Lean Bread Machine Loaves

A lean bread is flour, water, yeast and salt. Sandwich bread is enriched with sugar or milk. Milk has fats and sugars, in solution. Sugar makes the dough more extensible, which helps the dough to flow and rise. However, sugar or milk change the crust and crumb.

Pure wheat white flour (rye or other grain growing with wheat was not harvested) started to be milled when technical innovations during the industrialization of Europe made it possible. French Bread made with white bread flour is a distinctive product. French Bread is lean – perhaps with butter for a bit of butterfat. It takes work and time. There are wet doughs (hydration over 70%) for some loaves e.g. baguettes; and drier doughs (under 60% hydration). There are several other European lean rustic loaves. These loaves may be:

  • shaped distinctively,
  • baked on a deck (hot surface) rather than in pans, or
  • scored to control the way the crust ruptures as the loaf continues to spring in the oven.

Most recipe books for home baking and bread machines will have a section on artisinal baking, rustic bread, hearth or country bread. These terms are elastic and extensible – these loaves may be enriched with involve milk or sugar.

Industrial scale baking does not dedicate time to rise dough and shape individual loaves. Industrial baking was challenged to mass produce rustic breads. Storebought rustic bread is available, but usually inferior to an artisan baked loaf or a home baked loaf.

Bread machines have tried to overcome the challenges of making this kind of bread:

  • using the bread machine in a dough program to make dough, or starters or sponges;
  • enriched recipes for a basic baking program or a “French” or “European” program. Panasonic had sugar in its recipe for French Bread in the Panasonic manual. The BLBMC has sugar in the Peasant Bread recipe;
  • recipes for custom programs

Scoring a loaf is not a bread machine practice. In a bread machine bake programs, some rupture of the crust may be expected.

Bread machine recipes have to be customized for machines. I adapt “standard” recipes, mainly from the Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC“) and from the bread machine chapter of Beth Hensperger’s Bread Bible. 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 do deal with the fact that BLBMC recipes did not work in that machine.  For 50% salt, I reduce salt and yeast by 50%. I adjusted yeast for BLBMC recipes baked in Panasonic SD-YD250 machine. The BLBMC recipes worked in the Panasonic with the adaptation. When I started to bake in a Zojirushi BB-PAC20, I changed my method of writing recipes in tables, and updated tables.

I use a Zojirushi custom progam for lean white bread. The differences between basic bake, French/European, and the custom program. Times (Panasonic medium loaf, Zojirushi default) in minutes. Baking temp. not tested or published by manufacturers.

MachineProgramRestMix/kneadRiseRise 1Rise 2Rise 3Bake
Panasonic SD-YD250 Basic301511050
Zorjirushi BB-PAC20Basic311935204060
Panasonic SD-YD250 French401017555
Zorjirushi BB-PAC20 Custom
French/Euro
2218355070

Zojirushi’s recipe for Crusty French Bread is a lean French Bread. It requires a longer rise, and baking period than the basic bake program affords. It works as medium loaf in a large pan and as a small loaf. The recipe:

Custom ProgramCompareSource50% sodium50% sodium
BLBMCZojirushiMedium Loaf@ 75% Medium
IngredientVolumeWeight [V]Weight [V]
{water}
Weight
(Active Dry Yeast) 4.2 g.
Instant Yeast2 tsp.3.6 g.1.8 g.1.4 g.
Bread Flour3 cups416 g.416 g.309 g.
Gluten2 tsp.000
Salt1.5 tsp.
"fine sea salt"
5.7 g. [1 tsp.]2.9 g.2.1 g.
Butter1 tbsp.1/2 tbsp.7 g. [1/2 tbsp.]
{1 g.}
7 g. [1/2 tbsp.]
{1 g.}
Water237 g. [1 cup] 237 g.
180 g.

BLBMC Peasant Bread is mildly enriched country/rustic white bread:

Basic BakeSource50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
BLBMC
Medium Loaf
Medium LoafMedium Loaf@ 75% Medium
VolumeWeight [V.}
Instant Yeast2 tsp.2.6 g.
I.Y. BB-PAC-201.5 g.
I. Y. Low1 tsp.1.3 g
Bread Flour3 1/4 cups3 cups385 g.2899 g.
Sugar2 tsp.2 tsp.8.3 g. [11/3 tsp.]1.5 tsp.
Gluten2 tsp.00
Salt1.5 tsp4 g.3.2 g.
Olive Oil
2 tbsp.2 tbsp.[~1 3/4 tbsp.]2.25 tsp.
Water1 1/8 cups~1 cup240 g.184 g.

BLBMC Chuck Williams’s Country French has 33% whole wheat.  Beth Hensperger adapted a recipe from her 2002 bread book in Williams-Sonoma collection for the La Cloche device. It is similar to a hearth bread she calls Pain de Campagne in her Bread Bible (2000), which is made with a starter and sponge made with whole wheat flour. It is in the style of Pain de campagne, but with whole wheat (not rye) flour.  The loaf has a firm crust and a reaonably open crumb. It flows enough to work as a medium loaf in a large pan; as a small loaf, it has problems flowing to fill the pan – but it bakes.

Basic Bake ProgramSource 50% Sodium50% Sodium
BLBMC
Medium Loaf
Medium Loaf@ 75% of medium
IngredientVolumeWeight [V]Weight
Instant Yeast
1 3/4 tsp.1.23 g.
I.Y. BB-PAC20.8 g..6
I. Y. Low7/8 tsp..6 g.
White Flour313 g235 g.
Whole Wheat104 g78 g.
Gluten2 tsp5 g. [2 tsp.]4 g. [1.5 tsp.]
Salt1.5 tsp4.3 g.3.2 g.
Water1.25 cups295 g.220 g.

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