Borrowed a few cookbooks on breadmaking from the library and I'm now more familiar with the functions of my new bread machine. At least I know that you could actually open the lid while the machine is kneading the dough. I wanted to try the full function of the machine, ie mix, knead, proofing and bake. However, I am not too keen to make a plain white loaf and was happy to find this sweet bread or butter loaf recipe from a Japanese translated cookbook. The recipe is rather straight forward and I used the "Sweet" function to make the loaf. As sweeter breads tend to brown more quickly, this function make sures that the dough has sufficient time to rise and is baked at a lower temperature. I set the crust colour as "Light" on a safer side as I didn't want to have a dark crust.
I measured out the ingredients and place them in the pan following the sequence as stated in the manual...first to go into the pan are the wet ingredients such as water, milk, and eggs (lightly beaten), followed by butter, sugar, salt...and then the flour...with finger, make a small indentation on the centre of the flour and add the yeast to the indentation. The important thing is not to let the yeast come in contact with the wet ingredients...this is especially so if you are using the delay function.
After reading through the manual and cookbooks, I have a better understanding on how the various ingredients work together:
- sugar is the vital food for yeast to ferment...but too much sugar may slow down the fermentation, as such, sweeter bread needs a longer rising time.
- Salt is used in bread recipe to improve flavour and the crust colour. Too much salt can inhibit the fermentation...as such when adding in the ingredients, avoid letting the yeast come into contact with salt. if salt is omitted, you will get a larger bread.
- eggs can improve the texture of the bread and make it larger in size.
- butter and oil can make the bread softer and keep bread fresh for a longer time.
Dough proofing in the bread machine.
After 3 hours, the loaf was done, and it looked so pretty fresh out of the oven ;)
The down side of using a bread machine for baking is that the kneading blade actually got embedded in the loaf. I removed the blade from the loaf when it was still hot as I wasn't sure whether it would be difficult to remove if the bread was completely cooled. The blade made a small hole on the base of the otherwise almost perfect loaf.
The crumb is rather yellowish as two eggs are used in the recipe. It looks almost like a butter or pound cake. The texture is just right...light and fluffy with a thin, crisp crust. On it's own, the taste is a little plain, not sweet at all...it's almost like a plain white bread. I guess it will taste much better with some peanut butter or jam.
250g bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (medium)
50g butter (soften at room temperature)
To make with a breadmaker:
- Assemble the pan and kneader blade. Add in milk, lightly beaten eggs and butter, followed by sugar and salt. Spoon in the flour and make a slight indentation in the centre of the flour. Add the yeast in the indentation.
- Shut the lid and set to the "Sweet" function, select loaf size as 1 lb, and set as Light crust.
- At the end of the programme, lift the pan out of the machine and turn out onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool before slicing.
Tip: Do check the kneading progress from time to time. If there are pockets of ingredients at the sides of the pan, open the lid (while the machine is still kneading away), scrape down with a spatula, make sure that the spatula doesn't get in the way of the kneader blade. Refrain from opening the lid when the dough is rising or baking.
To make by hand:
- Place flour, sugar, yeast, salt in a mixing bowl. Add in eggs and warmed milk (around 45deg C). Mix till a soft dough is formed. Knead in the butter.
- Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 mins or until it is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a smooth round ball.
- Lightly grease a mixing bowl with salad oil and place the dough in it. Cover with cling wrap and leave it to rise for 1 hour or double in size.
- Remove cling wrap and punch the risen dough in the bowl to deflate it. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and shape it to form a rope. Cut into 3 equal portions and shape into round balls. Rest for 10 mins.
- Flatten each dough and roll out to form a rectangular shape. Roll up tightly like a swiss roll. Line the doughs side by side in a lightly greased 19cm x 9.5cm x 7.5cm loaf tin. Cover with cling wrap and let it proof for another 40 mins, or until double in bulk.
- Remove cling wrap, brush with egg wash and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degC for 30mins. The bread should be well risen, golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on wire rack before slicing.