DIY is a long time favorite craft/skill of mine. I have learned to do a lot of things most of us would skip learning. I Am Grateful!
Home Made Bread with a Breadmaker
If You Can't Stand The Heat, Get Out A Bread Maker
I have discovered the best French bread recipe for the bread maker that I have made several times with great results every time. You can have home baked bread anytime of the year without warming up the kitchen. When you want to have healthy food, your own ingredients, no hassle, and exceptional results, you make your own meals using handy gadgets (bread maker and slow cooker are a phenomenal pair anytime).
Find the recipe, some minor tips that will ensure you have great results every time, and bonus recipes that will show you what you can do with the whole loaf (this is great if you are cooking for one or two people). Sometimes a one or two person home misses out on this kind of treat, so, I've included recipes I use to store and use up the bread.
Thanks to each of the readers who have come back to follow up and report the results of using the recipe on this page!! Your feedback is appreciated and I love to hear when a loaf of bread can bring so much joy to people.
Making Bread with A Bread Maker
Save money and make the most wholesome foods for you and your loved ones
The cost of this process pays for itself in no time! I use my bread maker for my own family and to create amazing gifts for the holidays and year round. The ability to put in your own ingredients is amazing in itself, but, how about saving money.
A basic loaf of bread at the grocery store has risen to between $1.99 for most generic and as much as $3.49 for brand name basic breads. Consider the cost of one tiny loaf of raisin bread and you might save as much as $3 a loaf making it yourself. I make a raisin bread by adding a few raisins and a dash of cinnamon to a basic bread recipe.
You choose your favorite ingredients.
If you have dietary restrictions then this process is going to be priceless for you! I especially love this now that I have adopted a gluten free diet for health reasons.
For a general family of 4, the price of the bread maker will pay for itself in less than 2 months. *Potential savings estimated from current cost of bread, bread maker costs, and an educated guess.
We are saving:
- money, and
- we know exactly what is in our bread.
- We have a new idea for gift giving (home baked delights that will be a welcome gift for most anyone on your list), and
- the added pleasure of keeping the kitchen cool while still adding that Grandma's Kitchen aroma that is sure to please everyone who enters your home.
Are you ready to make some bread?
I'm betting you already have everything you need to get started right away...So Let's make my favorite and easiest bread recipe now!
First The Breadmaker
I am using the Oster 2 lb Expressbake made by the Sunbeam corporation.
The recipe is for the 2 lb bread maker. If your bread maker is smaller, you will need to adjust the recipe. Refer to your bread maker manual to determine the size of your machine.
If you do not have a manual, you can find one at a hillbilly housewife. This is by far the best Bread Machine I have ever used. I've used a variety of them, but, none of them compares to this one. Longevity, exceptional guidance (the owner's manual, and website). I enjoy the simplicity of operations.
The settings are straight forward and I love how easy it is to use, clean, and set up for lovely loaves of bread.
Loaf Size Machine Size Reminder
Make sure you check how many 'pound' size it is. This refers to the size of the loaf of bread. A 1 pound loaf , 1.5 pound, and a 2 pound size loaf of bread are most common.
Remember you can make any size loaf recipe in a larger size machine (for example I can make a 1 pound loaf of bread in a 2 pound machine) but not the other way around. If you try to make a recipe for a 2 pound loaf in a smaller machine the dough will end up all over the place before it has a chance to rise all the way. So, it may be wise to look at the 2 pound machines so you are capable of making just about any recipe you want to try out.
This is by far the best Bread Machine I have ever used. I've used a variety to them, primarily hand me down or thrift store finds, but none of them compares to this one. Longevity, exceptional guidance (the owner's manual is remarkable for recipes and bread making tips), and above all, I enjoy the simplicity of operation. This model lets you select a variety of settings (as most do) yet it is also very compatible with a variety of recipe resources in regard to a seemingly universal use of terms.
Machine Style Tips:
This Recipe is not for delay cycles because you need to watch the first few minutes of kneading to make sure the dough is forming a smooth ball. I've included a photo of how a smooth ball should look. And, how I have adjusted the dough when it isn't at the right smoothness.
You will need about 20-30 minutes to prepare the baking pan and insure the dough is off to a good start and then you can leave for 3 hours 20 minutes. Be sure you are handy to remove the bread right away, upon completion of the bake cycle, so the bread will not dry out or burn the crust.
French Countryside Bread
Recipe copied from the my Oster Sunbeam Corporation 1999 owner’s manual. I couldn't find this anywhere else. They do have great recipes on their website but this one is my all time favorite.
- -- 1 and 3/8 cups water
- -- 1 and ½ Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil (I've only used “extra virgin olive oil” for this recipe)
- -- 1 and ½ teaspoons salt (very important for rising consistency)
- -- 4 cups bread flour (tip: fill the measuring cup with a spoon and level off with the back of a knife to “level off”
- -- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- -- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan.
- Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan.
Use your finger to form a well (hole) in the flour where you will pour the yeast. Yeast must never come into contact with a liquid when you are adding ingredients. Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well.
Put the bread pan inside the bread machine and secure
- Snap the baking pan into the bread maker and close the lid.
- Press “select” button to choose French setting.
- Press the “crust color” button to choose light, medium or dark crust (I've use both medium and dark and prefer medium for a golden brown crunchy crust).
- Press the “start/stop” button.
(End copy from the Oster Sunbeam Corporation 1999 bread maker owner’s manual)
A Smooth Ball -- Best Learned Tip
- Watch the dough as it forms (at 2-3 minute intervals for the first 15 minutes. You want the dough to form a smooth ball).
If the dough is too wet: add a small amount (slowly add one teaspoon at a time) of bread flour.
If the dough is too dry: add a small amount (slowly drip one teaspoon at a time) of water.
The French cycle takes about an hour longer than the basic bread cycle because it will rise an extra time during the process.
As soon as the bread maker cycle is complete:
Carefully remove the loaf from the bread pan and allow bread to cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.
Proper Storage -- Bonus Cooking for Two Ideas
Once your Bread is Cooled Down -- Proper Storage of Home Baked Bread
No preservatives mean taking extra care in keeping your loaf of bread machine bread fresh longer
Keep your fresh loaf of bread fresh
* Do Not Refrigerate (unless you have made a loaf of bread with a large amount of fruits, meats, or vegetables - such as Tomato, Pumpkin, Applesauce, etc).
*Store in a cool dry place in an airtight container (see below for examples). Use a Ziploc or food-grade bag (think about how to store bread is packaged - a plastic bag with a twist tie).
Making your bread in your bread machine is one of the best things you can do but you also need to protect the bread so it will stay fresh longer with proper storage. This handy bread box for bread machine bread will help you keep your home-baked bread fresh to the last slice. Cool the bread completely and then put it in this adjustable container that will slide to fit the size of your loaf and continue to adjust as the loaf gets smaller to reduce the air in the box so your bread maker bread stays fresh longer.
Basic Break Making -- Video - Basic Steps Using a Bread Maker
Banana Bread Video -- How to make Banana Bread - Step by step using a break maker
I still remember Grandmother's Banana Bread and I know my banana bread may never be as good as hers, but , it is really good and easy to make in the bread machine. Your bread maker can make raised, sweet, and quick breads.
This is my idea for a gift.
Bake a loaf of bread the night before you are going to visit (to present the gift). Using the delay setting on your bread maker you can time this so you are taking the loaf out of the bread pan while you are pouring your first cup of coffee.
Then it is cooling while you shower and dress.
- Then wrap it in bread bag or bread box.
- Now you have a unique gift that will be a joy for anyone.
Want to make it even more precious?
- Include a recipe card or better yet include a coupon that says, This certificate entitles you to a home baked loaf of bread
So you have promised to make another loaf (or perhaps a loaf a month) throughout the year.
Easy Raisin Bread!
One of my recipients gets a loaf of raisin bread about every 8 weeks or so. Also, I have prepared (using the dough setting on the bread maker) the most delightful honey buns. When I make a batch of these I usually split the goodies into 4-6 gift wrappers and share.
No need to have sweets around the house for days on end but on occasion it is a delightful treat. Topped with the drizzled homemade vanilla glaze.
The recipe I use for the honey buns is
- a basic white bread recipe,
- set the bread maker to the "dough" setting.
- After the bread maker is done with the dough,
- I then roll the dough into a rectangle,
- sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar,
- and roll into a long roll.
- Then cut about 2 inches sections and lay them on a cookie sheet.
- Let rise until about double in size (or a bit more if you like them light and airy).
- Bake at 375 until golden brown.
Remove from oven, let cool a little bit, and drizzle with a vanilla glaze.
Vanilla Glaze Recipe
Make the glaze with
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar),
- 1 teaspoon milk,
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
- Stir well until you have a drizzle consistency and
- top the honey buns with your glaze.
Cooking for Two?
