Archive for January, 2009

Adding Bran for Better Bread

January 30, 2009


Over Christmas we were snowed in and out of bread, so I decided to bake up a batch of my favorite sandwich bread,  Basic Whole Wheat Bread from Bread Machine Magic (Rehberg and Conway).  (I highly recommend this cookbook, by the way.)  Since I was baking for my husband who likes uber healthy breads, I added 1/4 cup bran to the flours and increased the water to balance it out (I also use 3/4 whole wheat flour to 1/4 white). I was expecting a healthier bread, but didn’t realize how much it would improve the crumb and taste as well. The resulting bread was easy to slice and didn’t tear when buttered, but wasn’t dry at all – even the next day. The flavor wasn’t overly complex and seedy, just simple and delicious. Thickly sliced, it also made great French toast.

Here is the modified recipe (makes two small loaves):

  • 5/8-3/4 cup water
  • 5/8 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup bran
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


  • Place all ingredients in bread pan of bread machine, using the least amount of liquid listed in the recipe (add them in the order they’re listed in).  Select Medium Crust setting then the Whole Wheat cycle and press Start. 
  • Observe the dough as it kneads.  After 5 to 10 minutes, if it appears dry and stiff or if your machine sounds as if it’s straining to knead it, add more liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until dough forms a smooth, soft, pliable ball that is slightly tacky to the touch. 
  • After the baking cycle ends, remove bread from pan, place on cake rack, and allow to cool 1 hour before slicing. 

Although this recipe is made specifically for a bread machine, I never actually bake in the machine, because I’m never satisfied with the outcome.  I just use the machine to mixed and rise the dough and then I shape, proof and bake it myself at 375 degrees F. for 35 minutes.