Electric Pressure Cookers

A pressure cooker reaches cooking temperatures above the boiling point of water (212 F. or 100 C.). The American standard for high pressure limit is 15 psi; the European standard is 1 bar, or 14.6 psi. Stovetop pots tended to go to those limits, but many model did not. Stovetop pots were the standard for most recipes until electric pressure cookers were common. The stovetop pot requires the cook’s attention: to watch the pot and turn the stove down when operating pressure is reached, and then to turn off the heat and to release pressure.

Pressure cookers use high heat to get food to a cooking temperature and build pressure; low heat to maintain heat and pressure. Most devices have low and high pressure settings which require control of the heat to get the device to hold the pressure stated in a recipe. Pressure cooking involves time to bring water to a boil and more time to reach cooking temperature. The food is cooking all the time. Cookbooks for pressure cookers assume a period to get to cooking pressure, and state the cooking time as the period under operating pressure. The real cooking time is longer.

Electric pressure cookers, with some exceptions (Instant Pot began selling a Max model said to operate at the standard pressure in 2018), cook at lower pressure and temperature than the upper limit(s); but above the boiling point. Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking FAQ observes that “Electric pressure cookers build pressure up to 15 psi but then maintain a lower pressure during the cooking … the “operating pressure” is 11.6 even though the cooker reaches 15 psi while it’s building pressure. ‘Operating Pressure’ is the true pressure at which an electric pressure cooker cooks“.

Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking site has a FAQ which includes the pressure/temperature graph. The lower pressures of electric pressure cookers require an adjustment to cooking times from standard recipes. Laura Pazzaglia has charts on a cooking times page at her Hip Pressure Cooking site. Her charts recognize that there are differences between stovetop and electric machines and different brands and machines by leaving some parameters within ranges. Some writers provide notes about performance on some recipes in specific devices.

An electric pressure cooker has an outer shell, a heating element, an inner pot, a sealing lid and a control panel. The device turns the heating element off and on to maintain pressure and temperature. Most modern machines have microprocessors.

An electric pressure cooker provides the option of cooking without the pressure sealing lid using a saute setting (or any hot setting that can be activated without locking the lid) . Some have multiple saute settings, some have only one saute setting. This is a way to use the device to cook some ingredients (e.g. softening onions and “blooming” spices and garlic and ginger) before filling the cooking pot and starting the pressure cooker. Using these settings to cook ingredients that have to be removed and added later is less convenient – it may be better to use the pressure cooker pot for other prep steps and pressure cooking and manage the saute item in a skillet or wok on the stove. An electric pressure cooker is narrow and tall, and not a useful skillet. The saute setting also provides the option of continuing cooking sfter the pressure cooking has ended – some final simmering to reduce a dish or cook ingredients added after the pressure cooking.

The popularity of Instant Pots inspired a boom in books and ebooks of Instant Pot recipes. An “Instant Pot” recipe should work in any electric pressure cooker. Instant Pot and electric pressure cooker recipes have to be adjusted for stovetop standard machines (and the epcs that achieve stovetop standard pressure).

Many electric pressure cooker books focus on pressure cooking as an alternative to using stovetop vessels and other specialty devices. An electric pressure cooker will do rice, for instance, on a pressure cooker setting – no need to play with control panel or figure out the rice setting on machines that offer that setting.

There are ways to mix and match vessels and techniques. Use the pressure cooker or rice cook to do rice and do a stir fry. Or do rice in a pot on the stovetop and dal in the pressure cooker. It depends on the availabe tools and ingredients, and appetite.

Recipe books for pressure cookers, epcs and epc multicookers:

Slow Cookers

I used a slow cooker for many years as a stew pot. I have invested time and effort in learning that method of cooking. Slow cookers braise food in liquid at low heat.

Most slow cookers made from the 1950s to the early 21st century used ceramic crocks heated by a single electric heating element- low powered and poorly insulated. Elements were like elements in electric ovens and toaster ovens: straight metal, shaped into a circle or oval to surround the lower part of crock. Elements in modern machines are ribbon or wire elements in a belt. In some modern machines the element may have insulation. In basic devices the power is turned on to allow a constant electric current produces constant heat stated as in watts. The element heats the crock which heats the food. The heat at the element will be greater than the temperature of the inside surface of the crock. The element may be contolled by a switch or a control panel.

The ceramic crock slow cooker was inspired by the ceramic beanpot. This article on CNET has pictures and illustrations of old devices. Ceramic beanpots, like Dutch ovens and casseroles, cook dry beans in water or broth. Beanpots involved long cooking times at low heat. The constraints for dry beans are heat and time. The heat source had to provide steady low heat, and keep the cooking water below the boiling point of water (212 F. or 100 C.). A slow cooker can be used like a beanpot, to cook beans in fluid. If heat is constantly applied, the beans will be heated, and simmered or gently boiled. Writers (e.g. Anupy Singla, The Indian Slow Cooker; Rick Bayless, Mexican Every Day) suggested several hours on high in a normal ceramic crock slow cooker. Some beans need a long time on high. e.g. chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black urad beans, or red kidney beans. Some recipes incorrectly suggest that dry chickpeas cook in 6 hours on low.

I tried a recipe with dry white chickpeas in that device once. The other ingredients were well cooked at 6 hours on low before but the beans were not done – rather crunchy. Chickpeas are said to need 3 hours or 4 hours on high in a crock pot or slow cooker. I haven’t tried that; I won’t. I am suspicious about recipes that say that chickpeas can be done in less than 10-12 hours. I have since done curried chickpeas (using a chana masala spice blend); cooking time of 14 hours on high.

The ceramic crock slow cooker would cook root vegetables in a few hours; less dense material more quickly. Rival (now a Jarden Brand) began to build and market the Crock-Pot in the 1970’s (by the 1990’s “the Original Slow Cooker”) as a device to cook stew and chili. Rival and its competitors pushed the standard size of the crock from 5 quarts to 6 or 7 quarts. The manufacturers increased the wattage of elements to meet concerns that the device was not cooking the food well enough to be safe and palatable after 8 hours of cooking. Another innovation: the three and four position switch. With the latter the cook can select Off; Warm; Low; High. Warm is not a cooking setting. High means the element runs hotter than low. This article says that 7 hours on low is equivalent to 3 hours on high.

I used a 6 quart ceramic crock Crock-Pot with a manual off-low-high switch for years. It heated the ingredients enough: it created humidity under the lid and some bubbling in the pot; some ingredients would bake to the sides. I made stews and chilies that filled the pot to 2/3 to 3/4, cooked on low for 5-7 hours. I refrigerated or froze leftovers. These recipes require precooked or canned beans.

Many slow cooker recipes for recommend using canned beans, because beans take long than any other ingredient. Most canned beans (most canned vegetables) are cooked in the can in a salty broth; salt is used to counteract the effects of this cooking – manufacturers think that without salt, the food takes on offensive flavours. This is a problem for many people – no sodium beans are available but consumers have to find them.

In June 2015, Rival published a statement about Crock-Pots that can still be seen in the Wayback Machine archive here. It includes these assertions and disclaimers about cooking, food safety and slow cooker:

  • The simmering point of water is 209 F.;
  • The contents of a crock should reach that point in 7 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high;
  • Food doesn’t need to reach the boiling point for safe eating – the simmer point is acceptable;
  • The safe to serve internal temperature is around 160 degrees, which your food may reach well before three hours.
  • Just use your best discretion.

The simmering point of water usually refers to a range from 185 F. to 205 F. The water has thermal energy and bubbles slowly. A small amount of water turns to gas, condenses, and becomes visible as a mist. The water is not actually boiling and the mist is not steam, which is the gas made up of water molecules at a temperature in excess of the boiling point of water.

Simmered food should reach an equilibrium that is will be sustained for a time. The situation will change when heat is added to the system, too much evaporation has occurred, or the food is cooked.

The food safety aspect of cooking is to avoid the conditions in which bacteria contaminate the food. Bacteria are dead in frozen food, dormant in cold food, and die off at about 140 F. They thrive in cool to warm food. They digest the food and excrete complex chemicals that spoil or poison the food. Most cooking methods raise the temperature fast. Rival did not say which ceramic crock slow cookers could bring food or fluid to 209 F. in under 3 hours on high or low setting.

Books and recipes before 2016/17 assume 5.5-6 quart ceramic crock slow cookers with high and low cooking settings. Culinary writers try to get a stew, chili or curry done in 6 hours or less – fast slow cooking. Cook’s Illustrated/America’ Test Kitchen produced three America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution cookbooks 2011-2015. Each discussed the uses and some of limitations of the device, and provided workable techniques and recipes – addressing the ceramic crock slower. Each book had product reviews of a few products. The products tended to work the same way.