Great ways to save money and time when you are cooking for two
Stretching Your Loaf
If you have avoided using a bread maker because you are cooking for one or two people... don't wait any longer. This idea is meant to be suggestive to give you ideas how you can enjoy your a fresh loaf of bread a little each day.
Cooking for two (for a larger table pick a day and use your whole loaf of fresh baked bread)
*When you are cooking for one or two persons, you can use a loaf of bread in creative ways throughout a week or so.
- *First day: Enjoy your home baked bread just as it is. Serve with a dab of garlic butter and your favorite pasta recipe. Day one is also a great day to use your favorite slow cooker recipe and time the two so the slow cooker meal is ready to serve 4 hours 20 minutes after the bread maker is started.
- *Second day: Sandwiches! Pick your favorite sandwich toppings and enjoy. Slice the bread to best suit your ingredients. Slice a bit thicker for heavy toppings and on the thin side for delicate sandwich ingredients.
I made a tuna egg salad (best of both tuna salad and egg salad recipes) and used a medium slice so the bread would hold up to the spread and hold lettuce, tomato, and sprouts as well.
If you prefer thin sliced bread and want to use heavy ingredients you can cut your sandwiches into finger size portions,
- *Third day: Make French toast. Thick sliced French bread dipped in a whipped up egg (with a touch of cinnamon) and toasted in a hot skillet (with a non stick cooking spray) served with a drizzle of your favorite pancake syrup or fruit preserves.
- *Forth day: Make a french bread pizza. Top a slice with chopped leftovers and cover with cheese. (I've used a tablespoon of leftover pasta sauce, chopped olives, and left over chopped up meats from the day or two before. Meatloaf - broken into tiny morsels - makes an excellent french bread pizza topping!
*Put your "pizza" on a piece of foil and place in your Toaster Over on the Broil setting until the cheese melts.
© 2009 Deb Bryan
Guestbook -- Tell Me About Your Bread Maker
SteveKaye on March 06, 2014:
I'm considering buying a bread maker to make Non GMO bread. Thank you for publishing this lens.
Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on November 14, 2013:
Great lens! I love my bread maker!
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 05, 2013:
I tried this recipe last night and everyone enjoyed freshly baked bread for dinner. The loaf was just right for 5 people. I added spices to it as well and I will add more next time.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on March 12, 2013:
Deb, thank you so much for designating Friends of the Park as your charity. We greatly appreciate it!
liamsquidoo on March 07, 2013:
Great job on the lens, keep squidooing!
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 27, 2013:
That looks delicious! I have always wanted a breadmaker, just never broke down and bought one for myself and sadly have never been gifted one.
DecoratingEvents on February 27, 2013:
Believe it or not, I have never used a breadmaker. Seem I am behind the times and better get with it! My mom loves her bread machine so I will pass along the recipe while I figure out which one I want!
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on February 27, 2013:
My brother & SIL got a bread maker last summer and now make ALL their own bread. I join them for dinner at least once a week and get 'treated' to a different home made bread every time. Such fun.
BuckHawkcenter on February 27, 2013:
I dearly love my bread maker and don't know what I would do without it. Your recipe looks so good, it's one I will need to try with my next loaf.
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on December 04, 2012:
@anonymous: I love your idea of including this recipe in with the bread machine gift. That would be a fabulous way to present it. Thanks so much!!!
anonymous on December 04, 2012:
Finding just the right recipe for something you love is like finding gold and every time you go in the mine it just as wonderful! I love your plan to use up that loaf of the perfect countryside French bread with a new delight every day....that's my kind of cooking. Bread making has become doable for everyone with the convenience of a bread machine and I would encourage anyone to select a bread maker as a Christmas gift and then print off your recipe and tuck it in the package to share the love. Very nicely presented!
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on November 10, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi Jenny, Thanks for coming back to let us know how the recipe worked. Glad you loved the bread. Also... glad you were able to put the bread maker back together and save the loaf as well. Smart thinking!!! I think the mixing is the hardest part so I often use the bread maker to make dough for me. Then I can take it out, shape it, and bake in the oven. Perfect for twists and cinnamon buns.
anonymous on November 10, 2012:
I made it for a third time using only 1 tsp of rapid-rise yeast, and the result was perfect. The only problem was that my bread maker walked itself right off the counter and ended up on the floor. My husband found it while I was at the store, and when I came back, I found the dough half-risen and pretty much intact. I put it in a regular loaf pan (since the bread maker looked like it was broken, boo hoo!) and let it rise again, then baked it in the oven. YUM!!! Now I've put my bread maker back together and am trying it again. My mom, who bakes bread in the oven, gave this recipe two thumbs up when she tasted that unfortunate loaf. Thanks again!
