Friday, April 3, 2009



The scent and fragrance of fresh bread is a sensorial experience that you can't miss if you are so lucky to live near a bakery where the owner is an artist of the bread making art. Unfortunately in the last years we have seen a progressive pauperization of the average quality of the craftmade bread, the sense of taste of the young generations has been gradually addicted to artificial flavours of the bread produced with industrial methods and commercialized by big supermarkets.

With a greater frequency we see bakeries that, pressed from the competitive prices of the supermarkets,  surrended to the temptation to decrease the intrinsic quality of their product, converting to semi-industrial technique that allow to increase the margin.

So the question that arise is the following: is the domestic baking a viable alternative to resist against the high cost of living and at the same time getting a bread with superior organoleptic qualities?

If you have the constancy to carefully follow the rest of this guide you will discover that today is technically possible to get 1 Kg of domestic bread of medium/high quality with a complessive effort of about 10 minutes of work at the cost of 1 Euro, electrical energy included.


A genial invention: the bread machine.

With the classic manual baking you can obtain potentially high levels of quality. Each passage, from kneading to rising, from moulding of the loaf to baking in a oven is followed with care and diligence by the domestic baker.

This method has however a significant disadvantage: it requires time and assiduity to follow all the stages of the process. It's not acceptable that a person must invest every day of the week at least an hour of time to manufacture the bread for his family.

Luckily the situation has changed some years ago with the commercialization of a simple but ingenious household appliance: the bread machine.

Thanks to electronics the bread machine automatizes the 3 basic phases of the process (kneading, rising, baking), leaving the operator only the burden of the weigh of ingredients to insert in the mold, the selection and the start of the automatic program. 

Having the appliance is not enough to obtain a good bread with a little effort. The luck of the beginner could make you happy with the first loaf you deliver but do not be satisfied, your bread machine can give you a lot more if exploited at the best of its capabilities.

No fear, to reach the goal is easy, but you need to follow with great attention the techniques that will be described later.

On the market there are a lot of different models of bread makers. The Figure 1 shows the models chosen for the setup of this method.

Figure 1
The bread makers SEVERIN BM3988 and BIFINETT KH1172.

Technical characteristics of SEVERIN BM3988:

- Automatic bread maker 600 Watt.
- Loaf of 750g and 900g.
- 12 programs and 3 levels of crust (light,medium,dark).
- Not sticking extractable mold , dimensions L 18 cm x H 15 cm.
- Programmable timer up to 13 hours.
- Backup memory anti blackout of 15 minutes.
- Dimensions 240 mm (L) x 360 mm (P) x 310 mm (H) peso 6,5 kg
- Accessories: graduated glass e measuring cup, instructions and recipes.
- Color white.
- Warranty 2 years.
- Price 60 euro.

The differences between the models available on the market essentially pertain the dimension of the mold (and so the max capacity) and the type of available programs. Mechanically almost all the bread makers share the same scheme: a mold with central spindle on which you insert the kneading blade, heating element placed under the mold.

Different bread makers could need different times for the stages of kneading, rising and baking, unfortunately only some machines have a custom program with freely programmable times (for example Backmeister 8695, limited to 60 minutes max of baking). If you don't own a SEVERIN BM3988 identify a program with similar rising and baking times later indicated. 
The timer function is necessary to execute with success the proposed method because allows, as we will see, to further decrease manual interventions gaining max automatization of the process.

A preliminary operation to perform before penetrating in the bread preparation with a bread machine consists to lubricate with alimentary oil the spindle where you insert the kneading blade. In this way the subsequent extraction of the loaf from the mold will be rather facilitated.


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