fats and oils
A small amount of fat or oil is often added to bread to
give a softer crumb. It also helps to extend the freshness
of the loaf. Use butter, margarine or even lard in small
quantities up to 25 g (1 oz) or 22ml (11⁄2 tbsp.) vegetable
oil. Where a recipe uses larger amounts so the flavour is
more noticeable, butter will provide the best result.
Olive oil or sunflower oil can be used instead of butter,
adjust the liquid content for amounts over 15ml (3 tsp)
accordingly. Sunflower oil is a good alternative if you
are concerned about the cholesterol level.
Do not use low fat spreads as they contain up to 40%
water so do not have the same properties as butter.
Some form of liquid is essential; usually water or milk is
used. Water produces a crisper crust than milk. Water is
often combined with skimmed milk powder. This is
essential if using the time delay as fresh milk will
deteriorate. For most programs water straight from the
tap is fine, however on the rapid one-hour cycle it needs
to be lukewarm.
On very cold days measure the water and leave to
stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before use. If
using milk straight from the fridge do likewise.
Buttermilk, yoghurt, soured cream and soft cheeses
such as ricotta, cottage and fromage frais can all be
used as part of the liquid content to produce a more
moist, tender crumb. Buttermilk adds a pleasant,
slightly sour note, not unlike that found in country style
breads and sour doughs.
Eggs may be added to enrich the dough, improve the
colour of the bread and help to add structure and
stability to the gluten during rising. If using eggs reduce
the liquid content accordingly. Place the egg in a
measuring cup and top up with liquid to the correct
level for the recipe.
Yeast is available both fresh and dried. All the recipes in
this book have been tested using easy blend, fast action
dried yeast which does not require dissolving in water
first. It is placed in a well in the flour where it is kept dry
and separate from the liquid until mixing commences.
For best results use dried yeast. The use of fresh yeast
is not recommended as tends to give more variable
results than dried yeast. Do not use fresh yeast with
the delay timer.
If you wish to use fresh yeast note the following:
6g fresh yeast = 1tsp dried yeast
Mix the fresh yeast with 1tsp sugar and 2tbsp of the
water (warm). Leave for 5 minutes until frothy.
Then add to the rest of the ingredients in the pan.
To get the best results the yeast quantity may need to
Use the amounts stated in the recipes; too much could
cause the bread to over-rise and spill over the top of
the bread pan.
Once a sachet of yeast is opened, it should be used
within 48 hours, unless stated otherwise by the
manufacturer. Re-seal after use. Resealed opened
sachets can be stored in the freezer until required.
Use dried yeast before its use by date, as the potency
gradually deteriorates with time.
You may find dried yeast, which has been
manufactured especially for use in bread machines.
This will also produce good results, though you may
need to adjust the quantities recommended.