Innovations extended product lines and marketing opportunities; some innovations added some value for consumers. Timers give cooks an option to turn off or turn down the heat. Jarden/Rival had a line of Smart-Cookers with buttons that allowed the user to select 4 or 6 hours on high, or 8 or 10 on low. These are not what a user may want. The Crock-Pot Count-Down timer was a good innovation and has been widely emulated.

The limitations of ceramic crock slow cookers include:

  • A 6 or 7 quart crock is heavy;
  • The crock could not saute, fry, or roast food. Some ingredients have to be cooked in a skillet or other vessel first to ensure the dish would be fully cooked, or to enhance flavour (bloom spices, heat onions and garlic, brown some ingredients);
  • The ceramic crock cannot be used on stove elements, in hot ovens, or in microwave ovens;
  • Manufacturers and culinary writers warn users
    • to not lift the lid or stir the food;
    • to not add cold ingredients into a hot crock;
  • The food near the element gets hot first and is always hotter. Food touching the crock near the element may brown, stick or even burn;
  • Ceramic crocks develop cracks and break down. The heat source is in a belt around the lower part of the crock; recipes place variable demand on the device. Manufacturers deflect by blaming users for ignoring warnings and limit their liability to short warranty periods.
  • Replacement ceramic inserts are hard to find – out of production, or out of stock;
  • The device draws power constantly. It is cheaper and more efficient than using an oven, but not necessarily as efficient as other appliances.

Devices sold as slow cookers or having a slow cooker function, in 2019:

  • oval or round vessels with surrounding elements with ceramic cooking vessels or chambers;
  • oval or round vessels with surrounding or bottom elements, with metal, coated metal cooking vessels or chambers
  • round metal pots with bottom elements (electric pressure cookers and other multicookers).

Slow cooker sizes go up to 8 quarts. There are roasting pans/ovens in the shape and style of slow cookers – quite large compared to slow cookers.

Some modern slow cookers have metal pans, with non-stick or ceramic coatings. Metal pan slow cookers may have the heating element in an aluminum hotplate below the pan – like rice cookers and electric pressure cookers. A rice cooker heats a metal pot of rice and fluid to a boil, and uses automated controls to change the heat to low simmer. An electric pressure cooker brings the contents of the pot to a rolling boil with a hotplate element (e.g. Instant Pots: 1000 watts in 6 quart pots). A pressure cooker heats food and fluid to the boiling point; under pressure the temperature rises higher. The elements in these devices are below at the cooking vessel, and temperature and pressure sensors are outside the inner pot.

Machines with high wattage elements and/or metal pots rely on temperature sensors and programmed controls to prevent the food from overheating. Temperature sensors are typically outside the cooking vessel, and read a temperature at a point on the outside surface. The chip makes progammed calculations that control the current and the read out/display, if any. Usually, the control chip turns the element off when a set temperature is reached, and turns it for short periods on maintain temperature at the point calculated by the manufacturer’s team. The temperature of the contents of the vessel over time should rise and then graph as peaks and troughs along a mean.

Cook’s Illustrated/America’ Test Kitchen The Complete Slow Cooker (2017) recommended modern slow cookers with features including temperature sensors, countdown timers and electronic controls. CI/ATK tested heating performance by heating 4 quarts of water in 6 and 7 quart slow cookers Parts of the tests and results are in a YouTube video and a background story. There is a graph which shows that several devices in their tests will heat the water to 210 F. on high heat in about three hours; other devices take longer. CI/ATK pointed out that many newer machines run too hot to execute the CI/ATK library of slow cooker recipes. They like devices that heat the food to nearly the boiling point in a few hours and stabilize the heat. CI/ATK highly recommended a 6 quart KitchenAid ceramic crock model with a 350 watt belt element, and a Cuisinart model with a coated aluminum pan and a 250 watt hotplate element.

Wattage does not necessarily predict results. A 200-250 watt element is not hot enough to to fry in a metal pot. It heats the food faster in a metal pot than a ceramic. Ceramic crock machines with lower wattage elements will not heat water to 210 F. in 3 hours on high. Crock-Pot has 370 watts for an 8 quart crock, 240 watts for 6 quart models and 210 watts for 4 quart models. These machines would execute most recipes within the parameters of the recipe books, with a little variation depending on the crock and the contents of the crock. A few hours at low may be enough for soup, stew and chili. Several hours at high will do dry beans.

It is useful to know if device can heat water to 190-210 F., how fast, and on which setting. It is possible to use a waterproof thermometer and a timer. Water will lose heat fast when the lid is removed, so this requires a thermometer that takes a reading fast, planning, time, and care.

Pots and Pans

The hypothesis of Catching Fire is that cooking food was a learned cultural practice that affected the physiological evolution of human beings. It used “external” energy to make eating and digesting food take less time and liberated people to get on with life.

Ceramic cooking vessels were the dominant technology in societies in which people had stable homes. They were/are heavy and might be fragile, as compared to metal. They were the dominant technology until metal could be mined, refined and worked at scale – economically accessible. The Romans had sophisticated ceramics – the decline of the Roman empire is marked in the archeological record by the decline of the quality of ceramics.

Ceramic vessels have been regarded as primitive and superceded in most cultures and have hung on as a specialty method of cooking.

The metal cooking vessel was allowed food to be fried, roasted, boiled or braised. The combination of metal cooking vessels and reasonably safe and efficient stoves that created heat with electricity or fuel enabled people to work with raw ingredients and “staple” processed ingredients (e.g. rice, dried beans, flour) to cook.

The kitchen stove in the 20th century, heated by electrical energy or gas, provided direct heat applied to base of the cooking vessel by elements or burners, and an oven. The top worked with metal vessels, primarily. The user had to set the energy level, monitor the time and temperature and work the food around the pan. It is better than cooking with wood or coal, but it required some skill and effort and used energy.

Cast iron was a dominant technology in 19th century Europe and America. Carbon steel became (and remains) was a popular material to make woks and karahis in Asia. Thick walled vessels were durable and managed to distribute heat evenly. Thin walled vessels were vulnerable to dents and dings, and could easily scorch food. Lighter and less expensive thin-walled, vessels dominated the markets in Europe and America for most of the 20th century. Technological innovations included stainless steel, clad (bonded layers of stainless steel surfaces over other metal that held and conducted heat) bases, multi-ply vessels, induction pans.

American and European tradition culinary writers favoured using heavy cast iron or steel pans to fry or roast to get the outer layers of some food to carmelize (brown), and using technique (e.g. deglazing) to get the carmelized matter out of the pan and into a sauce or gravy that would reach the plate. Enamel on iron and enamel on steel coatings make metal less prone to stick, more resitant to corrosion, and simplied maintenace and care. Bare iron had to be treated or seasoned. This was the folk wisdom of cooks, recited by culinary writers. Cast iron cookware was durable, which led to interest in restoring and using old cast iron ware. The modern manufacturers and culinary writers theorized, experimented and tested. The idea of seasoning by baking a coating of flaxseed oil became a dominant theory around 2010:

American writers favoured the large skillet to fry and saute most food, and as shallow roasting pan – even as a substitute for a wok.

Teflon and other chemical non-stick coatings developed in mid to late 20th century had benefits and drawbacks. The coatings could be scratched during use or cleaning – the utensils have to be softer than the utensils that work with bare metal. Some coatings degrade if the pan is overheated, or under heavy use. Hard anodized aluminum is marketed as non-stick. There have been technical advances. The true advances cannot be identified in the background noise of product marketing “reviews”.

A few pans and utensils and a stove will see most cooks through most tasks. A few specialty applicances can cook some food with less adjustment of stove temperatures and work over the stove.

A flat bottom wok, with a durable non stick coating, is a versatile pan which can serve as a skillet, a deep saute pan and a wok.

Dry Hard

Dry pulses, the seeds of several legumes are inexpensive but take time to cook, which uses time and personal energy, and fuel or power. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recognizes 11 types of pulses harvested as dry grains: dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, bambara beans, vetches, lupins and pulses nes (not elsewhere specified). Split pulses are commonly called grams. Some whole pulses are called grams. It depends on the source of information.

Cooking dry beans was a matter of folk wisdom, and became difficult and obscure through the 20th century. The food industry was able to cook dry beans and present them as precooked in cans and in restaurant supply. They emerged in pastoral, local, and vegetable focussed recipes. Some recipes focussed on traditional methods such as ceramic cooking vessels. Paula Wolfert and others writers who wrote about Mediterranean (southern Europe, the Aegean countries, the Levant and North Africa) cooking introduced dishes and techniques that fell out of favour, to be reintroduced in popular books by Ottolenghi in the early 21st century. Others used the stove and pots of the 20th century. Others used slow cookers and pressure cookers; even microwave cooking. Anything that would braise or boil dry beans.

Green beans, string beans, soybeans and some green peas are not dry beans.

