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Here are my favorite tips and basic bread recipe: 1. Dont by those tiny packets of active-dry yeast. Get it in bulk in a health-food store. They charge at least 10x more for those tiny packets -- youre paying almost entirely for the packaging. (Store yeast in the fridge.) 1 packet = 1 TB. 2. Wheat gluten is very useful in helping the dough rise. I add around 1 TB per cup of non-bread flour ingredients. 3. Oil is NOT necessary and actually detracts from the taste. All you really need for good bread is flour, salt, yeast, and water. Everything else is optional. 4. The best breads are simply a mix of flours (whole wheat, rye, oats, corn, buckwheat, rice, or whatever you like). Remember thought that wheat flours are necessary for the gluten content, unless you add gluten separately. Adding fruits and herbs and flavored liquids are interesting but I prefer "pure" breads. I prefer graham flour over regular whole wheat. 5. Each machine is different and my recipes are usually not exact -- if the dough looks sticky and isnt forming a ball then its too wet: add more flour; if it looks dry (ball doesnt have a relatively smooth surface, for example) add more liquid a tablespoon or two at a time. OK, so with all that idealism taken care of heres my basic bread recipe: 1 TB active dry yeast 1 1/2 cup bread flour 1 1/2 cup graham (whole wheat) flour 1/2 cup rye flour (use the coarse grind, preferably) 2 TB wheat gluten (sometime called vital wheat gluten) 1 tsp salt 1 TB honey 1 2/3 cup water Add ingredients in order suggested by your bread machine manual. This is intended for a 3 cup bread maker, if your machine is smaller just scale it accordingly. Similarly, your bread maker may suggest using less than 1 TB yeast. For a particularly festive bread try adding 1 TB basil 1 TB tarragon 1 tsp rosemary chopped garlic... Posted by Ari Kornfeld
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