start doing it all by hand, but I do enjoy the machine and so far I’ve gone a month without buying bread. So, what do you bake and how?



  1. i am hoping once things settle down this fall (meaning after i get back from claire’s wedding) i’ll get myself back in the groove of baking bread.
    i don’t have a bread machine, so this is my favorite recipe:

    but brian’s contemplating a move to gluten-free, so then i’ll have to find a new recipe!

    • ps. i forgot to add how yummy your rolls look!!

  2. i go through phases, but generally i do try to bake most of our bread. when i am feeling lazy or busy like recently, i bake “quick” breads like soda bread or beer bread that i can do in the evening without worrying about rises. these are also great for when i want something to go with chili or soup. if you want to try some of these, i recommend checking out; she’s got a few different bread recipes, all of which i like. when i have time to do “real” bread, i have found the River Cottage bread book to make a noticeable change in improving my loaves, or any of several recipes that overnight in the fridge to rise.

  3. Your rolls look great! My dad uses his bread machine a couple times a week. He makes a w/w caraway, rye, molasses kinda bread. It is so delicious! He and I also both use our machines to make dough (1/2 & 1/2 white & w/w) for our pizza’s. I have also used mine for making dough for cinnamon rolls & the like. Also very good. I believe my mine is also a Black & Decker probably 15 years old or so as well.

    If your ever interested in trying your hand at your own pizza dough I would gladly share our recipe! :)

  4. I have a bread machine – one probably just as old as yours. It was a hand-me-down when my mom got a new-bigger-better machine. I loved it and used it often until I discovered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. LOVE IT! It is a great book with lots of variations. Sure, it takes more like 20 minutes a day, but it is easy and there is no kneading involved! Go get it from the library – trust me, you’ll love it.

  5. My bread making goes in spurts depending on my field season as you would expect (no bread-maker). John eats 2 PB & J sandwiches per day so I don’t think I could keep up with making enough bread so that I didn’t have to supplement on occasion.

    I have 3 ‘go to’ recipes. One is a wheat bread recipe passed down from mom that is heavenly…and the best thing about it is that it makes 4 decent sized loaves and they freeze well. It is kneading and rising of course, but delicious bread and well worth the effort. I also make one out of the ‘Breadmaker’s Apprentice’ that is called multi-grain extraordinaire (has brown rice, quinoa etc in it) which is an outstanding bread for toast or for grilled panini’s. 2 loaves per recipe and again, freezes amazingly well. But I also keep a tub of starter from ‘Artisan Bread in 5 minutes’ in my fridge so any time I make soup or chili or something similar, I can snag a handful of the soaker and a couple hours later, with almost no effort. have a decent loaf a crusty bread to soak with broth!

    If you are interested in any of these recipes, shoot me an email and I’ll pass them along. Good luck with your bread-making adventures!

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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