Dakota Notebook

Light, Tasty 100 Percent Homemade Whole Wheat Bread? Yes, You Can!

Loretta SorensenIf you're tired of making brick-like whole wheat loaves of bread, I have good news for you! Here is a recipe and a method which will give you the light, tasty, whole wheat loaf you've been dreaming about.

If you've struggled with producing quality home-made bread, I recommend you review my previous posts about the proper tools and method necessary to consistently making a satisfactory loaf of bread. Find the initial one here: https://www.grit.com/food/recipes/homemade-bread-101-zb0z1804

With this recipe, you can use any type of 100 percent whole wheat flour (I prefer organic) or even grind your own flour from wheat berries. In my next blog I'll talk about how to use sprouted wheat flour and berries and the benefits of the sprouted wheat.

If you're already using sprouted wheat or sprouted wheat berries, those products work just fine with this recipe.

If you don't have a bread machine, you can still make this bread. However, the rise of the loaf and the texture of the bread is likely to be heavier than if you use a bread machine for the mixing and kneading. If mixing and kneading by hand, be sure to do so very thoroughly. For making the bread without a machine, see the instructions for the final rise.

Equipment:

  • 2-3 quart mixing bowl
  • 2-cup measuring utensil
  • Tablespoon
  • Measuring cups, from 1/4-cup size on up to 1-cup
  • Whisk or fork
  • Digital thermometer
  • Bread machine
  • Bread pan
  • Butter, oil or no-stick spray to coat bread pan

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups water, ranging from 105 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten
  • 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 cup 100 percent whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (recommend Himalayan pink salt)
  • 2 Tablespoons of melted butter or oil

Method:

  1. If necessary (typically during the winter months), use hot tap water to heat your 2-cup measuring utensil and bread machine pan before preparing your bread dough. This usually takes 4-5 minutes once the hot water is placed in the utensil. Once the measuring cup and pan have been warmed, pour the water out.
  2. Place 1-1/4 cups of hot tap water in 2-cup measuring utensil. Use a digital thermometer to test the water's temperature. If it's too cold, it can be heated to the proper temperature. If it's too warm, allow it to sit at room temperature until it reaches the 105-109 degree temperature range.
  3. If you're using refrigerated syrup or honey, check the water's temperature again before adding yeast to the water. If it's too cold, heat it to the appropriate temperature (105-109 degrees); if too hot, allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Once the water temperature is in the appropriate range, dissolve the yeast (by stirring) in the water. Allow the yeast mixture to rest for 5-7 minutes. It will form a "head" to indicate that the yeast is activated.
  5. In large mixing bowl, measure flour, gluten and salt. Sift all the ingredients together using a whisk or a fork.
  6. If using butter, melt it just till it's soft enough to easily blend into the bread dough.
  7. If you're using a bread machine, pour out the warm water used to heat the bread machine pan. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the pan. Slowly add the flour mixture. Pour the oil or melted butter on top of the flour. Select your machine settings and start the mixing/kneading process (See instructions below if mixing by hand).
  8. Once the initial kneading/mixing is complete, allow the dough to rest in the bread machine pan until the second kneading cycle is completed.
  9. Once the second kneading cycle is done, gently place the dough into a coated bread pan, cover it and place it in a warm area (I use my oven, which I heat to 100 degrees) for 30-45 minutes as the dough raises.
  10. Once the dough is raised, remove it from the oven. Leave the cover on the bread dough. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is ready, remove the cover from the bread dough and place it in the 350-degree oven. Bake it for 30-45 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Try to give it some time to cool before you cut any slices!
  11. Store the bread in a plastic bag. In summer, homemade bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated once it's cooled.
  12. Once the dough has doubled in size, gently press the air out of it and knead again for 10-15 minutes. Place the kneaded dough into a coated bread pan, cover the dough and set the pan in a warm area (I use my oven heated to 100 degrees) and allow the bread to raise for 30-45 minutes. Once the dough has raised, heat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the covering from the pan and place the bread dough into the oven, baking it for 30-45 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.
  13. After removing it from the oven, place the baked dough on a cooling rack. Allow it to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag. In summer, home-made bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated once it's cooled.