Lentils are variants of one or two species in the genus Lens. They have a flat, disk-like shape. In the North American grocery market, the common products are large brown and green lentils grown in the USA and Canada, noted in the Lentil#Types section on the Wikipedia page.

Peas are round; variants of Pisum sativa. Chickpeas are in the genus Cicer. White chickpeas (garbanzo bean; Egyptian pea; kabuli chana) have been grown, cooked and consumed around the Mediteannean and in Asia as far east and south as India for a few millenia of recorded history. In India, dark chickpeas (aka bengal gram) have been cultivated since before recorded history.

Most kidney-shaped or oval beans are variants of Phaseolus vulgraris, a pulse that evolved in South and Central America. The American variants include pinto, navy, Great Northern, lima, red kidney, cranberry and black turtle beans. Phaseolus has travelled and been modified and used in European and Indian agriculture and cooking. Cannellini beans (white kidney), and Great Northern beans were adopted in Italian, Mediterannean, and European cooking and agriculture. Red Kidney beans have become a north Indian food. Some sources recite old botanical taxonomy and refer to some European and Asian dry beans as Phaseolus. Broad beans, and faba (or fava) beans are vetches (Vicia faba); Lupini beans are lupins. Broad beans and lupins are the original Meditaranean and European dried beans.

Canned beans are cooked to a point, canned, and cooked in the can at high temperature. Canned beans are high in sodium, except for some brands.

In Indian cooking, dal may refer to small pulses: lentils, urad beans, mung beans, and pigeon peas. It may include split dark chickpeas and whole chickpeas, white or dark. The term covers many pulses. This Indian cooking site explains and has images. I like Anupy Singla’s books. She explains the terms for whole, split and skin or skinless legumes, which I have summarized:

English name(s)DescriptionIndian name(s)BotanyCooking
Brown lentilwholemasoor dalgenus LensIndian lentils are small;
American lentils are larger
Red lentil;
pink lentil
split brownmasoor dal duhligenus Lens
Mung bean;
Green gram
wholesabut moong dalVigna mungo;
South Asian peas;
Mung beansplit, skinnedmoong dal;
duhli moong dal
Vigna mungo
Urad bean;
black gram
wholesabut uradVigna mungo;
South Asian peas
hard; long cooking time
Urad beanspliturad dal chilkaVigna mungo
Urad beansplit, skinnedurad dal duhliVigna mungo
Pigeon peawholesabut toor dalgenus Cajanus;
India; South-East Asia
Pigeon peasplitduhli toor dalCajanus
Chickpea (white)
Garbanzo bean
wholekabuli chanagenus Cicer
Chickpea (black)
Bengal gram
wholedesi chanaCicer
Chickpea (black)splitchana dalCicer
Cowpea
Blackeyed peagenus Vigna;
Africa; spread to
America and India
Red Kidney beanrajmaphaseolus vulgaris;
central American,
spread to India

It is important to understand the names as they are used in recipes. Ural beans can take a long time. There is a large difference between urad beans and urad dal!

Dry pulses last years. This can lead to problems – some are very dry and hard after time. It is hard to tell how when the beans were harvested. Dried pulses have to be cooked in water. Old pulses are drier and harder to cook. Age is not easily judged from appearance.

The cooking time depends on the seed, age, and cooking method. Many recipe books understate cooking time for some pulses, The age of the pulse cannot be identified easily. Soaking before cooking reduces the cooking time, saving energy and giving the cook some confidence about getting the beans cooked on schedule for a predictable meal time. There are varations – soaking in brine; adding baking soda to the cooking water.

Clay pot cooking was used in every culture – ceramics predated metal cooking vessels. The word olla is Spanish, based on Latin. The Romans had good pottery. After the decline of the Roman empire the olla – the bulbous cooking pot – was the common ceramic vessel. Paula Wolfert wrote about cooking in ceramic pots. Rick Bayless wrote about ceramic beanpots in several books. It was slow cooking. It used as little fuel or energy as necessary.

Mexican and Central American cooks simmered pinto beans and black (turtle) beans in an olla in enough water to keep the beans covered in water through the entire process. According to Rick Bayless writing in Mexico, One Plate at a Time (Scribner, 2000), cooking in an olla heated the beans and water to 205-210 degrees (F), just below boiling. The beans would be cooked for several hours. Little water was lost to evaporation. The beans absorbed much of the water, and the cooking fluid became a broth. With this method, the beans were not soaked or pre-cooked.

Dried pulses can be cooked in cooking vessels on home stoves. Stove and ovens became the preferred approach where hot stoves were workable, including Europe and North America. Stovetop elements and burners heat the contents of metal pots above the boiling point of water, even at the lowest settings. With stoves, metal pots and cheap energy or fuel, the prevalent approach became to soak and boil.

A ceramic or metal beanpot or casserole (e.g. a Dutch Oven) filled with beans and water can be put in an oven; some beans are called baked beans. An oven might be set as low as 250 F. to simmer the beans slowly; many recipes suggest a hotter oven. The constraints on slow simmering and baking are to start early enough to get the beans soft and well cooked by meal time, to use enough water, and to keep the heat low and steady.

Rick Bayless agreed in Mexican Everyday (2005) that a slow cooker was a method of cooking pinto beans, black turtle beans and some other phaseolus beans. This simple device get the beans and water hot enough to simmer. Pinto beans take up to about 8 hours on low. Black turtle beans can be done in 6 hours on low. It depends on the slow cooker. Lentils only take a few hours in a slow cooker.

Some dal can be done with a few hours on low in a slow cooker – the true lentils. Other dal can take a long time in slow cookers – urad beans, rajma (red kidney beans) and chana dal (chickpeas). I have recipes that for curried chickpeas that cook, starting from dry (i.e. not soaked) beans, 12 to 14 hours on high. Split peas take time too. I add hours and/or use high when a slow cooker recipe says split peas can be done in less than 10 hours on low!

With a slow cooker, pre-soaking beans is not required, if you have time to cook them. Soaking beans allows a reduction in cooking time and permits using less cooking water as the beans will absorb less water as they cook.

A pressure cooker is a good way to cook dried pulses. There is a risk of overcooking split pulses which is a benefit if the cook wants soft texture. There is a risk of splitting the skins of larger pulses: so what. I like my beans cooked, not chewy. Modern pressure cooking cookbooks and resources have methods for dried pulses.

If chickpeas have been soaked, they take about 15 to 18 minutes on high pressure in a pressure cooker. Some books say 8-10 minutes but that only parcooks them.

A multicooker on slow cooker settings may not work – depending on model. The multicooker may be an electric pressure cooker (e.g. Instant Pot) with controls to slow cook. Electric pressure cookers can be relied on for pressure cooking. Not all electric pressure cooker multicooker models can reach a slow cooking temperature and maintain it. They have the power, but the designers of some models did not figure out how to use that power for slow cooker functions.

Small Bread Machine Loaves

Home baked bread loses its appeal after a couple of days. Making small loaves is a way to make enough – without toasting the last several slices, or freezing part of a fresh loaf.

A small recipe, in bread machine terms, is a 1 pound loaf made with 2 cups of flour. There are 1 lb machines on the market including Zojirushi models (expensive), and some Panasonic models (expensive; not available in USA or Canada; available on Amazon).  Some large and extra large machines have settings for small loaves. The smallest loaf setting in the Panasonic bread machines with “extra large” (2.5 lb) pans, such as my SD-YD250, is medium – a 1.5 lb. loaf made with 3 cups of flour. 

It is possible to use the a bread machine to mix dough for a small loaf on a dough cycle, with a recipe/formula. It is also possible to load the machine with ingredients for a smaller loaf and bake the loave in the machine. Either way, the recipe formula is scaled down.

Overmixing is a risk in principle with a scaled down loaf. The mixing process can stretch the dough too much or too often, and break the gluten strands. An overmixed dough cannot hold the gases, and will not rise.  Intensive mixing may affect a loaf with effects short of the complete failure caused by overmixing. Food processors can mix dough, although a food processor might only handle 3 cups of flour, and may only have one speed – very fast.  The mixing time may be less than a minute.  Some food processors have a dough speed and/or special blade to mix dough. The risk of overmixing dough in a food processor is well recognized.  A variety of mixers are available to the home baker. A home stand mixer can handle several cups of flour, at low-medium speed settings.  The power output of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a 5 quart bowl may be 325 watts.  A Bosch Compact Kitchen Machine may output 400 watts into its dough hook in its stand mixer configuration. Larger models may output 800 watts.  They have to be used at the right settings and for a short time. The Panasonic SD-YD250 has a 550 watt motor, and runs for 50- 60% of the time in a 25 minute +/- mixing phase on a medium loaf setting.  The heating element, rated at 550 watts, is outside the pan, around the bottom about 1 cm above the bottom. Heat is applied for intervals.  A small loaf develops hot spots around the base of the pan but is not burned.

