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A few key ingredients are used to make bread – including various types of flour, which you will want to experiment with to get the most out of your Panasonic Breadmaker.
So, without further a-dough (sorry) here’s The Ideas Kitchen rundown of the elements that go into the mix, with an explanation of what each adds to the baking process.
Only strong flour is used to make bread (not plain or self-raising) and it is milled from hard wheat. The high protein content is necessary for the development of gluten, which works with yeast to ensure your dough rises. There are several varieties:
- White – is sifted wholemeal flour so excludes the bran and wheat germ, which makes for light, well-risen loaves.
- Brown – has 10-15% of the wheat grain removed during milling. It is basically sifted wholemeal flour with some of the bran put back in.
- Wholemeal – is exactly what it says on the tin; so includes the entire wheat grain grounded up which includes the bran and the wheatgerm. It is defined as having an extraction rate of more than 80% and can be stoneground or machine ground, and produces bread that remains quite dense, but is richer in minerals.
- Softgrain – is strong white flour with wheat and rye grains added to provide extra fibre, texture and flavour.
- Granary®/malted grain – has crushed wheat or rye grains added together with malted wholewheat . This makes the brown bread flour coarser and moister with a nuttier flavour.
- Spelt – is an ancient wheat variety and is made from a different type of wheat. The protein in spelt flour is gluten however it has a different polypeptide chain which makes it easier for some people on special diets to tolerate. Check the label before you buy, to confirm suitability for baking.
- Rye – is another type that makes dense, heavy bread with a sunken crust, as it contains less protein.
- Stoneground – as the name suggests, this indicates flour ground with traditional millstones rather than modern steel rollers.
- Other Flour – Corn meal, rice, millet, soy, oat, buckwheat and barley flour can also be used in bread. These do not contain protein that form sufficient gluten and therefore should not be substituted for bread flour in the recipes.
This month we have been looking at how to help you save pennies whilst getting the best from your breadmaker. We have tested various own branded flour which in our opinion give you a fantastic result without stretching your budget.
Wholemeal flour tests
Carrs wholemeal Morrisons strong wholemeal Marriages strong wholemeal Marriages very strong Canadian wholemeal Tesco strong wholemeal Sainsburys strong wholemeal Allinsons Premium wholemeal very strong Appearance Good even rise Small but even rise Uneven craggy top crust Stretched on top crust Lumpy top Poor. Sunken top crust Even but small rise. Craggy uneven top. Cratered Height in cm 17 13.5 15 14 13 12.5 11.5 Texture Good Very good Good Good Good Very good. Close texture but chewy and moist. Good but a bit moist. Flavour Bland, lacked wholemeal taste Good light Wholemeal taste Stronger wholemeal taste. Good. Good wholemeal flavour. Bland Good but to moist. Good Overall Good appearance but bland in flavour Recommend for closer wholemeal flavour Good, may benefit from 20ml more water. Good, may benefit from 20mls more water. Poor results. Poor appearance.
Strong white flour tests
Morrison’s strong white (Exp Sept 12) Sainsbury’s strong white (Exp Sept 12) Marriages Finest strong white flour (Exp Aug 12) Allinson’s Premium white very strong bread flour (Exp Aug 12) Carrs strong white flour (Exp Sept 12) Shipton Mill Traditional Organic white flour (Exp June 12) Tesco strong white flour (Exp Sept 12) Appearance Slightly sloped. Stretch around ¾ of top crust Even but crinkly top crust Flap around whole of top crust. Even. Golden Flap around 1 long and 1 short side. Very good appearance Small. Even. Sloped. Flap around 1 long and 1 short side. Nice and crusty. Good rise. Even. Level. Golden colour. Flap around 1 long and 1 short side. Height in cm 14-15 14.6 17 16.6 14.9-15.3 15.5 16.4 Flavour/Texture Pleasant. Good. Bland. Very moist crumb. Slightly creamy. Mild. Crispy crust. Good. Crispy crust. Firm to close crumb. Slightly chewy Very good creamy Mild Bland with crispy crust. Overall 1. Beast Appearance 2 4. Best for flavour 3
Granary style flour tests
