A Must Try Bread Recipe For Every Newbie Baker

By now you would’ve known that I got myself a bread machine if all those bread recipes haven’t clued you in yet.

Pullman Loaf - a soft, milky white bread

Pullman Loaf - a soft, milky white bread

Yes. It was either this or the magic thermal cooker (which I figured would help me make soups without watching the fire on the stove). In the end I chose the bread machine because I love bread!

And the best part, I didn’t have to buy the bread machine either.

I’d accumulated that many points on my credit card that I could redeem a Lebensstil Bread Machine from CIMB. I still don’t know how much the bread machine actually costs but I really don’t care. It’s a machine that helps me make bread so that’s that, right?

As I’m typing this, the smell of baking bread is wafting around. I don’t know about most people but I love the smell of baking bread. It’s so comforting and so homey. It makes me feel like some domestic goddess (not Nigella, mind you, she’s pretty much the ultimate domestic goddess) somehow. Even though I did not roll up my sleeves and knead away at the bread.

Purists will sniff at having a bread machine but I’ve made bread prior to getting a bread machine and I tell you, it was tough. Kneading bread is not exactly easy. It takes strong arms and lots of determination to make a good loaf of edible bread.

While I don’t mind eating ‘gwai lo’ bread, you know, the type that is chewy and full of mind-expanding goodness (oats, rye, barley etc), after sometime I want some soft textured bread. The kind that is similar to Gardenia and perhaps now Massimmo.

And while I do live near to a local bakery called Amei which bakes bread without preservatives, I somehow think I should be making bread. Call it an intense fascination with bread or the desire to cross one more thing off my list.

So, let’s see – how long have I had the machine? Possibly 5 months.

In that span of time, I’ve tried like 5 different types of bread recipes. You name it, I’ve tried it. Thanks to reading Flavours magazine and my bread bible, trawling King Arthur Flour’s website and a bunch of helpful blogs out there, I’ve experienced bread-making at its maniacal.

I tried the water roux method (tang zhong method which is clearly a favourite for most people who love Asian style soft breads and buns) and also the much-talked about Alex Goh’s sponge method. The sponge method is similar to tang zhong; the only difference is you don’t need to cook the flour and water mix, you just pour boiling water over the bread flour.

Both methods are good. They create breads which are soft like pillows. I even made sausage rolls. The only drawback was, the bread tasted good the day it got out of the oven. The day after, the rolls were a tad hard.

With a bread machine, it wasn’t that difficult to use either tang zhong or sponge method. I just put all the ingredients into the machine (all liquid ingredients plus tang zhong or sponge followed by the dry ingredients) and set it to the DOUGH programme. It kneads the dough and even proofs it. It does take a while though so this is not something you want to do on a day when you’re rushing around.

I finally tested a bread recipe which I really liked – the bread smells heavenly when it’s baking, it tastes soft and buttery (even without pats of butter) and fragrant and the best part, it retains its lovely softness the day after! Even Nic gave this a thumbs-up – we polished off the whole loaf in two sittings. That’s how amazing this recipe is.

And to think I almost passed it over!

I looked at the ingredients and didn’t see what made it so exceptional. And to think it is made entirely in the bread machine. All I did was eat the bread.

Pullman Loaf - a soft, milky white bread

A closer look at the sliced Pullman loaf

Here’s the recipe for the Pullman Loaf. It’s called Pullman because it’s supposed to be baked in the oven in a pullman tin (a bread tin with a sliding cover so that the bread is square shaped – like the kind of roti you get from your roti shop). I didn’t have one so I just decided to do it all in the bread machine.

Pullman Loaf

Put the ingredients in this order in your bread machine:

190 ml chilled UHT milk
330 gm bread flour
30 gm caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt (do not put the salt near the yeast; salt inhibits the yeast)

Set your machine to BASIC and let it knead.

About five minutes into the kneading, open up your machine and add 25 gm of cut up butter.

Close the lid and let the machine do its work. After 3 hours, your bread is ready!

It will have a lovely brown crust (choose MEDIUM crust setting on your machine).

You won’t be able to resist slicing into this bread the moment it comes out of the bread pan. But resist you must. At least let the bread cool for 30 minutes. It will be eaten up with relish!

This is definitely the kind of no-fail bread recipe any newbie bread enthusiast can try.

Of course you can knead this bread by hand. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t tell you how it’s made but trust me, if you swoon over bread like me, go get a bread machine.

Calculate your credit card points and redeem one!

Or else, go buy one for yourself. ;-)

0 replies
  1. Ben
    Ben says:

    Wow, just reading your post makes my mouth watery.
    I have heard friends with bread makers complained about the difficulty of baking soft fluffy bread. Some years back I had thought of getting one myself but if I am going to end up with a hard solid rock bread, perhaps its better for me to buy instead. That and the thought of how long I will be able to keep it up before chucking the machine aside. I doubt I will be able to sustain, especially when I’m being ‘tortured’ with the smell for 3 hrs and wait for another half an hour again. Having said that, I know nothing beats a freshly baked bread hot from the oven!
    If you bake one extra, I would love to buy a loaf from you, seriously! :)

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Ben: Initially I had the same concerns too. But there are a few ways of getting around this problem. The Chinese “Tang Zhong” method is one way of making fluffy buns and breads. If you like preservative-free bread, you should invest in a bread machine. I believe the problem is of storage of your bread machine. It is a sizeable machine so if you intend to only take it out for your bread-making sessions, in no time you will give up. But if you place your bread machine on your kitchen counter (where you will see it every day) you will be reminded to make bread and without the agonizing thought of “Oh no, I have to drag the machine out of the store room!” Let me make more bread and get my ranking up from amateur baker to intermediate baker and I shall pass you a loaf!