Mixing by hand:

  1. If you're mixing this dough by hand, slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour, stirring as you go until all the yeast mixture is added.
  2. Add the butter or oil and mix.
  3. Knead the dough 10-15 minutes. Place in a coated bowl/pan in a warm location (85-100 degrees) for the first rise.

homemade wheat bread
Photo property of Loretta Sorensen.

Let the Bread Machine Kneading Begin!

Loretta SorensenUntil recently, I never spent much time using or learning about a bread machine. In fact, for years, I didn't have one. The first one, a gift from my family, spent most of its time inside the cupboard. I wasn't at all impressed with it.

In recent years I attempted to regularly make homemade bread, but the results were inconsistent and even the best loaves were so-so. A few were light and airy, but most raised very little and had the texture of a brick.

Still, the desire to make my own bread waned but never disappeared, popping up on my radar again when I was working to keep processed and boxed food out of my cupboard.

This time, after hearing a friend talk about her bread machine experiences, I purchased a bread machine, in December, a time when weather conditions often kept me and my husband confined to our home. I had plenty of time to "play" with the machine.

If the only recipes you've ever tried in a bread machine are those that came with the machine, you're really missing out. I attempted several loaves with the "dump it all in" method, but results were disappointing.

After nearly a dozen tries, I came up with a method that allows you to quickly and easily mix, raise and bake bread dough, with consistently delicious results. I have not purchased bread since I bought the machine.

The reason the bread machine is like a right hand helper to me is the kneading. My bread machine has two 15-minute kneading cycles. Even if I was ambitious enough and had enough time to knead my dough that long, I couldn't do the thorough job the machine does. It has become my irreplaceable baking partner when it comes to making bread!

I also searched hundreds of websites for easy, delicious bread recipes.

In recent years I've found helpful instructions and tasty recipes at King Arthur Flour, and that's where I found my go-to bread machine recipe. This is their recipe with my instructions. When you use their bread flour (or at least some brand of bread flour) you will produce the lightest, tastiest bread that looks almost too beautiful to eat!

My keys to successfully baking bread include:

  • Use fresh ingredients.
  • Get liquid ingredients to a temperature range between 95- and 105-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep all equipment warm to maintain dough temperature.
  • Use a machine to knead the dough.

The original instructions for this bread called for adding all ingredients to the machine — as most bread machine recipes do. However, my greatest loaves have been produced when I wove in some old-time bread-baking steps. And it doesn't take that much time. I can prepare all the ingredients and slip my freshly-baked bread out of the oven in just over 2 hours. You can too!

You'll find King Arthur's recipe here:

The recipe's 1-1/2 to 2-pound loaf calls for:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3-3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I always use King Arthur Bread Flour, but that's optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast (I use instant)

My method:

  1. Measure the 1 cup of water — very hot tap water — into a 2- or 3-cup utensil. Add the milk. Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve and blend all ingredients well.
  2. Using a digital thermometer, test the temperature of the water-milk-sugar mixture; you want it to be between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's too hot, allow it to cool to the right temperature before stirring in the yeast. If it's too cold, I pour it into a pan and heat it up — it won't take much heat to get it to the right temperature range.
  3. Once the liquids are in the right temperature range, stir in the yeast until the majority of it is dissolved. Set the mixture aside. The yeast will begin to work, creating a foamy cap on the liquid.
  4. Measure all the flour into a bowl/measuring cup. Add the salt to the flour and stir to blend it in.
  5. Slowly melt the butter. I melt mine on the stove top because I'm not a fan of microwaves, but suit yourself with this.
  6. Be sure your bread machine pan has been warmed — especially when outside temperatures are cold.
  7. Once you see the foamy cap on the yeast mixture, use a spatula to pour it into the bread machine pan. Carefully add the flour to the bread machine pan. Finally, add the butter, using a spatula to ensure you get the full measure. You probably could pour the butter into the yeast mixture; my best results have come from adding it last.
  8. Start the machine. It will mix and knead the dough, allow it to rest, then knead it again. My machine takes about 40 minutes to complete two kneading cycles. At the end of the second cycle, I remove the dough from the pan (it might be a little sticky so butter your hands), place it in my oven, cover it with a tea towel and allow it to raise for about 30 minutes. Baking time (at 350 degrees) takes about 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and place it on a cooling rack. It's best to allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before you cut any slices, but you may not be able to wait that long!

