Yesterday I tried making some bread with our Panasonic SD-P104 bread machine. Technically, this is JC’s machine, but with the start of her new full-time job she won’t have as much time to make bread for us. Instead, she’ll bring home the bacon and I’ll make the bread, an ideal partnership.
First things first, here is the bread maker in all its glory:
We picked this model because it was available for redemption using our airline miles from Adventure 2012. Since moving to Hong Kong, we’ve used a bunch of Panasonic appliances, and I would say that they’re generally pretty good quality and worth what you pay for them. This bread maker is no different. It comes with a pretty substantial manual that includes recipes for different types of bread. Today, I decided to make a basic “Soft Bread”.
The ingredients required for Soft Bread are:
|High-gluten flour||250 g|
|Granulated sugar||2 tbsp (24 g)|
|Milk powder||1 tbsp (6 g)|
|Salt||1 tsp (5 g)|
|Instant dry yeast||1 tsp (2.8 g)|
|*Reduce about 5˚C cold water by 10mL when the room temperature is above 25˚C.|
Since this model is produced for the Hong Kong market, the English is a little off. I have no idea what that last part about reducing water means.
OK, the first step is to install the blade in the bread pan. Luckily for me, JC does this after every loaf, so I didn’t have to do it. What an awesome wife.
The next step is to “add flour, water, and other ingredients (except instant dry yeast).” I’ve watched JC do this dozens of times, so I knew where to find the ingredients and equipment, which includes: a scale, the container that sits on top of the scale, a 2-sided measuring spoon (with TSP and TBSP), and a measuring cup. Yes, I was doing this at my workstation instead of in the kitchen. You can ignore the mouse and keyboard in the back.
At this time I put the container on top of the scale and then turned the dial on the back of the scale to zero it out. This step is pretty important because if you don’t zero out the scale, your measurements will be all wrong.
Next up was measuring out 250 grams of high-gluten flour. We use Japanese bread flour from TwinsCo. I don’t want to be a hater, but these guys make a killing on the DIY baking industry in Hong Kong. Well, they make a lot of DIYers happy, including my wife, plus they have pretty decent prices, so I suppose they deserve it. Anyhow, it doesn’t say so in English, but in Chinese it does say that this is high-gluten flour (高筋).
I just realized that to bakers, “bread flour” might by definition be high-gluten.
I was a bit careful with pouring the flour since I wasn’t sure how much 250 grams is. For the record, this is what it looks like:
I dumped the flour into the bread pan and then measured out the sugar, salt, and milk powder. We use regular Taikoo granulated sugar, which I guess is like C&H back in the States, the standard, readily-available sugar. The salt is sea salt from Hain. For the milk powder, it is once again TwinsCo:
The label states that this milk powder is sourced from Australia. According to the manual, I can substitute real milk for milk powder. I can also substitute up to half of the water with milk. I decided to try this. We use milk from Kowloon Dairy:
The last thing I added to the bread pan was butter; we had a small piece left and I didn’t want to cut it, so I dumped the whole thing, about 20 to 25 grams, in. Luckily, I checked the manual later and it said that it was fine to increase it up to 150%. Besides, one can never have too much butter.
This is what everything looks like once it’s dumped into the bread pan:
The last ingredient is the yeast. I almost dumped the yeast into the bread pan as well, forgetting that there is a separate compartment for it.
Finally, I made sure the bread maker was set to the “Bread” function and the “Soft Bread” recipe (I think the bread maker saves these setting from last time, and it looked like JC had used the same settings). I pushed the start button at 14:40. The bread maker then indicated that the bread will be ready at 19:00.
(Note that there is a handy 1-to-1 Chinese-to-English translation sticker on top of the machine.)
During the 4 hours and 20 minutes, the bread maker goes through a number of cycles, including kneading, soaking, fermentation, and baking. You can open the cover and check out what’s going on inside. It’s kind of neat seeing the dough bouncing around inside the bread pan. Near the end, there is also a countdown timer.
With the countdown timer nearing the end, I prepared a couple of potholders for pulling out the bread pan, since it can get pretty hot. Once the bread maker beeped to indicate completion, I pressed the “Cancel” button to turn it off and removed the bread pan from the maker.
After letting the whole thing cool for a couple of minutes, you can then slide out the bread. The manual states this pretty emphatically in large font: take out the bread.
Since we had just had dinner, I continued to let the bread cool on a wire rack. This morning, JC sliced the bread and made some ham and egg sandwiches (sorry, no photos of these because I scarfed them down in hunger). We stored the rest in a plastic bag. You can leave it out for a couple of days, but any longer and you risk mold forming. We usually put it in the fridge after that. Remember to use a bread knife to slice the bread, or else you’ll squish the entire loaf.
True to its name, the bread was soft like a pillow, and delightfully chewy. Not bad for my first loaf!
Update 9-1-15: Here’s a pizza made using dough from the bread maker.