Breadmaker Adventures: Lessons I Learnt

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I recently purchased a used breadmaker for £10 off Facebook Marketplace. I have always loved the idea of having a fresh loaf of bread ready for the day, but despite my best efforts making it by hand has never been successful.

On my constant quest to buy less, and to opt for used wherever possible, I had a look at various sites for a used breadmaker and finally settled on one from Facebook. When I arrived to pick it up I felt confident in my choice- the house was in an affluent area and was clearly well looked after and maintained (as was the breadmaker!) I put it on the passenger seat and set off home all excited to use it!

The First Loaf

My first attempt I bought a ready made bread mix for £1- A sourdough variety. It came out incredibly well- my dad saw my post online and promptly asked when I would be dropping a loaf to him (which I did a few days later) It was well received to say the least. It had just enough tang, surprising since obviously the starter in a pre made mix is dried. And for £1 it was the cheapest sourdough I’d ever had!

The Second Loaf

My next attempt (Using a recipe and my own ingredients this time) was an abject failure. I mean, look at it!

It didn’t rise, was dense as a brick and I felt pretty robbed of the five hours it took to make it, even though of course all I had to do was spend 10 minutes weighing and putting ingredients in to it. I decided it must be the yeast (A common culprit!) so I picked up some of the sachet yeast you can get and set about using that for my third attempt. I refused to be beaten.

The Third Loaf’s the Charm

Ok so the top is well, interesting. I’m not 100% sure what caused that.

However, the bread itself was SO good! I used a teaspoon of bread improver, which you can see in the little packet just behind the loaf, and I think it definitely improved the texture. For one, it felt hollow when I took it out (the other two felt like bricks, honestly!) and two the texture was soft and the crumb was even and without holes (well, except for where the paddle was but that is what it is)

The Recipe

  • 1tsp Instant Yeast
  • 475g (1lb 1oz) Strong Wholemeal (Wholegrain) Flour
  • 1tsp Bread Improver
  • 1.5tsp Sugar
  • 25g (1oz) Butter
  • 1 1/4tsp Salt
  • 340ml Water

I put the Yeast in first, then the rest of the dry ingredients, before pouring in the water. This is the method specified by my breadmaker- yours may be different. This made a large size loaf for me.

Final Thoughts

This breadmaker is definitely the best £10 I’ve spent in a long time. I love that I can just measure out ingredients and let it do all the hard work while I’m off doing something else. And the smell! So good. It has a timer function too, so I can fulfill my dream of waking up to a loaf of freshly baked bread.

I certainly won’t be using it every day though. After all, there’s only 2 of us so a loaf will last us 3-4 days. I think i’ll mostly make bread for the weekends as a treat. We have store bought bread in the freezer too as sometimes it’s just easier to deal with! I will absolutely buy the Sourdough mix again- that will save us so much money on buying it in the supermarket (or time spent making and maintaining a starter at home)

Have you got any top tips on making bread? Leave a comment below!

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