Eating the fresh-baked loaf — doesn't take long at all!

My bread machine — a Hamilton Beach model — is very simple and cost around $50. If you have an old model bread machine, as long as it kneads the dough well, it should work just fine. You don't necessarily need to bake it in the machine.

Coming up next: a recipe (my own) for the tastiest 100 percent whole wheat bread ever!

bread

Loretta Sorensen makes her home in eastern South Dakota. Read more about her and her family's draft horses and hobby farm experiences at www.ourdakotahorsetales.com. And if you're loving this homemade bread tutorial, watch for the release of "Bread Maker's Primer" in October 2018.

Bread Baking Tools

Loretta SorensenI'll never part with this lovely vintage crockery bowl my great Aunt Mary used every time she mixed and raised her bread dough. But when I'm making bread, this lovely bowl is usually safely tucked inside my cupboard. That's because I've learned that a bread machine is far more efficient than I when it comes to mixing and kneading dough.

Although it goes against the old-fashioned side of me to use a bread machine, every time I slide that beautiful, perfect, tasty loaf of bread out of my oven I know I've made the right choice. A mixer with dough hooks may do a great job with mixing and kneading bread dough, too. However, keeping that dough at a consistent temperature is more challenging outside a bread machine pan.

My tools include: bread machine, 2-cup glass measuring cup (to mix and start yeast), large mixing bowl to measure all dry ingredients, fork to blend dry ingredients, measuring cups (to match all the measurements called for in my recipe) and measuring spoons. I also use a couple small mixing spoons and at least one spatula to help thoroughly clear measuring cups of their contents.

bread baking tools
Photo property of Loretta Sorensen.

I generally measure flour and salt into the mixing bowl and set it aside. No need to warm the flour, however, if you store your flour in the freezer or refrigerator, it's advisable to allow it to sit out overnight at room temperature.

When outdoor temperatures are cold, I use hot tap water to warm the bread machine pan and glass measuring cup. I fill the bread machine pan at least half full and set it aside and let the measuring cup warm up about 5 minutes. I discard the water used to warm utensils and proceed with recipe directions, using hot tap water mixed with the remaining liquids.

Refrigerated liquids (milk, maple syrup, etc.) typically bring the water temperature to 110 or 105 degrees Fahrenheit. I then add 3 tablespoons of sugar and stir the ingredients well to help dissolve the sugar.

At this point I use a digital thermometer to check the temperature of the liquid. If you don't have a digital thermometer, I highly recommend that you invest in one. There are brands that cost under $5. Since the temperature range of your dough is so critical to the success of the bread itself, it's well worth the cost of buying the thermometer.

If the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast, so inexperienced elbows and fingertips just aren't accurate enough to ensure baking success! If your liquid is too warm, you can use a cold spoon to stir it again and help reduce the temperature. You can also simply allow it to sit at room temperature until it cools. Don't add any additional liquid as this will mess up your recipe.

Once the liquid reaches the proper temperature range, it's time to add the yeast, stir it to help dissolve it (not absolutely necessary but always my habit), then allow it to sit and start "working." It will feed on the sugar and produce a foam on the top. Allow it to sit for approximately 5 minutes.

A couple minutes before it's ready, pour the water out of your bread machine pan. Once the yeast mixture is ready, pour it into the bread machine pan.

Most bread recipes call for some kind of fat — butter or oil. This can be added to the yeast mixture once it's in the bread machine. Gently add the flour/salt mixture, set and start your machine.

I find the bread machine to be a great tool for both the mixing, kneading and first rise. Mixing and kneading is thorough and the temperature remains consistent so the dough temperature is constant.

First rise times will vary according to your bread machine operation. My machine mixes and kneads, rests 25 minutes, then kneads a second time for 15 minutes. Once your machine completes the second kneading, it will be time to place your dough into a bread pan and set it in a warm, humid area for the second rise.