The area of the rectangular pan is 266 square centimeters: 19 cm (7.5 inches) by 14 cm (5.5 inches). A small recipe would fill the pan to a depth of less than 3 cm. The Panasonic kneader paddle is 6 cm long, radially.  It is 2.6 cm high, rising to a fin 5 cm tall. The dough ball may not touch the sides of the pan, but centrifugal force stretches the dough away from the paddle. The edge of the ball sticks to the pan, and snaps away.  The machine can knead a small recipe.

Baking the scaled down loaf in the bigger machine is possible, but gets interesting. A small loaf should rise and spring to a height of 7.5 cm or more, above the top of the kneader, and flow enough. If dough does not flow, the loaf will be irregular.  Flow depends on hydration, on how the gluten relaxes, and the mass of the ball. Even a medium recipe may not flow enough – which usually means one end of the loaf is taller.

Small loaves get lost in the big pan; they may bake in odd shapes. When the dough ball for a small loaf rests at one “end” of the pan, and ball may settle at one end, flow to fill the pan in the 14 cm dimension, but not 19 cm dimension.  It may bake at that one end of the pan.  It is properly baked – just short. 

An off-center ball can be centered to avoid a sloping loaf.  The best time is right after the last knockdown (in a Panasonic SD-YD250 about 50 minutes before baking starts. A pause to extend the rise helps to get a little more pan flow. If the machine has a power interrupt but not a pause function (like mine) the machine cycle can be paused  by unplugging the machine.  It has to be plugged in within a time limit (for my machine, 10 minutes) to resume where it stopped.  This may have be repeated.  Other ways to extend the rise longer are to stop or shut down the cycle and:

  • leave the dough in the machine pan to rise, and start the machine later on the Cake or Bake only cycle;
  • put the dough in a conventional pan, let it rise, and put it in the kitchen oven.

The first step is get a scale by reference to total flour; by recipe size (volume); e.g. 3 cups (medium) to 2 (small): 2/3. I can’t scale to less than 75 percent or 80 percent of medium in a machine with a rectangular pan. Leaving aside recipes for the French bread cycle and dough cycles, 2 cups of flour does not make a large enough dough ball. Perhaps 2/3 would work in machines with medium or large “tall” pans.

Scaling from volume is possible, with careful calculation and measurement. Such as – 2/3 of 1.25 (1 and 1/4) cups of water is .8375 cups; a cup is 16 tbsp or 48 tsp.  Three quarters of cup plus 1 tablespoon is 13/16 – .8125.  Three quarters of cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp is 40/48 – .8333.

The most precise way to scale is by weight. As almost all home recipes list ingredients by volume, working by weight means finding conversion factors. Conversion factors are not always easy to find, and sources may disgree or only apply to some varieties of an ingredient, or to a brand of a commodity.

Flour, water, salt and yeast must be weighed carefully. I weigh flour and water in a bowl or measuring cup; I reset the scale to zero after putting the empty measuring vessel on the scale. A scale that goes to 1 gram is precise enough for flour. The volume measurements of salt and yeast for small loaves are fractions of a teaspoon.  I use a scale that goes to 0.1 grams.

Seeds and herbs should be scaled, but don’t have to be measured down to the gram. Oils, sugar and and sweet fluids should be scaled but don’t have to be measured to the gram. It is worth being aware of water in honey, maple syrop, molasses, eggs and different kinds of milk.

I don’t trust recipes that call for 2 tsp of yeast for a medium loaf to work in this machine.  I bake for low sodium. My tables scale at 50% salt, with yeast adjusted for salt. I also adjust yeast for this machine in two ways.

French Bread Cycle

Panasonic’s French Bread.  A 3 cup recipe makes an extra large loaf by volume. The French Bread cycle has a long initial rest, a short mixing phase, a long rise and 10% longer baking time. Bakers shape lean, wet white dough into batards and baguettes which hold up and slice better. I have scaled to 2/3 and 1/2 of 3 cups (2 cups and 1.5 cups of flour). The 1.5 cup version produces a loaf that is as “tall” and “wide” as bakery French Bread but 19 cm “long” – a short blunt batard:

 "Medium" Loaf 50% Sodium @ 67%@ 50%
Panasonic Manual50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
IngredientWeight g.B%
Instant Yeast
? standard | Panasonic
2 tsp. | 1 tsp.n. | .5 tspn | 1.4 g..3n | 1 g.n | .7 g.
White flour3 cups3 cups417 100278209
TFW417100278209
Butter1 tbsp.67 tbsp = 2 tsp.5 tbsp
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.312.82.2
Water1.3125 (1 + 5/16) cups31074207155

Basic Cycle

Beth Hensperger’s Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (p. 48) Country White”. This is a sandwich loaf:

IngredientMedium   @ 75% Medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
WeightB %
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp.1 tsp. | .5 tsp.n | 1.4 g.n | 1 g.
Bread Flour \ TFW3 cups417 g.100313 g.
Instant Potato Flakes1.5 tbsp.1 tbsp + .5 tsp
Skim Milk Powder3 tbsp.2 tbsp + .75 tsp
Sugar1 tbsp.2.25 tsp.
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.3 g.3.2 g.
Gluten1 tbsp.0
Oil
Canola or Olive
1 tbsp.2.25 tsp.
Water1.33 cups315 g.236 g.

Beth Hensperger’s Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (p. 200) “Chuck Williams Country French”. This is a rustic French bread. The dough may have to be watched and centered to get a symetrical loaf. This loaf does well if mixed on a dough cycle and and baked in a loaf pan or shaped and baked on a pizza stone or baking tile.

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
IngredientVolumeVolumeWeightB%
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
1 3/4 tsp7/8 tsp | 7/16 tsp
n | .9 g.n | .68 g.
White Flour2.25 cups313 g75235 g.
Whole Wheat.75 cups104 g2578 g.
TFW417 g100
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.3 g13.2 g.
Water1.25 cups1 + 3/16 cups
(1 cup + 3 tbsp)
280 g.71214 g.

Pembina Bread is based on BLBMC Country French and BLBMC Dakota Bread:

 Medium LoafMedium LoafMedium Loaf @ 75% of Medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium
50% Sodium
50% Sodium
Weight g.B %
Whole Wheat.5 cups.625 cups
872165 g.
White Flour2.25 cups31375235 g.
Bulgur.125 cups
.25 cups
20515
TFW420100
Salt 1.5 tsp..75 tsp
4.313.2
Sunflower seeds
raw
.25 cups3 tbsp
Pumpkin seeds
raw, chopped
.25 cups3 tbsp
Sesame seeds1.5 tsp1.125 tsp
Poppy seeds2 tsp1.5 tsp
Gluten
2 tbsp0
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp. | 7/16 tspn | 1.2 g..3.9
Canola Oil2 tbsp
1.5 tbsp.
Honey2 tbsp21 g.
[5 g. water]
15 g.
(1.5 tbsp)
Water1.25 cups300 g.225
Total fluids305 g.73

Whole Wheat Cycle

Panasonic’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread.  The Panasonic recipes are for medium, large and extra large. To do these in a Panasonic device at 50% sodium reduce salt and yeast by half. In other devices, I would start from another recipe and reduce salt and yeast. I have experimented with a small loaf at 75% of medium ingredients on the medium loaf setting in my Panasonic machine. It works, with slightly higher hydration.

 Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread, a variant of BLBMC Flax Seed (p. 118).  Getting this recipe to work involved figuring out the difference between using milk vs water and dry milk (powder) and using honey. It also helped to tune this formula, which makes changes to the BLBMC source:

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium50% sodium
50% sodium
Weight
[Fluid]
B%
Instant Yeast
Standard | Panasonic
2 tspn | .625 tsp

n | 1.8 g.1.3 g.
Whole Wheat1 cup2 cups
278 g.61209 g.
White Flour2 cups1 cup139 g.31104 g.
Flax mealx2 tbsp12 g.039 g.
Rolled Oatsx.25 cup25 g,0619 g,
T. Flours/strong>454 g.100
Flax Seed3 tbsp2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Poppy Seedx1 tbsp2.25 tsp
Salt 1 tsp.5 tsp
2.8 g..622.1 g.
Gluten 1 tbsp0
Olive Oil3 tbsp2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Honey3 tbsp60 g.
[12 g.]
345 g. or
2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Skim Milk1.33 cup
(325 ml)
320 g
[290 g.]
240 g.
if Water1.125 cups
Skim Milk Powder
if Water
.25 cups
Fluid Weight302 g.67

Cornell Bread, a BLBMC recipe (p. 161).  The  BLBMC calls for one large egg for the medium loaf (and for the large loaf, for that matter). I can adjust water down – which is what I try to do:

[table “34” not found /]

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread, a BLBMC recipe (p. 108), is a 50% whole wheat loaf with buttermilk.

