Cookbook 8: Bread Machine

To help with the whole returning to routine after my trip overseas, I decided to bake bread – something which is slightly easier than a 2 – 3 course meal (or so I thought).  This week I cooked from bread machine: over 90 enticing step-by-step recipes, by Jennie Shapter. As bread takes a while, I made one each on the Saturday and Sunday, and sticking with the overall theme, one savoury and one sweet.

Chilli Bread

Ingredients  (large loaf):

  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 – 4 fresh chillies, chopped
  • 420 ml/15 fl oz/1.75 cup water
  • 475 g/1 lb 1 oz/4.5 cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 200 g/7 oz/1.75 cups wholemeal bread flour
  • 10 ml/2 tsp salt
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 40 g/1.5 oz/3 tbsp butter
  • 7.5 ml/1.5 tsp dried yeast


  1. Heat the oil in a small frying pan.  Add the chillies and saute them over a moderate heat for 3 – 4 minutes until softened.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Tip the chillies and their oil into the bread machine pan.  Pour in the water.  Reverse the order in which you add the wet and dry ingredients if necessary.
  3. Spring over both types of flour, ensuring that the liquid is covered.  Place the salt, sugar and butter in separate corners of the bread machine pan.  Make an indent in the flour (but not down as far as the liquid) and add the yeast.
  4. Set the bread machine to the basic/normal setting, medium crust.  Press start.
  5. Remove the break at the end of the baking cycle and turn out onto a wire rack to cool

Notes on this recipe:

  • We couldn’t find any plain wholemeal flour, so we made ours with the equivalent plain bread flour.
  • We don’t have a large bread machine, I realised this while the bread was on it’s second rise and about to escape the bread machine itself.  If you don’t have a large bread machine, consider following the recipe anyway, but as it threatens to escape your machine, remove the dough and form it on a greased or lined baking tray.  Bake at 190C for 25 minutes and it’ll end up looking like mine in the photo.  You know it’s cooked when you knock on the top and it sounds hollow.
  • We toasted slices of this and served with fried eggs on top, the perfect breakfast
  • Chillies are not always hot hot, sometimes they are quite mild, feel free to experiment with different types of chilli and different amounts.

Hot Cross Buns

Seriously one of my favourite things ever.


  • 210 ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 450 g/1 lb/4 cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 7.5 ml/1.5 tsp mixed (apple pie) spice*
  • 2.5 ml/0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2.5 ml/0.5 tsp salt
  • 50 g/2 oz/0.25 cup caster sugar
  • 50 g/2 oz/0.25 cup butter
  • 7.5 ml/1.5 tsp dried yeast
  • 75 g/3 oz/scant 0.5 cup currants
  • 25 g/1 oz/3 tbsp sultanas
  • 25 g/1 oz/3 tbsp mixed peel

For the pastry crosses

  • 50 g/2 oz/0.5 cup plain flour
  • 25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp margarine

For the glaze

  • 30 ml/2 tbsp milk
  • 25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp caster sugar


  1. Pour the milk and egg into the bread pan.  Reverse the order in which you add the liquid and dry ingredients if your machine requires this.
  2. Spring over the flour, ensuring that it covers the liquid.  Add the mixed spice and cinnamon.  Place the salt, sugar and butter in separate corners of the pan.  Make a shallow indent in the centre of the flour and add the yeast.
  3. Set the bread machine to dough setting; use basic raisin dough setting (if you have one).  Press start.  Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  4. Add the dry fruit and peel when the machine beeps or 5 minutes before the end of the kneading period.
  5. When the dough cycle has finished, remove the dough from the machine and place it on a lightly floured surface.  Knock it back (punch it down) gently, then divide it into 12 pieces.  Cup each piece between your hands and shape it into a ball.  Place on the prepared baking sheets, cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave for 30 – 45  minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.  Make the pastry for the crosses.  In a bowl, rub the flour and margarine together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Bind with enough water to make a soft pastry which can be piped.
  7. Spoon the pasty into a piping bag fitting with a plain nozzle and pipe a cross on each bun.  Bake the buns for 15 – 18 mins, or until golden.
  8. Meanwhile, heat the milk and sugar for the glaze in a small pan. Stir thoroughly until the sugar dissolves.  Brush the glaze over the top of the hot buns.  Turn out onto a wire rack.  Serve warm or cool.

Notes on this recipe:

  • * mixed spice is generally a blend of nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon.  I made my own, it was good.  Otherwise buy mixed spice and use that.
  • For the crosses I used about a third to a half a cup of water to get the correct consistency to squeeze through a piping bag.
  • These were so good we ate them all up straight away.  I will certainly be making these again.