Winter or summer, I heat my oven to 100 degrees, fill my bread pan with hot water to warm it up, and complete all this before the kneading process is finished. When my pan is warmed, I pour the water out, dry the pan, then spray it with non-stick aerosol. It's ready for the dough. You may want to butter or oil your hands to handle your dough if it's a bit sticky.

GENTLY shape it so it stretches across the pan lengthwise. Set it into the oven and place a towel over the top to help keep the dough moist during the rise. Make sure the towel is loose so the dough can rise up above the pan. Rising time should take between 30 and 45 minutes.

Once your rise is complete, carefully remove your pan from the oven, set it in a warm area with no drafts and leave the towel on it till your oven is heated to 350 degrees. This is your baking temperature.

Once the oven is ready, remove the towel, GENTLY place the pan in the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes. After the crust is thoroughly browned, remove the bread from the oven, slip it out of the pan onto a cooling rack and be prepared to be delighted!


Loretta Sorensen makes her home in eastern South Dakota. Read more about her and her family's draft horses and hobby farm experiences at www.ourdakotahorsetales.com. And if you're loving this home-made bread tutorial, watch for the release of "Bread Maker's Primer" in October 2018.

Keep the Heat on!

Loretta SorensenDakota winters are cold — cold — cold!

Those penetrating cold temperatures probably foiled many of my early bread-baking efforts because bread dough rises quickly if it's at an optimum temperature — somewhere around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At room temperature, the rise can take as much as four hours.

If you're in no hurry to bake the dough once it's ready for the second rise, you might consider placing it in the refrigerator overnight. Your pan must be covered to help keep the dough moist, but not restrict the rise, which should be perfected after about 8 hours.

Keeping your bread ingredients at a consistent temperature range between 90 and 100 degrees — from start to baking point — will coax yeast to accelerate within 30 to 45 minutes, producing that beautiful, domed-shaped loaf!

For my most successful bread-baking efforts, I started with the ideal temperature range when I start mixing ingredients. Some bread recipes advise using lukewarm liquids to aid a speedy rise. I've found the term "lukewarm" to be too vague. I've also found that putting lukewarm liquid into a very cold glass measuring cup quickly reduces the liquid's temperature, slowing yeast action.

My process to keep my fragile dough between 90 and 100 degrees farenheit from start to finish includes using hot tap water to warm the bread machine pan and measuring cup that holds my yeast mixture. I give the hot water about 5 minutes to warm the measuring cup, then pour it out.

I use very hot tap water for the water my recipe calls for because its temperature will cool when I add refrigerated milk or maple syrup.

Once I've added all the liquid ingredients to the measuring cup, I use a digital thermometer to verify the temperature. If it's between 90 and 100 degrees, I add the yeast, stirring it to help it dissolve. The mixture then sits for 7-10 minutes until a foamy layer at the top indicates that my yeast is hard at work.

Now it's time to pour the water out of the bread machine pan and add the yeast mixture. I gently pour in the fat the recipe requires (oil, butter, etc.) and then spoon the flour on top of it all. Once I plug the machine in, the bread is in good "hands" for about 40 minutes, until it's time for the second kneading.

And thorough kneading is the reason I love my bread machine and see such satisfactory results coming from my oven. My bread machine kneads the dough for 15 minutes, all the while keeping it at the desired temperature range of 90 to 100 degrees. That stimulates the gluten that works with yeast to create tender, fluffy bread that looks almost too good to eat!

After the final kneading, the dough goes into my pan, which (you guessed it!) has been warmed up with hot tap water. I toss the water, dry the pan and use non-stick aerosol to spray it. I gently stretch the dough to fill the pan lengthways, then cover it with a towel and slip it into my oven, which has been warmed to? 100 degrees!

It will take 30 to 45 minutes for my loaf to rise up over the sides of the bread pan. While I wait for my oven to warm to 350 degrees farenheit, I keep the towel on the bread and sit it on top of the oven so it's still in a fairly warm environment.

