Bread Machine

Bread machines came on the market  about 1986, and became popular outside Japan by the late 1990s.  Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, 2000) was a comprehensive resource.  It listed 18 customer service numbers for manufacturers of machines on the market at the time.  It treats machines as equivalent, with a  warning to “Take Stock of Your Machine”. This understates the fact that some machines process some formulas differently.

Bread machine manufacturers and recipe writers discuss  small (1 lb.), medium (1.5 lb.), large (2 lb.) and extra large (2.5 lb.) loaves.   The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook recipes have ingredient lists for 1.5 lb. and 2 lb. loaves.

The Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine has an extra large vertical rectangle pan, and settings for medium, large and extra large loaves. I had unacceptable results with  recipes from The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook when I first used this machine.  Medium loaves  filled the extra large pan, and had airy, weak crumb; some ballooned or cratered/collapsed/imploded. Most of these had great crust, and other good qualitities. I started to monitor trial loaves. I peeked under the lid to see what happened in the rise phase – especially the last part after the machine knocked down the dough.  The dough relaxed and flowed to fill the bottom of the pan.   I made manual interventions a few times – I ran a silicon spatula between the dough and the pan 5-10 minutes before the end of the rise and the start of baking to deflate the dough.

I found a method to adjust BLBMC formulas for white, whole wheat, rye, and combined flour (multigrain) for a modern Panasonic bread machine.  This may be useful for any formulas requiring 2 tsp of yeast for a medium loaf (a formula with 3 cups or 15 oz. flour +/- by weight):

FirstIgnore the amount of "bread machine yeast" in a formula in the book
Second, calculateUse half the amount in the recipe for SAF instant dry yeast (usually about 2 tsp. for a medium loaf)
Third, checkUsually the correct amount of instant dry yeast the amount the Panasonic manual specifies for corresponding loaves e.g. 1 tsp for medium loaf

I  relearned what I knew about bread flour and Canadian standards for all purpose flour, and a few other things that I will list at the end.

I confirmed again that low sodium baking works at 50% reduction. It doesn’t affect the process or hurt flavour.  The method 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. The adjustments should be made on amount of salt in a formula but the amount of yeast in a BLBMC formula that has been adjusted by the method above. Then reduce salt and reduce yeast by the same percentage. Depending on the recipe source:

  • For a Panasonic recipe I cut yeast and salt equally;
  • For a BLBMC recipe I make my adjustment for yeast amount above first, then I cut yeast and salt equally. The effect is that when  I use 50% of the recipe amount of salt I use 25% of the BLBMC recipe amount of yeast.
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: The Low Sodium Program and other resources at  Please Don’t Pass the Salt What Can I Eat at Hacking Salt. The …

Continue reading ‘Labels’ »


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 affectsfermentation. …

Continue reading ‘Bread’ »


Salt (sodium chloride) is a chemical agent used to cook or process food. Saltiness is regarded as one of 5 main tastes. (Scientists have not, as of 2018, identified a distinctive taste receptor for salt.)  Sodium is an essential nutrient, but consuming more sodium than the minimum has no health benefits. Excessive sodium is a …

Continue reading ‘Salt’ »