 Medium
Medium
Medium
Weight
@ 75% of Medim
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
Whole Wheat1.5 cups209 g.157 g.
White Flour1.5 cups209 g.157 g.
TFW418 g.
Salt 1.5 tsp.75 tsp
50%
4.3 g3.2 g
Gluten
1.33 tbsp
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp | .5 tsp.


n | 1.4 g.n | 1.1 g.
Canola Oil2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Maple Syrup2 tbsp40 g.
[13 g. fluid]
1.5 tbsp
Buttermilk1.125 cups275 g.
[250 g. fluid]
210 g.
(.85 cups)
Fluid263 g.

More Bread Machine Loaves

These loaves are mainly whole grain and multigrain. Multigrain means a blend of white flour, whole wheat flour and other grain flour, flakes or groats of buckwheat, oat and other grains (usually not rye flour). These loaves work differently depending on blend, hydration, yeast and machine cycle. I think multigrain loaves do better on whole wheat cycle.

I use a Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine, and I adapt recipes from recipe books, mainly from the Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC”).   My salt measurement and yeast measurement are for 50% sodium.  The salt and yeast measurement in the source are stated in a source column. I change salt and yeast for 50% sodium. I also adjust yeast for the SD-YD 250;  the italicized yeast measurement it may work in a machine with similiar features and cycle but may not work in other machines. I use Bakers’ percentage (B%) and deal with flour, water, salt and yeast by weight.

French Bread, as written the Panasonic Manual. French bread bake cycle – one size recipe; 3 cups of flour (medium loaf) that comes out in a block that fills the extra-large pan.  It can be scaled down. It isn’t as good as oven baked, but as good as some retail bread made in that style.

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
IngredientVolumeVolumeWeightB%
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
1 3/4 tsp7/8 tsp | 7/16 tsp
n | .9 g.n | .68 g.
White Flour2.25 cups313 g75235 g.
Whole Wheat.75 cups104 g2578 g.
TFW417 g100
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.3 g13.2 g.
Water1.25 cups1 + 3/16 cups
(1 cup + 3 tbsp)
280 g.71214 g.

My sister makes a Flax Seed Whole Wheat bread with 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup of white flour, oatmeal, sunflower, flax and poppy seeds, flax meal, and 1.75 cups milk.  This works in her machine, producing a loaf with a fairly open crumb. I wanted a medium recipe with 3 cups of flour that could scale for smaller loaves. The BLBMC (p. 118) formula uses 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 cups of bread flour.  So does a formula on the web Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread. I used the latter version, with a shift to more whole wheat flour; and added the ingredients of my sister’s recipe.

The BLBMC used 1 cup whole wheat and 1.125 (1 + 1/8) cups water. The shift to more whole wheat and the addition of rolled oat and flax meal requires a small amount of water for hydration, between one and two tablespoons more of water. One tablespoon is 1/16 of a cup. The water can be added as water, when using milk powder.

This dough finds a couple of teaspoons of water in 3 tablespoons of honey. Switching to fluid milk adds quality – but requires some attention.

Unpasteurized milk can lead to surprizes. Some bakers think milk,  real or reconstituted, should be scalded to denature proteins. I don’t spend time and energy on this.

The medium loaf was a little lopsided. My attempts to bake smaller loaves based on this recipe were educational. It has a firm crust and a dense crumb that holds up for firm sandwich slices.

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium50% sodium
50% sodium
Weight
[Fluid]
B%
Instant Yeast
Standard | Panasonic
2 tspn | .625 tsp

n | 1.8 g.1.3 g.
Whole Wheat1 cup2 cups
278 g.61209 g.
White Flour2 cups1 cup139 g.31104 g.
Flax mealx2 tbsp12 g.039 g.
Rolled Oatsx.25 cup25 g,0619 g,
T. Flours/strong>454 g.100
Flax Seed3 tbsp2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Poppy Seedx1 tbsp2.25 tsp
Salt 1 tsp.5 tsp
2.8 g..622.1 g.
Gluten 1 tbsp0
Olive Oil3 tbsp2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Honey3 tbsp60 g.
[12 g.]
345 g. or
2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Skim Milk1.33 cup
(325 ml)
320 g
[290 g.]
240 g.
if Water1.125 cups
Skim Milk Powder
if Water
.25 cups
Fluid Weight302 g.67

I make a loaf I call Pembina Bread: a white flour loaf with seeds, based in BLBMC Dakota Bread (p. 119). Named for Pembina, North Dakota, important to Winnipegers. The gateway to Fargo and Grand Forks; the site of KCND, the first American TV network affiliate transmitter that reached antennas in Winnipeg (later purchased by Canadian owners and moved north of the border as CKND).

[table “21” not found /]

Cornell Bread is a BLBMC recipe (p. 161), based on Cornell bread developed by Clive McCay of Cornell University first published in 1955 in a short book called The Cornell Bread Book. The BLBMC bread machine version has been emulated and published on the Web e.g. here. It uses an egg, milk powder, and soy flour for protein, and wheat germ for fiber. 

Dr. McCay is reported to have believe that this bread, with butter, was a sufficient healthy and nutrious diet. A nearly vegetarian scientific health food, 30 years before the vegetarian prescriptions of Diet for a Small Planet. Dr. McCay, a scientist in animal nutrition, experimented on mice to prove that bread made with bleached white flour was not as healthy as bread made with unbleached flour.  The 1980 edition of the Cornell Bread Book is still available.  The recipe is presented in recipes  and articles on prepper and counterculture sites.  The recipe  was developed during the Great Depression.  Food security was recognized as an issue in America more clearly then than now. Eleanor Roosevelt’s Kitchen, a 2010 article in the New Yorker, looked back at the campaigns by home economists at Cornell to  promote economical recipes for American kitchens in hard times.  Americans were persuaded that hard times ended by 1945, and food writers began to treat the austerity diet (e.g. recipes for Bulldog Gravy orDepression Cake in M.F.K. Fisher‘s How to Cook a Wolf) as as a memory.

A brown bread. Slightly sweet, and rich. The white flour gives it some lift.

This loaf taught me a lesson about hydration. My first attempt was the medium loaf. I missed a digit in entering the water in the calculator. I used 1.25 cups x 236 (=295 g). The correct amount was 1.125 cups x 236 (=266 g). One eight of a cup. The dough was sloppy. I shook some white flour in (not measured, 3 or 3 tbsp) with about 10 minute of mixing time left to get a dough that held up. The loaf had an open crumb and cratered.

 Medium Loaf

   @ 75% of Medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
VolumeWeight
[Fluid]
B%
Whole Wheat1.5 cups209 g.48156
White Flour1.125 cups156 g.36117
Soy flour.33 cups40 g.30 g.
Wheat germ 1.5 tbsp6.5 g.4.9 g.
Milk Powder.25 cups25 g.19 g.
Flour Total437100
Brown Sugar2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.3 g.3.2 g.
Gluten1.5 tbsp
Inst. Yeast *2.5 tsp1.25 tsp3.5 g.2.6 g.
Canola Oil2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Egg
Large
157 g.
[36 g.]
1
Honey2 tbsp40 g.
[8 g.]
1.5 tbsp
(6 g. water)
Water1.125 cups281205
Fluids32572

Sunflower Oatmeal Bread is the BLBMC (p. 323), bread machine adaptation of Celeste’s Sunflower and Oatmeal Bread published in Beth Hensperger’s baking books including Bread (1988).

 MediumMedium Medium
@ 75 % of Medium
VolumeWeight
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp | .5 tsp
x | 1.4 g.x | 1.0 g.
Whole Wheat
Flour
.5 cups70 g.53 g.
White Flour2.5 cups348 g.261 g.
Oatmeal.5 cups50 g37 g.
(3 x 1/8 cups)
TFW468
Salt1.5 tsp..75 tsp4.3 g.3.2 g
Sunflower seeds
raw
.5 cups3 x 1/8 cups
Butter1.5 tbsp1.1 tbsp
Gluten2 tbsp
Molasses1 tbsp.2.25 tsp.
Honey2 tbsp.21 g.
{5 g. water}
1.5 tbsp
{4 g. water}
Egg, Large157 g.
{36 g. water}
57 g.
{36 g. water}
Buttermilk.625 cups153 g.
{135 g. water}
115 g.
{101 g. water}
Water.5 cups110 g.59 g.
Total Fluid 286215

Buttermilk Whole Wheat BLBMC p. 108. 50% Whole Wheat with buttermilk and maple syrup; salt reduction, and yeast adjustments for salt and for Panasonic. Estimating the hydration of buttermilk and maple syrup helped to tune the overall hydration.