After baking, my family and I indulge in this aromatic, healthy, homemade delight

bread machine


Loretta Sorensen makes her home in eastern South Dakota. Read more about her and her family's draft horses and hobby farm experiences at www.ourdakotahorsetales.com. And if you're loving this homemade bread tutorial, watch for the release of "Bread Maker's Primer" in October 2018.

Photos property of Loretta Sorensen.

Bread Pan Basics

Loretta SorensenMany folks bake bread for both the nutrition and freshness and the money saved by not purchasing bread.

I was in that camp when I started, which explains why I used the loaf pans I had on hand. And that helps me understand some of my bread-baking flops.

What I have learned over time is that, ideally, bread pans measure 8-1/2 inches long and 4-1/2 inches wide.

The reason is that when your bread rises, you want it to go up, not out. Loaf pans longer and wider than this ideal will affect the rise of your home baked bread. That wide loaf may not fit into your toaster very well either!

An important step in preparing your pan before you put dough in it is warming the pan so it supports continued rising. This is especially important if you live in areas where winter temperatures are frigid. In summer I sometimes don't need to warm the pan because our outdoor temps are so high everything in the house is already 90+ degrees!

In an earlier post I recommended aluminized baking pans. One of the reasons for this is the corrugated feature of the pan, which makes it so much easier to slip your baked loaf out of the pan with zero sticking.

My earliest bread baking attempts involved baking in glass pans. It was so fun to see the bread raise, be able to view the browning crust from top to bottom, and keep an eye on the process from start to finish.

However, those wonderful rewards were often crushed when my well-greased glass pan refused to let go of that beautiful loaf! It never failed that the pan managed to cling to a big bite of either the bottom of the loaf, one side, or both.

So I really discourage you from using glass pans, unless you use parchment paper to keep the loaf from stubbornly sticking to the pan. If you do use parchment, be sure to securely press it into the corners of your pan so your loaf finishes with a nice square bottom. You can also cut a piece of parchment that simply fits into the bottom of the pan. A sharp knife can pry the baked loaf loose if it sticks to the sides of the pan.

Another reason I like the aluminized pans is even heating and a lifetime warranty. They do cost more but will give the best service.

I do use a spray non-stick product on my pan right before I place the dough into it. And if you're using a metal pan or other type of loaf pan for your bread, by all means use the non-stick coating or butter, lard, parchment — something that will make it easy to slip the baked loaf out onto a cooling rack once it's baked.

If you're making dinner rolls or buns with your dough, pan size isn't as critical. Although your buns will rise higher if they're in a pan that squeezes them together a bit.

bread pan
Photo property of Loretta Sorensen.


Up next: Preparing your bread baking tools.

Loretta Sorensen makes her home in eastern South Dakota. Read more about her and her family's draft horses and hobby farm experiences at www.ourdakotahorsetales.com. And if you're loving this homemade bread tutorial, watch for the release of "Bread Maker's Primer" in October 2018.

Fresh Ingredients = Tasty Bread

Loretta Sorensen

If you're like me, I hate throwing out any kind of food.

However, when it comes to producing that beautiful, aromatic, melt-in-your-mouth loaf of bread, don't gamble on flour that's 12 months old or more. Even if it's been stored in the freezer.

My experience with flour I've had on the shelf that long has not been good. My bread didn't raise, the taste wasn't the best and my baking efforts were disappointing to say the least.

Keep in mind that, unless you're grinding your own flour, what you buy in the store has been in that bag for at least 8 weeks before it reached your store. Nothing wrong with it at that point, but its quality will continue to deteriorate for each week that you keep it on the shelf.

I like to keep my flour in a clear container — either glass or plastic — and I label it with the date that I purchased it to ensure that I don't accidentally use flour that I bought more than 12 months ago. Ideally you should use your flour and yeast within 6 to 10 months of the purchase date. You'll see the best results with those fresher ingredients.

Yeast is susceptible to deteriorating, too. You may get some action out of yeast that you've had for a year or more, but it won't be nearly as good as a fresher batch.

I don't always keep flour in my freezer, but my yeast is always stored there.

If you know you're going to bake bread, I recommend taking the flour and yeast out of the freezer and leaving it sit at room temperature overnight or at least for a couple of hours. That helps you maintain an ideal temperature for your bread dough.

