While I love cooking, I’ve never fancied myself a baker. Whenever I try baking, it typically comes from a box, and even then I usually somehow manage to ruin it. For this reason, the main things on my grocery list each week are from the bakery - wheat rolls, bagels, baguettes, etc.
But, in an effort to eat better and provide the most nutritious foods I can for my family, I am willing to give anything a shot. In this case, that means trying something that scares me silly: making my own bread from scratch. I know, I know, it’s not rocket science. But is there anything more disappointing than working ridiculously hard on something for half of your day only to completely fail? Terrifying, right?
But, armed with a pantry full of baking ingredients and a little something called a Lekue Bread Maker, I made this little beauty. From scratch.
I followed this recipe from the Lekue site:
1 ½ cup (200 g) whole wheat flour
½ cup (50 g) wheat flour
5, 50 fl oz (165 ml) water
1 tsp (5 g) salt
0,18 oz (5 g) fresh yeast or 1 tsp(3 g) baking powder for bread
Place all the ingredients in the Bread Maker and knead until you obtain a homogeneous, uniform, and elastic dough. Leave to rest in the Bread Maker at room temperature for 1 hour and half, covered with a cloth so it won’t dry out. Once rested, shape it into a baguette or loaf and leave to rest for 45 further minutes. Afterwards, close the Bread Maker and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes at 428ºF (220ºC).Once baked, leave the bread to cool on a rack. (full recipe here)
I had to convert fresh yeast from the recipe and used this fresh yeast conversion as my guide, but, other than that, it was as simple as baking from a box. With maybe 15 minutes of hands-on time and virtually no cleanup, it was quicker than running to the store, and a whole lot more rewarding.
I’ve followed the recipe a few times now using various types of flour, and every time it has turned out delicious – and even better than the loaf before. It’s a little denser than sandwich bread, which makes it the perfect side for soups, salads, and for pre-dinner snacking while waiting for the main course.
After “mastering” this recipe and conquering a bit of my fear, I’m excited to try out even more recipes with the Lekue Bread Maker and try my hand at making a sourdough loaf or a rye baguette. Heck, I might even try baking bread in the microwave. Crazy, right?
You weigh, mix, and bake all in the same bowl so it really minimizes messes and makes for simple cleaning – either by hand or in the dishwasher. But, more than that is how incredibly versatile it is because it can go in the fridge, freezer, microwave, oven and more and then can be squished into small spaces for easy storing. With an already packed kitchen, I really love that it can be stored so compactly, and you can even stack multiple bread makers inside of each other if you plan on buying a few of them like I am.
If you love baking, are scared of baking, or even if you fall somewhere in between those two distinctions, I feel the easy-to-store, easy-to-wash Lekue Bread Maker is an essential piece to have around. When you’re not using it as a bread maker, it makes for an awesome steamer basket or fish baker, and when serving, it is a great versatile bowl that can blend in with any décor. Win, win, win, win, right?
Personally, I want a whole cupboard of Lekue Bread Makers, so I can do this: