Bread Machine Artisan Bread?

The Challenge

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 create 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 at pages 196-297.  This is good advice but has to be adjusted for the machine.  For instance many machines can’t be paused

French Whole Wheat

Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook p. 206 advise a dough cycle. 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


I bake medium loaves (1.5 lbs); low sodium; in a Panasonic SD-YD250.  I make comparisons to the source recipe, and annotations:

  • {what I did} vs [the source recipe says]
  • * low sodium; *M low sodium and machine

The salt measurement is a normal low sodium adjustment  – reduce salt and yeast by equal proportions.  The yeast measurement is customized for the Panasonic SD-250;  it may work in a machine with similiar features and cycle but may not work in many other machines.

The Challenge

Processing 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.  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.   Panasonic has one recipe in the manual for a light rye bread.

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 just holds it shape and is slow to relax.  The temptation is to add more water, but that may not be the answer. Bakers with control of speed and time would use a short the period of slow mixing for dough with significant amounts of rye flour, and little avoid faster intensive mixing according to Daniel DiMuzio’s Bread Baking, An Arisan’s Perspective (p. 51). DiMuzio notes that the pain de campagne blend of 90% white flour and 10% rye flour would be hydrated at 68% and mixed slowly for an artisan loaf. 

Light rye breads are soft  breads made with wheat flour, with rye flour or rye meal for flavour and texture, or light rye flour. There are dark or sour 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

Also, there are (retail/craft/home) rustic rye and rye sourdough styles.

Light rye bread may be made in pans, but the traditional presentation is a rustic torpedo shape. 

Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook has several recipes for Light Rye Breads. Some emulate the styles made in pans, and some aim to get the flavour of the traditional styles in a pan loaf.  Getting that is a challenge.

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
  • The Bakery Network conversion chart – 1 cup “rye flour” = 4 oz. = 113.4
  • 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?

A formula with 2 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of rye flour will be about 70% wheat flour by weight and will form gluten.  This amount of rye flour is manageable; the paddle keeps turning and the dough ball creeps around the pan.  My machine vibrates  but does not appear to strain. At one cup of rye flour, the dough is dense and elastic – it holds the ball shape until late in the rise phase but flows and rises. At lower amounts of rye, the dough acts like white flour dough – it flows and rises normally.

The BLBMC light rye bread recipes work in my machine, but are very tightly balanced and need to be measured precisely.

The BLBMC recipes use caraway, fennel and anise seeds, dried orange peel and orange for flavour in varying amounts and combinations. Olive oil can be used to replace other oils. 

Panasonic Rye Bread with Caraway and Onions

The Panasonic formula, with almost no rye flour, is simple but a very light rye. Basic Panasonic recipe, with low salt and local changes:

  • 3 cups {Canadian All Purpose} flour [P bread flour]
  • 1/8 cup {dark} rye flour
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp dry milk
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/8 cup chopped onion
  • {4.3 g (.75 tsp) *} salt [P 1.5 tsp]
  • {1.4 g (.5 tsp) *M} instant yeast [P 2.5 tsp  instant]
  • 1.1875 (1 3/16 = 1 cup + 3 tbsp) cup water

On those measurements TFW would be 430 g. (97% white flour) and hydration rate 65%.  In my first trial I cut 1/4 cup of white flour and added 1/8 rye cup flour. It was a wet dough, which flowed and rose well. But it was wet, for a white flour dough. On the portions listed here, hydration was 74%.  In B%:

IngredientVolumeWeight g.Liquid MassPercentage
White Flour2.75 cup35393
Dark Rye Flour3 tbsp237
Sugar1.5 tbsp
Caraway Seed1 tbsp
Butter1.5 tbsp
Salt *.75 tsp4.3
Inst. Yeast *M.625 tsp1.8
Chopped Onion
Water1 3/16 cups28028074

Next trial tba

BLBMC Scandinavian Light Rye (p. 134)

On basic bake cycle:

  • {278g. ( 2 cups) Canadian All Purpose} flour [BLBMC 1.875 bread flour]
  • {120 g. (1 cup) dark} rye flour [BLBMC cups medium rye]
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.0 tbsp caraway seeds [BLBMC 1.5 tbsp]
  • {1 tsp fennel seeds}
  • {1.5 tsp dried orange peel}
  • {4.3 g (.75 tsp)*} salt [BLBMC 1.5 tsp]
  • {0} gluten [BLBMC 1 tbsp + 1 tsp = 4 tsp]
  • {1.8 g (.625 tsp) *M} instant yeast [BLBMC 2.5 tsp SAF instant]
  • 1.5 tbsp {olive} oil
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp water [BLBMC 1 cup + 2 tbsp]

The B%:

IngredientVolumeWeight g.Liquid MassPercentage
White Flour2 cup + 2 tbsp295
Dark Rye Flour1 cup120
Brown Sugar2 tbsp
Caraway Seed1 tbsp
Fennel Seed1 tbsp
Dried Orange Peel1.5 tsp
Oil1.5 tbsp
Salt *.75 tsp4.3
Inst. Yeast *M.625 tsp1.8
Water1 3/16 cups28028067

Steamed Rice

Steamed rice is plain cooked rice cooked in water as opposed to being fried first (pilaf, biryani, some Mexican styles) or cooked as a risotto, paella, rice pudding, congee or other flavoured rice dish.  Steaming is an absorption preparation.  Salt is optional. It does not play a part in the cooking process and is added for taste.

Cooked rice can used a in dish, as an accompaniment to other dishes, fried or processed further, or added to other dishes e.g. Nasi Goreng uses cooked long grain white rice.

Rice absorbs water as it cooks.  Steamed rice can be cooked in a pan on a stove, and in a pressure cooker.  A rice cooker automates the steamed rice process. Other main approachs to plain cooked rice:

  • cook in boiling water, drain and rest
  • parcook the rice and put it in a steamer or collander, recommended by Jamie Oliver.

Rinse white rice to remove rice flour and talc. It helps to keep it from getting sticky.

The water is brought to a boil, the heat is turned down until the pot is just simmering, the pot is covered, and the rice simmers. Then the rice rests off the heat. Use a heavy pot to disperse the heat evenly; a heavy tight lid to hold in the steam.  It is necessary to make sure the heat has been turned down and that the rice is just simmering.  Then set a timer and leave it covered. Cooking time depends on the amount of water and heat.

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 ratio of long grain white rice to water is 1 cup of dry rice to 1.5 to 1.75  cups of water.  Some recipes go for more water. The cooking time can be from 12 to 20 minutes. The method works within a range of ratios and times.  The results may be more or less fluffy, absorbent or sticky. 

This technique works in a pressure cooker. The ratio is 1 cup of long grain white rice to 2 cups of water. When the water boils, the lid is locked and the pot is brought to high pressure, and the cooking time on high pressure is 4 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.

White Basmati Rice, a long grain aromatic rice originating from Northern India, Pakistan and Nepal can be cooked in a pot the same way as other white long grain rice, using about 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of wate, or in a pressure cooker the same way as other long grain white rice.

Or, soaked for 20-30 minutes, White Basmati Rice can be cooked in a pot on a stove with 1.33 cups of water to 1 cup (measured dry) of rice by bringing the water and rice to boil, reducing the heat, covering the rice and simmering on low heat for 23 minutes, and resting off the heat for 10 minutes. Refer to:

And if the rice is soaked, it can be cooked in a pressure cooker at the ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.25 cups water; the time can be 2-3 minutes on high pressure with a rest off heat as the pressure drops (i.e. not with a fast release).

Steaming brown rice takes more water, and longer cooking times. Recipes don’t  recommend rinsing or soaking. Long or medium grain brown rice:

  • conventional pot, 1 cup rice to 2.25 cups water, cooking time about 40 minutes;
  • pressure cooker, 1 cup of rice to 1.75 cups of water, cooking time 15-18 minutes (variation in the recipes). Rest off heat 10 minutes or more without releasing the pressure  – let the pressure drop as the pot cools.

Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread


A medium loaf (1.5 lbs); low sodium; in a Panasonic SD-YD250.  I make comparisons to the source recipe, and annotations:

  • {what I did} vs [the source recipe says]
  • * low sodium; *M low sodium and machine

My salt measurement and yeast measurement are for 50% sodium.  The yeast measurement is customized for the Panasonic SD-250;  it may work in a machine with similiar features and cycle but may not work in many other machines.

The Challenge

My sister makes a bread machine 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.  The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (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 this formula, with a shift to more whole wheat flour; and adding the ingredients of my sister’s recipe.

When milk, real or reconstituted (powder plus water) is used, lactose, the natural sugar in milk is added.  Sugars on the outside of the dough carmelize when the dough is baked – i.e. the crust is firm and brown. Unpasteurized milk can lead to surprizes. Some bakers think milk,  real or reconstituted, should be scalded to denature proteins that may inhibit the action of the yeast, and for other reasons. I skipped this step. Whole milk has more fats, which may give a loaf a little extra shelf life.

Skim milk is 96% water. Honey varies but may be 20% water

The whole wheat flour, rolled oats and flax meal absorb fluid.  Skim milk or water + powder are alternatives. The result is a little lopsided but good. It had tasty firm crust; a dense crumb holds up, sliced. It needs the honey for flavour and hydration. 

The formula

On whole wheat cycle. :

  • 278 g. or 9.75 oz. (2 cups) whole wheat flour [BLBMC 1 cup]
  • 139 g. or 4.875 oz. (1 cup) Canadian All Purpose flour [BLBMC 2 cups bread flour]
  • {12 g. (2 tbsp) ground flax}
  • {2.8 g. (.5 tsp) salt *} [BLBMC 1 tsp]
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • {1 tbsp poppy seeds}
  • {25 g. (.25 cups) rolled oats}
  • 0 gluten [BLBMC ? 1 tbsp].
  • {1.4 g (.5 tsp) instant yeast *M} [BLBMC 1.5 tsp]
  • 2 tbsp {olive} oil [BLBMC canola]
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • {1.375 cups skim milk or 35 g. (5 tbsp) skim milk powder + 325 g. (1.375 cups) water} [BLBMC 1.125 cups water + .25 cups dry milk]

The hydration rate is consistent with soft dough. In B%:

IngredientVolumeWeight g.Liquid MassPercentage
Whole Wheat2 cups278 61
White Flour1 cup13931
Flax meal2 tbsp1203
Rolled Oats.25 cup2506
Flax Seed3 tbsp
Poppy Seed1 tbsp
Oil2 tbsp
Salt *.5 tsp2.8.62
Inst. Yeast *M.5 tsp1.4.31
Skim Milk1.375 cups32571
Honey3 tbsp64153
Skim Milk Powder5 tbsp
Water1.375 cups325


Panasonic SD-YD250; Yeast

Reviews at Everyday Sandwich and Make Bread at Home describe and illustrate the Panasonic SD-YD250. It has loaf size settings for medium (1.5 lb), large (2 lb) and extra large (2.5 lb) loaves baked in an extra large vertical rectangle pan.  The control is a button.  The default is XL.  Choices are locked out on some cycles.Those loaves look like this:

panasonic bread maker sizes

This machine can bake any daily or sandwich bread, whether with white flour or whole wheat, as well as I can bake those loaves in conventional baking pans in an oven. It can bake light rye bread with a mixture of white flour and rye flour, and other multigrain loaves. While the food industry produces a variety of bread, there are few  palatable and inexpensive low sodium breads.  I prefer low sodium bread machine bread to the low sodium bread for sale in a grocery store.

Bread baked in this machine does not need as much yeast as recipes outside the Panasonic manual say.   

