I began to chart recipes in tables when I realized that each manufacturer has its own set of programs for its machines. Predictably, standard recipes (e.g. Bread Lovers Bread Machine Cookbook) fail in some devices.
Bread machines are either dry (flour) first or wet (water or milk) first, according to manufacturer’s recommendation. Either way, load the machine and let the machine mix the ingredients. Don’t stir or mix. Yeast should stay dry and should not come into contact with salt or salted water until the dough is mixed and kneaded. Loading a dry first machine (e.g. Panasonic) put yeast first and go down the table. For a wet first machine (e.g. Zojirushi) I go up the table, ingredient by ingredient:
- dry first – the yeast goes into the dry bottom of the pan and is covered by flour and dry ingredients; salt is the last dry ingredient. Fluids and water are on top, loaded last.
- wet first – water and wet ingredients first, then salt, then flours; the yeast is last.
Raisins and fruit are loaded as dry ingredients. They can be loaded in the dispenser if the machine has one. or during the mix phase of a program, at the signal (if the machine has one), or according to a timer, as a recipe will say.
The 1st column on the left, except for the first 4 rows, is the list of ingredients,with alternatives and substitutions. The 2nd column has the source recipe amounts, usually by volume. An ingredient without data in this column is not in the source recipe! Another column converts to a medium loaf source to a 50% sodium medium loaf. Another column calculates the Flour weight (flour, sugar dry milk etc but not salt yeast or herbs seeds, dry fruit, nuts), soluble water weight (water and water in milk, butter, sweet syrup but not oils) and hydration. Other columns calculate smaller loaves 33% sodium. My smaller loaf is a medium recipe or 85% of a medium recipe in a horizontal pan machine with a large “2 pound” pan such as a Zojirushi BB-PAC20.
- A row identifies the loaf and the recipe source;
- A row identified loaf sizes for the ingredients in column. Large is a 2 lb. loaf. Medium is a 1.5 lb. loaf. There is a column for a smaller loaf;
- A row identifies adaptations (low sodium);
- A row notes the recommended program. Manufacturers’ program names vary. Every manufacturer has basic bake, whole wheat bake, dough (mix and knead but no bake) and cake (bake a batter without mixing and kneading dough) programs;
- A row notes what kind of measurements are used in that column – volume, weight or both;
- Other rows are ingredients and amounts. For other ingredients, measurement by volume is close enough. Some cells are weight and [volume]. Some are volume even where other measurements in the column are weights.
Instant dry yeast rows:
- A row for instant dry yeast for a medium (1.5 lb.) loaf (converted to Instant Dry where the source said active dry yeast); this row is the standard. It is for information but not a reliable standard. Using this value for a medium loaf in a 2 lb. pan in a Zojirushi BB-PAC20 is not optimal for that machine, and many other machines. This value is not suitable for the Panasonic SD-YD250.
- There is a row for Zojirushi BB-PAC20.
- The row Instant Yeast Low is 50% of the source – for the Panasonic SD-YD250.
Hidden rows and columns hold other data. I hide them to publish a clear table.
Weight is important for some ingredients:
- Flour determines how large a loaf can be. A medium loaf can be baked in a machine with a medium pan, a large pan or even an extra large pan. A medium loaf will have 3 cups of wheat flour.
- Water has to be proportionate to flour to get a dough that kneads, flows, rises and bakes. It varies with flour; some ingredients can add water. Milk is mainly water, but not quite.
- Yeast is the principal variable that determine how high the loaf rises.
- If Salt is reduced, yeast must be reduced or the loaf will rise too much.