Mechanical Bread Making

by John Kirk

I have long wanted to “bake my own bread” but really couldn’t be bothered with all that yeast culture and kneading stuff. I really like good bread. In fact by the look of my mid section I like it a bit too much! I also really like mechanical things. Combining these two tastes brought me to purchase a bread-making machine. Panasonic seem to have cornered the market so I bought one of their’s. Cost about £100 or $160, although I got mine for £75 as it was “shop soiled”. More than 100 loaves later I still like using the machine because it makes great, healthy bread for about £1 per time. I also love the way you just pour in the ingredients, press a few buttons and wait for everything to happen. Even the noises made by the machine are fascinating as it does its best to mimic human hands in mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough. The aroma of fresh bread coming from the machine for the final hour is always appetising, and tipping out the freshly made and highly individual loaf is fun. You also get to eat the crunchy bits fresh from the edge.

I like rye bread so this is my mix :-

8gms of quick to use yeast powder – (put this at the bottom with the sugar)

290 gms of strong white flour

210 gms of rye

Pinch of salt

50gms of sugar

Two tablespoons of olive oil

330ml of warmish water- about 24C

Minimum time for this mix is 5 hrs, and so you can put the machine on with a 5 hour delay at 10pm and have fresh bread at 8am; or put it on at Noon with no delay and have it fresh for 5pm.

Resist the temptation to cut the loaf straight away. Cooling allows it to solidify and it will cut much easier then. Rye is low is gluten, and it gives the bread a nutty taste. I like the olive oil in preference to butter.

The whole thing takes a total of 10 minutes effort, and you don’t get your hands dirty.

Line up the ingredients and put the bread pan on the scales, zeroing it.

Add yeast first, then sugar , then flour

Then add olive oil, water and salt.

And then stick the pan into the machine

Set the machine – in this case for 5 hrs.

And wait for the great smell and the tip-out later

Resist the temptation to have a slice immediately !


About John Kirk

John Kirk is Director of International Office in a large UK university. With a degree in English Literature, an MBA and Diploma in Marketing his interests are many including reading novels and poetry, films, history, politics, news, technology and sport. Keen on being outdoors from an early age John is a cyclist and walker. He is interested in what is happening to the environment and in alternative energy as one of the key priorities for the human race.
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