  • The yeast dispenser does not hold much more that a tablespoon
  • medium loaves  based on The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC”) and other recipe resources filled the  pan, and had airy, weak crumb; some ballooned or cratered/collapsed/imploded
  • Panasonic’s  recipes (in the manual; see its online recipe resource pages) call for half the amount of yeast 
    • 1 tsp instead of 2 or more for a medium loaf1.5 tsp. for 4.375 cups of flour for extra large loaves 2.5 tsp for  brioche on dough cycle with 3.25 cups flour

I monitored medium loaf recipes,  (3 cups of flour and 1.25 cups+/-) of liquid June-August, 2018. I peeked under the lid to see what happened – including the last part of the rise phase after the machine knocked down the dough.  I made manual interventions a few times to deflate a loaf – I ran a silicon spatula between the dough and the pan 5-10 minutes just before the start of baking. (Using a spatula risks marring the no-stick surface of the pan. Silicon spatulas are safer.)

I adjusted yeast in BLBMC formulas for white, whole wheat, and combined flour (multigrain), and formulas requiring 2 tsp  yeast for a medium loaf (a formula with 3 cups or 15 oz. flour +/- by weight). This approach works:

  • Ignore the amount of “bread machine yeast” in a formula in the BLBMC – (BLBMC has different amounts of SAF instant dry yeast and any other “bread machine yeast”);
  • Use half the amount in the recipe for SAF instant dry yeast in a BLBMC formula (instant or “bread machine” dry yeast in other formulas not specifically written for a Panasonic machine) i.e. reduce 2 tsp. for a medium loaf to 1 tsp.

This applies for recipes for dough and for bread baked in the machine.  It seems to relate to the mix ((‘Knead”) and rise phases.

50% salt reduction doesn’t affect the process or hurt flavour.  The principle is to reduce yeast by the same percentage as salt as suggested in BLBMC at p. 290 and by the Please Don’t Pass the Salt bread page.  For a Panasonic recipe I cut yeast and salt equally.  For a BLBMC or other recipe I make my adjustment for yeast amount above first, then I cut yeast and salt equally.  When  I use 50% of a BLBMC recipe amount of salt, I use 25% of the BLBMC recipe amount of yeast. The recipes and my notes are in a separate post.

Continue reading ‘Panasonic SD-YD250; Yeast’ »

Recipe Summaries


These are bread machine medium loaf recipes I used working out my approach to bread machine baking in a Panasonic SD-YD250.  I baked each once or more when I was working out yeast and low sodium in June, July and August, 2018; these are in the table [T] at the end of this post. In that test table I state the flour, fluid, salt and yeast used in one particular trial – which often failed.

I added a few other recipes.

I identify recipes that worked. I added baker percentage tables scaling medium formulas to small.  Some are for Panasonic machines, and may not work in other machines.  Others recite and adapt or scale Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC”) formulas.  My adaptations may not work in machines that differ from my Panasonic SD-YD250.


  • In summarize recipes as published.  Many – mainly the BLBMC recipes – did not work in my Panasonic;
  • In tables with the recipes I recorded successful loaves I have made a low sodium adjustment for salt and yeast;
  • Flour is noted in cups with alternative measurement by weight most of the time;
  • Wheat flour, by Rogers, a Canadian mill:
    • All-Purpose flour (i.e. bread flour); 1 cup = 4.875 (4 7/8) or 4.9 oz = 138 or 139 grams;
    • Bread Flour for White Bread;
    • Whole Wheat flour; 1 cup = 4.875 (4 7/8) oz = 138 grams.
    • Whole Wheat Bread Flour (a blend of Whole Wheat and white flour, and added gluten);
  • Rye Flour. In one trial, Nunnweiler Organic Dark (I had a bag in the fridge). Rogers Dark Rye Flour
  • Yeast in tsp; in some trials in grams; 1 tsp = 2.8 g. Trials 1-6 Fleishmann’s Quick-Rise; others SAF Red Instant dry;
  • Salt in grams (For table salt 1 tsp = 5.7 grams); the % of the salt in the published recipe.

[T] Panasonic Basic White Loaf

This recipe works at published. At 50% salt, I would back off on hydration by a few grams.

Panasonic Manual or online. Basic bake cycle:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1.5 tbsp dry milk
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp (instant) yeast
  • 1.25 cups water

Low salt, bakers percentage and scale to small:

IngredientMed. Vol.Med. g.Small g.Percentage
Bread flour3 cups417 278
Butter1 tbsp
1.5 tsp
Salt *.75 tsp4.32.81
1 tsp
Inst. Yeast *.5 tsp1.41.3
Water1.3125 (1 + 5/16) cups31020774

[T] Panasonic 100% Whole Wheat

This recipe works at published.