 Medium
Medium
Medium
Weight
@ 75% of Medim
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
Whole Wheat1.5 cups209 g.157 g.
White Flour1.5 cups209 g.157 g.
TFW418 g.
Salt 1.5 tsp.75 tsp
50%
4.3 g3.2 g
Gluten
1.33 tbsp
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp | .5 tsp.


n | 1.4 g.n | 1.1 g.
Canola Oil2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Maple Syrup2 tbsp40 g.
[13 g. fluid]
1.5 tbsp
Buttermilk1.125 cups275 g.
[250 g. fluid]
210 g.
(.85 cups)
Fluid263 g.

Zarathustra’s Bread is BLBMC (p. 126) “Tecate Ranch Whole Wheat”, made with 100 % whole wheat flour, honey, molasses and poppy seeds. Freshly baked whole wheat is tasty. 100% whole wheat loaves can dry out or go stale fast.

BLBMC named it for a spa in Baja California that serve this bread, developed by a chef at spa in San Diego which used Zoroastrianism as one its themes. Exotic naming is a staple of counter-culture marketing to consumers with a taste for the bohemian in their lives. For a more SF reading of the name, consider watching 2001: a Space Odessey, listening to the fanfare of Thus Spake Zarathustra. Imagine the loaf as the monolith.

IngredientMedium LoafMedium Loaf
Medium Loaf
 @ 75% of Medium
BLBMC50 % Sodium50 % Sodium50 % Sodium
WeightB %
Whole Wheat3.25 cups452339
Wheat Germ
Wheat Bran
.33 cup.25 cup3 tbsp
TFW100
Gluten2.5 tbsp0
Salt1.5 tsp..75 tsp4.33.2 g.
Poppy Seeds1 tbsp2.25 tsp
Instant Yeast1 tbsp.75 tsp
2.11.6 g.
Honey.125 cups
(2 tbsp)
1.5 tbsp
Molasses.125 cups;
(2 tbsp)
1.5 tbsp
Water1.33300 g.
314 g.
225 g.
236 g.
(1 cup)

Bread Machine Loaves

I worked out my approach to yeast and low sodium in  baking in a Panasonic SD-YD250 for medium (1.5 lb.) loaves June, July and August, 2018. Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC”) recipes did not work as published.  

Here are recipes that worked. Most are in tables with volume, weight, and ingredients, scaled for smaller loaves.  I mark the parts of the source formula that I changed. I reduce salt to 50% salt, and adjust yeast for salt. I also adjust yeast for my Panasonic SD-YD250 machine, except for the Panasonic recipes.

Basic White Loaf is in the Panasonic Manual or online. Basic bake cycle. Panasonic presents this recipe in M, L, XL in the manual, as a milk bread (milk instead of water), and as a basic sandwich loaf. This recipe works at published for medium loaves. It works at 50% sodium by cutting the recipe amounts of salt and yeast by 50%.

100% Whole Wheat is in the Panasonic Manual or online at 100 % Whole Wheat. Bake Whole wheat cycle. This recipe works at published. It works at 50% sodium by cutting the recipe amounts of salt and yeast by 50%

Chuck Williams’s Country French is from BLBMC (p. 200).  Beth Hensperger adapted a recipe from her 2002 bread book in Williams-Sonoma collection. It was a recipe for La Cloche device; in the style of Pain de campagne, with whole wheat (not rye) flour.  A lean French bread: 25% whole wheat, 75% white flour, water, salt, yeast; without milk, butter or sugar.  BLBMC says Basic or French bread cycle.  Those cycles use a more intensive mix, and I back off on yeast and water.  The loaf has a firm crust and a reaonably open crumb. Low salt, B% and scaled.

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
IngredientVolumeVolumeWeightB%
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
1 3/4 tsp7/8 tsp | 7/16 tsp
n | .9 g.n | .68 g.
White Flour2.25 cups313 g75235 g.
Whole Wheat.75 cups104 g2578 g.
TFW417 g100
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.3 g13.2 g.
Water1.25 cups1 + 3/16 cups
(1 cup + 3 tbsp)
280 g.71214 g.

Pembina Bread is adapted from BLBMC (p. 119) or Beth Hensperger blog: Dakota Bread. The source recipe says basic bake cycle, and uses .5 cup of whole wheat for a medium loaf.  Chuck Williams Country French, above, use .75 cups of whole wheat.  The bulger takes up a little water, which changes the hydration.  I use less bulgur than the BLBMC source, and  whole wheat bake cycle. Low salt, B% and scaled.

 Medium LoafMedium LoafMedium Loaf @ 75% of Medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium
50% Sodium
50% Sodium
Weight g.B %
Whole Wheat.5 cups.625 cups
872165 g.
White Flour2.25 cups31375235 g.
Bulgur.125 cups
.25 cups
20515
TFW420100
Salt 1.5 tsp..75 tsp
4.313.2
Sunflower seeds
raw
.25 cups3 tbsp
Pumpkin seeds
raw, chopped
.25 cups3 tbsp
Sesame seeds1.5 tsp1.125 tsp
Poppy seeds2 tsp1.5 tsp
Gluten
2 tbsp0
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp. | 7/16 tspn | 1.2 g..3.9
Canola Oil2 tbsp
1.5 tbsp.
Honey2 tbsp21 g.
[5 g. water]
15 g.
(1.5 tbsp)
Water1.25 cups300 g.225
Total fluids305 g.73

Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread is an adaptation of a BLBMC recipe (p. 118), with changes discussed in my post on Other Recipes, and changes for low sodium. I give the BLBMC recipe amount in strikeout text and my changed value in italic text. I prefer whole wheat cycle:

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium50% sodium
50% sodium
Weight
[Fluid]
B%
Instant Yeast
Standard | Panasonic
2 tspn | .625 tsp

n | 1.8 g.1.3 g.
Whole Wheat1 cup2 cups
278 g.61209 g.
White Flour2 cups1 cup139 g.31104 g.
Flax mealx2 tbsp12 g.039 g.
Rolled Oatsx.25 cup25 g,0619 g,
T. Flours/strong>454 g.100
Flax Seed3 tbsp2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Poppy Seedx1 tbsp2.25 tsp
Salt 1 tsp.5 tsp
2.8 g..622.1 g.
Gluten 1 tbsp0
Olive Oil3 tbsp2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Honey3 tbsp60 g.
[12 g.]
345 g. or
2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Skim Milk1.33 cup
(325 ml)
320 g
[290 g.]
240 g.
if Water1.125 cups
Skim Milk Powder
if Water
.25 cups
Fluid Weight302 g.67

Three Seed Whole Wheat Bread is my adapatation of the BLBMC recipe (p. 116). It is a low sodium recipe.  When I depart from the recipe, I give the BLBMC recipe amount in strikeout text and my changed value in italic text.  Any additions are italic. I prefer whole wheat cycle:

 Medium Loaf   @ 75% Medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
WeightB%
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp.1 tsp. | .5 tsp2.8 g. | 1.4 g..331.1 g.
Whole Wheat1.5 cups209 g.50157 g.
White Flour1.5 cups209 g. 50157 g.
TFW418 g.100314 g.
Dry Skim Milk3 tbsp2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Salt1 tsp..5 tsp2.9 g2.2 g
Gluten1tbsp.
Brown Sugar2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Sunflower Seed1/3 cup2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Sesame Seed
2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Poppy Seed2 tsp1.5 tsp
Sunflower Oil2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Water1.25 cups1 + 3/16 cups
280 g
70210 g.

Scandinavian Light Rye is based on BLBMC (p. 134).  In a table – low salt, B%. When I depart from the recipe, I give the recipe amount in strikeout text and my changed value in italic text.  Any additions are italic. It works on basic bake cycle, medium loaf setting.

 Medium   @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium
50% sodiumB%50% sodium
Weight
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2.5 tsp1.25 tsp. | .625 tspn | 1.8 g.n | 1.3 g.
White Flour1.875 cups261 g.66196 g.
Dark Rye Flour1.125 cups135 g.34101 g.
TFW396 g.100
Brown Sugar2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Caraway Seed1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
Salt
1.5 tsp.75 tsp
4.3 g.3.2 g.
Gluten1 tsp.0
Oil1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
Water1.125 cups266 g.67200 g.

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread is from BLBMC (p. 108). I didn’t quite get this during the trials in the summer of 2018. Medium-light whole wheat. 50% Whole Wheat with buttermilk and maple syrup as the sweetener. I did not feel sure about this, but it works with my salt reduction and my yeast adjustment for salt and for Panasonic. I worked out the hydration of buttermilk and maple syrup and overall hydration. That may be a useful number to check other 50-50 loaves for hydration and yeast. I think multigrain 50-50 loaves do better on whole wheat cycle.