Other recipe ingredients — eggs, milk, butter, etc. — should also be as fresh as possible to enhance the flavor of your bread.

Making labels for items like flour, yeast and sugar can be as simple as writing the purchase date on a plain piece of paper and taping it to your container or printing labels from a label-maker. I don't recommend writing directly on your container as you'll be continually changing your purchase date.

Store your ingredients in air-tight containers, which helps maintain freshness. It's advisable — but not required — to wash containers after using each batch of flour. Be careful not to keep adding fresh flour to what remains in your container, as you're bound to have some low quality flour mixed in with the fresh after a period of time.

Flour and yeast can also be stored in the refrigerator, but the quality will be more susceptible to declining. For any ingredients that are refrigerated, it's helpful to allow them to sit at room temperature for a few hours to help maintain the ideal dough temperature.

In researching this topic, I've found some reputable websites that state bread flour can be refrigerated or frozen for up to 15 months. However, my experience with flour refrigerated for 10 months was not satisfactory.

Next week: How to select and prepare your bread pans!

fresh bread
Photo by Getty Images/Sunlike.


Loretta Sorensen makes her home in eastern South Dakota. Read more about her and her family's draft horses and hobby farm experiences at www.ourdakotahorsetales.com. And if you're loving this home made bread tutorial, watch for the release of "Bread Maker's Primer" in October 2018.

Homemade Bread 101

Loretta SorensenWith a few basic tools and some easy-to-learn know how, you can produce beautiful, tasty and nutritious home-made bread.

For the next few weeks I'll be posting information about the tools you need, how to use them and why they work, and some links to simple but awesome bread recipes.

There's no need to purchase expensive flours to make nutritious loaves of bread. I personally recommend organic unbleached flours, but it's not necessary to use them to produce a heavenly homemade loaf.

To make incredible 100 percent whole grain breads, choose whole wheat flour or grind your own grains (more on this in another blog) and take extra care to provide yeast with the proper environment and the dough with adequate kneading.

A thermometer to test the temperature of liquids can cost as little as $3.09. Loaf pans can be purchased for as little as $7.50 each. Aluminized steel pans are excellent and stand up to a lot of wear and tear, but they are more expensive.

Both flours and yeast can be purchased in large quantities if you often bake multiple loaves.

With the cost of high quality bread ranging from $3.99 per loaf and up, homemade bread can save money as well as provide great baking and eating satisfaction.

The important things to keep in mind to successfully bake bread include:

  • Start with flour and yeast that is no more than six months old. The fresher the better.
  • Use bread pans that measure no more than 9 x 5. Using larger pans means bread dough will spread out rather than rise.
  • If you're using glass or thin metal pans, consider placing parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to ensure you can remove the bread once it's baked. Non-stick spray to coat the pan before placing the dough in it brings the best non-stick results.
  • Yeast likes to be warm (me too!). Warm the liquid in the bread to between 105 and 112 degrees (cooler is too cool, hotter kills yeast) and warm the bread pan and mixing bowl, etc., prior to using them to help keep the dough at an appropriate and consistent temperature.
  • Proof (test) your yeast before adding it to your bread dough. To accomplish this, warm your recipe liquid to the proper temperature, add sugar/honey/maple syrup and give the yeast about 10 minutes to start working. You should see a foam forming on the top of the mixture.
  • Knead your dough thoroughly, or use a bread machine/mixer to knead it. Kneading gives your bread strength and structure that traps gasses and causes the bread to rise. Don't overdo it, but don't skimp on kneading either.
  • Create a warm environment for your bread dough to rise — ideally at least 100 degrees. More on this in an upcoming blog.
  • Cover your dough during the rise to keep it from drying out. Moisture enhances yeast action.
  • Consider using a bread machine to mix and knead the dough. An inexpensive machine ($50) can pay for itself quickly no matter what type of bread you're making. Since the kneading process is so important, relying on a machine to do it saves considerable time and effort. And over summer, when ovens heat up the house, a bread machine can be a real asset.

loaf of bread

Photo property of Loretta Sorensen.