Panasonic Manual or 100 % Whole Wheat. Bake Whole wheat cycle:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tbsp. dry milk
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp (instant) yeast
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tbsp molasses
  • 1.25 cups water

Low salt, bakers percentage, and scaled to small loaf:

IngredientMedium Loaf
Weight2/3 Weight75% WeightPercentage
Whole Wheat3 cups417 278313
Milk Powder1.5 tbsp
Butter1.5 tbsp
Salt R1.5 tsp
Salt *.75 tsp4.32.83.21
Yeast R1 tsp
Inst. Yeast *.5 tsp1.411.1.3
Molasses1.5 tbsp
Water R1.25 cups29519822171

[T] Whole Wheat Bread Flour – Maple Syrup

In the test table at the end, trials 7, 8, 10, 11 I refer to “White Whole”.  I never did the source recipe, at BLBMC (p. 127) “White Whole Wheat Flour Bread” with White Whole Wheat flour, a specialty flour. Or this variation variation with 3 cups of flour.  BLBMC says basic bake or bake whole wheat cycle; the alternative seems to have used a basic bake “white bread” cycle.

I never got a good result, which I attributed to the use of 3.25 cups of flour, wrong salt/yeast ratio, and the use of of Rogers blend “Whole Wheat Bread Flour”. The problem is more the latter – the flour I used was higher in protein (gluten) than white whole wheat.

  • 3.25 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp gluten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • .25 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or nut oil
  • 1.25 cups water

I tried it at 3 cups with a blend of  50% Whole Wheat and 50% white flour but it rises too much.  This blend rises more than white flour on its own or whole wheat on its own. The white flour contributes gluten; the whole wheat ferments. I have had better results with 67-33 and 33-67 blends.  I think 67% whole wheat, with this hydration? 

My unsuccessful most recent version, low sodium for the Panasonic device. Basic bake cycle:

  • 209 g. (1.5 cups) whole wheat flour
  • 209 g. (1.5) cups Canadian AP white flour
  • .75 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp instant yeast
  • .25 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or nut oil
  • 1.25 cups water

This converts to metric weight and scales this way:

IngredientMedium Loaf
Weight2/3 WeightPercentage
White Flour1.5 cups20950
Whole Wheat 1.5 cups20950
Salt R1.5 tsp
Salt *.75 tsp4.32.81
Yeast R1 tsp
Inst. Yeast *.5 tsp1.41.3
Water1.25 cups29519871
Maple Syrup.25 cups
Olive Oil.125 cups; or 2 tbsp

[T] Chuck Williams’s Country French

BLBMC (p. 200).  70% white flour in the style of country breads. Pain de campagne, with whole wheat (not rye) flour.  Adapted from Williams Sonoma recipe for La Cloche device. Basic or French bread cycle:

  • .75 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2.25 cups bread flour
  • 2 tbsp. gluten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.75 tsp instant yeast
  • 1.25 cups water

[T] Dakota Bread

BLBMC (p. 119) or Beth Hensperger blog: Dakota Bread. Basic cycle:

  • .75 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2.25 cups bread flour
  • .25 cup bulgur cracked wheat
  • .25 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • .25 cup raw pumpkin seeds chopped
  • 1.5 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp. gluten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.75 tsp instant yeast
  • 1.25 cups water

I tried it as a 50% whole wheat. Low sodium. Less yeast than Hensperger said, but for my Panasonic. More robust with more whole wheat. It scales. I think.

Panasonic French Bread

Panasonic Manual. French bread bake cycle:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp (instant) yeast
  • 1 5/16 (1.25 cups + 1 tbsp) water

This recipe uses 3 cups of flour like a medium loaf but comes out in an extra-large rectangular block that fills the extra-large pan.  A loaf scaled to small loaf ingredient portion might be acceptable. It works in a low sodium formula.