[table “39” not found /]

White Whole Wheat flour is mentioned in a recipe from BLBMC (p. 127) “White Whole Wheat Flour Bread”. (see variation with 3 cups of flour). It is supposed to work like bread flour; a loaf is supposed to work on basic bake, which is a “white bread” cycle. I never had White Whole Wheat flour. It is a specialty flour available from King Arthur mills in the USA:

White whole-wheat flour is … made with hard white spring or winter wheat — the bran, germ, and endosperm are all ground to result in another 100 percent whole-wheat flour. … because it’s made with hard white wheat instead of hard red wheat, like whole-wheat flour, it has a paler color and its taste is milder. It’s still nuttier than all-purpose flour because it includes the fibrous bran and germ of the wheat, but it’s a more approachable whole-wheat flour, particularly for those who don’t enjoy the hearty taste of whole-wheat flour.
It can be used interchangeably with whole-wheat flour in any recipe

https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/guides/white-whole-wheat

Home bakers report, in King Arthur comments, that the uses of this flour include using it in place of white flour for pancakes. I substituted Rogers “Whole Wheat Bread Flour”, which was higher in protein (gluten) than the flour in the recipe. It was a lesson. I stopped looking for a flour that can’t be obtained in this part of Canada.

The general conditions for the loaves above in my test program:

  • Wheat flour, by Rogers, a Canadian mill:
    • All-Purpose flour (i.e. bread flour); 1 cup = 4.9 oz = 139 grams;
    • Bread Flour for White Bread;
    • Whole Wheat flour; 1 cup = 4.9 oz = 139 grams;
    • Whole Wheat Bread Flour (a blend of Whole Wheat and white flour, and added gluten);
  • Rye Flour. Rogers Dark Rye Flour;
  • Instant Yeast; 1 tsp = 2.8 g.;
  • Salt in a recipe is table salt; 1 tsp = 5.7 grams.

Bread Machine Artisan Bread?

A bread machine cannot produce the shapes associated with rustic, country hearth, or “artisan” bread.  These loaves are shaped as round boules or oval batards (or torpedos), and baked on a deck, without a pan. A bread machine bakes a loaf in a pan. Artisan loaves tend to have firm or even crisp/crunchy crusts. There is no direct temperature control or temperature reading on a bread machine.  A bread machine creates enough heat to bake a dark crust but cannot reach the temperature that bakes crunchy crusts.

A bread machine can become a mixer (and a proofing box) on a dough cycle. This saves labour. But a bread machine doesn’t have the alternative functionality that mixers offer.

The bread machine makes dough on a cycle.  A dough cycle will have an initial rest or preheat phase many machines (e.g. my Panasonic SD-YD250 has it on all dough cycles except pizza dough). Every machine will reliably mix the ingredients at a slow speed and move up to higher speed to work the dough.  There is some control of time.  For instance to avoid the more intensive mixing – just stop it when it is mixed.  And a pause after slow mixing can be made (to autolyse before more intensive mixing, or to add something), until the end of the phase. A few machines have a pause function, controlled by a button.  Most machines have a power interrupt that restarts the machine at the point in the cycle it stopped after short power outage.  This allows a pause of several minutes by unplugging the machine. The machine must be plugged back in, within the time limit or it goes back to the start of the cycle.

There are no options to slow down the mixing or change the time – just stop when you want to stop mixing, and rest or work the the dough.

Some breads use a fermented “starter” to introduce yeast and bacteria (sourdough, mother, chef, levain) or to enhance flavour (sponge, biga, poolish, pre-ferment, pate fermentee). Adding a starter during mixing means lifting the lid and/or taking out the pan, and putting it in manually.

Dough cycles have a rest phase and a rise phase allowing the dough to ferment in machine, and stop.  The user has options after on when to remove the dough after mixing, and other options:

  • the end of mixing
  • the end of the rise
  • after the end of the cycle for added bulk fermentation time
  • put the dough in the fridge to slow down fermentation
  • knock it down, knead by hand;
  • additional fermentation – a second rise before shaping the loaf

The user ultimately shapes it, let it rise and puts it into the oven in pans, on a baking sheet or in or on a ceramic sheet or apparatus (e.g. pizza stone) at whatever temperature the user wants.

The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook offers advice and several recipes/formulas for artisan loaves, using the dough cycle to mix dough at pages 196-297.  At some points, the machine must be paused to prolong the ferment This advice but has to be adjusted for the machine.  For instance many machines can’t be paused

Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook was a French whole wheat artisan loaf at p. 206. I used {Whole Wheat} Dough cyle. BLBMC advises a knock down, additional fermentation/rise after the dough cycle.  These steps are superflous with a machine with a long rise phase and a knockdown in the rise phase.

The steps after the dough is out of the machine are shaping a torpedo loaf, final proof, scoring the loaf and baking at 400 F for 32-48 minutes:

  • 347 g. (2.5 cups) whole wheat flour
  • .5 cup spelt flour
  • {4.3 g. (.75 tsp)} salt [BLBMC 1.5 tsp]
  • {2.8 g. (1 tsp)} instant yeast [BLBMC 4 tsp]
  • 1 5/16 cups (1.25 + 1 tbsp) buttermilk
  • .5 cup water

The loaf looks like a loaf of rye bread – it has a dark crust.  The crust is soft, as might be expected with whole wheat.  It has a sticky crumb that leaves a residue on the bread knife, like an artisan OEM product sold in the local Thifty’s over the last two years before fall 2018.  The crumb is not as darkly coloured as 100%  whole wheat recipes which use dark brown sugar or molasses and oil – and not as dense.

Light Rye – Bread Machine

A bread machine can make a light rye. Light rye breads are soft  breads made with wheat flour, with rye flour or rye meal for flavour and texture, or light rye flour. Also, there are (retail/craft/home) rustic rye and rye sourdough styles. Light rye bread may be made in pans, but also baked in a torpedo shape.

Authentic pumpernickel is outside the capabilities of bread machines. There are retail/craft/home formulas for a rustic style with rye flour, e.g.  King Arthur Classic Pumpernickel baked in an oven. 

Rye bread has been baked with caraway seeds so often that consumers associate the flavour of caraway with the flavour of rye. Caraway is related to cumin, fennel, anise, carrots, celery and parsley. Some varieties are known as Persian cumin. It has been used as a cooking herb or spice since the time of the Roman Empire. It is a major spice in Central European cooking and in the nations beside the Baltic and was adopted in Germany, the Nordic countries and England. Caraway seeds were/are used to make flavoured breads with white flour in Central European recipes. Cumin and caraway are the spice in Kamijnekaas – the spiced Dutch cheeses Leiden Kaas and spiced Gouda. Caraway is a strong flavouring, and may overwhelm other flavours in rye bread. Other flavouring agents: fennel and anise seeds, dried orange peel, orange zest and orange oil for flavour in varying amounts and combinations. There are dark or sour light rye styles (retail/craft/home/bread machine) with wheat flour, rye flour and cocoa or ground coffee for dark colour,vinegar or sour cream for acidity corn meal, oatmeal or sunflower seeds for texture.

Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook has recipes for light rye breads (at pp. 133-143, 313) with 25% – 35% rye flour by weight. This is manageable in a bread machine for most recipes and machines.

Panasonic’s manual asserts rye flour leads to dense bread when used to replace other flour, and warns that mixing rye flour might overload the motor.  I bake light rye bread in a Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine. The machine’s cycles are programmed to knead for a longer time than a rye bread needs. The dough starts to release water and gets sloppy.

Rye flour has less of the proteins that build gluten than wheat flour.  It has pentosans which absorb water early in mixing but release it after periods of intensive mixing. The dough seems dry and elastic – it holds it shape and is slow to relax. According to Daniel DiMuzio’s Bread Baking, An Arisan’s Perspective (p. 51), bakers with control of speed and time would use a short period of slow mixing for dough with significant amounts of rye flour, and little faster intensive mixing DiMuzio notes (p. 216) that dough for deli-style light rye (80% white/20% rye) would be hydrated at 68% and mixed slowly: in a stand mixer, 3 minutes slow to blend ingredients and 3 minutes on second speed. This would be a custom cycle in a bread machine with the option of programming a custom cycle. With my machine, I could turn off the machine after slow mix and a few minutes of knead/mix and let it rise and finish it on the counter and in the oven; or in the machine:

  • let it sit, knock it down once with a spatula, let it “bench” rise and
  • plug it in and set to bake “cake”.

I get a good loaf on a basic bake cycle without resorting to those hacks.

Rogers Foods mills Dark Rye Flour is available locally, and priced as a staple instead of a luxury good.  Rogers does not directly publish a volume to mass conversion. The food facts label indicates 1 cup = 120 grams = 4.2 oz.  Food Facts for Dark Rye flours from other mills are consistent.  120 grams is in the range of published values, which is confusing and wide.  Online Conversion’s converter and Aqua-Calc converter dark rye flour said 1 cup of dark rye flour = 4.5 oz. = 128 g.   The rest of the range:

  • BLBMC; Reinhardt’s Bread Bakers Apprentice – no factor stated
  • Bakery Network conversion chart – 1 cup “rye flour” = 4 oz. = 113 g.
  • Aqua-Calc converter light rye flour (or medium rye flour) – 1 cup = 102 g = 3.6 oz.
  • The Traditional Oven’s  converter – 1 cup = 102 g. = 3.6 oz.  light rye?
  • King Arthur Flour’s Ingredient Conversion chart – 1 cup = 3.625 oz.  light rye?