      Reply
  2. Bread Tins
    Bread Tins says:

    I always bake my own bread, I would never go back to shop bought bread. I do cheat a little and use a bread maker, and I follow a recipe from the back of a pack of bread flour…BUT…I add half a tespoon of Sesame oil to the mix once it’s no longer dry…the result is a very moreish flavour that cannot be beaten :-)

    Reply
  3. zionkch
    zionkch says:

    is the bowl inside non stick like the breville bread maker…some who got that one complained it peeled a bit

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Zionkch

      Yes the bowl inside the breadmaker is coated with teflon so it is non-stick. When you remove the bread, ensure you are using a plastic knife or else you will scrape the teflon right off. Wash with a soft sponge and let it dry. Do not scrub it with the steel wool.

      Reply
  4. SS Tan
    SS Tan says:

    Thinking of redeem bread maker from credit card point too. Available choices are Lebenstill LKBM 2101S or 1102W, Breville brand. Which is better?

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi SS, I have not used Breville brand but I believe most breadmakers are all right. When I redeemed mine, Lebenstill was the only choice! ;-) You could search and check out forums online where people talk about bread machines and see what they say.

      If you aren’t too concerned about brands, then the next criteria could be how much space does the machine take up? If it is too bulky, you may not have counter top space left. I could not find the Breville model you mentioned. I only know there is Breville Ikon 650W – if you have a bigger family who loves bread, you may want to check out the weight of the bread you can make. The Lebenstil model that I have can bake a loaf of 900g (2 lb) which is considered large. Some bread makers can accommodate up to 700 gm (1.5 lb) bread. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  5. LP
    LP says:

    Hello Maya, I saw HSBC did offered redemption on the LeBenSSTIL Bread Maker LKBM-1102W which having less function as 2101S model. I’m wondering if it could bake out bread as nice as yours or not. ?.?
    Any idea?

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Lai Ping: Should be no problem. It just has fewer program functions but the basic ones are the ones you need for baking bread. I don’t even use all the functions on my bread machine. ;-) No harm redeeming because technically the machine is free.

      Reply
  6. Foong
    Foong says:

    Hi Maya, I don’t hv any experience in making bread. I just redeem a bread machine last week fr HLBB. Tot of trying out your newbie receipt. But may I know the setting shld b 1.5lb or 2lb? Besides, y my mother told me the yeast need to mix with warm water first? I get confuse! Pls help me. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Foong: I usually use 1.5 lb setting as that makes a 700 gm loaf. The 2 lb setting makes a 900 gm loaf. If you are using a bread maker, you don’t need to mix the yeast with warm water UNLESS you want to test the yeast and see if it is usable. If you mix yeast with warm water and a little sugar and assuming your yeast is “alive”, you should get a foamy, bubbly mixture after 15 minutes. (If your mix doesn’t have any bubbles after 15 mins, your yeast has probably expired and you can throw out the yeast and get some “live” ones.) This method is used if you work manually with the dough. If you use a bread maker like me, you just need to put all your ingredients, yes, yeast included, into the machine. Usually I will put in the liquid ingredients FIRST, followed by flour and other dry ingredients (such as yeast).

      Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Foong: I get UHT milk from the supermarket. I normally buy Dutch Lady UHT Milk (can also be in the chilled section of the supermarket or in tetrapacks, like 6 small tetrapacks of 250 ml in a set of 6 from the non-chilled section).

      Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Christina: My bread maker does make noise when it is “kneading”. Is the noise level annoying? Can’t say really. I just switch it on and let it do its work while I go about doing my usual chores. That said, I haven’t heard the Kenwood bread maker though so I can’t make a comparison. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  7. Daniel Ngu
    Daniel Ngu says:

    Hi Maya,
    Do you have a commercial bread baking recipe? (ingredients and weight)
    Like using a bag of 25kg Flour. How much is the salt, sugar, improver, yeast and water.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Daniel

      Wish I could help but I really don’t know unless you multiply using ratio? I don’t dare to give you any commercial recipe because I am not a commercial baker. Hope you understand ya!

      Reply
  8. Lam
    Lam says:

    Hello Maya,

    I see on a website that the Lebesstil Bread Maker, 550g c/w 5 basic function is on sale now. Is this machine too small? Is your Lebesstil Bread Maker still in good condition?

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      My Lebensstil bread maker is still in good condition. I haven’t used the smaller version but I think it is best to get a bigger one as you might want to make a bigger loaf. Of course a bigger machine will take up a bit more space so if space is a concern, then you could seriously consider getting the smaller version.

      Reply
  9. Hayley
    Hayley says:

    Do you think this recipe can be used if I want to set the bread maker timer to start baking in midnite & wake up with freshly baked bread? The chilled UHT milk may turn sour. Right?

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      That’s a possibility especially if the milk is sitting around in a closed container for more than a few hours. But you can always try. I could be wrong. Maybe night time temperature is OK, not as bad as day time temperature.

      Reply

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