[T] Three Seed Whole Wheat Bread

BLBMC (p. 116). Basic or whole wheat cycle:

  • 1.5 cup whole wheat
  • 1.5 cups bread flour
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. gluten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp non-fat (skim) dry milk
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1.25 cups water

[T] Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread

BLBMC (p. 118). Basic or whole wheat cycle:

  • 1 cup whole wheat
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 4 tbsp flax
  • 2 tbsp. gluten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • .25 cups non-fat (skim) dry milk
  • .25 cups (4 tbsp) honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1.125 cups water

[T] Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread

BLBMC (p. 108). Basic or whole wheat cycle:

  • 1.5 cup whole wheat
  • 1.5 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp gluten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp maple syrop
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1.125 cups buttermilk

[T] Irish Potato Brown Bread

BLBMC (p. 117). Whole wheat cycle:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • .25 cup instant potato flakes
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp gluten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp butter, cut in chunks
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1.25 cups water

[T] Scandinavian Light Rye

BLBMC (p. 134). Basic cycle:

  • 1.875 cups bread flour
  • 1.125 cup medium rye flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp gluten
  • 2.5 tsp instant yeast
  • 1.5 tbsp canola oil
  • 1.125 cups water

[T] Bohemian Black Bread

BLBMC (p. 138). Basic or whole wheat cycle:

  • 1.75 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup medium or dark rye flour
  • .25 cups wheat bran
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened Dutch Process cocoa
  • 1.5 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1.5 tsp caraway seeds
  • .5 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp gluten
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1.5 tbsp molasses
  • 1.125 cups water

This is the table of the loaves tested for yeast and sodium levels, listing how much flour, fluid, salt and yeast used. In this table I state the salt and yeast used in one particular trial. Also the Cm column is a rough measurement or estimate of the height of the loaf with some notations:

  • ^ gassed and rose to top of the pan or ballooned
  • / lopsided or asymmetric;
  • * a manual step to deflate the dough on that trial.
tsp or g.
Salt g.Cm
1Country French2.25 Bread
.5 whole wheat
1.2521.254.5 [51%]^
2Country French2.25 AP
.5 whole wheat
1.2521.254.5 [51%}11
3Dakota2.25 Bread
.5 whole wheat
1.2521.1257.5 [83%] ^
4Dakota2.25 AP
.5 whole wheat
1.2511 [50%]9 [100%]10*
5Basic White3 AP1.2501 [100%]10.5 [116%]10
6Country French2.25 AP
.75 whole wheat [105%]10*
7White Whole3.25 wWhB1.2511.1259.10 [101%]14*
8White Whole3.25 wWhB1.250.8759.15 [102%] 14
9Whole Wheat3 whole wheatWW1.250.5 [50%]6.9 [76%]10
10White Whole3.25 wWhB1.250.55.25 [58%]14
11White Whole3.25 wWhB1.250.3754.5 [50%]14
123 Seed3 wWhB1.250.53.1 [50%]11
133 Seed1.5 whole wheat
1.5 AP
1.250.5 3.0 [50%]8
143 Seed1.5 whole wheat
1.5 AP [50%]12
153 Seed1.5 whole wheat
1.5 AP [50%]10
16Country French2.25 AP
.75 whole wheat
1.25.375.54.5 [50%]13
17FS Whole Wh2 AP
1 whole wheat 3.0 [50%]12.5
18FS Whole Wh9.75 oz. AP
4.875 oz. whole wheat g.3.05 [51%]11.5 /
19Buttermilk WhWh7.375 oz. AP
7.375 oz whole wheat
* Buttermilk
1.5.5 tsp 4 [44%]11 //
20Buttermilk WhWh7.3 oz. AP
7.3 oz. whole wheat
* Buttermilk
1.0 tsp1.52 g. 4.1 [45%]11
21Irish Brown9.7 oz. whole wheat
4.875 oz. AP
1.251.5 tsp1.49 g. 4.45 [45%]13 /
22Whole Wheat14.6 oz. whole wheatWW1.25.75 tsp1.42 g. 4.52 [50%]11
23Sc Light Rye9.0 oz AP
1.125 cups rye
1.1251.5 tsp1.42 g4.51 [50%]11 /
24Bohemian Black8.5 oz. AP
1 cup dark rye
.25 cups wheat germ
B1.125 +
3 tbsp melted butter,
I tbsp espresso drip
1.5 tsp1.51 g.4.52 [50%]9 /
25Buttermilk WhWh207 g. AP
207 g. whole wheat
1.5 tsp1.40 g.4.50 [50%]

