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. 😉

38 thoughts on “A Must Try Bread Recipe For Every Newbie Baker”

  1. 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! 🙂

    • 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!

  2. 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 🙂

    • 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.

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

    • 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!

  4. 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?

    • 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.

  5. 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!

    • 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).

    • 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).

    • 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.

  6. 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.

    • 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!

  7. 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?

    • 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.

  8. 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?

    • 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.

  9. Hi maya, I have the exact same bread maker, but I keep failing with my bread. I noticed that the machine stops kneeding even before a dough if formed. Is this normal (I’m 30mins into the machine program and half of the flour is still not fully combined with the other ingredients)? Should I suspect the machine to be faulty?

    • Hi Azah: The machine should form a lump of dough. When you start the machine, you can “help” it along by scraping down the sides of the inner pan with a silicone scraper so that the machine gets to whip all the ingredients together properly. It will take some time to form a dough because the machine will knead and rest, knead and rest. If the dough is not formed, check if the kneading blade is fitted properly? Maybe the kneading blade is loose? If the kneading blade is fine, then check the inner pan. It should be locked securely onto the machine. If all these are in place, and you still don’t get a dough after 45 minutes, perhaps you need to call Lebenstill and lodge a complaint.

  10. I just received my bread maker yesterday and dove straight into my 1st bread making. As you said, it was hard to restrain everyone from diving into our first homemade bread. Within 10 minutes 3/4 was demolished. My Q which will sound silly to you is what it that long metal hook thing for? The use of it is not mentioned any where in the manual. I shall be trying out the Pullman loaf when I go home later.

    • Hi Joyce,
      Congratulations on getting a breadmaker. There aren’t any silly questions – just curious ones. Ah yes, that long metal hook is to “hook” out the metal thingy (that spins and kneads the dough) from your baked bread when you turn out the bread from its pan.

  11. Hi Krista, my first tried with Lebensstil bread maker was successful. Have you tried to bake cake? I do not have an oven, I wonder if this bread maker can bake cake? Any recipe/experience to share with?

    • Hi Soo Yee: Great to hear that. I have not tried baking a cake but I did try making kaya in the breadmaker. Not a good idea at all. The breadmaker was too hot and my kaya was cooking too fast, almost to the point of being burnt!

  12. i just got my Lebensstil Bread Maker, redeemed from RHB. I am going to try your Pullman Loaf recipe in these few days….I noticed that not much people using this brand…Tx Maya for the recipe sharing…

    • Hi Mily – I hope the Pullman loaf recipe worked out for you! How did it go? I think all the banks offer Lebensstil haha. Anyway, happy baking!

  13. Hi,
    This was the first recipe i tried after getting my bread maker. A lebenstil as well. However, the texture came out too cakey and it didn’t really rise up. Was it because the chilled milk was not suitable temperature for the yeast?

    • Hi Joanna
      It could be that your yeast has expired. If your bread doesn’t rise, it is most likely due to the yeast. The next time, give your yeast a test. Mix up a warm water solution with a teaspoon of sugar. Add 1 teaspoon of yeast to this mixture. Stir and wait for 10 minutes. If you see bubbles in the mixture, your yeast is alive. If nothing happens, your yeast is most likely “dead” and needs to be thrown away.

  14. Hi Kirana/Krista,
    I tried this recipe a few days ago, i was looking for ages for a good and simple bread recipe.
    I must say that the bread turned out very well…but little sweet. My family enjoy it very much.
    Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe.

    • Hi Riana
      So wonderful to hear that your bread turned out well. 😉 You can tweak the sweetness level. Overall, happy to hear such great feedback! Keep baking. I have become so busy that I have not baked bread in a while (actually more than 6 months). You have given me a good reminder to start baking bread again. Thanks Riana!

  15. Hi Maya,
    I got a Lebensstill bread maker from TBM
    I tried 2 breads but even at its darkest crust setting the top does not brown.
    When I try to put on dough rise, and then try to bake, it says 10 mins for the baking. How can I get a demo from the service centre?
    Please help.
    Thanks and regards,

    • Hi Mano: Hmmm, that’s strange. Did you try the other settings? Or is the settings dial on your machine defective? Do ask the manufacturer. Sometimes machines can be faulty!


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