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on September 19, 2012:
@Nancy Hardin: It is my favorite french bread ever and so easy to make in the bread maker. Thanks for dropping by Nancy and Thank you for the Squid Angel Blessing as well! <3
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on September 19, 2012:
I love these tips for making bread in a bread maker. I do have one, but since there are only 3 of us, and often not 3 eating here, I have not used my bread maker. Maybe I'll break it out and try your French Bread recipe...Sounds so good with the Olive oil. Thanks for sharing. Blessed by a SquidAngel.
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on August 22, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi Jenny,
That makes sense...I think the softened water and too much yeast is right on target.
Another thing I do is use 'bread flour' rather than regular all purpose flour. And in a bread machine it seems to work best. I'm looking forward to your update! Deb
p.s. I didn't bring the bread maker with me when I moved this past summer (had to travel light) so I'm going to be thinking about shopping for a new one soon. Nothing like the smell of fresh bread in the fall and winter.
anonymous on August 22, 2012:
@GypsyOwl: From the King Arthur tips it looks like too much yeast is my problem. Maybe because I use rapid rise. I'll cut back next time and see if that helps it to not collapse. Thanks again!
anonymous on August 22, 2012:
@GypsyOwl: Thank you for the tips. The yeast is fresh - it's rapid rise, by the way - and I followed your instructions to the letter, except for the disaster with the paddle. We may have chlorinated water. It's softened water, I wonder if that makes a difference? Anyway, I'll make it again WITH paddle and let you know how it rises. :)
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on August 21, 2012:
@GypsyOwl: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/tips/bread-machine-... <<---- link to some hints and tips.
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on August 21, 2012:
@anonymous: Unless I ask some questions it is hard to say what went wrong.
Starting with the obvious. I think the salt touched the yeast and killed it.
When you went in to put the paddle in that could happen.
When you put all the liquid in first, then the dry, then the flour. Then put a small 'crater' in the middle of the flour and put the yeast there. So the yeast isn't touching anything else until the kneeding begins.
Another problem may be chlorinated water *just read about that one today. It will kill the yeast.
Check the expiration date on the yeast. I usually have a jar in the refrigerator. You can keep packets in a cool dry place until they expire.
If I think of anything else I'll post again.
Glad at least you love the taste of it. I wouldn't give up on your machine. I think a few adjustments and you'll have perfect loaves time after time.
anonymous on August 21, 2012:
@GypsyOwl: Well, it tastes VERY good, even though the top is concave instead of nicely domed. What did I do wrong? It started sinking at around 1 1/2 hours before the end of the cycle.
anonymous on August 21, 2012:
@GypsyOwl: Thank you for the tip! Unfortunately I actually left the paddle OUT of the bread machine and had to dig through the water, flour, etc. to put it in. So now, at just over an hour left in the French cycle, the loaf has sunk instead of having a nice, domed top. But that happened with the other recipe, too. Maybe I'm doomed to not have a decent French from my Oster.
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on August 21, 2012:
@anonymous: It isn't going to be perfect, but, the easiest way to remove the paddle is to gently wiggle it while it is warm. Takes a little practice, but, wiggle gently side to side while the bread is warm. I take the loaf out of the pan promptly (within a minute or two) of when it is done baking. If it will come out with a gentle wiggle there will be less damage to the loaf and you can use the paddle in to make 'half sandwiches' so the paddle area isn't in the middle of the sandwich. Let me know how it comes out. I love this recipe!! And I hope you do as well.
anonymous on August 21, 2012:
GypsyOwl, I'm trying this French bread recipe right now. The last one I tried (which was also the first) was a disaster in my Oster - it sank, was dense, and tasted blah. I have high hopes. Now, do you have a tip for removing the kneading paddle from the baked loaf? It drives me crazy, having to dig that thing out and ruin my nice loaf! (I do whole wheat bread and love it!)
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on July 31, 2012:
@anonymous: Thank you, I agree, they are a good investment and are so easy to use. The results are wonderful!
anonymous on July 30, 2012:
My wife and I love our bread maker! It was a wedding gift and we still use it all these years later. They are a great investment so I wouldn't go cheap on them just to get one. Go ahead and get a quality one that will last.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on May 28, 2012:
I don't have a Bread Maker and haven't ever attempted to make bread but this sounds so delicious that I might have to try it.