Bread Machine

Bread machines came on the market about 1986, and became popular outside Japan by the late 1990s.  My first bread machine was a Black & Decker B1561. I replaced it with a Panasonic  SD-YD250 in 2016.

A professional baker works at scale with labour saving technology, with some control over parts of the process – how long to mix, rest, bake and control over temperature. A home baker works at smaller scale, with control of time and oven controls.  A home baker working dough for a couple of loaves may put the loaves in bread pans or shape the.

A bread machine has a heating element, a motor, and a double purpose pan – baking pan and mixing bowl – mounted to the frame. The bowl has a paddle shaped mixing device (it may be called a dough hook or kneader) connected to the power train by a shaft in sealed bearings at the bottom of the pan. The loaf has to be baked in the machine pan.  The dough has to develop gluten, flow, and rise within the machine cycle.  If the dough flow and rises, it fill the pan and takes the shape of the pan, and springs into space above the dough when the baking element is turned on.

The machine therefore specializes in mixing dough that works this way.  It has to be wet – say a hydration rate of 70% to 74%.  A dry dough may not flow.  A wet dough may collapse,

A bread machine processes a few cups of flour into a dough or baked loaf in less than 4 hours.   As a rule, a user selects among program options; only a few machines allow users to program custom cycles changing the duration of mixing and fermentation periods.  Bread machine cycles cannot be reprogrammed.  Most machines have cycles for baking dough leavened with yeast including a basic bake cycle, a dough cycle and a fast cycle manufacturers call Bake (Rapid), Turbo, Quick Bake, Rapid, etc. for quick-rise baking. Some have separate cycles for whole wheat dough and bread.

Bread machines produce good results with white flour and whole wheat flour – baked loaves, and pizza and flatbread doughs – better than some retail offerings.  Lacking preservatives, home baked loaves have a short shelf life.

Bread machine manufacturers and recipe writers discuss small (1 lb.), medium (1.5 lb.), large (2 lb.) and extra large (2.5 lb.) loaves.   These terms also describe the capacity of the pan expected to contain and bake enough ingredients to produce those loaves. The recipes provide a list of ingredients to fill a pan large enough to hold those ingredients. Typically, a small loaf made of wheat flour would have 2 cups of flour; a medium loaf 3 cups of flour and a large loaf 4 cups of flour.  Water or fluid will depend.  Bread machine recipes tend to be a bit wetter than comparable home oven recipes. 

Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, 2000) (BLBMC) was a comprehensive resource.  It suggested that a bread machine could mix dough for almost any kind of bread. 

Continue reading ‘Bread Machine’ »


The idea of a low sodium diet is to consume less salt. There are many sources of information. Sources may  promote a fad or a personal theory. Buyer beware. These resources are scientific and fact based:

Salt can be avoided or reduced. A product label will identify sodium in almost anything that has been packaged.

Continue reading ‘Labels’ »

Percentage & Conversion

Several cookbooks for home bakers refer to baker percentage (B%), a mathematical method of managing the production of bread. For instance Peter Reinhardt devotes pages 40-45 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice to this topic.

It is a tool taught to professional bakers, and addressed in culinary texts such as Daniel T. DiMuzio’s Bread Baking; An Artisan’s Perspective. For the baker-manager, it is a calculation to scale inputs up or down to  create 2, 10, 100 or 1,000 consistent loaves of bread. The assumptions are consistency of ingredients, equipment, energy, working space, and time.  For managing production, every ingredient is put into the formula.  The formula can be use to build dashboard indicator of the use of a bakery.  It is as precise as it needs to be, for how it is used. Bakers tinker with the applications of the method. B% is explained:

Total flour weight is determined.  Flour does not include all dry ingredients. It is flour which has plant proteins and starch that form dough and ferment when mixed, hydrated and stretch and folded. It includes the ground product of grains, including flour and meal. All flour is counted even when flours differ in density and protein content. It is conventional to express the relative amounts of flour as a percentage of the total flour weight (e.g. 50% bread flour and 50% whole wheat; or 90% bread flour and 10% rye flour). 

