Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homemade French Baguette Using The Sunbeam Breadmaker

A few months ago, when I noticed that bread was $4 and $5 a loaf for decent bread, I decided to get a bread maker.  I did a bunch of research and ended up getting the Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programable Breadmaker.  

Sunbeam 5891 Programmable Bread Maker

I.  Love.  It!

It's so very easy to throw ingredients into the breadmaker, turn it on, and in three hours have a fresh, delicious loaf of bread!  

Now I know what ingredients go into my bread.  There aren't any di-something or others.  I've been using honey, whole wheat flour, yeast, water, kosher salt, some ground flax, some wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds.  Mmmm.

One con.  The bread maker does make a sort of odd shaped loaf, but with some creative cutting I end up with average sized slices.  

Here are a few things I learned about making bread in a bread machine: 

1. Don't follow the order that the bread maker manufacturers tell you to put ingredients into the machine.  Start with very warm water.  Follow with yeast, then sweetener - I like to use honey or maple syrup.    Swirl it around.  My bread always rises beautifully!
2.  You don't have to buy special bread machine flour.  Just get some wheat gluten and add one teaspoon to each cup of flour that you use.  I put a teaspoon of gluten in my measuring cup then carefully scoop out my flour and level it off.  A small bag of gluten will last a long time.
3.  Don't buy special bread machine yeast.  Any yeast works just fine.
4.  Add salt last and don't use iodized salt when making bread.  I read somewhere that the iodine kills the yeast and it does seem to be true.  

I got pretty decent at making sandwich bread and wanted to expand my repertoire.  I looked at baguettes in the grocery store and they look sooo yummy.  Then I flip them over and see all the funky stuff they're made with.  Maybe not.  I decided to give a recipe for bread machine french baguettes a try.  You make the dough in the bread machine and then finish in the oven.    

My recipe comes from 

French Baguettes

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Ready In: 1 Hour 50 Minutes (probably longer)
Submitted By: Judy Taubert Cook Time: 25 Minutes Servings: 12
"Great eaten fresh from oven. Used to make sub sandwiches, etc."

1 cup water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

1. Place 1 cup water, bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast into bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle, and press Start.
2. When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
3. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 16x12 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half, creating two 8x12 inch rectangles. Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 12 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper end. Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.


Here's what I did different from the recipe above: 

- I used 1 tablespoon honey in place of the sugar (I just use a roughly tablespoon sized dollap)
- I used regular flour with gluten added.  The first loaves I made with unbleached flour and later loaves - I substituted wheat flour for 1/2 cup.
- I rolled out the baguettes on a piece of parchment paper. 
- I used the whole egg whipped up to brush all over the tops and sides of loaves.
 - I used scissors to snip the slashes.  
  - Most importantly, I preheated the oven with my pizza stone and a pan for water placed in the oven.
Using a cookie sheet I slid the baguettes, parchment paper and all, onto the hot stone and then poured about two cups of hot water into the pan for water and quickly closed the oven door. 

These are delicious with a crispy exterior and tender interior.  My son came home from school and ate a whole baguette with butter and honey all by himself!

And as an added bonus they are a fraction of the cost of store bought baguettes!

Be sure to hop over to Frugally Sustainable for their blog hop!


  1. I have a bread machine that hates me. It works fine for my husband,but never turns out for me. I'll try your tips. Wish me luck.

  2. Your baguettes look wonderful!!
    I use my bread machine's dough cycle to make all the bread I sell at the Farmer's Market, it gets to do all the mixing and kneading for me. I have never used wheat gluten but do use bread machine yeast and my breads (even the 100% whole wheat) all rise beautifully. :)

  3. Hi Sharon! I love using my bread machine! I make our pizza dough in it and many other wonderful breads! I would highly recommend a bread machine to anyone wanting to know exactly what's in their bread! Making bread and dough in the machine frees up some of your time to do other things in the kitchen. I've even had to cut out a lot of my bread making because I ate so much, I put on weight! (tear!) No worries, it's coming off now! Thanks for sharing! Blessings from Bama!

  4. New fan here from Frugal Days. This looks so good. I will definitely be trying it. If you haven't already, I would love for you to come visit me at Fresh Eggs Daily and share at my weekly Farm Girl Blog Fest:

    Happy Holidays!
    Fresh Eggs Daily

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  6. Those look so delicious! I wish I could make bread that turns out looking that good but I will keep working at it. Happy New Year!

  7. Sounds delicious! Trying it out now, quick question. Why did you have a pan of water in the oven during the baking process? is that important? I plan on cooking the loaves on a stone also.

  8. The humidity from the steaming pan of water helps to give the bread a crispier crust.