Bread with Caraway and Onions. There is a white bread recipe in the Panasonic manual that evokes rye bread with a touch of rye flour, and caraway seeds. Panasonic has not published it online. It is nearly identical to Panasonic’s Basic White Bread. For a medium loaf, add 1/8 cup rye flour, 2 tsp caraway seeds, and 1/8 cups chopped onions. The linked recipe is for Panasonic machines and normal (i.e. not reduced) sodium.

Scandinavian Light Rye – a BLBMC recipe.

 Medium   @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium
50% sodiumB%50% sodium
Weight
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2.5 tsp1.25 tsp. | .625 tspn | 1.8 g.n | 1.3 g.
White Flour1.875 cups261 g.66196 g.
Dark Rye Flour1.125 cups135 g.34101 g.
TFW396 g.100
Brown Sugar2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Caraway Seed1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
Salt
1.5 tsp.75 tsp
4.3 g.3.2 g.
Gluten1 tsp.0
Oil1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
Water1.125 cups266 g.67200 g.

Swedish Rye Bread – a BLBMC recipe.

 Medium Loaf   @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
VolumeWeightB %
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp. | .5 tsp
n | 1.4 g.n | 1.1 g.
White Flour2 cups278 g.65209 g.
Dark Rye FlourMedium Rye1.25 cups150 g.35113 g.
TFW428 g.100
Fennel Seed2 tsp1.5 tsp
Dried Orange Peel1.5 tsp1 + 1/8 tsp
Salt1.25 tsp.625 tsp3.6 g.2.7 g.
Gluten4 tsp.
Oil1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
Honey3 tbsp2.25 tbsp =
2 tbsp + 3/4 tsp
Water1.25 cups295 g.69221 g.

Steamed Rice

Steamed rice is rice cooked in water. It is not fried first (as with some pilaf, biryani, Mexican styles) or cooked as a risotto, paella, rice pudding, congee or other flavoured rice dish.  Cooked rice can used in a dish, as an accompaniment to other dishes, fried or processed further, or added to other dishes e.g. Nasi Goreng is preparation of fried cooked white rice.

Steaming is an absorption preparation.  Salt is optional; it is added for taste. Steamed rice can be cooked in a pot or cooking vessel over a heat source, or in a rice cooker appliance. Pressure cookers and pressure multi-cooker appliances (most multi-cookers are basically electric pressure cookers – e.g. Instant Pot) can do steamed rice. The slow cooker can cook rice in a soup or stew. It does not do well with plain rice where the goal is fluffy grains.

Rinsing brown rice is pointless – the grain is still coated with bran. The editors and authors of Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen have a theory about rinsing white rice: concept 30 in The Science of Good Cooking (2012). Their aphorism is “Rinsing (Not Soaking) Makes Rice Fluffy). CI/ATK publishes summaries of its test kitchen tests. Rinsing removes rice flour and talc and helps to keep it from getting sticky. Rinsing is normal for White Basmati but uncommon with long grain white rice grown in the Southern USA, and with short grain rices. Rinsing is not useful for short grain rice that is supposed to be creamy (for risotto) or sticky (for sushi and other Asian dishes). Or with with Spanish Bomba or other paella varieties. Soaking rice before cooking is not useful. It is recommended by some sources, but it is not useful.

It is possible to put rice in ample boiling water and strain it like pasta. Some cookbooks promote this; many suggest this as an option among other methods.

Sri Owen, in The Rice Book (1993), said that steaming rice in a vessel on a heat source can be a 2 step process.  First, rice is simmered in a measured amount of water in an uncovered pot at the boiling point until the rice has absorbed the water. The second step is “finishing”; Owen describes 4 ways:

  • Cover the vessel and leaving it on very low heat to steam the rice internally, taking it off the heat and leaving it covered;
  • Moving the rice into a collander and steaming the rice suspended in another vessel over boiling water.   This is basically parcooking the rice and put it in a steamer or collander, recommended by Jamie Oliver;
  • Moving the rice into a casserole, covering it and baking in an oven;
  • Moving the rice into a microwaving vessel, covering with the usual wrap or cover, and a few minutes in a microwave oven.

Owen pointed out that a rice cooker was a good tool; she did not write about presssure cookers or multi-cookers.

The conventional method of steaming rice is a slow simmer at the point that water steams. It is simpler than the two step processes above, and allows the cook to deal with other tasks once the temperature has been brought down to a simmer. It requires a pot that disperses the heat evenly, a tight lid to hold in the steam, and control of heat and time.

Put rice in a meaured amount of water, bring the water to a boil,  cover the pot, reduce the heat, simmer. Leave it covered and set a timer. Remove from heat and rest off heat, covered for 10-15 minutes. Set the timer for the final rest.

The cooking time can be from 12 to 20 minutes. The method works within a range of rice/water ratios and times. The results may be more or less fluffy, absorbent or sticky.  The rice recipe at What’s Cooking America has a table of rice to water ratio and cooking times for several kinds of rice. The instructions at that site for cooking white rice are a bit contradictory.  There is a concise article by Fine Cooking magazine and some videos and notes at the Kitchn site. The normally stated ratio of long grain white rice to water is 1 cup of dry rice to 1.5 to 1.75  cups of water.  CI/ATK recommend the low end of this range. 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of rice is too much water for Basmati rice. It may be suitable for pilafs of other long grained white rice.

Package directions for the standard varieties such as long grain white rice tend to go high on water; many recipes do. This will lead to soggy overcooked rice.

Steaming can be performed in a pressure cooker. Laura Pazzaglia calls for 3 cups of water for 1.5 cups of long grain white rice in the print version of Hip Pressure Cooking! This is soggy; there is a mistake in that recipe! Her table on her web page states a reasonable 1.5 cups of water per cup of long grain white rice. When the water boils, the lid is locked and the pot is brought to high pressure, and the cooking time on high pressure is 3 minutes. Then rest off heat 10 minutes or more without releasing the pressure (i.e. do not use the release mechanism); let the pressure drop as the pot cools.

I normally use a normal pot on a stove for white rice. The pressure cooker is not actually that much faster or more convenient.

White Basmati Rice, a long grain aromatic rice originating from Northern India, Pakistan and Nepal can be cooked by the slow simmer method. Refer to: article from the Guardian; Madhur Jaffry recipe from the Telegraph. I like the rice fluffy and go light on the water:

  • 2.33 cups of water to 2 cups of rice, simmering 23 minutes, or
  • 2 cups of water to 1.5 cups of rice, simmering 20 minutes . 

White Basmati  rice can be cooked in a pressure cooker at the ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.25 cups water. As with other long grain white rice, I normally use a normal pot on the stove.

All rice delivers carbohydrates, a source of glucose, an essential nutrient. Rice is normally milled to remove the husk or bran and germ, leaving the white kernel of endosperm with the carbs. White rice can be cooked quickly, saving time and fuel/energy.

Brown or whole rice has been dried, but the bran has been left. It is heat treated to keep the oils in the bran turning the rice rancid. Roger Own, in his essay “A Rice Landscape”, published in Sri Owen’s The Rice Book (1993) wrote: “… brown rice always costs more because there is less demand for it, and because the bran … milled off … would have been sold separately.”

The demand for brown rice has been increasing because it has become perceived as a healthy whole food, and because restaurant chefs and food writers have developed palatable preparations and liberated healthy foods from the ideas that eating should be directed to the hope of healthful longevity, a that tasty food must be unhealthy. Brown rice has more micronutrients and fiber than white rice. 

Steaming brown rice takes a longer cooking time – 40 minutes or so. Many recipes suggest 2 cups of water to one cup of brown rice. CI/ATK suggests 1.5 cups of rice in 2.33 cups of water. Sri Owen suggests that white and brown rice should have the same amount of water for some techniques.

In a pressure cooker, Laura Pazzaglia calls for 2.5 cups of water for 1.5 cups of long grain brown rice in the print version of Hip Pressure Cooking which is a bit soggy. She calls for 2.5 cups of water for 2 cups of long grain brown rice in her recipe in the recipe book that ships with an Instant Pot (in the table on her web page she recommends 1 cup of rice to 1.25 cups of water); cooking time 18 minutes with a stovetop pressure cooker or 22 minutes with an electric. Rest off heat 10 minutes or more without releasing the pressure; let the pressure drop naturally as the pot cools, and release the pressure valve then.