Yeast-Free Quick Bread and Yeast Bread
In the early 1990s, the advent of programmable bread machines brought a major break-through in how much time I spent baking for my allergic son. I love bread machines because they lighten my workload by making yeast breads, non-yeast breads, and cakes with very little effort from me. Usually I just add the ingredients to the machine, push a button or two, and come back to a wonderful treat.
A question I am often asked is “Which bread machine should I buy?” The answer varies from person to person and from year to year. Like automobile manufacturers, bread machine manufacturers change their products often. Also, the needs of each home baker are different. Ask yourself what you need: Will you be away from home and want to come home to a freshly baked loaf of bread to go with your dinner? Then get a machine with a delayed cycle timer. What are your food allergies or other dietary requirements? How much bread will you or your family eat? How often do you want to bake? If you have a large family or do not want to bake often, get a larger capacity machine. Do you have frequent power outages in your area? How long do the outages last? How much do you expect to use your machine? How much money can you afford to spend on it? How much money will it save you?
For people who must eat special breads, such as those on food allergy and gluten-free diets, the last question is crucial. If by making your own bread you will eliminate the weekly necessity of buying small, pricey loaves of commercially made allergy or gluten-free bread, paying more for a bread machine may be justified.
For more information about which bread machine features are important in baking for an allergy, gluten-free, or other special diet, see pages 26 to 33 of the 3rd edition of Easy Bread Making for Special Diets. (If you purchase the “bargain” original edition of Easy Bread Making for Special Diets from the author by mail order, we will include the updated/current chapter on bread machines and other appliances that can save you time as well as the sourdough and tortilla recipe chapters). To see the machine that in my opinion is the “best fit” for special diet bakers, click here.
If you are allergic to yeast or on a low-yeast diet for Candida control, there are two types of baked goods that you can make easily with a machine, non-yeast quick breads and tortillas, which are discussed here.
You can make non-yeast breads with spelt, kamut, rye, barley, rice, or quinoa flour (or even wheat flour) using a bread machine with a non-yeast or cake cycle. When purchasing a machine for the non-yeast cycle, be sure to find out how long it mixes the dough before baking it. The ideal mixing time for the recipes in the books on this website is 3 to 4 minutes. If the machine mixes longer than 4 minutes, add the oil to the flour mixture, but delay adding the other liquid ingredients until about 2 minutes before the end of the mixing time. For example, if it mixes for 6 minutes, rather than adding the liquids 1 1/2 to 2 minutes into the cycle, wait until 4 minutes after you start the machine. If the machine you wish to purchase mixes a little longer than this, it is still usable, but if it mixes for fifteen minutes and you plan to use the quick bread cycle often, I would suggest choosing another machine. If you will not be using your machine to make yeast bread for friends or family members and you eat only non-yeast bread, a high-end bread machine may not be worth the expenditure because – true to their name – quick breads can be made quickly and easily by hand.
If you tolerate yeast, you can make egg-containing rice yeast bread or yeast breads made with spelt, kamut, or white rye (and, of course, also with wheat) using almost any bread machine on the market. One exception to this is that for spelt yeast bread, some Breadman machines mix so vigorously that they over-develop the gluten, which is more soluble in spelt than in wheat. To use your machine to complete the whole process of making yeast bread with buckwheat, dark rye, quinoa, amaranth, oat, barley, or rice flour, you will need a machine on which you can control the length of the last rising time before baking and the baking time.
There are two possibilities for controlling the length of the last rising time before the bread bakes. In terms of initial investment in a bread machine, the more economical choice is to buy a machine with a bake-only cycle and a dough cycle that includes rising time as well as mixing time. You can use the dough cycle followed by the bake-only cycle to make your special bread, but you have to be present to stop the dough cycle and start the bake cycle after the bread has risen for just the right amount of time. Machines with bake-only cycles are available (although they change from year to year), and some economical machines can be used to make special breads in this way.
The option for controlling the last rising time that is more expensive (in terms of initial investment – it will save time and money on bread in the long run) is to buy a truly programmable machine. Some machines are called programmable because you can program them for a delayed start and have your bread be ready at a certain time. However, with a truly programmable machine, the baker can program the length of various parts of the cycle such as kneading time, rising times, and baking time. The correct last rise and baking time are crucial for many allergy and gluten-free breads. Also, programmable cycles can compensate for environmental conditions that affect yeast bread such as altitude.
As with all bread machines, programmable models change frequently. Zojirushi was the first to introduce a truly programmable machine in the early 1990s with their BBCCS15 model, and they have continued to make excellent programmable machines. In the late 1990s I got a Zojirushi Home Bakery model BBCCV20 which I used to make several loaves of bread every week for fifteen years, including the years when my sons were hungry teenagers. The Zojirushi BBCCX20 which I currently own has served us well for over ten years and is still going strong.
In about 2010, Zojirushi came out with a new model, the BBCEC20, which is very similar to the BBCCX20 and previous Zojirushi models with two kneading bars. I purchased this machine about two years ago and it is my all-time favorite bread machine. I used its three programmable cycles to develop sourdough bread recipes made entirely in the machine using wheat- and gluten-free freeze-dried sourdough starter. (You can purchase this starter here. See the 3rd edition of Easy Breadmaking for Special Diets for these new recipes.) Since this machine is very similar to the BBCCV20 and X20, I expect it to be a reliable, long-lasting workhorse like the previous similar models.