Waitrose Love Life Crunchy Mixed Seed Red Bag (Exp Aug 12) Waitrose Love Life Crunchy Mixed Seed Red Bag (Exp Aug 12) Waitrose Love Life seeded and malt bread flour Green bag (Exp Aug 12) Waitrose Love Life seeded and malt bread flour Green bag (Exp Aug 12) Waitrose Love Life seeded wholemeal bread flour Orange bag (Exp May 12) Waitrose Love Life seeded wholemeal bread flour Orange bag (Exp May 12) Allinson seed and grain white bread flour (Exp May 12) Allinson country grain bread flour (Exp Sept 12) Allinson country grain bread flour (Exp Sept 12) Recipe program menu water 4hr Basic 350ml Granary recipe 5hr 340ml Granary recipe 5hr 340ml 100% wm 5hr 370ml Granary recipe 5hr 340ml 100% wm recipe 5hr 370ml Basic white recipe 4hr 350ml Granary recipe 5hr 340ml Basic recipe 4hr 350ml Appearance Good slightly detatched top crust Good Even good with small stretch very slight slope next try 350ml Poorer appearance than 340ml . large stretch on top Some stretches on top Even Ok small stretch at one end Unacceptable Unacceptable Height in cm 15.5 17 15.5 15 14 13 14 13.5-9 10 Crumb texture Even. Closer texture than 5h Lighter than 4h Even Very Light Even Very light Swirl in crumb. Really crunchy good crust. Good small seeds Sticky yeasty damp crumb. Bitter flavour Sticky yeasty damp crumb. Bitter flavour Flavour Good light. Like the poppy seeds. Sweet sesame nutty Sweet. Large pumpkin seeds. Personal taste but prefer closer texture of 340 to 370ml Both 340 and 370ml crusty. Good wm flavour with small seeds . crunchy crust. Lighter slightly more moist crumb than 340ml Overall Best for white seeded Best for wm seeded Best for crust Poor overall Poor overall
Strong brown flour tests
Morrisons strong brown Morrisons strong brown Sainsburys strong brown Sainsburys strong brown Carrs strong brown Carrs strong brown Tesco strong brown Tesco strong brown Cycle Bake rapid Basic 4hr Bake rapid Basic 4hr Bake rapid Basic 4hr Bake rapid Basic 4hr Appearance Small even rise Even rise flat top Detached top crust Good even rise some stretching on top. 20ml more water needed Detached top crust. Stretching across top. Could benefit from 20ml more water. Uneven rise. Cratered top crust. Poor. Could benefit from 20ml more water. Good even rise Good even rise Height in cm 10.5 13.5 14 16.5 14 17-14 sloped 15 17 Texture Good Good Good Light Good Good Good Good Flavour Good Good OK OK Bland Bland Bland Bland Overall Small even rise, but good texture and flavour Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Poor appearance. Good rise, not even Acceptable Best overall appearance, texture and rise
- Bran is all round the germ and the endosperm and has four main layers of skin. One layer is the aleurone layer which contains vitamins, fat and minerals. Many nutritionists feel this is necessary.
- Wheatgerm is rich in protein, vitamins and oil.
- Vit B1 helps with the release of energy from carbohydrates
- Vit B3 is used to reduce bad cholesterol.
- Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth.
- Iron is necessary for healthy blood . It is particularly important for young children to intake sufficient quantities of iron.
- Non starch polysaccharides (non soluble fibre) is important to help maintain a healthy digestive system. This also helps you to feel full. It is different from the soluble fibre found in fruit and veg.
CA Calcium mg/100g FE Iron mg/100g NSP Fibre mg/100g Thiamin Vit B1 mg/100g Niacin Vit B3 mg/100g Bread brown 186 2.2 3.5 0.22 2.8 Bread wholemeal 106 2.4 5.0 0.25 3.8 Bread granary 209 1.9 3.3 0.24 2.7 Bread white farmhouse or split tin 172 1.3 2.1 0.19 1.4
- A live product, yeast makes bread rise during baking by instigating fermentation, which produces carbon dioxide that’s trapped in the elastic network of gluten.
- Fat – adds softness and flavour to your bread. You can use butter or margarine, or oil (with 2 tbsp equivalent to 25g).
- Milk – can be used instead of some or all of the water in the recipe when mixing dough. It will add nutritional value to your bread. As milk may not keep fresh unrefrigerated, though, it’s not suitable for your breadmaker’s overnight timer function
- As well as adding flavour to taste, salt increases the strength of the gluten, so aiding the rising process.
- Sweetening your bread, sugar will also increase its softness and add colour to the crust. Try brown sugar, honey or molasses.
- Cold tap water should be used. For BAKE RAPID, lukewarm water should be used, especially during the very cold winter months.
- Too much liquid will cause the dough to collapse, giving a poor appearance.
- Bran and wheat germ – will add fibre and nutty flavour, respectively. Try either or a combination, up to 50g in total for a loaf.
- Eggs – will improve the nutritional value and colouring of your bread. Beat them thoroughly and use to replace some of the liquid in your dough mix.
- Spices and herbs – will enhance the flavour, but use them sparingly (1-2 tsp).
- Some commercially available products incorporate various of the ingredients listed here. So, check the label and don’t add things – especially the yeast – that are already in the mix (or possibly supplied as a separate sachet, with instructions). Specialist breads may require a specific product – for example, brioche mix.