The weight of every other ingredient is expressed as a percentage of the weight of the flour.

Fluid is weighed – the main fluid that yields water.  Milk is nearly all water and almost the same density as water.  Oils don’t count.  The fluid percentage is called the hydration rate, a scale of how wet, sticky and messy the dough is.  Eggs, honey and other ingredients that contain water are not counted but may be noted to see if a dough has a higher hydration rate than the fluid percentage accounts for.

The ingredient that mean a product is bread is yeast. Yeast means, normally, one of the strains of yeast commercially grown and distributed as a leaving agent. Salt is a chemical control on yeast, and vital to a stable process. It weighs what it weighs.  Granularity matters in baking,  but not for B%.

Bread recipes for the home baker usually list ingredients measured by volume: cups, tablespoons etc.  The measurement of ingredients introduces discrepancies. Recipes can be misinterpreted.  A cup may mean the amount that fits in the cup used by the recipe writer and tester, rather than a standard measuring cup.  A US cup is .87 of a an Imperial (U.K., many other English speaking countries) cup.  An Imperial cup is 1.2 US cups.  A metric cup is a quarter liter (250 millilitres) which is .88 Imperial cups or 1.06 US cups. The amount of flour in a cup by volume depends on how the cup is scooped or filled.   

A recipe for a 1 lb. loaf of bread typically requires 2 cups of white bread flour or whole wheat flour.  For 1-3 cups of flour,  2% salt and 1% yeast means fractions of a gram of salt and yeast.

Measuring by weight is more exact – but converting volume to weight is fuzzy. The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook suggests 1 cup of bread flour or whole wheat flour converts at 5 oz.  Panasonic suggests, in its bread machine recipes, measuring bread flour and whole wheat flour by weight at the conversion rate of 1 cup = 4.9 oz.  Reinhart (The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and other books) say 4.5 oz.; he measures differently.  4 and 7/8 oz. (4.875) or 4.9 reconciles to recipes in BLBMC and other recipes that use flour as scooped into a measuring cup.  Scales in ounces go down to 1/8 oz, but not necessarily to decimal fractions.  Metric kitchen scales go to the nearest gram; there are some scales that go down to the nearest .1 gram  Conversions of 1 cup for white bread flour and whole wheat flour:

  • 4.875 (4 and 7/8) oz. = 138 g.
  • 4.9 oz. = 139 g.
  • 5 oz. = 141 g.

The volume to mass conversion for other flours varies. Millers have conversions for their products – e.g.  King Arthur. There are generic conversion calculators and tables but these have to used with care.

A US cup of water reliably converts to 236.6 grams.  (An Imperial cup of water reliably converts to 284 grams. A Canadian cup is 224 grams. A metric cup of water is 250 grams.)  Engineers deal with variation of the density of water with temperature in some applications.  Bakers are not as precise.

A US cup of milk converts to 245 grams.

Table salt 1 tsp = 5.7; but some table salts are fine-grained and more dense

Instant dry yeast 1 tsp = 2.8 g. 


Bread is high in sodium, as an effect of the baking process.  The master formula for bread is to grind dried grain into a paste or flour, add water and yeast, let the stuff ferment and throw it on a hot surface until it dries out and stops fermenting.

Salt controls yeast which affects fermentation. Fermentation affects flavour but it also affects rise, which affects the size of the loaf and the production line; it also has a chemical effect on the taste buds (Lallamand Baking Update, Volume 2, No. 6). A few bread styles, such as Tuscan bread, are made without salt.  Salt is part of the process for most bread sold by grocery stores and bakeries large and small.

Continue reading ‘Bread’ »