The large Zojirushi machines currently available have a horizontally rectangular pan with two kneading bars and make large (2-pound) normal-shaped loaves of bread. The two kneading bars produce a mixing motion that includes both ends of the pan, so for most types of bread, the cook does not have to make sure that all the flour in the corners of the pan has been incorporated into the loaf. These machines’ standard cycles include basic, whole grain, dough, quick basic, quick whole grain, and quick dough cycles, a cake (non-yeast) cycle, a jam cycle, a signal to add raisins for raisin bread on most of the cycles, and “homemade menu” programmable cycles. The machines’ memory can store three homemade menu cycles which you can program to the time you want for any part of the cycle, including the last rising time, which is critical for allergy and gluten-free bread baking. For sourdough, you can program a cycle which mixes the sponge ingredients and then keeps them warm for up to 24 hours on the BBCEC20 model, which is ideal for making true sourdough. However, the newer BBPAC20 “Virtuoso” machine allows programming of a rise time of only up to 12 hours and proofs the dough at a higher temperature, which is not ideal for sourdough bread.
The BBCEC20 and BBPAC20 models also include a sourdough starter cycle. This is not for REAL sourdough made with Lactobacillus bacteria as well as yeast, but rather allows you to ferment flour and yeast for two hours, and then use this as a starter for a loaf of bread. This “sourdough” does not give the advantages for blood sugar control offered by bread acidified by a long Lactobacillus fermentation.
The new BBPAC20 “Virtuoso” machine has a few unique new features which, in my opinion, are not necessarily improvements. One is the machine’s gluten-free cycle, which works well with the rice + potato starch recipes included in the manual, but it is a set cycle. Although the breads developed by Zojirushi for this cycle are very tasty, they are made with 60% potato starch and 40% brown rice flour. Potato starch is a highly refined starch from a high glycemic index (GI) food, and most rice is also high GI. In my opinion, a diet of breads made from these recipes would increase a common consequence of gluten-free diets containing rice-based foods, which is weight gain. In contrast to the gluten-free cycle, the homemade menu cycles of Zojirushi machines offer the baker the flexibility needed to make many different kinds of special diet breads using a wide variety of non-wheat, gluten-free, and/or non-grain flours by allowing variation in any and all parts of the cycle. The homemade menu cycles make it possible to use almost any gluten-free or allergy flour successfully and to compensate for factors such as altitude, etc. The variety of breads that can be made allows us to avoid another common consequence of standard gluten-free diets, which is developing an allergy to rice. (This is the reason for the book, Gluten-Free Without Rice).
Another feature of the BBPAC20, which makes it more difficult to make some gluten-free breads, is that the machine stops whenever the lid is opened. Although it is important to keep the lid closed most of the time, for stiff allergy breads, such as quinoa and amaranth bread, I like to assist the kneading with a spatula. The quinoa raisin bread recipe in Easy Breadmaking for Special Diets produced great bread in the machine using a programmed cycle with a 20 minute knead and 50 minute rise. However, I found it impossible to make good amaranth bread with this machine. The dough is very sticky, and when made in this machine with reduced spatula assistance, it came out shorter and denser than in the BBCEC20 and was gummy inside probably because the “structure” of the guar or xanthan gum was not as well developed due to inadequate mixing. (And because of the gumminess, it ended up in the trash!)
When making wheat sourdough with the BBPAC20l and the freeze-dried gluten-free starter mentioned above, I noticed that after the initial 18-hour fermentation, the flour-starter-water mixture was more bubbly in this machine and had liquefied. The dough in the next step of the process also rose much more rapidly. I took the temperature of the dough in this machine and the BBCEC20 with an instant-read thermometer, and it was 78°F in the BBCEC20 and 92°F in the BBPAC20l. I suspect that the higher temperature allows the yeast to metabolize more rapidly and overwhelm the Lactobacillus, thus resulting in a less acidic, less sour, higher glycemic index bread being produced by the BBPAC20 machine. The final hand-shaped loaf made from dough produced by the BBPAC20 was dense and had a coarse texture although it was proofed in the same place for the same time as an excellent loaf made from dough which came from the BBCEC20 machine. However, it tasted all right, although not as tangy as usual, and was eaten by my family rather than tossed like the amaranth loaf.
The final unique feature of the BBPAC20 is a heating element in the lid. This produces wheat bread that is as beautifully browned on the top as on the bottom and sides. However, for the types of gluten-free and allergy breads which make short loaves, it produces pale loaf tops.
The Zojirushi machines mentioned have quick cycles which can save you time. I use the quick yeast bread (basic and whole wheat) cycles to make wheat or spelt bread in about two hours. The quick dough cycle only takes about 40 minutes. These machines are very “mellow” kneaders and produce excellent spelt bread as a result. You can also make non-yeast bread for allergy and gluten-free diets using the cake cycle of these machines.
However, if non-yeast bread is all you and others who you bake for can eat, I would not advise you to invest in a high-end bread machine. Quick breads are easy to make by hand, and the mixing and baking can be customized to the type of bread, thus giving the best results.
If you already own a bread machine which is not programmable and does not have a bake only cycle and a dough cycle which includes rising time, you can still use your machine to do the hard part of the job of making yeast bread. Measure out your ingredients into the pan and start the dough cycle. At the end of the first rise, remove the dough from the machine, stir or knead it down, and put it in an oiled and floured loaf pan. Allow it to rise in a warm place until it is just under doubled in volume. Then bake it at 375°F for 30 minutes to 80 minutes. Very dense loaves, such as rye, take longer to bake, than for example, egg-free rice bread. Your bread is done when it pulls away from the sides of the pans and is well browned.
I hope you enjoy bread machines and the delicious bread they make as I have. Happy baking!
The information on this page is abridged from:
Easy Breadmaking for Special Diets, 3rd Edition ($19.95) © 2011
The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide ($24.95) © 2007
Allergy Cooking with Ease ($19.95) © 2007
Easy Cooking for Special Diets ($24.95) © 2007
How to Cope with Food Allergies when You’re Short on Time ($4.95) © 2006
For more information about these books, click on the book's title above.
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