Badbreathguy on April 10, 2012:
I became a convert to baking my own bread with a breadmaker as of September last year. And, I have to say, I only eat bread baked at home now. I don't use any dairy products in the recipes, just flour, yeast, water and olive oil.
The bread tastes delicious and keeps well also. Enjoyed reading your lens. Thanks.
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on March 13, 2012:
This sounds like a versatile machine! I'm sure it would come in handy.
athensfever on January 15, 2012:
I ust got my first bread maker machine... I'll try your recipe :)
beckyf on January 12, 2012:
I enjoyed your lens, and am including it on my bread machine page.
clouda9 lm on January 10, 2012:
We have a bread maker and love it! Nothing better than fresh baking bread smells wafting from the kitchen. Your recipe is a must try. *Blessed today because the world is a better place with bread in it. ;)
Helene-Malmsio on January 09, 2012:
My Dad couldn't find his Danish Rye Bread anymore, so I got the recipe from a relative, bought a breadmaker and he now has his daily bread - lol! Been baking his bread for a few years now, so its not just a 'novelty value' use of the breadmaker.
They are sooooo simple and easy to use - absolutely no effort to load the ingredients, and then you just set and forget, and in a few hours the smell of freshly baked bread is wafting through the house - YUM!
Joan4 on January 05, 2012:
I could almost smell the bread as I read! yummy! Bread makers make great gifts too!
marsha32 on January 04, 2012:
I've always wanted a breadmaker.
Ann Hinds from So Cal on January 04, 2012:
I am always looking for recipes for my bread machine which I think is about 20 years old. We've had to glue the door back together but ti still works well. Can't wait to try the recipe.
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on November 11, 2011:
I have a West Bend bread maker. I used it like crazy when I first got it, but haven't used it lately. Maybe it's time to get it back out and use it...because I love good bread, and this sounds like my kind of recipe. Thanks for sharing. Blessed
Lauren from Florida on November 11, 2011:
This was helpful; I love how you've included tips for day 2 and beyond. I'd love to try making bread as I have a machine that was a wedding gift (which means it hasn't been used in 7 years!). I really should learn how to use it so I can try this delicious-looking recipe.
wolfie10 on October 14, 2011:
we have got a bread maker and we still learning how to use it. made some pretzel for the first time last week. were a bit dense but nice.
anonymous on July 26, 2011:
Such a helpful Lens, fresh baked bread is so good!
GreenfireWiseWo on July 20, 2011:
Great info and recipes! I will have to try some of them.
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on April 25, 2011:
@grandma deal: That is such a good idea! I haven't used my timer very often. I am going to try this.
grandma deal on April 17, 2011:
Set up the Bread Machine last night with the timer set for this early morning. Woke up to the smell of French Countryside Bread. Better than waking up to smell of coffee.
grandma deal on March 31, 2011:
@grandma deal: I'm eating this bread right now. It is GREAT! Anyone with a bread machine who hasn't tried this recipe yet - I very highly recommend it. I'll be making more. Thanks again for sharing this recipe.
grandma deal on March 30, 2011:
Couldn't wait for the weekend. I let the granddaughter take a lot of bread home with her and I am out. So this Countryside French Bread Recipe is mixing in my Bread Machine right now. Can't wait 'til it starts cooking so I can enjoy that aroma. I did throw some cinnamon in with it just 'cause I like it so much.
grandma deal on March 28, 2011:
I intend to try this recipe this coming weekend. I've bookmarked, liked, favorited, lensrolled, and facebooked. Fairly certain I'll be able to find it again. My Bread Maker Machine is my best friend in the kitchen. This recipe is great because of the basic ingredients which are normally found in my kitchen.
Deb Bryan (author) from Chico California on September 03, 2009:
Thank you Amanda, I like the electric knife suggestion. Thanks also for your freezer storage ideas. I'll try that as well.
I make raisin bread for us and as a gift idea.
Thanks again, I appreciate your ideas and (((( stars )))) :D
Let me know how you like the Countryside French Bread recipe,
anonymous on August 16, 2009:
Buying my own bread machine was the best thing I ever got for the kitchen. It tastes sooooo much better and it's a lot healthier too.
I make buns for my husband worklunch, I make whole wheat and raisin bread regularly and it's also great for pizza dough.
I store my bread in the freezer wrapped in foil and with waxpaper between the slices because I can't finish a bread by myself in 2 days and I pre-cut and wrap the buns separatly in plastic since I always make 8 at a time.
Getting an electric knife makes it really easy to cut your loaves by the way.
I haven't tried French bread yet so I'll definitely try out this recipe. Thanks for sharing. 5*